Hosting an event for International TableTop Day? One of the most important questions you’ll need to answer is: what games are you going to play? For those of you looking to fill out your playlist, here are a few suggestions.
For this list, I’ve focused on games with a few shared characteristics: they handle at least 3 or 4 players (some even more), they play fairly quickly (less than an hour), and they are easy to learn. Most importantly, they’re all available already, so you could potentially swing by a game store and pick up a copy in time for tomorrow. (Sorry to those who aren’t near game stores; I meant to get this posted earlier in the week but wasn’t organized enough.)
I figure that if you’re hosting a game day, there’s less need for two-player-only games. And for gamers who are playing hefty multi-hour games like Eclipse or Wallenstein, you probably aren’t looking for new titles to add anyway. These are mostly on the more casual end of the gaming spectrum, but for big gatherings you need some crowd-pleasers.
20 Express — it’s like strategic Bingo! You draw numbers out of a bag, and players have to write their numbers down on a train car sheet, trying to get the longest string of increasing numbers possible. Incredibly simple but delightfully fun. Read my review here. ANY number of players, ages 8 and up, about 5 minutes per game, retail $19.99.
Love Letter — a microgame that consists of only 16 cards and a few tokens, but still manages to include some great strategy and bluffing. Read my review here. 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 20 minutes per game, retail $9.99. It comes in a couple of versions now, but the gameplay is equivalent.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf — a hidden role game that replaces player elimination with a single-night voting mechanic. Read my original review here. 3-10 players, ages 8 and up, about 10 minutes per game, retail $24.99. If you like hidden roles and bluffing, you might also check out The Resistance and Coup. (Although Coup may be harder to find right now.)
Think Again — a silly trivia game in which everyone knows most of the answers already, but sometimes you want to get it wrong. Players take turns asking questions, but after each question you hold up the back of the next card, which indicates whether you need to have the right or wrong answer. First person to answer gets the card—but it’s worth positive or negative points based on whether they gave the appropriate answer. 3-10 players, ages 10 and up, about 20 minutes per game, retail $19.95. Another great unconventional trivia game is Wits & Wagers, which comes in various versions.
Gravwell — It might look complicated at first, but Gravwell is elegant and quick to teach, and will have you laughing and cursing within the first couple rounds. It’s about pulling yourself toward the warp gate by using the gravity from the nearest object … which might be behind you. Read my review here. 1-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes per game, retail $35.
Trains — I really like deck-building games of all types, so I figured I’d include at least one. Trains has a great combination of deck-building and placing pieces on a board, so although it’s a little more complex than Dominion to learn, it’s still not too difficult. Read my review here. 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 45 minutes per game, retail $59.99.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue — I’ll end with one cooperative game: Flash Point is about being firefighters. Rescue the people from the house before it burns down, and work together to use your special abilities efficiently. It’s a little more complex than the others on this list, but cooperative games are a fantastic way to bring gamers together, and to level out the playing field between experienced and new gamers. 2 to 6 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes per game, retail $39.99. Other great cooperative games include Castle Panic and Forbidden Desert.
Whatever your gameplay style, I hope you have a fantastic TableTop Day! What are you planning to play? Let us know in the comments section!