For a market that was fixated on large games, Love Letter bucked the trend in a big way. Containing only 16 cards in a small satchel, it provided a great game that travels well and was cheap to purchase. Thanks to the success of Love Letter, the entire subset of small tabletop games is booming.
Choosing just three games for this list is a daunting task, as there are so many great games in this category. I will have to come back to this one in the future to cover more of them. For now though, here’s a trio of terrific tiny titles to consider for your next board game night!
Roughly the size of a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, HUE easily meets the size criteria. Thankfully, it packs quite the punch as well. This is an area control game where players are trying to create large areas of colours. When everyone is down to one card, each player will earn points based on the three colours on their cards relative to the largest corresponding colour areas on the board.
It’s such a simple concept, but its implementation is brilliant. Allowing players to place pieces either adjacent to existing pieces, or overlap a third of one creates a lot of cool possibilities for increasing an area of your colour or shrinking the colours of your rivals. With its small stature and great gameplay, there’s little reason to leave this one out of any mix.
Hate eating your vegetables? Who doesn’t? Bad Beets is a game about getting rid of your beets first so that you can have a delicious dessert. While you can just eat them, there are more efficient, albeit shady ways of unloading them, such as feeding them to the dog, sharing them with a friend, or by tattling on someone who is trying to cheat the system. Be careful though, as being caught in a lie will only score you more beets.
Bad Beets is a fun and adorable bluffing game that can be played with the whole family. Mechanically, it’s clearly inspired by Coup, which is a great game in its own right. However, this one makes my list for a few key reasons. One, trying to get rid of your beets makes much more thematic sense with the mechanics than a group of politicians jostling for power. Two, there’s no player elimination, so everyone stays involved throughout. Finally, the family-friendly nature of the game makes it accessible to a wider audience, versus having to explain why people are getting assassinated left and right. This one isn’t as small as HUE, but it easily fits in a backpack and is also worth taking with you to your next game night.
Who doesn’t like sushi? Well, I actually don’t, but I can empathize with the theme of creating the most delicious meal. In Sushi Go!, players will place cards down in front of them to create their meals and then pass their hand to the player beside them. This process continues until all of the cards are gone. At the end of three rounds, the player with the most points wins.
Besides having a great theme and cute art, Sushi Go is a simple and neat set-collection game that has enough tactical bite to it. You’ll never have the opportunity to score points in every way during the course of a round, so you’ll need to make some interesting decisions about which card to play each time you get a new hand. As a light filler game for experienced gamers or as the focal point for newcomers, Sushi Go is a winner.