Home » Quick board games you can play in 30 minutes or less

Quick board games you can play in 30 minutes or less

Playing board games is a lot of fun of course, but you don’t always want to spend hours playing the same game. Luckily not all games are meant to last long. Below you’ll find 24 of the best games which you can play in 30 minutes or less. Enjoy!

You might also like: BoardGameBilly’s Ultimate Board Game Gift Guide!

Best quick board games to play

24. Camel Up

In Camel Up, up to eight players gamble on five racing camels in a fast race around the pyramid. The sooner you place your bet, the more you can win – if you guess it right, of course. Camels don’t run perfectly, sometimes they land on another camel and are carried to the finish line. Who will run and when? It all depends on how the dice come out of the pyramid.

Score: 7.0
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 20-30 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.49 / 5
Developer: 999 Games

23. Coup

In Coup, you are the head of a family in an Italian city-state, a city run by a weak and corrupt court. You have to manipulate, bluff and buy your way to power. Your goal is to destroy the influence of all other families and force them into exile. Only one family will survive.

In Coup, you want to be the last player with influence in the game, where the influence is shown by the person card that is closed on your playing field.

Score: 7.0
Players: 2-6
Playtime: 15 minutes
Age: 9+
Difficulty: 1.43 / 5
Developer: Indie Boards & Cards

22. Magic Maze

Image courtesy of: The Innocent @BoardGameGeek

Magic Maze is a real-time cooperative game. Each player can control each hero to ensure that the hero performs a specific action to which the other players have no access: go north, explore a new area, use an escalator. All this requires a strict cooperation between the players to succeed in moving the heroes safely.

However, you may only communicate for short periods during the game, the rest of the time you have to play without communicating. If all heroes manage to leave the mall in the time allocated , where each player has stolen a specific item, you win the game (together).

At the beginning of the game you only have three minutes to take actions. Hourglass rooms you come across along the way give you more time. When the hourglass is empty all players lose the game.

Score: 7.0
Players: 1-8
Playtime: 3-15 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.77 / 5
Developer: Sit Down!

21. Friday

Friday is the second game in the Friedemann Friese Freitag-Project It’s about Robinson Crusoe and Friday. You play Friday and have to help Robinson Crusoe survive the island and prepare him to defeat the pirates.

Friday is a deck-building game in which you optimize your cards to defeat the dangers of the island and two pirate ships. During a turn, the player will try to defeat dangers by playing fighting cards. Eventually, the player will use his optimized fighting deck to defeat two pirate ships, allowing Robinson Crusoe to escape from the island!

Score: 7.0
Players: 1
Playtime: 25 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 2.13 / 5
Developer: Rio Grande Games

20. Lost Cities

Lost Cities is a two-player card game in the Cosmos series. The game consists of a card deck with cards ranging from 2-10 value in 5 different colors and with 3 special “handshakes” in each series. Games last about 15 minutes. This is generally considered a good “couples game” and is often recommended for people with loved ones who don’t like games that much.

Score: 7.1
Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.51 / 5
Developer: Thames & Kosmos

19. Hanabi

Hanabi, named after the Japanese word for ‘fireworks’, is a cooperative game in which players try to make the perfect fireworks show by placing the cards on the table in the right order. (In Japanese hanabi is written as 花火; these are respectively the ideograms flower and fire.)

The deck consists of five different colour cards, numbered from 1 to 5 in each colour. For each colour, players try to place a row in the correct order from 1 to 5. Sounds simple, right? Well, not quite, because in this game you’re holding your cards so they’re only visible to other players.

To help other players play a card, you should give them hints about the numbers or colours of their cards. Players must act as a team to avoid mistakes and finish the fireworks before they run out of cards.

Score: 7.1
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 25 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.71 / 5
Developer: Cocktail Games

18. For Sale

For Sale is a fast and fun game. It’s about buying and selling real estate. During the two different phases of the game, players first make an offer for different buildings and then, after buying all buildings, sell them for the greatest possible profit.

Score: 7.1
Players: 3-6
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.28 / 5
Developer: Brain Games

17. King of Tokyo

In King of Tokyo you play as mutant monsters, giant robots and strange aliens – all destroying Tokyo and mistreating each other to become the only real king of Tokyo.

At the beginning of each turn you throw six dice, which can represent one of the following six symbols: 1, 2 or 3 victory points, energy, healing and attack. In three consecutive turns you choose which die you want to keep or throw away to gain victory points, gain energy, restore health or attack other players.

