Quick board games and card games you can play in under 15 minutes
Short games are king. If you have a bad start, you don't have to spend the next hour getting pummeled and hating your life. If your friends are digging what you’re playing - you can play it again. If they don't - it ended quick enough and you can move on. They are also easier games to teach because there aren't as many rules.
1. Monopoly Deal
How it's played: You'll take turns drawing cards from a pile of money, action, and property cards. You'll need to collect three full sets of properties to win... if other players don't steal them from you first.
Why its good: If you're groaning over the painful pace of the Monopoly brand hear me out - this one's different. They have taken the most enjoyable parts of Monopoly, like owning properties, and applied it to a fast paced card game that's easy to learn, fun to play, and wraps up quickly. I'd even go as far as saying it's pretty genius how they adapted this.
Players: 2-5. It's most fun with 3-4.
Amazon Price: $7.99
How it's played: You'll draft mini dinosaurs to fill up your dino park over 12 quick rounds. Pick a dinosaur from your pile, place it on your mat, and then pass the rest of the pile to the next player. You'll score more points for different dino pen bonuses after the game is over.
Why it's good: There's so much to love. The drafting mechanic combines skill with luck - how can you best assign your dinosaur to your park with the hand of dinos you've been given? Do you choose certain dinosaurs so your opponents can't get them? It all happens so quickly everyone always wants to play again.
Players: 2-5. It's just as fun with 2 as it is with 5.
Amazon Price: $24.99 (expansions are $14.99)
3. Sushi Go
How it's played: You'll start out with nine sushi cards then pick one to play and pass the rest along. The cards you play are worth more points if you can score combos. The person with the most points after three rounds wins.
Why it's good: A similar drafting mechanic as Draftosaurus, but you're playing different types of sushi cards that create combinations. In this game you have to pay attention to what your opponents are playing so you can keep high scoring cards away from the combos they are building. It's a really smooth, quick game that can be played anywhere. I'll always pack this one and Monopoly Deal when I travel.
Players: 2-5. It's a meh game with two people, I'd suggest 3-5.
Amazon Price: $7.39
4. Exploding Kittens
How it's played: A game of Russian Roulette with cats. Everyone takes turns drawing cards from the center pile hoping to get useful cats and not exploding ones. If you draw an exploding cat and you can't get rid of it, you're out of the game.
Why it's good: This game has the wacky intensity you'd expect from the Oatmeal people (who also make Throw Throw Burrito, I game I personally loathe, but that's for another time) but this one is them at their best. The gameplay is really good. You build up your defenses with the cards in-hand in case you're forced to pull an exploding cat card, while also trying to sabotage players who are in the lead. The pacing is excellent and everyone always wants to play multiple rounds.
My friends and I have ditched the card version of this game to play on the app together. They introduced a few app-only cards that make the game even better, and you don't have to shuffle. But I know the idea of a few friends sitting around on their phones together isn't appealing for everyone.
Players: Base Game plays 2-5 and it goes up to 10 with the expansions. I wouldn't attempt this with 2, 3 is good, and 4-5 is the sweet spot. It gets too chaotic for me with more than 5.
Amazon Price: $19.82
5. Silver & Gold
How it's played: Grab treasure cards and cross off matching squares to score points. The players who do this the fastest win more points. You'll play four rounds.
Why it's good: Okay I lied about this one, it's 20 minutes and not 15, but it's still so good! It might seem like a bit to learn at first, but once you have it down, it's a breeze to play. I like to imagine that I'm one of the Goonies looking for buried treasure or something. There's something fun about using a dry erase marker through the game, but remember to wipe the cards with the tip of the marker cap and not your fingers or hands. The oil on your fingers will ruin the markers! If you do this you're not welcome back to my apartment.
Players: 2-4. It's fun with any number, and the speed of the game is the same.
Amazon Price: $13.89