5 Great Lunch Break Games

Do you remember when you used to run around playing football or some such on your lunch break as a kid?  At some point lunch breaks just became a break in the day to eat, maybe have a chat and catch up on social media, sure they were still ‘fun’ in the loosest possible use of that word – but they weren’t being used to their fullest potential.  Until now.  Now, I play games.

5 Great Lunch Break Games

When looking for lunch break games there are some very specific considerations to take into account, and these are:

  1. Run time: each one of these games easily plays in less than 45 minutes, including set-up and tear down – you still have to eat after all.
  2. Player count, obviously with higher numbers, the runtime goes up, so we kept these to mainly two player games.
  3. Space, unless you’re planning on taking up the big table in the canteen, all of these games fit on a 2 x 2 foot table.
  4. Accessibility, by this I mean the games have to be easy to pick up and understand, we want limited Analysis Paralysis (AP), and rules that are very easy to explain when teaching the game.
  5. Sticky Fingers, whether you’re eating a sandwich, burger, salad or soup you’re going to need to manipulate tokens, cards etc. so games that either has few of these or games that are easily protected.

So in alphabetical order:

7 Wonders Duel – Repos Production

7 Wonders Duel

Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala

This is the proper two player variant of 7 Wonders, so if you are a fan of that game, you will no doubt adore this.  With cards laid out in a pyramid fashion, and only some cards initially visible it imitates the draft system from 7 Wonders, but for two and it masterfully brings the level of choice into this game that the two player variant missed.  Each turn players are presented with a simple choice, which card/ability to they want to add to their civilisation, this choice must be carefully measured against what your opponent will want, and what your opponent will be able to do that you can’t.

A fantastically tight and tense game with three very different win conditions that tie together to instil a strategic balance. Of this list, 7 Wonders Duel probably has the most strategic depth, so you’ll probably only fit one game on a lunch break, but like the l’oreal adverts: it’ll be worth it.

Read the full review of 7 Wonders Duel here

Boss Monster – Brotherwise Games

In Play

Johnny O’Neal & Chris O’Neal

Face it; it’s more interesting being the bad guy.  In this NES inspired dungeon themed tableau builder you get to be just that, in spades.  Each player is a Boss Monster at the end of a dungeon that hapless heroes will traverse to try and kill you unless you can squash, skewer, maim and otherwise stop them.  The artwork, gameplay, style is all in the vein of a classic 8-bit side-scrolling computer game.  Even the damn box looks the part – which makes busting this game out to any gamer over thirty, a piece of cake.

Dungeons are built over five cards and are either Trap rooms, or Monster rooms, each of which will have a certain type of treasure.  Treasures attract the different types of hero from the town (a central pool of hero cards).  Bosses need to collect ten souls but have only five Hit Points, which heroes dish out automatically if they ever make it through your not-quite-death-trap dungeon.

Read the full review of Boss Monster here

Downsize – Braincrack Games

Downsize In Play

Lewis Shaw

This is a game about cut-throat corporations trying to maximise profits, and minimise costs, it short they are trying to downsize.  In this very slick and simple hand management game players will be firing (discarding) their employees (cards in their hands) in specifically matched pairs, the varying combination of pairs will grant bonuses such as the Corporate and Investments pairing, which grants access to the two cards from the Returns decks, or a Legal and HR which will force a player to hire another employee.  The aim of this game is not only to have no cards but to have no cards AND have collected the highest value of Returns.  The Market Movements expansion (it comes in the Boardroom Edition) adds, even more, conflict and strategy.

This is a really quick, light game with plenty of out-and-out player interaction.  You’ll need minimum space to play and seats between 2 and 6 players comfortably – the more players, the faster and more vicious the game!

Read the full review of Downsize here

Jaipur – Game Works


Sébastien Pauchon

In the hustle and bustle of Jaipur, two of the wealthiest and most influential traders compete to earn their place in the court of the Maharaja.  To do this they must manage their stock holding, maximise their trading and ultimately reap the largest reward.  This is a swift and deft game with a wonderfully simple economics engine at its heart which makes use of hand management and set collection.  Your seemingly limited choice of two actions opens a wealth of dilemma, trade cards from the market, or sell from your hand.  Naturally, the sooner you sell, the better the market for those goods, so more profit, and the more you sell, again the better, but also what goods you sell is important too.  Not forgetting the camels; you need camels, but having camels isn’t getting you money or goods.

A wonderfully simple, quick and deep game, with a very small footprint, brilliantly bright components and compelling game play.

Star Realms – White Wizard Games

Star Realms In Play

Darwin Kastle

In deepest, darkest space there can be only war…and a bit of trade.  This very quick-fire deck building game is a cracking lunch break filler, making use of very simple mechanics and rules.  Cards will add to your Trade ability (allowing you buy new ships and space stations), increase your Authority (Hit Points), or deal damage (…does some damage), some cards do one of these things, some do two, or all three.  Sometimes additional effects are triggered depending on what other cards you already have in play.

The four factions: The Trade Federation, The Blobs, The Star Empire or The Machine Cult, all behave slightly differently, and combinations of these four can be brutally effective at dealing damage, which is the aim of the game.  Yes, the theme is a little slapped on, but the game itself is fun and quick enough to be enjoyed without needing you to believe that you are leading an attack run in an Imperial Fighter.

And that is my list of great lunch break games, what are yours?  Why don’t you share your lunch break games on Twitter using the #LunchBeakGames

Other games that came very highly recommended for this category included:

Deep Sea Adventure


Love Letter

Mint Works


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