The best player will occupy Tokyo and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and has to face all the other monsters on his own! Complement this with special cards bought with energy that has a permanent or temporary effect, such as growing a second head that gives you an extra die, bulletproof vests, nova death rays and many other possibilities.

Score: 7.2
Players: 2-6
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.51 / 5
Developer: Enigma

16. Love Letter

Love Letter is a game full of risk, seduction and luck for 2 to 4 players. Your goal is to get your love letter into the hands of Princess Annette while preventing competitors’ letters. From a card game with only sixteen cards, each player starts with only one card in his hand; one card is removed from the game.

During a turn you draw a card and play a card to try to expose others and work them out of the game. Powerful cards lead to a quick lead but make you a target. But count on weaker cards for too long and your letter can be thrown into the fire!

Score: 7.2
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.20 / 5
Developer: 999 Games

15. Dixit

Dixit is winner of the 2010 Spiel des Jahres.

One player is the storyteller for her turn and looks at the pictures on the 6 cards in her hand. From one of these he or she makes a sentence and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players).

Each other player selects the card in his or her own hands that best matches the sentence and gives the selected card to the narrator, without showing it to the others. All cards are shown with the picture facing up and each player must bet on which card the storyteller told about.

If nobody or everyone finds the right card, the narrator scores 0 points, each of the other players scores 2 points. In all other cases, the narrator and the one who found the correct answer score 3 points. The game ends when the deck is empty or when a player scores 30 points. In both cases, the player with the most points wins the game.

The basic game and all extensions have 84 cards each.

Score: 7.2
Players: 3-6
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 6+
Difficulty: 1.25 / 5
Developer: Enigma

14. Kingdomino

Image courtesy of: saksi @BoardGameGeek

In Kingdomino you are a Lord who is looking for new lands to expand your kingdom. You must explore all countries, wheat fields, lakes and mountains to find the best lots. But beware because some other Lords covet the same piece of land.

Each time it’s your turn, you connect a new domino tile to your existing kingdom, making sure that at least one of its sides is connected to a suitable type of terrain that is already in the game. The game mechanics for obtaining the tiles is clever: the order of who chooses first depends on which tile was chosen earlier.

Make sure you secure tiles with crowns – these royal treasures help multiply the value of your kingdom at the end of the game! The game ends when each player has completed a 5×5 grid. Has it come to that? Then the points are counted based on the number of connected tiles and the number of collected crowns.

Score: 7.2
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 15-20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.19/ 5
Developer: White Goblin Games

13. Onitama

Image courtesy of: mattridding @BoardGameGeek

Onitama is an abstract game for two players and a random starting position. On a 5×5 board both players start with five pawns on their side of the field. The main pawn starts in the middle.

Each player has two open cards, each showing a possible move for one of his pieces. There is a fifth card that neither player can use. When it is a player’s turn, he chooses one of his cards, moves one of his pieces according to the chosen card and then exchanges the card for the ‘extra’ fifth card. The other player then chooses one of his cards, moves his pieces as the card indicates and trades in his card with the fifth card – which of course is the card the first player just used.

Score: 7.2
Players: 2
Playtime: 15-20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.67 / 5
Developer: Conception

12. The Resistance

The empire must fall. Your mission must succeed. By destroying major settlements, we will destroy the emperor’s power and free our people. Yet spies have infiltrated our tendrils and are preparing to sabotage us. We must unmask them. In five nights we change our fate. We are the resistance!

The Resistance is a party game. It is designed for five to ten players, lasts about 30 minutes and has no player-elimination. The Resistance is inspired by Mafia / Werewolf, but it is unique in its core mechanisms.

Score: 7.3
Players: 5-10
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 1.63 / 5
Developer: The Resistance

11. Sushi Go Party!

Sushi Go Party is an extended version of the best selling card game Sushi Go! It is a party dish of mega maki, super sashimi and endless edamame. You’ll still earn points by choosing winning sushi combos, but now you can customize each game by choosing à la carte from a menu of over twenty delicious dishes.

Now up to eight players can participate in the sushi party. Let the good times roll! A game for real sushi fans!

Score: 7.3
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.31 / 5
Developer: White Goblin Games

10. Space Alert

Space Alert is a co-op survival game. Players are crew members of a small spaceship that travels dangerous parts of the galaxy. The missions last only 10 minutes and the only task the players have is to protect their ship.

