Need a quick dose of fun? Here's five games you can play in under 30 minutes!

I'd like to present you with a truly horrifying thought - it's your lunch break, or the time before school starts, or some other vague, empty window of time. You're with a friend, or a group of friends, and you've got 30 minutes before you need to be somewhere.

In the time between then and now, you have... nothing to do.

Scary, right? How could you possibly stave off boredom and fill a whole 30 minutes, while still socialising with your mates?!

Fortunately for you, there is a solution. Here's five board games that you can finish in 30 minutes or less!

Love Letter

Love Letter

  • Players: 2 - 4 (2 - 6 as of the 2019 revision)
  • Age: 10+
  • Average game length: 20 minutes
  • Game style: Player VS Player

Romance is in the air! The Princess is looking for an appropriate suitor for the day she assumes the throne, and it's your job to give her the eponymous letter that'll give her reason to confide in you. However, you're not the only one with this idea. It's up to you to outwit your opponents and to best use the network of people around the Princess to reach her first!

For a game that comes in a tiny bag and can be played in under 20 minutes, Love Letter features a surprising amount of depth and strategy. The name of the game here is information - knowing what your opponents have in hand and how best you can exploit that is the key to victory.

If you're a big fan of strategy, a love story, and a splash of monarchy (or Lovecraft-ery, if that's more your speed), then Love Letter is the game for you!

Coup

Coup

  • Players: 2 - 6
  • Age: 13+
  • Average game length: 15 minutes
  • Game style: Player VS Player

In the grim dark future of the something-th millennium, there is only corruption...

Coup tasks you with running a family of great social standing in a futuristic Italian city-state, rife with crime and subterfuge. Using a variety of tricks - bribery, bluffing, manipulation - your goal is to force your rivals into exile, thereby becoming the last remaining family of influence.

If your play group enjoys the political nature of games like The Resistance (which exists within the same universe) and Secret HitlerCoup is worth checking out. While their mechanics and game style differ, there's still that air of skulduggery afoot. This time, however, you won't have the backup of your comrades - it's up to you to use your wits to be the last one standing!

Ever wanted to enact political power moves, but didn't have the time, influence, or money to make it happen? Add Coup to your "to play" list - all the fun of real-life backstabbing without the mess!

Fluxx

Fluxx

  • Players: 2 - 6
  • Age: 8+
  • Average game length: 5 - 30 minutes
  • Game style: Player VS Player

When you break it down to its core pieces, Fluxx is a simple game. You and your opponents take turns drawing cards from the shared deck, looking for the object cards - known as Keepers and Creepers - to complete the goal present in the centre of the table.

As the game progresses, however, so do its rules! While the core premise never changes, your goals and mechanics are in a permanent state of flux (pun intended). You'll go from drawing and playing a single card per turn to drawing half the deck and dumping your entire hand every time you so much as blink. These rapid changes keep Fluxx interesting from start to finish and mean games can either be over in a couple of turns or take about as long as your lunch break.

If you're the sort of person who likes their board games to have a million different versions, Fluxx is also perfect for you. No matter your media property of choice - for example, if you like your television science fiction multi-generational, multi-generational but British, or cancelled before the season even finishes airing - there's probably an edition of Fluxx out there, waiting patiently for you to find it!

Codenames

Codenames

  • Players: 4 - 8 (best with 4+)
  • Age: 14+
  • Average game length: 15 minutes
  • Game style: Player VS Player / Team VS Team

In the world of espionage, secrecy is the modus operandi. When you're an agent, there's a network of people you need to rely on if you want to get anything done - but how do you figure out who those people are when everything in your life is behind a veil of mystery?

Codenames pits your team of agents against a rival intelligence organisation. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make contact with your fellow agents in the field. To do this, your spymaster will give you clues that match up with the words on the board - pick the right words, and you'll find your partners. But be warned - your opponents have the same goal, and you could end up doing their job for them if you're not careful. Amidst the bystanders and the agents is a single assassin, too - do your best to avoid him before he cuts your mission short.

If you've played enough Guess Who for a lifetime and you're ready for something a little more exciting, give Codenames a shot!

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

  • Players: 3 - 10 (best with 6+)
  • Age: 8+
  • Average game length: 10 minutes
  • Game style: Team VS Team - Hidden Traitor

In this small country town, when the moon rises, there is no peace. Beasts of the night lurk the streets, looking for anyone who would be foolish enough to enter their domain. In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, you play as either the villagers or the werewolves, and your goals are simple - you'll either be finding a solution for this werewolf problem, or causing it.

If you've ever played Mafia, chances are you'll feel right at home with One Night Ultimate Werewolf. The fun of the game comes from the negotiations and deliberations between you and your fellow villagers. Will you be able to convince them that you're on their side? Will they catch you in a lie, or, worse yet, suspect you falsely? The discussion-first nature of the game also keeps every play session feeling different from the last, meaning you're unlikely to be bored after repeat games.

Whenever you're strapped for time and have a big group to entertain, give One Night Ultimate Werewolf (and its standalone expansion, Daybreak, which swaps out vanilla villagers for interesting characters with unique abilities) a chance!