drinking games

A round up of excellent tabletop games to play on a lazy afternoon in the pub

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Board games are in right now, good ones too. Catan, Pandemic and Ticket to Ride have broken Monopoly’s well, monopoly, on casual competitive entertainment. Everyone is playing them, and anyone who isn’t has a friend just looking for the right game to get them hooked.

Pubs are pretty popular too. Plenty of bars have a stack of battered games for you to crack open with an afternoon pint, but sometimes they’re too complex, take up too much space and take forever to play. For this reason, we’ve put together a list of excellent games for you to take to the pub — or buy for your pub — that are simple, small and quick while still being fun and engaging. So pop into your local bricks and mortar store or follow the links to check out these brilliant small games that are perfect for the pub.

The Mind

This game is literally mental.

The goal is simple enough. Your team takes on increasingly difficult challenges, placing more and more numbered cards in ascending order. The only problem is, you don’t know what numbers your pals have, and you can only communicate telepathically. No speaking. At all. Can you psychically tell your friends you have 54, 65, 78 and get the pints in? That last one could take a while.

The Mind is a psychic experience, a crazy mind melding experiment with mates. Beating a challenge is genuinely exciting, rewarding and certain to make you giddy. Sceptic or not, you have to give it a go!

The Mind was nominated for the 2018 Spiel des Jahres  (that’s good) and is available in-stores and online.

Karuba: The Card Game

In Karuba, each player uses random card tiles from their deck to map out jungle pathways, collect gems and get intrepid explorers to the right ancient temple without them smashing into each other.

Players bid for the chance to use as many tiles as possible to strategically lay out their jungle, quickly using a combo of low value but useful, and valuable but awkward cards.

It’s fast paced with great replayability and works well with groups of any sized. With two players, it’s a high-stakes bidding war, but the more players you add, the more vital quick planning and smart placement become.

Karuba: The Card Game is available from retailers or why not pop down to UK Game EXPO in Birmingham at the end of May and say alles klar to the Haba team in person.

Cobra Paw

Maybe put your pints to the side of the table for this one. Cobra Paw is a part of Asmodee’s Fun Fast Game range of quick and easy-to-learn games, and probably the simplest and fasted game on this list.

You place a pile of gorgeous, domino-like tiles featuring a range of colourful symbols in the centre of the play space. You then take it in turns to roll a set of dice featuring the same symbols. Whenever the dice match a tile, it’s a mad scramble to grab and score the tile — even if a player as already scored it.

It will get crazy. Mind your pint.

Cobra Paw is available in stores and online.



Dobble is the absolute daddy of the Fun Fast Games range. Over one million copies have been sold and, despite being seven years old, it was the top selling game in the UK last year.

It’s like snap on steroids. Each spherical card — don’t confuse them for beer mats — has eight different symbols on it. Every card will have one — and only one — symbol in common with every other card, but it could be different size, just to make things tougher.

It has five variations for you to play in succession, making Snap look depressingly pathetic. Plus, there is a Harry Potter version coming soon.

Dobble is available in stores and online.


Too many bars have a copy of Scrabble when they could have its free-form jazz remix that comes in a banana, Bananagrams.

There’s no board, the letters have no point system and you have to constantly rebuild and rearrange your crossword to win the game. You can substitute bad letters for more letters, and force everyone to add letters to their crosswords. At various points in the game, you will have to shout, “split”, “peel”, “bananas” and “dump”, so probably best to play it in a louder bar.

To win you have to be smart, fast and use actual words. If you don’t you could be the “rotten banana” or just already drunk.

Bananagrams is available in stores and online

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