Need Help finding a good "Opener" game.
Cuppa Jack
United States
Los Angeles
California
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(I dislike posting Geeklists with so few games on them to start, but I'm at a loss for ideas!)

I’m looking for a game to use as an “opener” for game-nights. Something light, quick, and fun that plays fast and will get everybody in a gamin’ mood.

The game should ideally: scale from 3-5+, play in under 30 minutes, and yet have enough “meat” to warm-up the player’s minds in preparation for the “main event” games to come.

Cardgames are great, and I welcome their addition, but I would love to see some more tactile board games if there are any out there.

Any thoughts and additions will be greatly appreciated!
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1. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:278]
Cuppa Jack
United States
Los Angeles
California
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For Sale is what I currently use as an “opener,” and while it does ok in this niche, for whatever reason I find it works better as a “closer.” Plus I often only have 3 players and find For Sale is better with more.
 
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2. Board Game: High Society [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:657]
Cuppa Jack
United States
Los Angeles
California
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High Society has opened game-nights before, and it works well. However oftentimes the “main event” for a game night will be a double-feature of RA and Modern Art, and I can only take so much Knizia Auctions in one evening.
 
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3. Board Game: Friday the 13th [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1616]
Cuppa Jack
United States
Los Angeles
California
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Speaking of Knizia, how would Poison work? I’ve never played it, but I do enjoy trick-taking games… How does it play w/ 3?
 
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4. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:78]
Cuppa Jack
United States
Los Angeles
California
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My other idea is kinda crazy, but I think starting a game-night off with a dexterity game would get the blood flowing in the players and bring the energy levels up. I’ve pondered ordering a $30 Carrom/Crokinole board from Amazon for a few months, but don’t want to be burned by a cheap board and forever turned off to what everyone tells me is a great game. Can this be played with 3? Is cheap Crok better than no crok? Am I crazy to think this would work as an “opener” and once it hits the table will it never leave and dominate the entire game-night?
 
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5. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:680]
Chris
United States
Huntington Station
New York
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Fun game. Not so much 'beer and pretzels' as simply beer, or maybe just the pretzels. Mildly addictive, gets people thinking in terms of playing quickly. A great starter game.

Preferred Scoring Variant:
4+ Players/3 ColumnsToWin,
3 Players/4 ColumnsToWin,
2 Players/5 ColumnsToWin
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6. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:414]
Tim K.
United States
Spokane
Washington
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Hard to beat this one. Plays fairly quickly and what you do on a turn is stupidly simple: take a card or pay a chip.
 
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7. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:619]
Have faith
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Category/6 Nimmt
 
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8. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:505]
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Coloretto
 
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9. Board Game: Pickomino [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1159]
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Pickomino
 
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10. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:659]
 
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Diamant

Fun game.
But is it meaty enough for you?
 
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11. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:580]
United States
Miamisburg
Ohio
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Blockus is a simple game to learn and doesn't take long to play, so it should be a good opener. It is only 2-4 players, but since you said you often have only 3, this would work.
 
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12. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:920]
Robert Zurfluh
United States
Cranbury
New Jersey
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Fun-filled fast paced tetris on steroids....

Gamesurplus and maybe some other retailer sells it here in the States

...use the simplified rules posted here on the geek.
 
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13. Board Game: Die Dolmengötter [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:3488]
Jonathan Takagi
United States
Escondido
California
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This looks like it would fit your criteria quite well - it plays from 2 - 5 and is very quick.
 
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14. Board Game: California [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:2807]
Nick Fisk
United Kingdom
Stoke on Trent
Staffordshire
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That's weird. This bit used to mention Shire Games, and tell you all how wonderful we are. But it seems to have got deleted. Let's see what happens this time ....
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... this one.

A great new game from Michael Schacht, and a good one to get everyone in the mood.
 
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15. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:849]
 
Ken
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Colossal Arena seems like it would fit your requirements. May be a tad longer than 30 min, but not by much. Great game.
 
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16. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:723]
Wes Makin
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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With experienced players this can play in the 30 - 40 minute range.
 
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17. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:742]
Brian Baird
United States
Pflugerville
Texas
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Plays 2 to 4, and usually plays in around 20 minutes. It might look simple, but it's got some great strategy to it that's not immediately apparent. Do you go for tiles with three fish on them? Do you try & seperate yourself?

This has been a big hit with everyone I've played it with, and is good at getting the brain juices flowing...
 
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18. Board Game: Get Hooked [Average Rating:5.86 Unranked]
david karasick
United States
Gladwyne
Pennsylvania
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GET HOOKED is a fun game for 2-4 players. To win you need 30 points in fish or 3 trophy fish.
 
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19. Board Game: That's Life! [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1658]
Tim Fiscus
United States
Maricopa
Arizona
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We've used this as an Opener a few times and it works very well. It's a bit of a thinker, but not too much since you have limited options. Fun and quick!
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20. Board Game: That's Life! [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1658]
Tim Fiscus
United States
Maricopa
Arizona
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We've used this as an Opener a few times and it works very well. It's a bit of a thinker, but not too much since you have limited options. Fun and quick!
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21. Board Game: Web of Power [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:600]
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Netherlands
Rijen
Noord Brabant
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22. Board Game: Piranha [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:13586]
Sue Hemberger

Washington
Dist of Columbia
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A fun/funny dexterity game that scales well from 2-6.
 
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23. Board Game: Sluff Off! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1189]
Ray
United States
Carpentersville
Illinois
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I find Die Sieben Siegel to be great mental fun without getting so heavy as to play slow.
 
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24. Board Game: Sluff Off! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1189]
Ray
United States
Carpentersville
Illinois
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I find Die Sieben Siegel to be great mental fun without getting so heavy as to play slow.
 
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25. Board Game: Formula Motor Racing [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2119]
Mark Shilling
United Kingdom
Hove
East Sussex
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This is a great game!!! I've often used this as an opener. It plays with 3 - 6 players in about 5 minutes (per 'race') with 6 races per season. This has been really well received by non-gamers but also offers plenty of choices and screw your neighbour opportunities to keep full on gamers asking for 'just one more race'..... not at all like the other Knizia games you play and therefore heartily recommended!
 
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