You know the situation: bought a new board game, weighed the nine kilogram box on the table, cleaned everything up, actually you could finally get started - if it weren't for the 40-page manual, which is more of a full-length reading than a crash course. When there is not enough time for complex board games and things have to be done quickly, the “snacks” come on the gaming table. What makes them stand out? Simple rules, little material, but lots of fun. Our author Nicole has looked at four quick, simple board games and thus also gives beginners tips for the next game night.

Sometimes you feel like playing, look at the clock and get annoyed about the lack of time resources. Stupid when there are only sprawling strategy board games on the shelf and you have slept in the past to buy quick board games for in between times. Die-hard fans call such games contemptuously “fill in gaps”, others say that they are guaranteed to have fun. Families in particular benefit from simple board games that can be learned just as quickly and played again afterwards. 

Push by Prospero Hall (Ravensburger)

Push by Prospero Hall, published in Germany by Ravensburger, is one of those perhaps underrated card games with a design that could have come straight from the nineties, when button pants, platform shoes and Uno were so popular.  

Push from Ravensburger

Push is card-driven Push-your-Luck: Fast, colorful, easy. Photo: Nicole Zeller

The deck of cards consists of 90 cards with numbers on different colored backgrounds, 18 dice cards and 12 direction change cards. The active player chooses between two actions. The active player either reveals a card and places it on one of up to three rows. The same numbers or the same colors may never be placed in a row.

After each card, the active player thinks about whether to cancel or continue to reveal. If he breaks off, he may take one of the three rows and place the cards in front of him, sorted by color. The inactive players may take one remaining row of cards in turn.

If the active player does not end his turn voluntarily, but instead draws a color or number that is already in all of the three rows, he may not take a row. The inactive players still take a row of cards clockwise. The active player rolls the color die on it. If he is unlucky and rolls a color, he must discard his deck of cards in that color. If he is lucky, if he rolls black, nothing happens.
The second option is not to reveal any cards, but to secure your own deck of colors.

For some, it is off-putting, but functional: the design! Photo: Nicole Zeller

For some, it is off-putting, but functional: the design! Photo: Nicole Zeller

There are two types of special cards. A direction change map. The order in which the inactive players are allowed to take rows of cards changes here. And dice cards, which forces the player who takes the turn to roll the dice and dispose of the corresponding deck of cards in front of him. The game ends when the draw pile is empty. The winner is whoever was able to collect the most points with his cards.


A game in which all players cheer. It is very exciting and there is no boredom for the inactive players. For the active player it is a constant tightrope walk between gambling, greed or better to play it safe.

With the dice cards, the game also has an annoyance factor that can be used to deprive your fellow players of their laboriously collected stacks of cards. Or did they secure your cards in good time? Push is a little game for in between that always likes to come back to the table. It is also great for larger rounds of up to six players.

Palm Island by Jon Mietling (Kosmos)

Small pack, great fun. That should apply to the hand-held card game Palm Island by Jon Mietling, which was published in Germany by KOSMOS. Mirko Aira Suzuki is responsible for the graphic design. Hand card game Palm Island means literally: Palm Island is a game for two people and there is a solo version. The special thing about this game is that you don't need a table to play it. All cards are held in hand.

Palm Island by Jon Mietling takes the term hand card game pretty precisely. Photo: Nicole Zeller

Palm Island by Jon Mietling takes the term hand card game pretty precisely. Photo: Nicole Zeller

Thematically it is about the island of Palm Island on which we are building a village. It is a matter of defying impending disasters and promoting the development of the village through raw materials, markets and temples.

Each player is given a hand of 17 cards, which are printed on the front and back. In addition, the cards have an upper area and a lower area (upside down). The cards are kept in a pile in hand and are not fanned out.

Both players play at the same time and are allowed to look at the top two cards. There are three possible actions. The storage of raw materials is done by turning the card by 90 ° and inserting it in this orientation towards the back of the stack. The second possible action is to rotate the map 180 °. The lower area of ​​the map becomes the active area. The third possible action is to turn the card over to the other side.

The idea is damn clever: cards are rotated to play them. Photo: Nicole Zeller

The idea is damn clever: cards are rotated to play them. Photo: Nicole Zeller

When rotating and turning, the card is then pushed back into the stack. Some actions cost raw materials. You pay for this by consuming raw materials from the warehouse. Then you have to turn the card back by 90 °. So you leaf through your deck of cards and take actions. In the two-player variant, there are also disaster cards. Together we have to try to avert these catastrophes.

