Looking for short, simple tabletop games for wedding entertainment
January 6, 2015 5:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for short, simple, and fun games along the lines of Love Letter. Bonus points for being romance, family, or happiness themed, as we're looking to place simple games at each table for a wedding.

Love Letter is nice because there aren't a lot of spare pieces or cards, it's simple to pick up and play, and rounds don't last too long. But it's only for up to 4 players. Our average guest is not into tabletop games, so we're not looking to set up anything too complicated. I could go with two Love Letter decks per table, but am looking to mix things up. Any suggestions?
posted by orbit-3 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (27 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I wanted to make sure you knew that there is a Wedding Edition of Love Letter available.
posted by Etrigan at 5:26 PM on January 6, 2015

Not romance themed, but stupidly simple and funny : we didn't playtest this at all possible to win the round on the first call, all cards do different things, each round is quick, etc.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:29 PM on January 6, 2015

Marrying Mr Darcy? ...Plus Zombies?
posted by supercres at 5:29 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Totally not the right theme but I reckon you could DIY a version: Skull.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2015

So this is like the exact opposite of romance themed, but The Resistance is cheap, SO MUCH FUN, quick to learn, and accommodates up to 10 players. I've played it with friends, family, and even in a classroom activity setting and it's been a great way to get people engaged with each other every time. You could even mark up a copy just for your wedding to change Resistance/Spies to something a little more cutesy/wedding-ish. (eta link!)
posted by augustimagination at 6:17 PM on January 6, 2015

Also, seconding Marrying Mr Darcy. Very cute and fun!

Dixit is also a simple, easy-to-learn group game and it has beautiful art. I think gamers and non-gamers alike would be able to enjoy it.
posted by augustimagination at 6:33 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

How about some celebratory fireworks? Hanabi is cheap, simple, and plays up to 5.
posted by Paragon at 6:40 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Fluxx is not specifically love/happiness themed, but it is not dark either and is a very fun & simple game. I played this past weekend and the rounds were all very quick and never the same twice.
posted by marshmallow peep at 6:46 PM on January 6, 2015

Response by poster: Just want to say: these are all really great! I'm looking into some of these and am wanting to play them myself, so that's a good sign.

Also, thank you Etrigan for pointing me towards the Wedding Edition of Love Letter. I had no idea!
posted by orbit-3 at 7:01 PM on January 6, 2015

Set is short, simple, fun -- and romance-themed, in that it is kind of arguably about matchmaking, I guess.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 7:15 PM on January 6, 2015

You could easily make a custom set of Apples to Apples cards with a romance/wedding theme. Here is a card generator you could use. All you'd need to do is brainstorm nouns (people, places or things) and adjectives. You should have at least three times as many noun cards as adjective cards. Make some of the words romance themed but not all of them, or it will be boring--there should be the opportunity for some nonsensical juxtaposition because that's the whole point of Apples to Apples. Print the card sets on nice cardstock (you will need one colour for the nouns and one for the adjectives), and then slice them up with a papercutter.

Apples to Apples is such a fun, easy game for diverse groups to learn and play right away. You can play with any number of players between four and ten, so the entire table could play together, or just a few people who want to play. It's easy, it's quick (if you set a small card limit), and there are no pieces required other than the cards themselves.

Or...if you wanted it very simple, you could go with wedding speech bingo.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:30 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Most modern games are too complex, intimidating and take up too much table space for non gamers. I'd suggest dragging a non gamer friend over to try out a bunch before the big day and see their reaction to decide what to play. You could ask people who know a game to go to another table and explain the rules and get them started: much better than hoping someone at each table reads the miniature rule book that comes with these games.

No Thanks! would be a great choice.

The rules are simple. Each turn, players have two options:

—play one of their chips to avoid picking up the current face-up card
—pick up the face-up card (along with any chips that have already been played on that card) and turn over the next card

However, the choices aren't so easy as players compete to have the lowest score at the end of the game. The deck of cards is numbered from 3 to 35, with each card counting for a number of points equal to its face value. Runs of two or more cards only count as the lowest value in the run - but nine cards are removed from the deck before starting, so be careful looking for connectors. Each chip is worth -1 point, but they can be even more valuable by allowing you to avoid drawing that unwanted card.

Hanabi, mentioned above would be great.

Red 7 is card game of changing rules where different colors change the win condition such as highest number, most even numbers, etc. Each turn you play a card and/or change the rule so you're winning. If you're not winning on your turn, then you're out.

For complexity I would rate easiest to hardest: No Thanks, Hanabi, Love Letter and then Red 7.

