Short and Fast Board and Card Games

Sometimes, you just don't have a lot of time to play board games. When that happens to you, make sure you have one or more of these great short and fast games handy -- none of them take a long time to play (all can be completed in 5 to 10 minutes).

  • 01 of 05


    Rich Brooks/Flickr

    Shake up the 16 dice, each covered with letters instead of numbers, and let them settle into the 4x4 grid. Players then compete to find as many words as they can, scoring only for those words they find that no one else does. A sand timer keeps the pressure on.

  • 02 of 05

    With Button Men, each player takes one character (pictured on a button, the kind you might wear on your shirt in a political campaign) and rolls dice to defeat the opponent. Each character is a little different, and a variety of character sets (Soldiers, Vampyres, Freaks, etc.) are available. Tremendous fun for a low price.

  • 03 of 05

    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.

  • 04 of 05

    Spoons is a public domain game in which players try to get a set of four cards and then grab one of the spoons in the middle of the table. Other players must then grab spoons as well. The catch is that there's one spoon too few -- so one player will move a notch closer to elimination as each hand is played.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Interplanetary invasion in 10 minutes or less? It can be done, and Cosmic Coasters is a creative enough design that it 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.