Games for Pubs
Gareth Lloyd
United Kingdom
York
Yorkshire
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I've regularly been going to a weekly pub gaming meetup and the collection the volunteers bring along is great. It suits a wide range of different people and lots of fun is had. This is a list is of games which (hopefully) work well in a pub gaming environment. These game have to be practical for a pub, a few considerations are:

d10-1 Teachability (intuitive and/or clear rules)
d10-2 Tablespace (tables in pubs are usually for only used as a place for drinks, if you are lucky you may have an OK sized table but it is unlikely to be big)
d10-3 Time (less than 1h30)
d10-4 Durability (is it the end of the game if it gets wet?)
d10-5 Setup and cleanup (Should not be an ordeal)
We shouldn't care if the games are light or heavy, in a small box or regular sized one, thematic or strategic. You may disagree with some game in this list because they may not be to your taste, but there should be other which are you type of thing. Pub groups are diverse and the idea of this list is these games should work well in most pub group situation. But most of all they must be practical for a pub.

To keep thing somewhat consistent:
If the game needs tablespace, give a hint at how much table space is needed. Consider the board and the player mats/area. Also can people still fit drinks on the table?
If you have a great way of teaching the game, share it with us. A brief video of rules explanation, a printed player aid, whatever it is link us to it.
Post a comment to give us testimonials on how well or bad the game works in your pub group.
Games that take a long time to setup are not forbidden from the list. But keep in mind if it takes longer to setup than to teach, it may be impractical for a pub.
If setup and cleanup maybe a detractor of the games practicality then mention it also.
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1. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:747]
Gareth Lloyd
United Kingdom
York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: 5min, explain drafting, effects when cards played and final scoring.
Tablespace: Next to none, pile for deck and area for each player's played cards. Small table will play 3 people comfortably, normal table can play all 5.
Time: ~20min, even faster when people get into the drafting.
Durability: Its a card game, needs sleeves.

This is a quick drafting game which a nice scoring system.
 
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2. Board Game: Guildhall [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:706] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Gareth Lloyd
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York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: 5min, the objective, 2 actions a turn, play/draw/buy, iconography, colour and guilds of cards can prevent card play or action happening.
Tablespace: Can't be done on small table unless only 2 player. Space needed to spread each players guilds, collected sets and points.
Time: First time and with AP players about 1h, otherwise 40min.
Durability: Its a card game, needs sleeves.

Great set collection game with tactical card abilities. The expansion add different guilds which you can pick and choose any 6 to play with.
 
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3. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:112]
Gareth Lloyd
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Yorkshire
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Teachability: <5min, great player aid.
Tablespace: Can't be played on small table, need space for card offer.
Time: 40min with AP, 20-30min otherwise.
Durability: Cards needs sleeves, gem token are fine, bonus tokens are at risk.

Fast game with a lot of tactical play.
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4. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:39]
Gareth Lloyd
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York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: Not teachable in a pub, this needs to be learn't beforehand.
Tablespace: Small square table, round table will not work.
Time: 20-40min.
Durability: Its a card game, needs sleeves.

Great 2 player game, but requires the players are already aware of the game. This has been useful in situations where another game being started doesn't play everybody and not enough remaining to start a non 2 player. The game is small and portable fits into a couple of deck boxes.
 
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5. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:106]
Gareth Lloyd
United Kingdom
York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: <5min, take or sell cards, exchange several, take 1 good, take all camels, sell goods of one type for those tokens, selling 3,4,5 gives a bonus token, selling silver,gold or ruby must be at least 2 goods. Bonus for most camels, highest score wins round, first to win 2 rounds.
Tablespace: Small table is fine.
Time: 20-30min.
Durability: Cards needs sleeves, tokens unprotected.

Great 2 player game. This has been useful in situations where another game being started doesn't play everybody and not enough remaining to start a non 2 player. The game is small and portable.
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6. Board Game: The Resistance [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:177]
Gareth Lloyd
United Kingdom
York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: <5min, good player aid makes teaching quick.
Tablespace: Table big enough to fit the players around. Minimal table used, small board, a card each and a few tokens.
Time: 20-30min, dependant on the level of accusations being passed around.

Works best it people are willing to speak up and express their opinions and accusations. This falls into the more sociable games and can get loud depending on the group.
 
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7. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:215]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Teachability: Under a minute. Each player starts with one card. On the player's turn, the player draws a card, and plays one of the two cards and executes the simple text. It's that simple.
Tablespace: Minimal. 2 square feet is more than enough. We've played at a pub with food and drinks on the table.
Time: Played in rounds; each round takes several minutes at most. A complete game is usually 20-30 minutes.

The game consists of 16 cards and a handful of little cubes for tracking wins. One AEG edition comes in a velvet carry pouch that fits in easily in one's pocket. Sleeve the cards and you don't even have to worry about spilled liquids or greasy fingers.
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8. Board Game: The Great Heartland Hauling Co. [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:987]
Dale O'Flaherty
Ireland
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Teachability: 5-10min, very short rules, each turn divided up into three phases, reference cards included for each player.
Tablespace: The game board is made up of a grid (the size of which is determined by the number of players) of standard sized playing cards. Should fit on any medium sized pub table
Time: Should take about an hour to play

The Great Heartland Hauling Company is a very economically designed pick up and deliver game. It comes in a box about the size of the box for Jaipur. You could sleeve the cards if you were worried about drinks being spilled.
 
