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2016 Top 10 Filler games

So it goes.
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I've created top-100 lists for the first 2-years of my gaming life and while it was fun, neither really represented how I actually gamed. Instead, I realized that my gaming revolved almost entirely around contexts which were firmly rooted in the time available to me at any given moment.

I identified the following seven contexts for my gaming:

* Context 0 - Filler time (1-20 mins)
* Context 1 - Super-fillers (20-30 mins)
* Context 2 - Busy school-night (30-45 mins)
* Context 3 - Open school-night (45-60 mins)
* Context 4 - Game-night (60-120 mins)
* Context 5 - Meaty game-night (120-240 mins)
* Context 6 - Special events (240+ mins and longer games)

Each of the links above points to the appropriate section in my 2016 Top-100 Contextual List.

This is the top-10 list for the first (and most frequently available) context, the filler game:

10. Rincala

Rincala is a Mancala-like using stacks of colored discs and a simple sowing mechanism to build a near-perfect set-collection Breakfast Game.

9. Fluxx

The Fluxx family of games is very popular around my house -- my kids love it and I've long ago embraced its chaos (though, it's not as chaotic as most people think). Of all the variations, at the moment my favorite is Cthulhu Fluxx, though it can run a bit longer than the 20 minute cutoff without the timing meta-rule.

8. Gravwell

Gravwell is Cribbage as it might be played by Harry Seldon. It's a card-drafting game mixed with a little Raj or Pico 2, all tied together with an elegant gravity-based movement rule. I love it to pieces.

7. Take it Easy!

Take it Easy! is another elegant game lurking in my top-10 favorite fillers. While I certainly enjoy it as a solitaire filler, I prefer to play it with others. There's a nice tension that gradually rises starting at the 25% mark that reaches a fevered pitch by the end -- especially if the other players are talking trash at the same time. I've never played a match that I didn't enjoy.

6. Scopa

Scopa is the simplest possible card game that can still allow for some tactical depth -- perform sums, hold useful cards as long as possible, and try to catch the most valuable cards. For a time Scopa lost personal mindshare to Briscola, but it just couldn't hold my attention after a couple dozen plays, while Scopa still feels fresh after 50+ (give or take -- I rarely log filler games these days) plays.

5. Coloretto

I don't know what it is about Coloretto, but I just can't stop loving it. More astonishingly I enjoy the 2p game more than at higher player counts.

4. Turn the Tide

I didn't like Turn the Tide the first few times that I played it. However, as I got in some games with more than 3 players I started liking it more and more. With more players there are more chances to "hide in the middle" which adds some tactical flair.

3. Schnapsen

Schnapsen is a lovely little 2p card game played with only 20 cards with a surprising amount of depth. When we first started playing around the house it was almost a guarantee that a marriage meant victory, but as we've played more the mitigating tactics around handling marriages and the hole left in the holding hands have become (more) clear. At this point no marriage guarantees a hand is won. It's fun to discover more depth to this game as we play more.

2. Gin

Gin is yet another 2p card game shows gains more depth as I play more hands. In my life I've probably played hundreds of hands of Gin and I still love to get in a quick game as often as I can. I even bought an old leather Gin logbook to record my plays.

1. Thor

Thor is unbelievably elegant and is my favorite entry in the Quandary/Flinke Pinke/Wildlife Safari line. Thor is the bare essence of a stock-holding game and one of the few games on this list that I wish I had invented. While I enjoy the special power card, I tend to play Thor without and even still have yet to find its equal in terms of its mix of fun and depth in such a short play-time.

And that's it for fillers in 2016. A few extras outside of the top-10 include: Pylos, Kulami, Zark City, Yavalath, and Spiel -- all of which are fantastic games.

Stay tuned for the next top-10 of 2016 revolving around Super-fillers!
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