Updated: 10th December 2023: Quests Over Coffee added by Dann Sullivan. Original Post 12th February 2018.
Have you ever wanted a tabletop game to play with friends or even on your own, but wished you had it right now? Instead of ordering and waiting for your game to arrive, would you simply like to have it available this second? Well, there are plenty of print-and-play tabletop games you can pick up and play as fast as your printer can print them, and here are a few I recommend.
Scoundrels is a three-to-six–player tabletop game all about being pirates of the seven seas! You must take risks to earn rewards while becoming a well-known pirate for all the wrong reasons. Getting ahead of other players is a challenge in the world of pirates, especially when it comes to infamy. Being the most known pirate is the goal of the game; this is measured in tokens and treasure cards. You can only draw new cards after everyone has gone, so need to balance the cards you have for defense with the amount of treasure you want to hold — so the next player doesn’t take you out. You start off with some cards — swords, sails and cannon — but you need to find a way to collect and then bury your own treasure. You do not want to run out of defenses and become a sunken ship yourself!
Becoming a pirate is risky as it is, but this game really puts you into the shoes of an oceanic villain, forcing you to risk it all, do dastardly deeds and try to get rid of your pirate enemies! You can pick up Scoundrels for just $5 USD over on Itch.io — and it is well worth that small amount of loot.
BuzzPutt is a one-to-four–player golf game where you play as adorable bees! There are three pre-made putt putt courses for you and your friends to play on. Each person selects a bee and its matching ball, then places their ball on the starting point of the board, with an arrow pointing towards where they want to move.
Then you roll the dice and pick a shot (basically a stroke in golf) based on what you have rolled. You can now move your ball that far. If you land on certain tiles, such as the honeycomb tiles, it costs more movement points to move out. If you end up out of bounds, you must end your turn and start your next turn on the last tile you touched. Once everyone is at the end, you can move onto the next course. BuzzPutt is currently in the prototype stage, so it only has three courses. However… it is possible to cut out the board game tiles and create your own custom-designed courses with them!
BuzzPutt provides a simple, easy-to-play game full of adorable little bees for free!
Agent Decker is a single-player, mission-based, deckbuilding game which has you gathering gear and skills as a secret agent! You have just graduated from spy school and now have five different missions to take on. Your first mission is more of an introductory mission, but as you continue they become increasingly challenging. Each of the missions require you to infiltrate buildings and complete tasks.
The first one, for example, is to get inside of a building and retrieve a hostage. You need to gather some resources to be able to complete the mission. Your starting deck has two different cards in it – punch and hide, which in turn give you an attack or stealth resource respectively. These help you take on obstacles in the enemy base. You are then challenged to take down different obstacles on each turn. Once you have overcome an obstacle, your turn is over and you must discard your hand and draw one anew. You also interact with the last obstacle in the line, increasing alarm. If you raise fifty alarm points, the game is over.
After your move, you need to move all the cards across the table and place a new one down at the end. Cards move at different speeds — some faster or slower than others — so you need to study them and see where they should go in the lineup.
Agent Decker is a well-thought-out, free game which will keep you planning ahead and taking on interesting missions!
Tribes of Balbur is a tabletop game for two to four players where you try to survive within your tribe. Gods punish anyone who doesn’t show them the most respect, especially Rak-Yargar, the all-seeing god. He only spares those who make a monument in his honor. Each tribe wants to make this monument to gain the favor of Rak-Yargar — and eliminate the other tribes to control the land once and for all.
You make this monument by exploring the map and collecting resources. Being on the same part of the map as another player forces you both to roll a die — whoever has the highest roll dominates the land. Resources are at different locations and all require different rolls of various dice to earn them. The player to create their monument first wins this game!
Tribes of Balbur has a unique and whimsical art style complete with some monster crowns. The game doesn’t take long to set up and is a fun little playthrough for you and your friends — all for free.
House Rules by CLD
House Rules is a four-to-six–player board game where you and your friends make up the rules! Players travel around the board, following these player-made rules, to earn star tokens. Once somebody collects five star tokens, they have won the game. These tokens are earned either by specific player-made rules or by making it around the board.
Each player is handed some blank cards to make up the rules on. These rules can be anything — a reward, a limitation, a challenge — and you can even create little mini-games to play with everyone. House Rules also comes with some suggested rules if you have trouble thinking of some yourself and there is a deck of ‘board rules’ which are pre-set for the game. Once you have all your rule cards created, you can start the game.
House Rules is pretty easy to pick up — you just roll your dice, move to that space, pick up whichever type of rule card is listed and follow that rule. Then you continue on until you get your star tokens!
The idea of being able to come up with the rules and really feel like you have helped create the game is pretty neat. You can really customize this game to your liking by adding whatever obstacles or rewards you see fit into the ‘Player Rule’ deck. House Rules is free to download, so pick it up!
Pass the Buck: A Game of Corporate Responsibility Management is a three-to-five–player card game where you must work your way up the corporate ladder through bluffing! You have tasks in your hand which you need to complete in order to gain promotions and become the C.E.O. You and your friends work as corporate employees, tasked with different jobs. There are various departments that determine your ability to complete these tasks and a level, which shows your job title. You need to take your turn to get rid of the tasks in your hand by completing them one by one or by passing them off to your opponents, who may be better suited for the work you don’t want to do.
