10 Quick Games That Take Less Than an Hour to Play

published Aug 6, 2023
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Credit: Photo: Sidney Bensimon; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

When I was growing up, my family had game nights every week. I remember playing Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and one of my favorites, Nightmare, the VHS game. It was a wonderful time, and honestly some of my favorite childhood memories. But as we got older, we ran out of time to play such lengthy games together. Our game nights needed an infusion of quick games that took an hour or less to learn, start, and play to the finish. If you’re looking for the same thing, check out these quick games for your next get-together.


In Azul, you work for royalty — specifically the head honchos of the Royal Palace of Evora in Portugal. Your job? To create beautifully tiled walls for the king to enjoy. Once every player has crafted their walls, you add up the scores. This game has a lot of fun iterations, too. My husband and I just bought a chocolate-themed version where every player is a chocolatier, and the goal is to make the most gorgeous box of chocolates.


Nature lovers, this is a perfect game to satisfy your desire to be outside. In Trailblazers, you start with a campsite, and from there, you build biking, hiking, and kayaking trails with the cards in your hand. It’s a fun exploration from the comfort of your home.


Ah, the joys of being a fabulously wealthy merchant in the Renaissance. Want to know what it’s like? Try Splendor, where you work to increase your wealth and prestige by acquiring gemstones and using them to buy points. And if you get famous and rich enough, who knows — you may even get a visit from nobility.

In A Pickle

Go look at your bathtub. How many things do you think could fit inside it? And how many things could fit inside the things inside your bathtub? That’s the idea behind In A Pickle, a game about organizing based on stuff that could fit inside other stuff. Be prepared: You may have to get creative with your explanations to win your other players over to your point of view.

The Great Split

The Great Split is all about gaining wealth through an ever-expanding collection of priceless items, like gems, artwork, gold, and more. Sadly, though, you don’t have complete control over your own financial destiny — the other players do.

Man Bites Dog

The card game is super fast and pretty hilarious once you get the hang of it. The goal of Man Bites Dog is to create the zaniest headline (one that actually makes sense). Each card has a word on it and each word is worth a certain amount of points. Be prepared to pitch your headline to other players!


Sagrada is a dice-drafting game, where you use dice to create colorful stained glass windows on a board. You get more points for certain patterns and styles, and it ends up being a truly beautiful finished product, no matter how you play. One quick tip, though: If you have color-blindness, you won’t be able to play the physical game. But there is an app that offers a color-blind version!

On Tour

If you ever wanted to be in a band — or at least follow a band around on tour — this is the game for you. On Tour gives you the executive power to decide where your band will play over a 100-day tour. The board looks a little like the U.S. version of Ticket to Ride, but more automobile-based.

Trial By Trolley

Brought to you by the Cyanide & Happiness comic team, Trial by Trolley is a game all about ethical decisions. You’re a trolley driver trying to decide between multiple paths, but no matter which way you choose, at least one person is going to get run over by that trolley (if you’ve watched “The Good Place,” you’re more than familiar with this dilemma). You just have to decide who.


I just learned Patchwork recently and can absolutely attest to it being a short but super fun game. You play it by drawing designs onto a blank quilt board based on patches of different sizes and styles. The person who makes the most beautiful (in this case, the highest-scoring) quilt wins. We spent hours playing this game on repeat at a friend’s birthday party!