Lunch Time Game Recommendations
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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Folks,

I have a casual lunch time game group at my workplace. We play 3 to 4 times a week.

What I am looking for is more games that might fit our needs.

Our current needs:

* Playable in one hour of less
* Playable (and enjoyable) with 3-4 players, with emphasis on 3 players
* Not too heavy, 'gateway' games are ideal
* Great theme required, the other players are 'non gamers'
* Must be really fun.

With that being said, I have successfully incorporated some games into my lunch time gaming (in the included list, along with some that I currently own but want to possibly try).

What I would like from you guys is recommendations of games that might work for us, especially regarding the last few that I am considering.
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1. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:614]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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This game has gone over exceptionally well. The theme and degree of luck is blended perfectly for us.
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2. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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Another great game that my group enjoys. Any game where you get to eat your opponents' people is great fun.
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3. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:446]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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For the same reason we like Survive!, We love The Downfall of Pompeii. Throwing the pieces into the volcano is great fun. Pompeii is also good in that it does have some decent strategy elements to it (as does Survive).
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4. Board Game: Corsairs [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4323]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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Another game that has a high level of luck, but also a high level of fun and player interaction. The unexpected and improbable almost always happens at least once per game which adds to the fun.
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5. Board Game: Guillotine [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1001]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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Guillotine is great fun for us as well. The game length actually allows us to play on those days when we have a bit less time than normal. Even though it barely has any strategy, it does have agonizing decisions and experience does help (once you have a grasp of what all the cards do).
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6. Board Game: Cave Troll [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1576]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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This is on deck to try:

I have played this in the past, and I believe it will be a big hit with the group. It's especially fun killing other players' token just like in Survive! and Pompeii.
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7. Board Game: Niagara [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1095]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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On Deck to try:

Haven't played this one yet, but it sounds promising.
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8. Board Game: Lifeboat [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1854]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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On deck to try:

Haven't had a chance to try this one yet because it's difficult to gather four people for a lunch time session.
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9. Board Game: Magic Hill [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:6139]
 
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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On Deck to try:

I think this one might do okay, but I've only played it once and I'm vague on a few of the rules.
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10. Board Game: Emerald [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2242]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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On deck to try:

I was hesitant to bring this out at first due to the 'unorthodox' movement system, but since they picked up the movement in Pompeii rather easily I don't see where Emerald would be any different. Will definitely need to try it.
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11. Board Game: Sky Runner [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:11902]
 
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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On Deck to Try:

I think this one would be a blast, if not for the tons of rules ambiguities that I'm just not willing to try to deal with. I wish there was an errata re: it somewhere.
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12. Board Game: Gangster [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:3733]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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Thinking about purchasing to try:

Playing time on this is 90 minutes, but I'm curious if it less with three, or if it's even any fun with three. I think the mechanic where you get to throw people in the river would go over well with us.
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13. Board Game: Jamaica [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:400]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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Thinking about purchasing to try:

This is another that seems like it may fit well with my group, but I don't know enough about it. I'd like to see a video review of it or play it before purchasing.
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14. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Michael Daugherty
United States
Irmo
South Carolina
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Yes I know about Ticket to Ride. You don't need to add it.
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15. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
Ronster Zero
United States
California
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Great game that takes place in two stages... a bidding and a blind bidding stage. The one with the most wealth at the end wins.

Very fun and you could easy play 2 if not 3 games in an hour.
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16. Board Game: Gheos [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1688]
Rick Holzgrafe
United States
San Jose
California
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"the understandably frightening and chimeric semicolon" -- HiveGod
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A 45-minute game with simple rules, fast setup and cleanup, and a great theme: the players are world-altering gods! Designed by BGDF's own René Wiersma, Gheos is a family favorite at our house.
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17. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:444]
Mandy Benanav
United States
San Rafael
California
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I would suggest Yspahan. It might not have the amount of theme you're looking for, but I think the overall aesthetic might draw them in.
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18. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Mandy Benanav
United States
San Rafael
California
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Another game with camels... strange. Anyway, this is an abstract at heart but who can resist adorable pastel camels? Lots of fun and plays with 2-4 in about 30-45 minutes.
 
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Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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I'm a frequent player at lunch time at work as well. We've been doing it for a while now. I've got a couple of geeklists on lunch games, focusing not on "what might work", but rather "what we've actually played". This is the first list, from back in 2005...
 
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Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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...and this is the other, in 2008. It, of course, will grow over the course of the year.

The pictures are from two of my stronger recommendations for your quest: 10 Days in Europe (well, any of the 10 Days series should work), and Familienbande. All play 2-4, all should certainly finish within 45 minutes (and probably under 30 minutes), and all are gateway-friendly.
 
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21. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1056]
Mandy Benanav
United States
San Rafael
California
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Jungle Speed might fit the bill. I've had a lot of luck with this with non-gamers and casual gamers who otherwise only played heavily themed games.
 
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22. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:316]
Nick Stellato
United States
Grafton
Ohio
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This plays well from 3 to 7. It's a little cutthroat, but that's how you're supposed to play.

This has become my group's most requested lunchtime game.
 
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23. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:622]
Mandy Benanav
United States
San Rafael
California
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Again not much theme but attractive enough bits to entice people. I've had a lot of luck by describing this game as "It's like Yahtzee, only actually fun."
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24. Board Game: Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1045]
Peter Mal
Canada
Unspecified
Alberta
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This little game is fantastic...just started playing this one at "tea-time" at work...works well even if you have 10-15 minutes a day as each of the three rounds are about this length. Meaty enough for 3-4 players, yet very good for two as well...I recently read a review by Tom Vasel saying that it was his favorite tile laying game. Here is the link to that good review:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/6371
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25. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Philip Goldfarb Styrt
United States
Rochester
New York
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This might be hard to get people to play (a bit of a steep learning curve, alas) but I've been teaching it to absolute non-gamers (like, this is their first or second non-Monopoly/Sorry game) and using it as a 30-40 minute study break game during finals. So I would think it could work for your group. It's deep, yet very quick.
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