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9. Board Game: Lost Legacy: The Starship [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1286] [Average Rating:6.69 Unranked]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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See Love Letter above.

Ths game is expandable.
 
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10. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:204]
Dale O'Flaherty
Ireland
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Teachability: Time to teach varies, I'd say about 10-15 minutes just to be on the safe side.
Tablespace: Next to none, the game isn't played using a board the pieces are the board. Can be played on any flat playing surface and a standard pub table should be no exception. Should take up even less space if you have the Pocket version.
Time: ~15min

Abstract strategy game. The object of the game is to surround your opponents queen while preventing your own queen from being surrounded. Lightly insect themed and played using chunky bakelite tiles. You don't need to worry about these pieces being soaked by beer (should also be okay if you have the earlier wooden edition.
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11. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:204]
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Teachability: 5 min
Table space: 30 x 30 cm
Time: 20 min

An excellent two-player game which is considerably less intimidating than Chess and Go. The pieces can stand much abuse, including spilling beer on them.

EDIT: You gotta be kidding me. Two people posting the same game at exactly the same time? Well, it is a good pub game.
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12. Board Game: Qwixx [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:682]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Teachability: One minute or less. Simple rules, very intuitive.
Tablespace: 20 square inches (or less) per player, plus small area to roll 6 dice (you can roll in the box cover).
Time: 15-20 minutes.

Very portable (fits in a large pocket) and quick playing. Ideal for pub setting, where dice games are popular. A game for gamers and non-gamers alike.
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13. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:376]
Gareth Lloyd
United Kingdom
York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: <2min, provided player aid help and people typically pick it up easily.
Tablespace: Any time big enough to fit all players around. Undealt deck in middle, next to small box of spare credit. Each players needs small player area for their 2 roles, small player aid and credits.
Time: ~15min

Quick role selection, where you can lie, eliminate other player, deduce who is lying.
 
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14. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
Gareth Lloyd
United Kingdom
York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: ~10min, player aid helps
Tablespace: Non round small table should be enough. The player mats and central board aren't huge and everything happens in those areas. If the tiles are stored in small compartment box they can also easily fit on table.
Time: 4 player 1h30 for AP, 1h10 otherwise. Less players is obviously less time.

Very good euro to break out, also works great with 2 players. Full of tactical decisions. A good storage solution is essential to make it practical to setup and cleanup, otherwise it is too fiddly for a pub.
 
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15. Board Game: Stak Bots [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:6824] [Average Rating:6.38 Unranked]
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Teachability: <5 mins for the Casual/Standard game. Rules are printed on an A3 sheet. Only ~1/4 are core rules, the remainder explains card iconography, lists all Bots & Abilities and suggests variations.
Tablespace: Approx 3 beermats area in front of each player, and one beermat for the draw-deck.
Time This is a filler, allow 3-5 mins/player.
Setup... Unbox, shuffle, deal (up to) 12 cards/player.
and cleanup Collect & Rebox.

Like Love Letter this is a pocket sized filler, but can be expanded with Stak Bots: Yellow Expansion which can either be played standalone, or shuffled in with the White Original, or a selection of cards can be used to build a custom deck.

As with all card games in pubs, sleeving is recommended (63x88mm).

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16. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1713]
Douglas Fost
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
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Teachability- 2 minutes
Table Space- Most pub tables will do
Play Time- Between 5 to 15 minutes per game

I mean this is a small, press your luck dice game that can be easily put into a purse or man satchel and brought out for a quick game between drinks.

Let's face it almost any dice game could be added here. We just happen to really enjoy Zombie Dice.
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17. Board Game: The Defence of Pictland [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
paul d
United Kingdom
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One of a range of brilliant pub friendly abstract games from Gothic Green Oak.
Teachability: Pretty simple, the board features 2 'terrain' types - the hills where the pieces start from and the bogland in the middle. In the hills, pieces use a simple knight's move to get around until they enter the bog and from there they must use single space moves. To exit the bog a piece must be on a peripheral edge from where it may use a knight's move to exit.
Capturing pieces in the hills is by simple substitution, whereas capturing in the bogland is by orthogonal flanking by 2 pieces.

Tablespace: self contained square leather mat apx 8"x8"

Play-time: Good thinky game but rarely more than 20-30mins per game

Pub friendliness: brilliant - board/mat is leather and the pieces are simple wooden discs. Probably ages really well with a coupl eof pints spilled over it. All packed in handy cardboard tube.
 
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18. Board Game: Kalah [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:3474]
John
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Mancala or Kalah

Teachability: 5min, explain sowing, captures
Tablespace: medium, approx 3" x 12" so should fit on most pub tables.
Time: ~10min.
Durability: High - My set is wood with marbles for seeds.

You can also play Oware and other 2x6 Mancala games with a Mancala set.
 
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19. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:274]
Gareth Lloyd
United Kingdom
York
Yorkshire
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Teachability: 5min, not looking at own hand, actions and final scoring.
Tablespace: Next to none, token area, pile for deck, discards area and play area.
Time: 30-45min, even faster when people get into the game.
Durability: Its a card game, maybe needs sleeves.

Small compact cooperative card game.
 
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