If you're a fan of board games and card games, you surely love the satisfaction sitting down to a full-fledged contest of strategy and gamesmanship with worthy opponents. The problem is, you don't always have the time for a proper board game, or maybe not even enough time for sitting down. Enter the short and fast games. These can be just as much fun and sporting as "long-playing" games, and you can get your board game fix in as little as three minutes.
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The original Boggle contains 16 dice, each with a different letter on each of their six sides. The dice are arranged in a 4x4 grid, creating a crossword-like jumble of letters and hidden words. To play the game, fit the cover over the game board and give the dice a good shake, jumbling the letters into new positions. Flip over the three-minute sand timer and start hunting for words. When the time is up, count every player's words (of three letters or more), giving points based on word length. The player with the most points wins.
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Button Men is a two-player dice game. Each player takes one character (pictured on a button, the kind you might wear on your shirt for a political campaign) and rolls dice to defeat their opponent. The characters have plenty of personality, and a variety of character sets (Soldiers, Vampyres, Freaks, etc.) are available. It's five minutes of tremendous fun for a low price.
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You better not blink while playing this card game, or else you're likely to fall behind. Players have equal-sized hands of cards, and they must get rid of them all. To discard, you must play a card from your hand that matches the face-up card in front of you—by shape, count, or color. It's easy to get a bit confused, but that's a luxury you can't afford if you want to win.
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Spoons is a public domain game that you play with a standard deck of cards and a few spoons from your kitchen drawer. The players sit around a table, and in the table's center the spoons are arranged like spokes on a wheel. Each player gets four cards, and the object is to get four of a kind.
The dealer draws a card from the deck and passes it on to the next player or keeps it and passes a card from her hand. The players quickly pass one card at a time until someone gets four of a kind and grabs a spoon from the table's center. Then, it's a free-for-all for the other players to grab one of the remaining spoons. Of course, there are one fewer spoons than players. The player who ends up spoonless gets a letter. When the letters add up to S-P-O-O-N-S (like the basketball game HORSE), that player is out.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Interplanetary invasion in 10 minutes or less? It can be done in Cosmic Coasters, which won an Origins Award in 2002. Players work to teleport some of their tokens to the enemy planet and then get at least one back again while avoiding attacks. One review described it as a blend of Rock-Paper-Scissors and Nine Men's Morris.