Board Game Café
Welcome! We’ve tried to gather a selection of cutting-edge modern games that are playable in a short amount of time. Like, you know, lunch.
If you’re planning to drop by, you can save some time by previewing our games below. You’ll also find links to rulebooks to peruse or videos to watch. Better than that, though, drop in, grab a game, and start learning it!
Grab some teammates and choose Marvel heroes to battle classic villains, including the Big Purple Guy himself, if you like. Use your unique powers to help your friends defeat a host of henchmen and finally, the boss—all in real-time, all in five minutes!
Draw some cards from your personal deck into your hand. You’ll have some cute veggies, and some cute artichokes. Use the powers on your veggie cards to draw, discard, and pass around cards from your hand. As soon as you manage to draw a hand with no artichokes in it, you win!
This fast-paced, tightly constrained game has you battling an opponent for control of three theaters of war (air, land, and sea!) by strategically playing cards from your six-card hand, and trying to recognize early on where your strengths lie. Playd over a series of rounds, the first to score 12 victory points wins.
Players flip category cards from a deck until two symbols match. The matching players race to be the first to call out an example of the category on their opponent’s card. Collect the most cards to win!
Draw letter tiles from the banana (as you do) and build them into crossed words in front of you. First player to use all of her tiles is the winner!
Regular Blokus can be played with only two players, but this specially condensed version tightens the playing field to make an especially competitive game just for two. Grab a buddy and give it a try!
Work with your teammates (castlemates?) to defend your fortress against hordes of attacking goblins, orcs, and trolls. As long as one tower or wall is left standing when the baddies run out, you all win!
Take your turn as captain of the fantasy airship to pilot your companions to ever more distant cloud cities and fabulous treasures, or send them plummeting to their doom. It’s all in your hands, Bub. Until the next player takes over, that is.
Nothing but bluffing in this game! Pass a face-down insect card to an opponent and make a simple claim: “This is a——”. Your opponent can try to pass it along, or call your bluff. If they’re wrong, the card goes in front of them; if they’re right, the card goes in front of you. The first player to have four matching cards in front of them loses!
Using only single-word clues, spymasters try lead their team to guess coded words on a grid before their opponents. If anyone carelessly uncovers the assassin, it’s instant game over!
Just like the game Codenames, but this time your single-word clues are trying to lead your partner to cards with…unusal pictures on them. Be careful! The assassin is still lurking somewhere on the grid.
You’re a bandit pulling off a daring Old West train robbery! Problem is, up to five other bandits have had the same idea! Play cards to grab as much loot as you can while punching and shooting at your rivals, but watch out for the marshal!
Use your influence, wits, and brazen deception to be the last one standing in a cutthroat, vaugely medieval cyber-punk world.
You and your greedy siblings are looting treasures from an ancestor’s crypt. Use “servant dice” to claim treasures or edge out your rivals; but getting too greedy can leave you with all your servants exhausted. Collect the most valuable treasure sets to win the game!
Make up a clue that will help others guess your weird picture-card. This is easier than it sounds, though, since everyone else has thrown cards into the mix as well, and they want players to guess theirs, not yours.
Pick an adorable dinosaur meeple from your hand and put it in your zoo. Pass the leftovers to the next player, and get more from the player next to you. Repeat. A quick and simple drafting game where you try to fill up your Dino-zoo with the most valuable combinations of dinosaurs.
Journey into a dungeon with your adorable friends. Work together to kill monsters by playing numbered cards from your hand. But don’t help too much—the player who contributes least comes away with the most loot, unless the monster wins, of course.
Zombies are about to overrun the city! You and your friends have 15 minutes to collect survival gear, load the van, and get the heck OUT. Frantically roll and re-roll your handful of dice to explore the city, collect gear, and fight zombies that get in your way.
Play as a member of everyone’s favorite family—Brian, Letty, Roman, Tej, Han, or Vin Diesel—performing insane stunts to pull off one of three scenarios: fight a tank, steal stuff from the back of a moving semi, or try to launch your cars into a flying helicopter. You know, like family.
You and your companions have crash landed in a strange desert. Your only hope for escape is to scour bizarre ancient ruins for parts to reconstruct a mystical flying machine. Blowing sand and thirst are your mortal enemies. Will you survive? (Probably not, really.)
You and your team of intrepid treasure hunters are searching a mysterious island for four ancient artifacts. Simple enough, except the island is sinking beneath your feet. Work together to find the items and escape, before the whole island vanishes beneath the waves!
Cobble together a space ship from a pile of junk parts, and blast off for fortune and glory! Then watch in horror as your creation endures meteors, pirates, and other hazards, shedding parts as your team of astronauts tries to pilot it home again.
You and your colleagues are trying to arrange cards by color in descending order from 5 to 1 by playing them from your hands. The catch? You hold your cards backwards, so everyone can see them but you. Others can give you limited clues about what you’re holding, and everyone tries desperately to remember what they’ve been told about their own cards. Oh—there’s also a time limit, of sorts. But other than that, no pressure, really!
