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2011 Best Filler Games

Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
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I started recording my plays in March of this year. Since then I've recorded 404 plays. I've also played about 100 games of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization at and maybe a dozen games of Tigris & Euphrates here on BGG. I've broken my game plays into Medium-Heavy Weight, Medium Weight, Medium-Light Weight, Fillers, 2-players, Kid's Games, and flops. With very limited exceptions, the only games I've placed in the list are games that I've played at least 3 times in 2011.

This is is my third list. While I generally like to play games with a little bit of meat to them, there's always that time at the beginning or end of the night when there isn't time for anything with meat. That's when the fillers come in. Although some of these games provide a bit more explaining, these are games that I'd play with anyone. They all play in under an hour and many play in about 30 minutes.

1. The Resistance . Although this might not be the first game I'd choose to play, it is my #4 most played games this year. It is the only game with a traitor mechanic done right. It's quick to teach, plays from 5 to 10 players and takes about 30 minutes. It's a game that is all about the meta-gaming. It's in my game bag every week and I don't see that changing any time soon. I expect at least as many plays in 2012 as 2011.

2. Metropolys . Although I've played this less than Resistance, I like it more. Unfortunately, it only plays from 2 to 4 players and it takes up more space in the game bag. That said, it's a much more interesting game. It is the one of only a few auction games that plays as well with 2 as it does with 3 and 4. It plays with next to no down time and it is my second favorite Ystari game. It's a game that I hope to play more in 2012.

3. Cartagena . Cartagena is my currently favorite filler game. This is Candyland for Adults. Play a card, move one of your six pieces to the next unoccupied space with that symbol on it. To get more cards, you move back to the last space with one or two pieces on it and get one or two cards respectively. Since the next 12 cards on the draw deck are face up and so are the cards in a player's "hand". A great, quick game that plays from 2 to 5 players and plays as well for all player counts. I expect to see many more plays in 2012.

4. Innovation. I still haven't figured out how much I like this game. After seven plays, I still think of it as Gamer's Fluxx. However, it's fun to play and fairly simple to teach. I hope to play it many more times in 2012.

5. Lords of Scotland . It's strange; for some reason I have only played this a few times in 2011 but I really, really like it. It's a very compact trick-taking card game that's got an interesting theme and easy to teach. This is probably the game I most want to play more in 2012.

6. No Thanks! . This is probably the quickest filler I've ever played. It's over in about 5 minutes but it's still fun to play with some push-your-luck mechanic and some meaningful decisions. Although it's got a luck in it, it's quick play time and the fact that it goes up to 5 players means it'll be staying in my game bag for a long time to come.

7. Cities . This is a fun puzzle game that plys well with 1 to 4 players. It has three levels of difficulty with the simplest being fine for young kids and the most complex giving gamers a bit of a brain burn. It takes about 20 minutes to play nad it's pretty quick to teach making it a great filler. Like many of these fillers, it's one I hope to play a bit more in 2012, at least as a solo game.

8. Dominion. Although this game can take a bit longer than many of the other games on this list, I'd still consider it a filler. For me, the best Dominion game is one that's over in about 30 minutes and any game that takes much longer than that starts getting on my nerves. As a 30 minute filler, it's a good game with enough interesting decisions to keep the game fresh for a lot of plays. While I'm not necessarily looking forward to playing it more in 2012, I probably will.

9. Gipsy King . Like Metropolys, the large box is the reason that this game doesn't seem more plays. It's a fun, quick abstract that plays well from 2 to 5 players. While it probably won't see more 2012 plays than 2011 plays, it's a game that I'm happy to play whenever it's suggested.

10. 7 Wonders. While I'm happy to play 7 Wonders, I don't get the attraction. It is a very light filler with a fairly tough set of rules to teach non-gamers. The only thing it has going for it is that it does play up to 7 players without lengthening the game time. Personally, my favorite player count is 2-player which does have at least a little bit of strategy to it.
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