Board games are one of the best things on the earth, providing countless hours of entertainment and in person opportunities to socialize without any awkward small talk. What’s better than absolutely crushing your opponent after a 10 hour Risk match?
Well, to be honest, a lot of things. Not everyone loves Risk or games like Risk that just take up the whole day. That’s why I’ve picked the best pick up and play board games that I’ve seen so far so you can enjoy board games again.
With this selection, you can play with two people, or more if you choose. Setup and cleanup are also not an issue since these games don’t have many pieces or huge game boards. In addition, all of these games on the list are very easy to pickup, but they also contain a decent amount of strategy that you won’t find in card games like Apples to Apples.
Best Pick Up and Play Board Games
Zombie Dice $10
Rules of the game: The goal of the game is to consume victims (13 custom dice) before shotgun blasts end your turn. Each dice has brains, footprints, and gunshot categories. The dice have varying combinations of each category. Each turn, a player, takes three dice blindly and rolls them. It’s helpful to organize the three dice with footprints, brains, and gun shots.
The brains are your points, and you can roll again as long as you don’t get shot three times. The goal of each turn is to get as many brains as you can, but the risk is you might get shot and not get any brains. Should you roll again and risk shotgun blasts in the chance of a few more brains?
Why you should buy it: Zombie Dice is an incredibly simple, yet unique game, that makes things exciting by testing out each individual’s risk / reward mentality. Besides the fun theme, the game is perfect to take on the go due to its small form and the limited number of pieces and lack of game board means it’s incredibly easy to pick up when the games over.
Rules of the game: Four players take turns laying tiles onto the game board (in dominoes fashion). Once a player reaches a cave, the player gains connections and shelter points. The player with the weaker domain (either shelter or connections) wins the game. Along the way you can interfere with players by placing bears!
Why you should buy it: Sapiens is one of the best pick up and play boardgames if you or your family wants a variation of dominoes. But unlike Dominoes, this game presents players with more choices and options throughout the course of the game by giving players the ability to manage resources correctly.
The light-hearted theme adds a comedic element to the game, and the competition increases as players progress throughout the match. The next time your grandma wants to play dominoes, you use this as your secret weapon alright? Just don’t hit her with a club.
Rules of the game: In Jarl: The Vikings Tile-Laying Game, you maneuver around the board (similar to how you would in Chess) in an attempt to take down your opponents Jarl. Each one of your pieces have different movement capabilities and every time you finish a move; you flip over your piece giving it new abilities. In addition, you can also randomly draw new pieces adding life to the board.
Why you should buy it: Love the shows Vikings? Well, now you can become your own Jarl (Viking King) in this Vikings-themed board game!
Jarl is a great reimagining of Chess, and the random nature of the game combined with the strategic element of using each piece correctly provides a fast-paced game that never feels stale. Advance and conquer, my Jarl.
This is one of the best pick up and play boardgames with a grittier fantasy theme. But it’s not going to take you hours or lots of set up to complete and enjoy the game.
Rules of the game: The goal of the game is to collect gems and advance your business by purchasing prospectors, jewelers, exotic locations. Trade chips for cards and use higher tier cards to gain victory points. The first to 15 points wins.
Why you should buy it: Splendor is a very dynamic game with cool set pieces and theme. The game is one of the best pick up and play games since you can finish a game in thirty minutes, and the rules are very easy to understand.
Splendor is also relatively small making it a very easy cleanup. The game also scales very well and is fun for two people, three, or even four! Become the richest merchant in Venice!
Rules of the game: Players pick one of the four unique factions (Egyptians, Barbarians, Romans, and Japanese) and spend turns drafting cards and using resources to attack opponents. This is a resource management game at the core where you use resources to build buildings onto the cards giving you status. You can also attack other player’s buildings.
Why you should buy it: One of the best things about Imperial Settlers is that there is a lot of accessible strategies here. Resource collection is an intuitive understanding, and the friendly cartoony appearance of the game feels very familiar to something like Catan.
One of the best things about Imperial Settlers is that each civilization has a unique play style. Which faction will lead? The Barbarians or the Japanese?
These are my favorite/ best pick up and play board games. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below!