Move your penguins in straight lines to grab fish before your opponents do, shrinking the ice floe at the same time, until everyone is left stranded on little fish-infused ice cubes. When movement becomes impossible, the penguins with the most fish win!
Play cards yourself or steal them from others; every card you bank affects your total score in wild ways. Throughout the game, try to finesse your collection of cards so you have an odd number of points at the end—the player with the highest odd number score is the winner.
Thanos is up to his usual tricks and it’s up to the rest of the players to stop him. Heroes play cards with various abilities to try to catch Thanos off guard, while the Thanos player uses the powers of the infinity stones to foil the other players. Should he ever collect all six, the game ends with a bang.
Scramble to grab jetpack-trail tiles from the center of the table to fly through the lab, avoiding hazards and collecting coins in this simultaneous-play game. Try to be the first one to the other side of the lab and collect the most coins to win!
A cooperative word guessing game where everyone writes a single-word clue to help the active player guess a secret word. Easy enough, except that duplicate clues are eliminated before the guesser has a chance to see them. Try to collectively guess as many words as possible out of a stack of thirteen.
Roll handfuls of chunky dice to rampage your giant monster through Tokyo or bash rival giant monsters to become the unrivaled King!
All right, King So-and-so, add lands to your 5 x 5 square kingdom by claiming tiles from the ones revealed. Then place it domino-style next to matching tiles in your growing kingdom, trying to score the most points with large areas of terrain and skillfully leveraged multipliers.
Build a team of adorable minis and make them battle in an adorable arena! Each character has unique stats and attacks, of course, and they’re all adorable. Maybe a little much for lunchtime, but worth a try, if you like that sort of thing.
You both play explorers racing to discover exotic lost civilizations. Play cards to mount your expeditions, but be careful—resources are limited, and you need to know when to cut your losses and press on in another area, instead. The explorer with the highest score after three rounds of expeditions wins.
There are many suitors for the princess of Tempest, but you, of course, are the suitiest. Using Wit and Deduction, try to get your letter delivered to the princess, while foiling the plans of your opponents.
Protect your mothership while attacking your enemies in this rather ruthless and delightfully cartoony space battle game. Use cards to blast other ships, or save up to buy upgrades for your fleet. Last mothership standing is the winner!
A dwarf, an elf, a barbarian, and a mage walk into a shopping mall…and hilariously frustrating real-time co-op gaming chaos occurs, it seems. A super-unique cooperative game that probably can’t even be summarized here. Play it!
Assemble a team and work together to take down one of several possible big Marvel baddies in this lightweight cooperative game! Play cards from your hand to clobber thugs, rescue civilians, and neutralize henchmen before joining the final battle.
It’s a videogame boardgame! Run your adorable character through a level in a strange land, collecting treasures and dodging enemies for as long as you can. Trade your treasures for extra lives and buildings that generate coins. The first one to collect 20 coins is the winner.
The Greek gods are fed up with humanity’s lack of respect. Players take turns literally chucking various mythical monsters from their deck at locations on the table, attempting to trigger actions and conditions, ultimately inspiring fear in humankind. The god who is feared the most by the end of the game is the winner!
Probably too long for lunchtime, but it’s lying around, so… Dungeon exploring reduced to its most ridiculous essence. Kick down doors, kill monsters, take stuff and run. Oh, and keep an eye on your “friends.” First one to Level 10 (by hook or by crook) wins!
It’s a race to save the Golden Cheese from a ferocious (and turophilic?) dragon! Pull cards from other players’ hands one at a time to collect movement points for your mouse-hero, but don’t pull an obstacle card, or your mouse goes nowhere! At the end of your turn, you distribute any of your cards to other players’ hands. Simple fun with a clever pop-up board!
The team leader tries to communicate with the other players, proposing clues by indicating their degree of affinity — strong/medium/weak — with the object that the team must find. Based on the leader’s clues, the other players try to remove the wrong cards, step by step, until the Key is all that remains. Removing the Key results in instant defeat, so be careful!
Try to capture your opponent’s Master or move your Master onto your opponents shrine to win this addictive two-player game. The catch? Five randomly drawn movement cards rotate around the table, and represent the only movements available for the whole game.
Based on an old computer game frequently used in middle schools to warn children of the dangers of joining unregulated wagon trains, players work together to try to survive a grueling trip to the West. Or, in some cases, abandon each other to pathetic deaths. Or, in many cases, all die before they really get anywhere.
A quick and simple card game where scoring points is bad. Draw cards, trying to avoid getting a pair. If you draw a match, you score points. The first player to a target score loses the game. Ouch.
Roll your dice as fast as you can—pass green results along to your neighbor. For every red result, you have to stop and stack another dish on the pile in the center of the table. If you knock the dishes over, or end up holding all the dice at once, you lose the round and score points. First one to score ten points loses!
