Episode 19 – Filler vs Heavy Games

In episode 19, we want to look at filler games and heavy games and share with you our favourites for each type.

Music: Black Moons by The 126er on YouTube

Games List

In order of appearance:


4 Replies to “Episode 19 – Filler vs Heavy Games”

  1. David Miller

    Woohoo, thank you for the generous discussion, at 45 minutes, for Mint Tin Mini Skulduggery!

    You’ve made Kate’s day (and mine too!).

    I love your description of it as in no need to think much and just fun for folks. =)

    The banter between you two is so delightful and oddly relaxing as well (and a great listen while doing my day job!). Thank you!

    • Oliver

      Well, I just had to mention mint tin games. They’re the perfect filler game and subQuark are my favourite publisher of them. I’m glad you liked the episode and enjoyed listening to us. We hope you join us for more in the future.

  2. RogerBW

    I’ll try to use fewer links this time.

    I agree that there can be long but simple games (Munchkin, arguably Firefly), and short but complicated games (where I’d agree with Oliver that Onitama is a good example).

    I also agree that teaching time should definitely be taken into account – in my usual game club we play a lot of different games rather than going back to the same things, and I know some people who favour (Rise of) Augustus because they know it really well and they’re good at explaining the (relatively simple) rules quickly.

    When I use filler games as actual filler, waiting for another subgroup to finish or waiting for people to arrive, it’s handy to have one without a firm end condition – so when the other group starts packing up you can finish the round without feeling deprived of the rest of the game.

    I think there’s room for distinction between heavy and complex games – lots of older games are full of special-case rules and are hard to learn, but the actual decisions you have to make aren’t always that challenging once you know how it all works.

    The BGG-heaviest games in my collection are Harpoon (classic naval wargame), some of the Leaving Earth expansions, and Renegade. None of those really strikes me as super-complicated compared with anything by Lacerda, though in two of the three cases I’ve got real-world things to anchor onto so it’s easier to work out what’s going on.

    I also like Star Realms, though I’d say it takes a bit longer than is ideal for a filler. Maybe that’s just me.

    I played Jaipur for the first time recently — and to be honest I’d say that stopping after one or two rounds wouldn’t do it any great harm.

    I haven’t yet played a mint tin game I loved, though there are plenty I haven’t tried yet.

    I find that the more I can lose by a single bad action the less I enjoy the game (so I really don’t do Splotter) — I suspect this comes from liking to play a lot of games a few times each, rather than the other way round. I don’t mind losing because of one move if it’s a short game, but if it’s going to take hours I prefer to have each move contribute a little bit to my ultimate defeat.

    You mentioned games about making cars – Kraftwagen (2015, Matthias Cramer) is something of a hidden gem. Not at all my normal style but I played at the last Handycon in January and had a great time.

    I find that with most of the games I play I can get to basic competence fairly fast, but what I haven’t worked out yet – like Oliver – is how I should go about improving. I’ve played 70+ games of Rallyman GT since it arrived at the start of February, and I’m very slowly improving…

    I’m unusual in that I favour the 2016 Robo Rally over the older versions – it doesn’t have player elimination any more. (But Emerson Matsuuchi’s VOLT does a remarkable job of making a robot-battle programming game that’s a lot more fast-moving. It’s available on yucata.de.)

    But all right, to answer your question: my favourite heavy game is Leaving Earth, which has a lot of moving parts (sometimes literally if you’re organising several multi-year space missions at the same time); favourite light game is probably 6 Nimmt!, which you can play more or less at random and not do terribly, but there’s a remarkable lot of cunning to be used there…

    • Oliver

      Hello again Roger. It’s great to see you’re still listening to the podcast. It looks like the latest episode sparked some thoughts in you. I don’t think I have anything to add to your comments, except that distinguishing between heavy and complex does make sense. Complex games are often heavy, but not always and not all heavy games are complex. Thank you also for sharing your favourite light game. I hope you tune into our next episode too and we can give you some more food for thought.

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