Score: 7.3
Players: 1-5
Playtime: 30 minutes
Leeftijd vanaf: 12+
Age: 2.94 / 5
Developer: Czech Games Edition 

9. Splendor

Splendor is a game in which you collect coins and develop cards. Players are traders in the Renaissance era, and they try to buy precious stone mines, means of transport and shops – all to gain the most prestige points. If you are rich enough, you may at some point receive a visit from a nobleman, which will further enhance your prestige.

Score: 7.4
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.83 / 5
Developer: Enigma

8. Jaipur

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and you are one of the two most powerful traders in the city. But that’s not enough for you because only the merchant with two seals of excellence has the privilege of being invited to the court of the Maharaja.

You will have to beat your direct competitor by buying, trading and selling at better prices than him. A card game for two seasoned traders!

Jaipur is a fast card game, a mix of tactics, risk and luck.

Score: 7.4
Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 1.53 / 5
Developer: Enigma

7. Star Realms

Star Realms is a fast paced card game about space wars. It combines the fun of a deck building game with the interactivity of battles in Trading Card Games. While you play, you use trade to acquire new ships and settlements.

You use the ships and settlements you obtain to generate more trade or to recruit forces to attack your opponent and their settlements. If you reduce your opponent’s score to zero, you win!

Multiple decks of Star Realms and/or Star Realms: Colony Wars, one for every two people, lets up to six players play different scenarios.

Score: 7.5
Players: 2
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 1.98 / 5
Developer: White Wizard Games

6. The Resistance: Avalon

The Resistance: Avalon sets the forces of Good and Evil against each other in a battle for the future of civilization. Arthur represents the future of Britain, a promise of prosperity and honor, but hidden among his brave warriors are Mordred’s unscrupulous accomplices.

These forces of evil are small in number but have remained hidden from everything but one of Arthur’s servants. Merlin alone knows the agents of evil, but he should only speak about it in riddles. If his true identity is discovered, everything will be lost.

The Resistance: Avalon is a stand-alone game and although The Resistance is not needed to play, the games are compatible and can be combined.

Score: 7.5
Players: 5-10
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 1.78 / 5
Developer: Indie Boards & Cards

5. Santorini

Image courtesy of: zapata131 @BoardGameGeek

Santorini is a re-edition of the original from 2004. Since its original creation over 30 years ago, Santorini has been constantly developed, improved and refined by designer Gordon Hamilton.

Santorini is an accessible strategy game, simple enough for a primary school class, while striving to provide enough depth and content for hardcore gamers. The rules are simple. Each turn consists of 2 steps.

Move one of your builders to an adjacent space. Then build a floor on the building next to the builder you just moved. When you build on top of the third floor, you place a dome and remove that space from the game.

Score: 7.6
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.76 / 5
Developer: Spin Master

4. Dominion

Image courtesy of: mikehulsebus @BoardGameGeek

In Dominion, each player starts with an identical and small set of cards. In the middle of the table is a pile of other cards that players can “buy” if they can afford it. By accurately choosing what to buy cards and how to play your hand you build your own unique cards set.

Score: 7.6
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 2.37 / 5
Developer: 999 Games

3. Patchwork

In Patchwork two players compete to build the most beautiful (and high scoring) patchwork on a personal 9×9 game board. To start playing, place all patches randomly in a circle and place a marker directly clockwise from the 2-1 patch. Each player takes five buttons – the currency / points in the game – and then you choose a starting player.

Score: 7.6
Players: 2
Playtime: 15-30 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.71 / 5
Developer: 999 Games

2. Codenames

Two rival spies know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates only know the agents through their CODENAMES.

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who is the first to make contact with all their agents. Spymasters give instructions for one word that can refer to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color and avoid those of the other team. In addition, everyone wants to avoid the hired killer.

Score: 7.7
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 15 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 1.34 / 5
Developer: White Goblin Games

1. 7 Wonders Duel

Image courtesy of: PZS69 @BoardGameGeek

In many ways, 7 Wonders Duel resembles the original 7 Wonders game. Players play in three centuries, buy cards that provide resources or promote their military or scientific development to develop a civilization and complete miracles.

What’s different about 7 Wonders Duel is that, as the title suggests, the game is for two players only, with the players not taking and playing cards at the same time. A player can only take a card if it is not covered by others, so timing is important. As in the original game, any card you buy can be built, thrown away for coins or used to construct a miracle.

Score: 8.0
Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.25 / 5
Developer: Enigma

This brings us to the end of the list of fast board and board games that you can play in less than 30 minutes. Do you have more time? Take a look at the list of the best board games of all time.