You are well-mannered nobles settling grievances in the time-honored tradition: Dueling catapults attached to old-timey bicycles, launching wealth at each other! Build a collection of valuables for points, and hit other catapults to make your enemies lose theirs!
The player whose turn it is rolls a handful of dice, and everyone marks their scoresheets, trying to eliminate as many numbers as possible. Easy to learn and quick to play!
Baby raptors are on the loose! Play as a team of scientists trying to tranquilize and catch the babies, or play as the momma raptor trying to lead her brood to safety, and maybe chomp a scientist or two in the process. Each side has special actions they can perform by outwitting their opponent.
You are gnomes. Or dwarves. Or kobolds. Or some kind of little guys who dig in the ground looking for treasure. Except a few of you are saboteurs, trying to ruin everything. Work together to find gold, or prevent the others from finding gold, depending on your role.
Stand shoulder to shoulder with up to six (!) of your samurai companions to defend a helpless village from waves upon waves of bandits. But wait, there’s more! Just when it looks like your warrior might fall beneath a horde of marauders, his beast spirit will emerge, transforming him and activating special beast-samurai powers!
Choose from one of three sets—Fables, Myths, or History—one player attempts to make the other players guess one secret character by playing other character cards from their hand as clues, saying whether they are similar to or different from the secret character. Mix sets for an extra challenge!
A beautifully-illustrated bluffing game, where each player has a “hand” of four disks—three flowers, and one skull. Players take turns playing disks face down in front of them until someone challenges, and announces a number of discs they will flip. Flip all flowers, they score. Flip a skull, and they lose, and forfeit one of their discs. The first player to score twice wins.
You play the crew on a Sitting Duck class explorer ship, which flies off into uncharted space and…kind of sees what’s there. What’s there is generally trying to kill you. Everyone works at the same time to decide on strategy and actions as the computer announces threats, and then you sit back and watch your plans fall apart, generally. Great fun!
Using one of your six action cards each turn, collect colored stones to offer to your five spirit animals. Each animal scores points for different combinations of stones. Some actions let you move the coyote onto your opponent’s board to block an animal until they can move it away. A not unpleasant way to pass a few minutes!
Powerful mages called Summoners battle for…something, as they call soldiers cards into being on a battle grid. Players must manage cards carefully and decide whether to use them as units, or to trigger special effects, or to power their Summoner’s magic. The player who defeats the other’s Summoner is the winner.
Not exactly much of a game, it’s “telephone” with drawings. Make a sketch of the secret word in your little notebook and pass it to the next player, who must guess what you’ve drawn, and pass it along again. The next player draws the new guess, and so on around the circle. Hilarity (supposedly) ensues as the final drawings are compared to the original clues—whee!
From a deck of cards numbered 1–100, players try to play cards from their hands in order from lowest to highest, with no talking or communication of any kind! Hands of cards become increasingly larger from round to round, making this increasingly difficult. How far can you get? Can you read your friends’ minds?
Choose a different role each turn—will you be a Farmer? A Queen? A Merchant? Each role gives you abilities to use as you race your opponents to be the first to draw a gem of your color from the bag. But only a true Wizard can pull that feat off!
Smash, bash, and sometimes blast your way to the finish line as you ride a titanic creature over a looping race course. A fun, simple racing game where everyone is in on the action all the time. Can be played in teams, too!
Zen out with this simple game of placing tiles and sliding stones. Create a path for your stone to follow, while trying to hijack your opponents’ and steer them off the edge of the board and out of the game. Only lightly competitive and strangely relaxing.
Players add monster cards to a dungeon pool, while also removing bits of useful weapons and equipment from play, until some sort of equilibrium is reached, and one hapless adventurer has to face the dungeon with whatever equipment is left. Good luck, hapless adventurer!
It’s like a combination of Yahtzee! and Bingo and … something else? Each turn, choose a house number to build in your retro-utopia suburban development, and a corresponding bonus feature. Build parks, add swimming pools, build fences to complete planning goals. It’s like filling out a worksheet, but … funnerer?
A trivia game where no one knows the answers! Do you know how many slices of pizza are eaten in America every day? Of course not! But everyone guesses a number, and then wagers on the answer they think is closest. Payouts come in the form of poker chips, which can be used to bet on future answers. The best guesser wins!
You are a zombie. You want to eat brains. Roll dice, three at a time, to get brains to eat. Keep rolling and collecting brains as long as you want, but if you get “shot” three times, you lose them all! (Sad zombie is sad.) First zombie to chomp thirteen brains is the winner.
The rules are simple: draw a card and play a card. Try to collect “Keeper” cards that match the goal, and win the game. Except the goal keeps changing. And your hand size keeps changing. And the rest of the rules keep changing. Oh, and there’s zombies—they’re bad. But maybe they’re good? Everything’s in flux, in Fluxx.
You’ve been asked to design a new city zoo. Build custom habitats, hand pick animals for exhibits, and strategically place attractions to bring visitors to your zoo. Meet each city’s unique set of objectives to earn the highest rated zoo!