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Top 5 Games For An After-Work Board Game Club


Playing board games is one of my favourite hobbies, much to my husband’s delight as he would rather play video games! We have various different groups of friends that play games with us, when we can find a free weekend, but most of them don’t live near us so this happens fairly sporadically. While I’m not super keen on meeting up with new people at board game cafes, it did start me thinking that there must be like-minded people at my workplace …

I’m trying to recall how our after-work club began and all I can remember is playing Monopoly Deal with a colleague on a Friday afternoon every other week. Slowly, this evolved into a well-being club that I advertised to everyone at my workplace. I really wanted to share my love of board games and introduce people to new games that they perhaps hadn’t come across before.

We have a regular group of about six people and we’ve played all sorts of games, ranging from classic games like Ticket to Ride and Catan, to newer games such as Wyrmspan and Earth. After a while I’ve started to learn what works and what doesn’t, i.e. what people have the time and brain-capacity for after a long day of work. I’ve found that you want something that is quick to set up, whose rules don’t take too long to explain, and which doesn’t take longer than about an hour to play. We usually split up into two groups or team up in pairs if we all want to play one game.

Below are our top 5 favourite after-work games that we keep coming back to:

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

Players: 2 – 4 (5 if you have The Herb Witches expansion)

Playing time: 45 minutes

In The Quacks of Quedlinburg, by Wolfgang Warsch, players become quack doctors competing to produce the best potion using a variety of mystical ingredients for the citizens of Quedlinburg. During the game, players will draw ingredients blindly from their bag to get as far around their cauldron as possible without letting it explode. The further round they can get, the more points and spending money they have to buy more ingredients for the next round.

We really love this push-your-luck bag-building game because everyone plays simultaneously (so there isn’t much downtime), players can customise the contents of their bags, there is a rubber-band mechanic to make sure no one is left behind, and every round brings a little extra bonus in the form of fortune teller cards.

Living Forest

Players: 1 – 4

Playing time: 40 minutes

Living Forest, by Aske Christiansen, sees players take the role of nature spirit charged with protecting and nurturing a forest with the help of a menagerie of animal guardians. Players must balance recruiting new animal guardians, racing around the ‘spirit circle’ to nab bonuses, expanding their forest by planting new trees, and battling the flames of Onibi that threaten to consume them. There are multiple ways to secure victory, meaning players must weigh up which actions serve their strategy best.

Living Forest is quick to set-up and to explain, meaning you can get going soon after you clock off from work. You’ll draw different guardians and pursue different victory paths every game, giving the game great replayability value. It also features beautiful artwork sure to immerse you in your role of nature spirit!

Camel Up (Second Edition)

Players: 3 – 8

Playing time: 30 – 45 minutes

In Camel Up, by Steffen Bogen, players bet on the outcome of a race between five colourful camels that move randomly according to dice rolls each round. However, camels can sometimes not move at all, can be carried forwards by camels underneath them, and sometimes move backwards if they are on top of a crazy camel! On their turn, a player can either place a bet for who will win that round, bet for who will win/lose the whole race at the end of the game, “boo” or “cheer” the camels on, or roll a die to advance the race using the pyramid dice shaker.

Camel Up is a great game if you have a big group of players as it can play up to 8 people. Again, the rules and set-up are very easy, and the game becomes more and more chaotic as time goes on. The end of the race can become very unpredictable and, because players bet secretly on who they think will win or lose the entire race, their fortunes can change at the last second.


Players: 1 – 4

Playing time: 30 – 45 minutes

Leaf, by Tim Eisner, is a very satisfying tile-placement game where you want to place your leaf so that it touches as many other leaves as possible to maximise your actions each turn. Actions include growing mushrooms, attracting animals, moving your squirrel up the tree to collect bonuses, gaining more leaf cards, and collecting sun tokens. You can use three sun tokens to advance the season, which gains you points and prompts everyone to move one type of animal into their winter den to hibernate.

We find that Leaf is a very tranquil game, with beautiful artwork, that is just what you need after a busy day at work. I really enjoy optimising the leaf placement and collecting cheeky sun tokens when someone places their leaf near one you have claimed with a mushroom.


Players: 1 – 4

Playing time: 30 – 45 minutes

In Cascadia, by Randy Flynn, players place habitat tiles and try to make the largest contiguous habitat in each biome, while simultaneously creating special patterns with animal tokens. This is another satisfying puzzle tile-placement game that hits all the right notes with our board game group. You can use pine cones to mix and match habitats and animal tokens, but sometimes you have to just make it work and hope that your bear becomes a pair before the end!

Cascadia is probably the quickest of all the games mentioned so far to set up and explain the rules to, making it one of the most popular requests at our board game club. I really love tessellating the hexagonal tiles and trying to satisfy as many of the animal token patterns as possible.

Honourable mentions

We love playing the following games when we have time for a longer session:

Heat: Pedal to the Metal

Isle of Cats