Top Ten Lunch Games - Winter 2013

What makes a good lunch game?  Well, obviously it needs to be something that you can play over lunch - so, it should be less than an hour.  It also needs to be easy to teach, and ideally it can support a wide range of players.  And, since not everyone has a desk they can dedicate to gaming, it would be useful if you could set it up and tear it down quickly, and it doesn't take up too much space.

So, which games do I currently think are great to play over lunch?  Let's get to....

My Top Ten Lunch Games!!

10. Crokinole

Crokinole is fabulous. Absolutely amazing, and one of my absolute favorite games. So, why is it so low on the list? Well, it can only support 2 or 4 players, is fairly expensive, and takes up a lot of space. With all that said, a lunch spent playing Crokinole leads to a good day!

9. Summoner Wars

Summoner Wars is only two players, which knocks it down so low on the list. But, it's pretty easy to teach, incredibly simple to set up, and has immense replayability due to the number of factions available. If you don't have many co-workers interested in gaming, this might be the best choice.

8. Glory to Rome

I can't really explain it, but when I think of lunch games, this one jumps to mind. It's probably the most difficult game on the list in order to teach, but can also give one of the most satisfying game play experiences. If you want to pack a deeply strategic game into your lunch hour, this may be your best bet.

King ot Tokyo - a great lunch game
King of Tokyo is great - but mine is even better!

7. King of Tokyo

So, this game is obviously best if you have my sweet pimped out version. But, this is a fun, light game that you can easily teach to both your gaming and non-gaming co-workers. And, they'll all love it! But, the person that wins will probably love it the most. "Unfortunately", in the office you might have to reign in your inner monster voice. (MEKA DRAGON INTIMIDATES QUIETLY...)

6. Dixit

Want a game that you can teach to non-gamers (aside from King of Tokyo)? And, want it to be one that they might absolutely love? Dixit is a great choice. It's pretty flexible in how long you play, incredibly simple to teach and set up, and some of your co-workers might fall madly in love with the game (I know some of my friends have). Playing it repeatedly will also force you to be more creative, in order to keep coming up with new clues for the cards that you play.

5. Ra

I had to reign in my list of auction games so that this list didn't turn into the "top ten relatively short auction games." However, I have to include at least some auction games - after all, it's one of my favorite mechanics! Ra combines auction, planning, and press your luck elements into a brilliant game that should only last around 45 minutes.

4. Forbidden Island

Finally, a cooperative game shows up on the list! Whereas I had a fairly sizable list of co-ops that I considered, Forbidden Island really makes the most sense for lunch. Teaching, setup, and playing should all easily fit within an hour. And, what's more, the tension in the game is almost as strong as any of the longer cooperative games that I could have included.

3. Dominion

Do you know how I know that Dominion plays well over lunch? Because my co-workers fell madly in love with it. And so have dozens of other people that I know. And, my co-workers managed to do this after I transferred offices. So, it's a game that you can easily learn and teach, regardless of if you have any "gamers" in your group. The biggest issue will be avoiding starting a new game when lunch is over.

2. For Sale

You should have known that another auction game would be on this list. And For Sale is amazing. Amazing! Though it's often classified as a "filler", For Sale rivals any game in my collection. You should be able to fit in several games of For Sale over lunch, and the game is also flexible in the number of players that it can handle.

1. The Resistance

This was an easy choice. I lost count of how many lunches I've spent playing The Resistance. I think the mark of the best lunch games are that you will find yourself talking about them through most of the afternoon, and no game has left me discussing it hours later like The Resistance.
The Resistance - my top lunch game
The Resistance - my obvious choice for #1

Honorable Mention:

This list started with a ton of good options that didn't quite make the list. If the ten I mentioned don't work for your group, you might also check out PitchCar, Castle Panic, Smash Up, Biblios, and Race for the Galaxy.

Well, I hope that I've given you some good ideas for games that you might be able to try out over lunch. And, if you just love reading top ten lists, you might also check out my Top Ten Abstract Strategy Games, Top Ten Cooperative or Solo Games and, of course, my Top Ten Most Played Games of All Time!!.


  1. Great list.
    I'll second the fact that Dominion is a great lunch time game. A number of guys in our office got hooked on it so I just left my game at the office and we'd play quite frequently over lunch.
    The other game that went over well in the office for lunch breaks was Wits & Wagers.

  2. Nice list to keep in mind if you have many people. Too bad I can only play with a few during lunchtime, so my choices revolve around games like Mr. Jack Pocket, Haggis, Gloom and such. I've tried Black Stories when with many people, and it works just fine, but you spend the game fast, since there are not many stories per pack.

    Interesting read, as always. Thanks :)

  3. The Resistance is number 1 with a bullet. My problem has been getting a lunch group together. How did you propose to non-gamers?

  4. @Eurojuegos - at least some of them can be played with less people, but, yes, many of them are better with larger numbers.

    @agentindanger - we actually had some guys love the BSG TV show. On a business trip, we wound up playing it, and many of my co-workers loved it. From there, The Resistance was a shorter version, so it was pretty easy to introduce. It was really hard to get much traction until that business trip, though.

  5. Innovation deserves an honorable mention at least. Me and my friends used to play it at work at least a few times a week over lunch. It can be a little unappealing to the non-gamers, but once you get into it it is great fun to play many games with the same folks and see how things develop each time.