Since returning home from GenCon 2015 I have had eight—count ’em, eight!—different games on me at any waking moment. These games are tiny, fast to play, and they make me think “Let’s play a game!” when I have even ten minutes of downtime. The games I’m referring to is the Pack O Game collection from Perplext. These games were crafted by Chris Handy and wow, did he have some crazy design constraints going on when he made these games.
Each of these games:
- …fits in a box the size of a pack of gum.
- …contains only 30 cards and the rules.
- …can be played in less than 30 minutes.
- …has a three-letter title.
What I find so amazing is that those restrictions are the only things these eight games have in common!
Whether you like competitive or cooperative games, word games, abstract games, themed games, bidding, voting, bluffing, strategy, tile-laying, something that requires a little hand-eye coordination, a little randomness, a lot of randomness, something easy, or a game that will make you think, Pack O Game has you covered. These games have a ton of diversity when it comes to game style, mechanics, and difficulty.
Since each of these games can also be finished in less than 30 minutes, this collection is also a good way to draw new people into the world of tabletop gaming. Just imagine how satisfying it would be to convince the person behind you in line at, say, the DMV to play a game while you both wait. Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but when you can fit eight whole games in your pocket or purse and play them in as few as ten minutes, you will definitely find yourself looking for more opportunities to play.
A Pack O Reviews for Pack O Game
Here are some itty bitty reviews of each of the games in the set:
Take turns placing cards on an ever-growing pool of connected colors. The colors on your last card determine which colors give you points at the end, but keep your goal a secret because your opponents can block you off or even poison a segment of color so you can’t score on it at all! I love that as the board changes, so must your strategy.
This two-player game simulates boxing by having players simultaneously choose to punch or block. Successfully blocking or landing punches earns points used to win the round. There are eight different boxers, which adds a tactical element to the game that demands more than just luck to win. The best part of this game is when you leverage that strategy to successfully get in your opponent’s head and start calling their shots!
Bid on gems to grow wealth and use said wealth to meddle with others. You can use the gems that you earn to improve your bidding power, but don’t overdo it because spent gems aren’t worth anything at the end of the game. Being good at math will certainly improve your odds of winning, but only the bold can really win this one!
Drop a fly swatter on a picnic table swarmed with flies and keep any flies that you completely cover with the swatter. All of the flies that you collect that have a matching color or symbol are worth points at the end of the game. You need both steady hands and an eye for matching to win. Another neat aspect of this game is that the box is actually used as a game component!
In this colorful voting game players must collectively curate an arrangement of rugs in front of the Taj Mahal. Each player is secretly assigned colors that they need to make prominent in the arrangement. The more of your secret colors that are present, the more points you receive at the end of the game. If other players learn your goals, though, they can easily start banding against you. Keeping your goal a secret while also voting for one is nerve-wrackingly challenging!
Each player must play the odds with their hand of printed six-sided dice results by either one-upping the previous player’s guess of how many dice of a certain value there are or calling the player out on their lie. It’s much like liar’s dice, but with a twist: each player can flip each die in their hand to a different value before the game starts! This will really mess with everyone’s notion of probability and is sure to put the table in an uproar more than once.
No talking is allowed in this cooperative word-making game. Take turns playing letters to build up words. Other players don’t know which letters you have, though, and you only score points by getting rid letters. One misspelled word ends the game. Your word choices become increasingly difficult as you deduce which letters your friends have, which makes this one very intense, brain-draining game!
: Use some of the cards to arrange a random grid of four city blocks. Then take turns dropping off and picking up passengers in order to score points. Roads can undergo construction and change right out from under you and there’s a “hard mode” that requires your bus to be on the correct side of the road before you can drop your passengers off. This game packs so much on 30 cards and the sheer novelty of it just floors me!
Image Credits: Perplext LLC; Erik Gillespie/ tumblr.com