There are also achievement cards that can be unlocked during the course of the round. These cards can also be used to influence the level of difficulty of the game. The players' decks of cards change during the game and are not returned to their original state at the end of the game. Therefore, the decks can evolve from round to round.


The game idea is innovative, but also takes getting used to. The management of the hand of cards is not always easy. The game is fast and fun. In the two-person variant, you win or lose the game together. Passing disasters is not always easy and makes the game exciting.

Clip Cut Parks by Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington (Renegade Game Studios)

This extraordinary game is about designing a park. The mayor gave you the order to build an attractive and varied park.

Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington's Clip Cut Parks is all about design. Photo: Nicole Zeller

Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington's Clip Cut Parks is all about design. Photo: Nicole Zeller

Each player receives a pair of scissors and a sheet of paper with the parking segments printed on them. In addition, each player receives five parking cards. These are shuffled and two of them are revealed. The remaining three form the personal draw pile.

The starting player receives a special die. The starting player rolls the die. The result of the dice applies to all players. One to four numbers with values ​​between one and four are printed on the dice. These values ​​indicate how many cuts are made and the length of these cuts. All players now have to make cuts on their sheets of paper based on the dice requirement. You can start at any point. However, no two cuts may be placed in a straight line one behind the other.

The "cut" in the game title is not chosen by chance. Photo: Nicole Zeller

The “cut” in the game title is not chosen at random. Photo: Nicole Zeller

All parts that are separated from the arch must be installed or disposed of immediately. Geometric figures are depicted on the cards in front of the players, in which the cut-out parking segments must be placed congruently. Some fields specify certain colors or symbols that must be adhered to. There are also fields that cannot be occupied by individual pieces, but only by connected segments. If a card is full, the player receives a bonus.

For this he takes the appropriate marker or is allowed to make an extra cut immediately. The bonus markers can be used to ignore symbols or colors on the cards. When a card is fulfilled, the player may draw a card from his draw pile and place it face up in front of him. The game ends immediately when a player has completed five parks.


The idea of ​​cutting geometric shapes with scissors is original and unique. At first glance, the game makes a simple impression. During the game, however, the players quickly realize that quite a bit of planning and strategy is required in order to place the cuts efficiently and fill the cards quickly. If a part is cut in the wrong place, it may not be able to be placed and must be discarded. One should be careful with the sheet of paper.

The level of difficulty of the game can be further increased by adding additional cards. So the game is not just for casual gamers. We have played the game with up to six players. You have to use your own scissors.

Treelings by Paul Schulz (playground / Pegasus)

Paul Schulz's Treelings is published by Spielwiese und Pegasus Spiele. A bonus of the game - at least for fans - are the illustrations that Michael Menzel contributed. 

Treelings is thematically about the annual glow worm festival at the summer solstice. In this game, six tree workers' guilds compete to build trees with platforms that are as tall as possible so that fireflies can fly from the tallest tree on the festival day.

One of the strengths of Treelings is the illustration. Photo: Nicole Zeller

One of the strengths of Treelings is the illustration. Photo: Nicole Zeller

In the middle of the table is a row of cards with 5 cards turned up and the draw pile. Before the start of the game, each player receives 3 cards, which he lays out face up in front of him. Cards of the same color are stacked on top of one another.

When it is a player's turn he can either choose to take all cards of one color or he takes every card of a color that is available exactly once. The cards taken are then placed on your own rows of cards.

Mentioned already? The illustrations are pretty good. Photo: Nicole Zeller

Mentioned already? The illustrations are pretty good. Photo: Nicole Zeller

The laying rules are simple. The same colors are placed on top of each other. Color cards that are not yet in your own display may be placed next to the rows on the outside left or outside right. No rows may be pushed in between.

That doesn't sound particularly spectacular. The nifty thing about this game, however, is that when scoring the rows of cards, only rows that are highest are scored. So the rows to the right and left of it have to be smaller. If this is not the case, no points are awarded for the row. And this does not only apply to your own card display. The outer rows of the left and right seat neighbors must also be taken into account. There is one victory point for each of the cards in the ranked rows. The player with the most points wins the game.


This game has simple and short rules and therefore looks very simple. Because the display of the left and right seat neighbors have to be taken into account, the game with four to five players is also exciting, because you can mess up the result for the person next to you.

Also because you are not allowed to pass, picking up cards of the wrong suit can thwart your calculations and suddenly rows are worth zero points. A little game that gave us a lot of fun and that we like to put on the table as a nightcap.

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