Board Games at Work
August 25, 2018 5:00 PM   Subscribe

I need a board game for a fun business environment. Ideally the game wouldn't be frowned upon by the boss, so anything that helps us be better business people the better. If winning involves bluffing, negotiation or strategy great. Looking for a game that you could drop on a table in any meeting, with any group of people and have some fun / laughs and test our brains / acumen. Anything too complicated or long isn't good. Simple with depth is better. I'm looking for a game that people talk about and becomes a part of our culture.
posted by jasondigitized to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (33 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Expected # of players?
posted by isauteikisa at 5:09 PM on August 25, 2018

Best answer: Coup?
posted by wilko at 5:12 PM on August 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: 3 - 12 players I guess.
posted by jasondigitized at 5:22 PM on August 25, 2018

posted by luckynerd at 5:22 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Citadels is good for strategy, bluffing, and easy setup.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 5:32 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Staples of teams I've been on (and I am basically a non-gamer, board or otherwise):

The Resistance - we always played this; I have no idea why it was so popular, but it was easy enough to play.
Bang - I actually enjoyed this game! It's quick to get people up to speed on this game.

And while i haven't played it with people on my team, I think Codenames could work, as it really shows how the assumptions / mental models of the guessers and the clue-giver are so different, even when they're on the same team.
posted by batter_my_heart at 5:35 PM on August 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

Also, Sheriff of Nottingham is terrific for bluffing and negotiation, and even has a business sub theme.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 5:36 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by carsonb at 5:37 PM on August 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Liar's Dice
posted by Temeraria at 5:45 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Good Cop, Bad Cop is similar to Bang, but simpler and faster to play.

Coup and Love Letter are other great quick games that just involve a deck of cards and some bluffing/deduction skills.
posted by matrixclown at 5:45 PM on August 25, 2018

Diplomacy! Ha ha ha ha no. Maybe Anomia? Or Secret Hitler?
posted by daisystomper at 6:09 PM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bring Your Own Book
posted by kittydelsol at 6:29 PM on August 25, 2018

Ship It! The Product Management Card Game
I haven't played this but I heard about it. Sounds pretty fun.
posted by bleep at 7:17 PM on August 25, 2018

Bohnanza is a really fun strategy card game for 2-7 in which you are a bean farmer:
In this card game, smart sowing lets you reap big rewards. Plant the beans you do want, and trade the beans you don't want to the other players. Adding to the realism of the game, the one who ends up with the most money wins.

Zero set-up time, fast moving, and super fun to strategize within the construct of the bean farm
posted by wowenthusiast at 7:25 PM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seconding Codenames, and offering up its spinoff game, Codenames Pictures.
posted by christinetheslp at 7:29 PM on August 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thirding Codenames. It's the only game I've ever played that has worked with every group I've tried it with regardless of age or game playing background.
posted by raspberrE at 8:28 PM on August 25, 2018

posted by azalea_chant at 9:39 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Bohnanza. It's a short, simple card game focused on negotiation. Each player gets points by growing beans of the same type—you need to negotiate trades with other players to grow your beans while getting rid of unwanted types.
posted by panic at 11:38 PM on August 25, 2018

We got my entire department into Anomia, and we now keep the party version (no changes to gameplay, just a bunch more cards) on-hand to pull out for early mornings, late evenings, and events. It's easy to learn (usually takes one round) and fun even for people who think boardgames are boring or nerdy. Games can be pretty quick unless you're trying to play with a group of 6+ people. It doesn't encourage mean-spirited or potentially offensive responses, and it rarely results in hurt feelings. (These criteria are worth keeping in mind for office games, and would rule out something like Secret Hitler or [obviously] Cards Against Humanity and its variants).

Business case: It makes you think on your feet! And tests your ability to come up with something relevant on the fly.

Be warned, though, it can get loud and energetic.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:23 AM on August 26, 2018

Fluxx is a blast.
posted by neushoorn at 12:39 AM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Dixit is good for creative spaces. Or conversely, people who don’t think they’re creative.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:53 AM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Cockroach poker is an excellent short bluffing game.

Liars dice is a perfect blend between bluffing and strategy. If you can't have dice, there's a nice little card version of it but I can't remember the name.

Splendor is a bit deeper, plays in about 25-35 minutes. less competitive and more pure strategy. VERY popular.

Codenames is a good team vs team game, requires at least 4. But you can play on a whiteboard Over a long period! It looks like work!

Arkwright is one of the most complicated games that exist. It's 4-5 hours about building and producing from factories. It's absolutely lovely though.
posted by bbqturtle at 6:36 AM on August 26, 2018

Maybe avoid bluffing games, they can cause social stress for many and I suspect may be quite excluding to people on the autism spectrum. I would suggest Codenames before that, and ideally the picture one as it’s less language dependent and also less easy to “do wrong”. In a work environment I would suggest Robo Rally or Shipwreck Arcana which are logic and planning based. I would again take into consideration if you risk having it be the weekly show-how-bad-you-are-at-logic game. We have found Quirkle a lot of fun, it’s like Scrabble with no letters.
posted by Iteki at 10:10 PM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wits and Wagers is great for this. Involves trivia and betting, but the trivia is so bizarre that it's rare anyone knows the exact answer, so it gets to be pretty entertaining and fun. Because of the betting spread, even if someone is waaaay off on an answer it just factors into the spread and it's fine. You can explain and start playing the game within a few minutes.
posted by LKWorking at 8:49 AM on August 27, 2018

Between Two Cities is a fun negotiation game.
posted by look busy at 12:53 PM on August 27, 2018

Snake Oil is really fun and could be work-related if you ever have to sell anyone on your position (internally or externally) or need to be comfortable with semi-public speaking. My friends and I still talk about the most hilarious pitches/products from past rounds of this game.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 3:54 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had a former colleague who kept trying to make Bohnanza a thing and I so resented it! Ha!

I love 6 Nimmt! (requires no German, kein Stress)
and Monopoly Deal.
posted by athirstforsalt at 6:27 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Settlers of Cataan is superior to Monopoly in most ways, and then you don't hate each other, either.

Seconding Fluxx and Codenames.

I'd suggest Love Letter, as you can play a few rounds in 20m. Most games are painfully long for what you're looking for, and Love Letter's the shortest/fastest I can think of.
posted by talldean at 2:13 PM on August 31, 2018

I always thought space alert would be a great workplace game. It's short and massively promotes communication and organisation.
It's not very flexible on players though. It needs 5 (but can go down to 4 if necessary).
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:12 PM on August 31, 2018

The physical version of Space Team accommodates up to six. It’s fast, dead simple, and IMO is the best micro simulation of working on a fast-paced tech project. A web engineering team I was a part of played it a fair bit.

No bluffing, tho.
posted by adamkempa at 5:10 PM on August 31, 2018

Skull, for up to six players, is almost pure bluffing, but also very entertaining. You can only really eliminate yourself, so there aren't even too many opportunities for hard feelings.

My work team plays that regularly, along with other things mentioned above: Bang, Codenames, Fluxx, Love Letter, Secret Hitler.
posted by arantius at 1:33 PM on September 1, 2018

We've also started playing The Game recently. It's a bit more divisive, but it's cooperative, which is good. Hanabi is another good cooperative game.
posted by arantius at 1:35 PM on September 1, 2018

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