In Praise of Filler Games
Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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I don't have anything against long games. I enjoy a big battle with various ups and downs and plotting long-term strategy. Unfortunately, with a family, a job, and other commitments, I rarely have time for a 4+ hour game. As my game collection has grown, I have found it difficult to spend $60+ on a big game that might hit the table once a year.

And so, my new found appreciation for filler games. Granted, they might not be as deep and complex as other games, but usually they are attractively priced and provide a good experience in a quick time frame.

I've listed some of my favorites. Feel free to discuss and add to the list.
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1. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:48]
Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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My top filler. Play time is about the same with 3 or with 7. Drafting mechanic, multiple ways to go - should I go military? should I ditch that card my opponent needs? should I invest in a more resources or cards that allow free placement later? My only complaint is the production values. I don't hard shuffle the cards, but they showed significant wear and tear after only a few games.
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2. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:635]
Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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Civ games are notoriously long, and rightfully so - to get the full experience of a growing civilization, it takes time.
However, RttA provides a fun and fast civ-lite experience. Build cities, raise monuments, develop technology - there are real decisions to be made, all in a fast package set in the Bronze Age.
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3. Board Game: Alea Iacta Est [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1414]
Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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This is a recent acquisition and I am enjoying it. Very light and easy for new players to pick up. Roll the dice, and vie provinces and patricians. There are decisions to make - should I start a new entry, or add to the current dice chain? Should I go for those people I need, or another province?
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4. Board Game: Archaeology: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1307]
Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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Some shuffling to prep the game, but fast action after that. Sandstorms and thief cards provide some randomness, but the game is light enough and fast enough, I don't feel any frustration from that other that what is expected from a press-your-luck game.
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5. Board Game: Naval War [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:4040]
Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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The ultimate beer and pretzels game. Super easy, lots of randomness, and a "take-that!" style of play. Can be frustrating when you only have 1 ship and you have all of the wrong ammo, but okay for a quick battle to fill the time.
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6. Board Game: Kung Fu Fighting [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:4047]
Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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This normally comes up as a filler when another game has ended early and we have some time left on the clock. Normally the person who won the previous game gets beat up by everyone else. The game has that over-the-top kung fu movie theme. A spinning, running up the wall punch! There is nothing like having your opponent play a spectacular combo, while you smile and say "Your Kung Fu is Weak!".
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7. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:416]
Richard Morris
Scotland
Harrogate
North Yorkshire
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The archetypal filler. So simple, but good, that you usually find you have played several games (so it is not really filling any more).
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8. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:274]
Manchuwok
Canada
Mission
BC
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Probably the best "filler" game ever.
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9. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:513]
Manchuwok
Canada
Mission
BC
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I have played this quite a bit, and everyone likes it so much I've sold at least 12 copies to friends.
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10. Board Game: China [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:723]
Manchuwok
Canada
Mission
BC
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EXCELLENT little majority game. I played over 40 times last year. Can easily be played in under 30 minutes, or under 20 if you're quick.
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11. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:117]
Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
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My wife and I play this at least once a week. Fast, quick, easy to learn.
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12. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:612]
Manchuwok
Canada
Mission
BC
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Another great quick game for groups of varying size.
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13. Board Game: Mission: Red Planet [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:823]
The root of all evil ...but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
FL
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Fits all your mentioned criteria. Excellent character selection process, good area majority and can easily wrap up in 45-60 mins.
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14. Board Game: Dice Town [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:790]
The root of all evil ...but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
FL
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One of my favorite fillers to have come out in a long while.
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15. Board Game: Hansa [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:812]
The root of all evil ...but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
FL
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Michale Schacht brings an superb little pick up/delivery game in this one.
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16. Board Game: Sun Tzu [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1092]
The root of all evil ...but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
FL
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A lot of time fillers are used while a larger game is wrapping up when people have arrived late so I thought I'd throw out some 2 player ones of note. This game is really cool.
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17. Board Game: 2 de Mayo [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1232]
The root of all evil ...but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
FL
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This one has some very interesting ideas going on in it. Another 2 player that will play quickly.
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18. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:319]
Davido
United States
California
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Mentioned above, but worthy of its own entry.
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19. Board Game: The Great Dalmuti [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1262]
Jose Pacheco
United States
Logan
Utah
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We can play this trick-taking game forever.
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20. Board Game: That's Life! [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1693]
Jose Pacheco
United States
Logan
Utah
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Every gamer or non i've introduced this game to has loved it. Great thrift store find.
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21. Board Game: Lightning: Midway – June 4th to June 6th, 1942 [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:4658]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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Sweet little wargame filler with a lot more theme than a filler should have.
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22. Board Game: Tank on Tank [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:6720]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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10 minutes to teach. 20 minutes to play. A perfect intro to hex-and-counter wargaming.
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23. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:203]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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To me, this is the ultimate hand-management filler.
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24. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:155]
The Grouch
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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"Hail to the Sun God, he sure is a fun god, Ra, Ra, Ra!"
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25. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:304]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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An even lighter version of Battle Line. Barteus (the Geeklist creator) introduced me to this one.
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