Resistance is amazing but for this scenario it takes too long, has too much of a learning curve and is too complicated. Coup is a similar bluffing / hidden role game, but probably still more complicated than you want.
posted by ridogi at 9:03 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just want to note that I'm a cranky anti-boardgamer - my partner and his brother play lots and have spent large amounts of time trying to get me to play board games and I just don't like most of them. But Skull was okay. And, on the really juvenile end of things, my daughter has a My Little Pony gem matching card game that's fun, and you could have 6 players with that.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:15 PM on January 6, 2015

Okay, I have a few more suggestions...

Felix the Cat in the Sack is an auction game and is always a hit.

Coloretto is set collecting / push your luck game.

For Sale is an auction game about buying and selling houses (everything from cardboard box to space station) and fits in with the marriage theme (buying your first home).

Prolix is a novel implementation of a word game.
posted by ridogi at 9:34 PM on January 6, 2015

Response by poster: Customizing Apples to Apples cards sounds like a great idea, and one we'll consider. Really, all the suggestions have been awesome, and we're having fun just throwing ideas back and forth on what games would work best. I also like ridogi's suggestion to have someone who knows the game go to each table to explain the rules. I know people who are especially good at that sort of thing!

I think we've got quite a bit to start, but any further suggestions are certainly welcome. Thanks to all!
posted by orbit-3 at 10:01 PM on January 6, 2015

Perhaps try Pairs: http://cheapass.com/node/142

It's fast to learn and play and plenty of fun. There are are number of decks with different styles of artwork, so you can pick what works best. There's a rules video on that page if you want to watch it.
posted by eloeth-starr at 12:25 AM on January 7, 2015

For our boardgame-themed wedding, everyone got a little packet of Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, and Dingbats cards (all easily purchasable in bulk from eBay), and the tables all had a few notepads/pencils on for Pictionary. Seemed to work well judging by the number of Pictionary sketches found when clearing up.

There are a few Love Letter variants where you increase the player numbers by combining two decks. Here's one version that just uses two copies of the original deck for 8 players:
1 Princess
1 Countess
2 King
4 Prince
4 Handmaid
4 Baron
4 Priest
10 Guard

You could always have this reference on the tables with the cards so people can alter the game to the relevant number of players.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:49 AM on January 7, 2015

posted by 6ATR at 7:39 AM on January 7, 2015

Say Anything is like an Apples to Apples that the players can customize on the fly. Very easy. Works well at parties of non-board-game people.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 8:10 AM on January 7, 2015

Sex nimt is a great little card game that you learn in about five sentences and play in about five minutes. Works for up to ten, the more the merrier.
posted by Iteki at 9:43 AM on January 7, 2015

That game I can't remember where the first person draws a picture on page 1 of a notebook, and passes it to the next person. That person looks at the picture and writes a description of what the picture is on page 2. The next person only reads the description on page 2, and draws a picture of that on page 3. The next person only looks at the picture on page 3... and so on until you've gone all the way round. It's like Chinese Whispers crossed with Pictionary. Never actually played it but it always sounded like fun.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:44 AM on January 7, 2015

Iteki, your description of that game sounded interesting, but a google search for "Sex nimt" isn't returning anything that sounds like a tabletop game. Can you clarify what the game is called?
posted by yohko at 1:50 PM on January 7, 2015

Coming in late, but Story Cubes are fun and small and have no rules to learn - and you could customize the box to ask people to make up stories about you two - how you met, what you will do on your fifth anniversary, what will happen on the honeymoon...
posted by Mchelly at 3:24 PM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I believe that Iteki is talking about Six Nimmt, aka Take Six, aka Category 5, aka many other names. It's a really good choice, although not wedding themed.
posted by Paragon at 4:34 PM on January 7, 2015

Response by poster: Sorry, last time I will pop in. I just wanted to say that I would do away with my guidelines just to put a game called "Sex Nimt" on all the tables.

You're all awesome. I'm marking this as resolved. Thanks for pointing me in some interesting directions! Our guests will thank you later, I'm sure!
posted by orbit-3 at 8:56 PM on January 7, 2015

Ha! Of course yeah, since it's "spelled" with a digit, 6 Nimmt I transliterated in through Swedish, wher six is sex. Good times! Have a great wedding and marriage!
posted by Iteki at 10:48 PM on January 7, 2015

Q-Turn is no longer in print, but the game company has a print-your-own-set PDF file available at that link. It's simple, fun, and quick.
posted by Lexica at 6:46 PM on January 10, 2015

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