Passing off your tasks in the Delegator phase instead of completing them is the more efficient way to play, however players need to be in the correct department to get your unwanted task. If the player is in the wrong department and you suspect it, you can call HR to give them a penalty.
Pass the Buck: A Game of Corporate Responsibility Management is packed with humor — as long as you pass work to others, you will be promoted in no time! This game is just $5 USD.
On The Run by Play On The Run
On The Run is a three-to-six–player, turn-based strategy card game which sees you begin in the midst of attempting to skip town after robbing a bank. You and the other players have robbed a bank in a small town, so it will come as no surprise that you want to vacate the area! You all need to wait for the train to leave this place, however, the police are looking for you and already have an overwhelming amount of evidence.
Along with the evidence, your fellow players want to throw you under the bus to save their own skin. You must gather money while avoiding jail so that you can escape far away to your own personal paradise!
There are three types of cards in this game: Evidence Cards, Action Cards and Strike/Prison Cards. Each player starts off with five evidence cards as well as five coins. Coins can be used to pay for bail or bribe people, and are needed to complete the game. To win, you must have twelve coins and end your turn out of jail.
The police have a set of Evidence cards, which stay in the evidence locker (as well as some coins). You do not want your personal evidence cards to match those inside the evidence locker, as that will make you more likely to be convicted for the crime.
Action cards are where the game begins, and you have a few different types of actions cards to play with. These allow you to steal, throw players into jail, get out of jail, switch up the evidence… basically anything to get your friends arrested! You must use these to get the upper hand and work on skipping town quickly!
On The Run is a free, challenging game to take on, as there are loads of players competing directly against you. If you are up for the challenge and don’t mind your efforts being undermined and plans foiled, then grab some friends and see if you can pin the crime entirely on them!
Freight Wars is a two-to-three–player game where you can procedurally generate your game tiles before you print them, giving you a completely unique game set. As a Victorian industrialist looking to build a transportation network, you can place roads, rivers or railways to connect towns to other places, as well as block off the routes of your opponents.
First, you must choose which mode of transportation each player should use. One should use roads, one rivers and the other, trains. Then, you must shuffle the cards and hand them out to various players. Each player should get a town card, as well as two other cards dealt to them.
Players place tiles so that the modes of transportation connect to the tiles already placed on the table. These tiles need to match up for every mode of transportation to be placed, then the player can draw another tile from the deck so they always have three cards. Players can also skip a turn by discarding all of their tiles to draw a new hand.
After all of the tiles are placed, players must count up how many connections they have between towns. There are different points depending on how good the transport links are between different places. This can be seen in more detail in the rules of the game.
Freight Wars is a super-unique game that is easy to pick up and understand, fun to play and free!
Pusher Kings is a funny two-player card game in which you struggle to maintain control of the drug market in your town! This game is not a deck builder, so both players play from a pre-set deck.
Each player gets a hand of seven cards (with at least one ‘pusher’ card in their hand) before the game starts. You must flip cards to use them, only using specific cards for your turn.
There are a few different card types: Pushers, Henchmen and Actions. Pushers sell the drugs and can be used once per turn. Once you flip the card over to use them, you gain money, which can only be spent during that turn. Once the turn is over, the money disappears. Pushers cannot attack, defend, or take damage and only one can be used per turn.
Henchman have different costs, abilities and attributes. They are used to gain power in the town and can be attacked. Henchman also cost a fair amount of money each, so you need to be able to pay them to use them on your turn. The first turn you draw a henchman, you have to have them flipped, so they cannot be played right away.
Action cards are not flipped but instead discarded. There are only two of each action card in the deck, so you need to play them wisely — each action is immediate and costs resources to play. These can be used to harm players’ henchmen or the player themselves.
Each player has ten health points, so once they have been harmed enough to reach zero, the game is over.
Pusher Kings has some really awesome artwork drawn on the cards! This free card game does not have deck-building aspects, so it is an easy game to pick up and play with your friends.
The Astronomer is a single-player tabletop game where you manage your resources to build a airship and drift off into the stars. You have always dreamed of becoming an astronomer — but instead became a scientist, studying the stars and constellations from your home.
As your life continued, the world around you became more hostile, with humans causing chaos and natural disasters taking up what was left. You have made the decision to leave this world and go to the stars — where you have always wanted to be.
Creating an airship is no easy task and you need to start by creating machines to produce the materials needed to become airborne. You need to gain money, staff and time to make it off this Earth before it’s too late. Different mayors come in and out of power, affecting your work, so you need to plan ahead and take on whatever comes in the way of your factory and building your aircraft.
In this current day and age, The Astronomer might hit a little close to home, but if you’re interested then you can pick it up for just $1.99 AUD.
Sometimes you want a game that you don’t have to play with others, something quick and palatable that you could — let’s say — play a round of while you make or (or make and) consume a coffee.
Quests Over Coffee is a simple, single-player game of rolling dice to complete quests, gaining fame and fortune in return. It plays thick and fast, with you drawing a quest, rolling six dice, tallying the results and seeing if you meet or beat the target scores. If you do well, good times, feel free to keep pushing your luck, gathering items and wealth; if you don’t do so well then there are punishments, mainly detriments to your health.
While a large degree of Quests Over Coffee does feel left to the dice, there are some choices in there — mainly how you interact with the shop and the order in which you decide to tackle the quests. I love the artwork on display, and the modular nature means there’s loads of potential for people to share new quests and items if you end up with a few buddies who also play.