timePick one of the following scenes: a torrent is taking an age to complete; a confirmation e-mail is in limbo; or you’re on hold to a woefully inept customer services department of a woefully inept company providing a woefully inept service.

Any sound familiar? They should do. Chances are you have, at some point, been at your desktop or near your laptop and experienced one of the above.

Contrary to our conditioned reflex to tut, sigh and drum fingers as a way to speed up waiting, the quickest way to pass the time is to distract yourself. Some doodle, some sing, some do the washing.

But me, I reach for one of the following University of Procrastination-approved boredom-busting games…


Woof. Woof. Woof.

That’s the noise that my next-door-neighbour’s dog makes, day-in, day out. It’s hard to work through it sometimes, particularly if I’m already having a coffee-wobble.

But the little (and literal) puzzle game Picsaw often comes to the rescue of my clapped-out concentration. How?

When the barking ramps up (or I’m stuck on the phone listening to the melodic equivalent of dog food) I simply load up a blurry snap of Fido’s ill-focused snout (acquired using a combination of string, meaty cat chews, and a zoom lens) and reassemble him, bit by bit…

Plus, puzzles are apparently a great workout for your brain – honest!

For added difficulty try using an image with a non-definable pattern to it, like a photo of the sky, animal fur, or spaghetti O’s!

Install Picsaw from the Ubuntu Software Center


Tanglet is a single-player version of the popular word-game Boggle.

The goal is simple: try to find as many words as humanly possible by forming connections between adjacent letters shown on the the on-screen board.

Letters can be joined horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in any direction. As long as the letters are next to each other, and the word you’re spelling is a word is at least 3 letters in length, you’ll be scoring.

Tanglet has 7 different game modes, each with varying difficulty. It will also keep track of your stats as you play, so you’ll always be tempted to best yourself.

And nothing is more time-sappingly-worthy than beating yourself.

Install Tanglet from the Ubuntu Software Center


Gweled game in UBuntu

No gaming platform is worth its salt if it lacks a jewel-smashing, pattern-linking, time-enveloping game of join-the-bleedin’-coloured-things-to-score-some-satisfying-points.

Okay, I’m overdosing on hyperbole in this post, but Gweled does fill a popular gaming niche. A quick glance at the Top games on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Mac App Store, etc all show that jewel games are in hot demand.

Though maybe not on Ubuntu, huh? ;)

Alongside the traditional gameplay (essentially: ‘keep playing until there are no possible moves left’) there are two extra modes:

  • Timed Mode – Achieve the best score in a given time
  • Endless Mode – Never-ending game that doesn’t log your score

Install Gweled from the Ubuntu Software Center

OMG! Words!

What did the blanket say to the bed? I got you covered!

Did you laugh? No? Good. That means I can 100% guarantee you’ll get more fun out of this, the last item on our list: OMG! Words!

Our typing-game-with-a-twist from back yonder is simple to play: type the words on screen as fast – and correctly – as you can. The more words you ‘drop’ the soon it’ll be game is over!

All of the words that appear in the game are pulled from articles on the site.

But things aren’t overly easy. If you’re doing too well the visage of OMG! Ubuntu! editor Benjamin Humphrey will slide across the screen and scramble every word it touches.

But i’m on your side: my face will bandy across and unscramble every word it touches.

Short of a green bird icon dropping in (if you don’t get that reference, congrats on having avoiding our comment section!), OMG! Words! is a faithful distillation of our irreverence, colour scheme, and typos.

So if you want to combine fun with usefulness then OMG! Words! is a great way to practice your writing prowess. Not that it currently only works on Ubuntu 12.10 or lower.

OMG! Words! (32bit .Deb)

OMG! Words! (64bit .Deb)

Over to you: what are you favourite five-minute boredom-busting games?

Gaming List games gweled omgwords tanglet