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45 Minutes or Less

Hey All,

I'm looking some recommendations. After playing a few games with my wife like #Scythe and #Near and Far, she articulated that they are too complex and too long for her to really enjoy. I'm glad she told me. I completely respect that and I'm now excited to find some less complex, but equally fun options, that have a play time of 45 minutes or less. Here is a brief list of some titles she has played and enjoyed. #Pandemic, #Small World, #Dominion: Second Edition, #Camel Up, #Sushi Go Party!, #Guillotine, #Codenames

Any suggestions?

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8 months ago

  • #Kingdomino I recommend to pretty much everyone.
  • #Santorini is one of my favorite games. Even people who aren't traditionally into abstracts can probably get into this one, as the god powers bring a ton of variability to the game.
  • #Tiny Towns is a great one at any player count.
  • #The Fox in the Forest my wife doesn't actually enjoy this one, but if you guys enjoy trick-taking card games, this is really fun.
  • #Wingspan is probably right around 45 minutes for 2 players, and is a nice experience. Fairly straight-forward after you learn the rules - you have 4 possible actions, 1 on each turn, you can activate any bird special abilities in the row of the action you select. The only issue with this one might be availability, though you can probably still get it from the publisher's site.

8 months ago

I really enjoy #Wingspan when I demoed it a while back. My immediate thought is that even though it's pretty straight forward and a quick 2 player dive, the "bird machine" might be a bit much for her. Still a very good game though.

#Tiny Towns looks very interesting. Thanks for the suggestions!

8 months ago

Good luck!

Owner8 months ago

Of these games, I've only played Patchwork and Welcome To, but I've read into the others quite a bit:

  • #Patchwork - tetris like puzzle where you're making a quilt with polyomino tiles
  • #Jaipur - I often hear this recommended for 2p
  • #Welcome to... - my favorite "roll n write" game where players are architects coming up with the best housing plan. Relaxing game that helps you unwind for the night, but still offering a good amount of decision space
  • #Kingdomino - another widely loved tetris-like game
  • #Dale of Merchants 2 - deck-builder that some people like more than Dominion
  • If you're interested in Kickstarters, there's one that's about to end called #Ausonia, which is another deck-builder that looks really good

Hope you find a good fit from any of the recommendations! And that's awesome that you're not trying to force things.

8 months ago

Thanks for the suggestions! Starting to form up a good list here. #Patchwork, #Kingdomino, and #Welcome to... seem to be reoccurring.

8 months ago

Speaking of #Dale of Merchants...I just went all in on the Kickstarter, haha. So come some time next year (ETA is February), I'll have thoughts for you guys! Lol. 

Supporter8 months ago

Looking forward to it..... 

8 months ago

As am I. I don't own any deck-builders, and it looks like a nice place to jump in. The customizability makes it really appealing since I can tailor it to whatever players are present.

Supporter8 months ago

First deck-building game.... You are in for a treat...I love that mechanism. 

8 months ago

Yeah I've played #Star Realms several times before and I really like it. I've just never owned one myself.

Supporter8 months ago

I really like star realms, but I imagine that I might like #Dale of Merchants better, if I had ever played it. I'm curious if you will feel like that ss well. 

8 months ago

I'm almost positive that I will

Supporter8 months ago

Good, I hope it works out for you. 

8 months ago

Res Arcana is an excellent two player game that once you understand the game, can easily be 30 to 45 minutes for two experienced players

8 months ago

Dice Throne might be great for you! 

8 months ago

Haven't seen this one before. Certainly worth further investigation. I see there are two seasons and multiple sets? Does it attempt to play off of Game of Thrones?

8 months ago

No, it doesn't have anything to do with Game of Thrones. It's been described as a cross between King of Tokyo and Magic the Gathering. Each hero has their own set of cards, upgrades, unique dice, player board, and abilities. You can get Season Two in the full Battlechest with the Kickstarter dice if you order through their website (you should receive it within a two weeks), as well as #Dice Throne Adventures & Season One: Rerolled! (Delivery expected in October)

Dice Throne Adventurers is an coop/solo expansion that allows you to take your heroes (from Season One and/or Two) into a dungeon crawl. Each hero has different play styles and abilities, & they will work together to gain loot and defeat minions and bosses. The Season One Rerolled comes with two extra characters, the Kickstarter Dice, and upgraded components to match those of Season Two.

The characters have different complexity levels, but are balanced so you could play a less complex character against a more complex one and either can win. Game time is approximately 20 to 40 minutes. I love the game, but it was designed to be 70% strategy/30% luck, so if you don't enjoy any luck in your games, it might not be for you.

8 months ago

You might want to check it out and ask any questions you have about the game on the Dice Throne Community page on Facebook. They are friendly and helpful and are passionate about the game. :) If you have TTS on Steam, you can try some of the characters out for free.

8 months ago

Splendor is a really good one. Definitely one to look into. 

8 months ago

#Azul is a really good one that should fit the bill. My mother-in-law really enjoys it, and it seems along the same lines as what you mentioned. #Hanamikoji is a great two-player game that doesn't take too long to play but is very, very good. As mentioned, #Santorini is great also.

8 months ago

Oh yes! I forgot about #Azul. We played that with my sister and her husband. Might have to pickup a copy. Glad you triggered that memory.

8 months ago

Happy to help haha 

8 months ago

#13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis is my favourite two player game in the light-medium category. It takes about 45 minutes, has a relatively simple ruleset but decisions feeling meaningful and have laying effects on the board. 

I wrote a review for it (not sure how to specifically link one review so have just copied and pasted):

I have so much love for this game. I think the partially hidden objectives are such fun and the fact that if you play too aggressively you end up either having to spend the next round undoing it all or you trigger a nuclear war: it is an area control that makes you think very carefully about what area you want to control and prevents a runaway leader (not that someone can't win by a lot of points but more that you never go into the last round certain who will win) I also love that you aren't just playing a card to benefit you but trying to limit how much that card will benefit your opponent. My only criticism is the box could easily have been 40% smaller and it would have made it a brilliant travel Overall, I cannot recommend this enough as a 45 minute 2 player game.


Supporter8 months ago

You have some fine options.

I don't in any way find #Race for the Galaxy complicated, though for some the iconography will be a hurdle to jump. I do think that is the golden standard for this sort of game. A two player game takes 20-30 minutes, and is extremely satisfying.

#Carcassonne is another one that is a staple for me in this genre.

#Lost Cities is better than it has any right to be, and it is cheap.

Good luck on your search.


8 months ago

I think Lost Cities is great, but my wife isn't a huge fan. She does love Carcassonne though. I feel that she would like RFTG if  she can get past the iconography hurdle.

8 months ago

Oh yes, we have played #Carcassonne many times. My wife also loves it! We borrowed #Lost Cities a while back but didn't get to play it. Perhaps it's worth a shot.

Supporter8 months ago

It really is pretty fun, and it has that, "just one more game" feeling. 

Supporter8 months ago

I like Lost Cities.... But, my wife LOVES it.

8 months ago

  • #7 Wonders Duel is great, shorter but some good decision spaces. I much prefer this to the original. 
  • #The Quacks of Quedlinburg is an excellent game, very luck driven so be warned there, but if you are fine with going along for the ride it is great. You are basically building up a potion with good ingredients and dangerous ones!
  • #Welcome to... is a fun shorter flip and write game building a little neighborhood. It is a fun little puzzle. 
  • #Patchwork is excellent, simple decisions and it has a little bit of a Tetris feel to it while building a funky looking quilt! 
  • #Karuba is my wife's new obsession. Explorers trying to get o temples through the jungle and you have to build a better path than everyone else!