There is nothing like friendly competition between mates in your favourite bar! Board games are ideal for pub situations; No need to reach for your drink to avoid awkward conversation and small talk. Having something physical to interact with in front of you is great in many ways. Board games help to create discussions, new friendships, and generally make for a fun time!
However, not all board games were made for pubs. Table space, time limits and accessibility are potential pub issues. Games need to be small and portable, whilst being resilient to a potential drink spill. Games that are not too complex for your friends to learn and remember the rules after a few drinks is also ideal.
Whether you’re a pub landlord or just looking to grab a drink and have some fun, here are some games that are ideal for the atmosphere and space of a pub.
Sheriff of Nottingham
The Prince is paying a visit to Nottingham! As a merchant, this is your chance to profit from the crowded city. But beware, the Sheriff of Nottingham guards the city. Can you get your goods past the city gates? Either play it safe with the legal goods or attempt to sneak through with contraband to earn big cash.
Each player takes it in turn to play the sheriff. As a guard of the gate, the sheriff has the choice of letting a merchant through or inspecting their cart of goods. If the sheriff inspects your cart and you were telling the truth about your legal goods, then the sheriff pays a fee for your inconvenience. However, if you were lying about the contents of your cart, the Sheriff must lay down the law. Lying merchants pay a fine, greater fines for illegal goods. Let the bribery, bluffing and alliance forming begin!
Published by Arcane Wonders, Sheriff of Nottingham is an Origins Award winner as 2015’s best board game of the year. Only taking around 60 minutes to play, Sheriff of Nottingham allows for up to five players.
Sheriff of Nottingham is a hand management card game; however, it is more suitably categorised as social interaction game. Negotiation and bluffing amongst players is assured with any game of Sheriff. Plenty of laughs are guaranteed, even role playing is encouraged.
Which of your friends are the liars and the tricksters? Probably all of them! Sheriff of Nottingham is a great party game and a great ice breaker for socialising and helps to build up confidence. Test your poker face and make alliances! Overall, Sheriff of Nottingham is an ideal game for a pub situation, and worth checking out if you are looking to liven up your trips to the pub.
The Bloody Inn
Darken the atmosphere of the pub with The Bloody Inn! Set in a remote corner of France, The Bloody Inn was released in 2015 by designer Nicolas Robert. Published by Pearl Games, The Bloody Inn has continuously received great praise. Which is no surprise with the fantastic artwork and gruesome gameplay.
A family of rural farmers invest in an inn to make as much money as they can. You play one of the greedy inn keepers, as you compete against each other to be the most prosperous. But how far will you go and how many of your guests will leave the inn alive?
Launder money and bribe your guests into becoming your shady accomplices. If your plan doesn’t go well, you may end up murdering your guests, but don’t forget to bury the bodies! And be careful to not arouse attention of the police.
The Bloody Inn is essentially a card game, but not your usual deck builder. At the start of each round, cards are placed face-up to fill the inn with guests. These guest cards indicate the various ways you can interact with them and how much money they are carrying. However, the Bloody Inn is not just a card game. Other components include money tokens and an awesome game board that add to the quality and experience of the game.
The Bloody Inn can be played with up to four players, ideal for a smaller group of friends. What better place is there to conspire against the guests of your establishment than amongst them in your local pub?
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Card games in general are great for pubs. A huge perk is portability and not having too many fiddly components. There are endless great party card games that can be enjoyed in a pub. Sushi Go, Eight Minute Empire, and Exploding Kittens, are all suitable for a pub environment. However, hidden role games really add to the atmosphere and social quality of a game. With more laughs to be had, hidden role games are ideal for a pub atmosphere.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is one of many successes from the designers Ted Alspach and Akihisa Okui. Published by Bézier Games, One Night Ultimate Werewolf allows for a large capacity of 3-10 players. Especially great for large groups of friends!
Generally, hidden role games can take a few hours to play. However, One Night Ultimate Werewolf only takes 10 minutes! Allowing for fast fun, enough time for multiple games, and no two games are ever the same!
If you’re not crazy about werewolves, then there are other games in the series to choose from. One Night Ultimate Alien, One Night Ultimate Vampire and One Night Ultimate Super Villains all follow a similar premise. Whichever version fits your friendship group, you can be sure that any of them will be a fantastic addition to a night out.
Most board gamers are familiar with the tile placement game Carcassonne. It's a classic game by designer Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, now published by Z-Man Games. The base game is 2-5 players; however, expansions add extra player meeples for up to six players. For even larger groups of friends, simply add extra meeples to allow for extra players. Taking only 30-45 minutes a game, Carcassonne is an easy and ideal pub play.
Players compete to grab their stake in the ever-growing French landscape, building roads, cities and much more. After placing a tile, the player has the decision to place a meeple onto the board, claiming a feature. Depending where you place your meeple, it can represent a knight, robber, monk, farmer and plenty more.
The rules are very simple, there aren’t even any words to read! The easy rules make it ideal for new players to learn, and even non-board gamers to join in.
Carcassonne is fully customisable, with plenty of expansions to choose from. Build rivers, bridges, cathedrals, markets, farms, the list goes on. Add extra tiles and features if you want a longer game or a varied experience.
Carcassonne is also a sociable game. Build together or perhaps build in a way which blocks other players. The added challenge of fitting your tiles within the limit of your pub space makes for a great house rule. The thick tiles are particularly resistant to a potential drink spill. If you fancy something else other than a card game, then Carcassonne is certainly the game to play!
Step right up, step right up to see the show! Meeple Circus is a highly rated family and party game that entails an array of meeples and lots of dexterity. Create the most amazing circus performances. Use acrobats, elephants, props, tigers, clowns and much more. Stack them, balance them, but don’t let them fall!
Designed by Cédric Millet and published by Matagot, Meeple Circus is a 45-minute game for 2-5 players. Lots of laughter is always assured with time limit challenges that require dexterity. But, pulling off circus stunts is even more hilarious after a few drinks!
Despite the number of components, Meeple Circus is still a small game able to fit onto a pub table. The components are vibrant with bright colours, easier to see in the low light of a pub. If a light-hearted laugh is what you want, then look no further. Meeple Circus is a fantastic pub game, and certainly gets funnier the more you drink!