Board games can be an incredibly fun way to get away from a screen for a while. It’s just you, your friends, and the game.
But there is one area where video games often beat out board games: the ability to pick up and play right away.
You can fire up a video game for 15 to 30 minutes to kill some time, while most board games require a chunk of time to set up and then take another 30+ minutes to play. But not all of them!
Here are several great board games (and card games and dice games) that are quick to set up and don’t take longer than 15 minutes to play. Some of them are even shorter than that.
1. Zombie Dice
Most dice games are portable, but Zombie Dice takes this even further. There are bigger, more expansive editions, but the plain old original still plays as good as ever.
Games last around 15 minutes and the entire game fits in a cup you can carry with you. Setup time is a matter of seconds and you can play with as few as two players.
Players: 2 to 5 (up to 10 with Party version)
The Exploding Kittens box describes it as a game for people who are “into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.” There’s also a NSFW version if you’ll only be playing with adults—it adds an interesting twist on the theme.
This party game takes almost zero setup time and supports two to five players, but you can add another deck to support up to nine players, or play the Party Pack with up to 10 players.
Players: 2 to 10 (up to 16 with Party version)
Ask anyone to describe Bananagrams in two words and they’ll likely say “portable Scrabble.” Imagine that game without the board—instead, everyone builds their own “board” using the words they craft using the letter tiles.
This means almost no setup time since you build as you go. If you want to sacrifice portability and brevity, you can opt for the double-sized version which supports as many as 16 players.
4. Sushi Go
Players: 2 to 5 (up to 8 with Party version)
One of a rare breed, Sushi Go is fun enough for adults to play but also easy enough for kids to grasp.
This is a pick-and-pass game that has you selecting sushi dishes as they pass you by. It’s basically like going to a sushi restaurant and grabbing plates of sushi as they pass by on the conveyor!
The original package includes 108 ingredient cards and supports two to five players. The Party edition supports up to eight.
Players: 2 to 4
Perhaps one of the shortest games on our list, Red7 can take as little as five minutes to play. Even the longest games of Red7 are rarely longer than 10 minutes.
The gameplay combines colors and numbers in what initially seems like a case of “high card wins”—with added depth!
Players: 4 to 10
Despite what the name may have you thinking, You’ve Got Crabs is actually a family-friendly game. Like Exploding Kittens, this features cards illustrated by Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal.
This game supports up to 10 players, and while it has a slightly longer setup time than some games on this list, it’s still a breeze to set up and play.
Players: 2 to 6
If you’d rather keep things a little more straight-faced than some of the other games on this list, the dystopian universe of Coup may be more up your alley.
This game has you vying to drive your rivals into Exile. Still, it’s meant for ages 10 and up, supports two to six players, and is playable in 15 minutes (if nobody stalls their turns).
8. Ghost Blitz
Players: 2 to 8
The most action-packed of the games here—at least for physical action—Ghost Blitz will test your reaction times.
You place objects in the middle of the table, then someone reveals a card and everyone makes a play at grabbing the right object, all at the same time.
Play time can take as long as 20 minutes with the maximum player count of eight players, but games rarely last that long.
Players: 2 to 5
The great thing about Monopoly Deal is how familiar it will feel to Monopoly players. Be the first to collect three full property sets, and you win the game.
That said, it isn’t that easy, as action cards let players steal your money or property cards as easily as you earned them.
The game length goes longer with more players, but it’s pretty brisk with just 2 or 3 players.