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Subject: Best Warm-Up Games? rss

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A M
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What are your best warm-up games?

Here's some clarification: I'm sure there are a lot of groups that get together for a day of heavy gaming and are happy to dive right in to a super-dense, time-sucking Euro, or a 5-hour epic adventure game. To me, that ends up diminishing a little bit of the social aspect of the day - I like to start out with a little time to chat more over something a bit lighter, though not so light as to be strictly a party game. I also find I enjoy the heavy stuff better if I've revved my brain up with a little mental exercise.

I'd list the loose criteria for a warm-up game as:

1) Takes an hour or less;
2) Minimal downtime for passive players; and,
3) Light enough to allow for conversation, but not so fluffy that it doesn't get your brain engaged.

Some of my go-tos in this vein are Guillotine and Love Letter. Quantum usually meets these criteria, but can occasionally run long with four players (and frankly is so good that it deserves to be a headliner, not just an opening act).

Would love to hear your thoughts, recommendations, and angry yelling about how this is a ridiculous concept.

EDIT: in response to Per Glöde's comment below, a little more clarification:

I'm not necessarily talking about just any "filler game" here. In my view a "filler game" is just something that you play when you have the time between the more serious stuff. One of the commenters in this thread defined them as "palette cleansers." That's not a pejorative at all, but it's not what I'm looking for here.

I'm asking specifically about games that are a good way to warm up for a heavier day. Not just because they're quick, or just because they're light, but because they engage in a way that gets you ready for the next thing. They're not the palette cleanser between courses, designed to set you back to neutral; they're the espresso at 7 AM, waking you up to the day.

Comment away, at your convenience.
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Per Glöde
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The proper BGG term is Filler.
 
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A M
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gaaloechild wrote:
The proper BGG term is Filler.


So this is actually something I thought about before posting, and even did a little bit of reading about. (Including this thread.) I'm not sure that I'm talking about the same thing here, at least in my reading, and maybe I should have made that clearer in the original post.

In my view a "filler game" is just something that you play when you have the time between the more serious stuff. One of the commenters in the thread above called it a "palette cleanser." That's not a pejorative at all, but it's not what I'm looking for here.

I'm asking specifically about games that are a good way to warm up for a heavier day. Not just because they're quick, or just because they're light, but because they engage in a way that gets you ready for the next thing. They're not the palette cleanser between courses, designed to set you back to neutral; they're the espresso at 7 AM, waking you up to the day.

I'm going to go back to edit the original post to clarify, and still welcome your recommendations.
 
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John
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gaaloechild wrote:
The proper BGG term is Filler.


Perhaps. There are numerous different opinions on what a filler is so I think using warm up games and then defining it is probably better.
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John
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Do you have a particular range of player counts in mind?
 
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Eric M
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* Cash 'n Guns if you have a larger group but has basically no downtime so there is no time for conversations.
* Blue Moon City plays up to 4 players and allows for time to chat while other players take their turn.
 
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A M
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I went back and clarified a bit more - I should have been more precise in my opening post.
 
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A M
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zabdiel wrote:
Do you have a particular range of player counts in mind?


My group is usually 4, sometimes 5, so that would be ideal. But if there is a killer 3-person game you're thinking of, would still love to hear of it.
 
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Phil Hendrickson
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I would put Eight-Minute Empire into this category. The game takes 15 to 30 minutes, and is dead simple to learn. But it feels like a genuine competition with meaningful (if limited) choices. And there's nothing like a bit of shoving each other around in an area majority game to get the competitive juices flowing.

It handles up to five players, which also helps.
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No One
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I use the term "opener" for these types of games...

...regardless of terms, here's some suggestions:

Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise
Rolling Japan/Rolling America
Fabled Fruit
Eight-Minute Empire
Nevermore
Skull
Eggs and Empires
Century: Spice Road
World's Fair 1893

~V
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Chris Smith
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Clans
If I'm looking for a short filler game, this is what I take off my shelf. Even better is there's only one thing you can do on your turn, nothing else. Makes teaching the game really fast as well.
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Rebecca Jensen
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Star Wars: Destiny.

Takes about 30 minutes (and we're often motivated to play a second "redemption" round), turns are quick, and offer interesting choices. It hits that spot you're talking about where you're engaged with the game, but still have the mental space to chat. It's also punctuated with, "haha, oh noooo!!" moments, which makes it feel more comedy than drama. It's also interesting enough that we usually discuss what happened in the game afterwards, even with people who weren't playing the game.

It is a Collectible Card Game, which takes it off the table for many people (understandably so!)- but I think you can have lots of fun with it without investing in owning every single card. Sorry, I hope this thread doesn't get hijacked by discussing how annoying the CCG format is. It's just my go-to quick game!
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John
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I think trick taking games or climbing games can work well for this. Some that I've played and like are:

Ninety-Nine 3p trick taker
Spades 4p trick taker
42 4p domino trick taker
Sheepshead 5p trick taker
Haggis 2-3p climbing game
Clubs 2-6p climbing game

Some of these aren't the easiest to learn. Clubs is very easy though and has enough to keep my brain engaged dispute the simple rules.

Some other games that could work:

Carcassonne 2-5p
Priests of Ra 2-5p
Eight-Minute Empire 2-5p
Push It 2-4p (best with 4) if you want a dexterity game
Bohnanza 2-7p (though the trading might get in the way of chatting)
Qwirkle 2-4p (as long as no one is colour blind, if someone is you may have to mark one of more colour so they can differentiate them)
FlowerFall 2-7p if you don't mind something a bit silly (it involves dropping cards onto the table)
SpyNet 2-4p (best with 4)
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mortego
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We do it a bit backwards; we'll play the main game (because my group pretty much shows up on time) and then afterwards for those who stay we'll play a "filler" game.
 
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Andrew Watson
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For some groups, the ideal warm-up game is one that can be joined while in progress, as people arrive. Games that have several rounds can work well for this.

Wyatt Earp is an example of such a game that used to be popular when I hosted a group in Boston... which shows how long ago that was!
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Ian V
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Finca is an excellent game for 2-4 players. It plays smoothly, with low downtime for all players. Incredibly easy to teach, and doesn’t have a long playtime.

Whole-heartedly recommend.

(lol edited when I figured out how to use geek links)
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dsco bee
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King of Tokyo for me - plays quickly, but has enough to think about in order to get the brain going, bit of push your luck, some card combo-ing, some dice chucking. All wrapped up in a really polished design that has no fat on it at all. Sets the tone nicely for an evening's gaming I think.
 
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Harv Veerman
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Ethnos sort of does this for me.
 
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Daniel Barker
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gaaloechild wrote:
The proper BGG term is Filler.


I call it pre-gaming.

I particularly enjoy deep sea adventure and Kingdomino
 
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Shawn Harriman
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Medici

Biblios

Friese's Landlord

Unexploded Cow

+1 Clans

+1 Eight-Minute Empire
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Jonathan Lam
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Sounds like you're looking for games that can be on the lighter side, but still require some thought on the choices to be made.

+1 Biblios
New York Slice
World's Fair 1893
Sushi Go Party!
Diamonds

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Justin R
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Star Wars: Destiny
Tiefe Taschen
Kingdomino
 
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Thomas Decru
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I feel like Go Nuts for Donuts fits your description rather well. Also serves as a possible grudge starter prior to more elaborate games. ^^
 
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Colt Express
Takenoko
Azul
Between Two Cities
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Alex
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I highly recommend Not Alone
Fits all your criteria and serves up to 7 players.
 
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