BoardGameBattles: Tsuro vs Zombie Dice vs Love Letter vs Ice Cool

Hit the bell we have a new match up for the Cruiser Weight Title!

These are all games that are light weight games, generally fast, that fall into the filler category.

Let’s talk quickly about what is a filler game.

A filler game is any game you’re going to use if multiple groups are playing games and you’ve wrapped up one game, but the other group is still going and you need something to pad out the time, or for the start or end of a game night when you want to wind things up or down. It can also be for when you have a little bit of time otherwise and you want to fit in a board game. These games generally have a higher player count, short time frame, and are easy to teach.

Image Source: Me!

Let’s meet the contenders.

Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Tsuro is a faced playing tile laying game where you are trying to keep your stone traveling it’s path longer than anyone else. It plays up to eight people, and even with eight people plays in fifteen to twenty minutes. You pick a starting location on the edge of the board, then playing tiles on your stone, you move it along the path you laid in front of it. It get’s tricky when there are a lot of tiles on the board and you have to figure out where a different path might lead you because you continue until you find the end of the path or run into someone else. If you go off the edge of the board, you are out, if you run into someone, you are both out.

Zombie Dice

Basically a simple version of Farkle, in Zombie Dice you are a zombie who is trying to eat brains, as zombies are want to do. But the humans are fighting back for some reason. Blindly, you grab three dice out of cup and roll them. If you get a brain, you get a point, if you get a shotgun blast, you might get knocked out for the round, and if you get a runner, you have to draw back up to three, keeping that die, for your next roll. Zombie Dice is a classic push your luck game as you’re seeing how far you want to push it and how many brains you can get, banking them before you roll three shot gun blasts, and the winner is the person with the highest total after someone has gotten to 13 or more brains. With Zombie Dice you can play with as many people as you want and is a nice casual game, though, the more people you have the longer it’ll take, and if the dice rolls don’t go well it can take a bit.

Image Source: Wired

Love Letter

Love Letter is a simple and fast playing deduction game. It has a lower player count at 4 players, but each round of the game takes only a couple of minutes. In it, you have cards with different members of the royal court, and you’re trying to get a love letter to the princess. You want to end the round, without being eliminated and having the highest rank card, the one closest to the princess to hand her the letter. You score a point for a win, and technically you play up to four points, but you can go as high as you want or as low as you want for when people are showing up.

Ice Cool

This game has a bit more set-up, but even that is fast as you put together the board so you can start flicking penguins. While with Zombie Dice and Love Letter you barely need a table, with Ice Cool you definitely need one. Players take turns as penguins who are skipping class trying to avoid the hall monitor. The student penguins are trying to get fish and the hall monitor is trying to catch them. For each fish a penguin gets they get a point card, and for each penguin the hall monitor catches, they get a point card. While technically every player should get a turn as hall monitor, you don’t need to do that. Currently it only plays four, but the expansion is coming out to make the board bigger and allow it to play eight.

Now this one is harder to do similarities and differences on, so we’re just going to get to a judgement faster.

These are all fun filler games. Generally I use the first two for board game nights because of the higher player count. There are other games I considered as options for the filler battle, but thought that these four worked the best.

Personally, my favorite out of all of these is Ice Cool. The game is just silly fun, but I don’t think it is the best filler. It requires a little bit of set-up and it only plays four. To play the whole game also take s a little bit longer. Love Letter is also getting the cut because of the lower player count. Between Zombie Dice and Tsuro, Zombie Dice is the easier game to teach, but Tsuro is more fun, and you can get in more game potentially as a filler game. So the winner of the Cruiser Weight Title is Tsuro.

Image Credit: Daily Kos

Tsuro really hits that spot where there is a little stress to the game as sometimes your piece is in someone else’s hands just with how the tiles are on the board and you have to hope that they keep you alive. I think that makes the game stronger, also the fact that people want to play it again is something that I don’t get with Zombie Dice. It isn’t that people don’t like Zombie Dice, it’s just that it’s a bit more straight forward whereas with Tsuro, people always think, if I did this, I might have been able to win, and there’s less random luck in Tsuro.

What are some of your favorite filler games?


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