Top 10 Easy to Pack Board Games
One of the best things about the hot weather season is summer vacation! A trip away doesn't need to be a vacation away from board games, is that really a vacation anyways? Besides the familiar 'travel' versions that get released for some of the more popular games, there are many games that come in a compact package, perfect for throwing in a backpack or suitcase and taking with you on your next trip. We've compiled our list of the top ten board and card games that are easy to pack and can be played almost anywhere!
|Number of Players||1-8|
|Designer(s)||Rena Nathanson, Abe Nathanson|
If you're a fan of word games or want a more frantic, fast-paced version of Scrabble, then Bananagrams is the game for you. Elegant in its simplicity, the game comes with 144 chunky plastic letter tiles in a cute fabric banana bag. You can easily toss this game into your backpack or suitcase, it takes up as much space as a rolled up pair of socks.
One round of the game can be played in as little as five minutes. Each player starts with an equal number of face down letter tiles. Once you are ready to begin, all players flip their tiles and work to be the first to create their own crossword using their tiles. Once one player uses all their starting tiles everyone takes another tile from the pile in the middle. This continues until all tiles have been used and someone's crossword is complete.
9. Mint Works
|Number of Players||1-4|
Playing games while you're travelling isn't usually the time for deep, strategic eurogames, but that doesn't mean you need to leave behind some of the beloved mechanics usually featured in those games. Mint Works is a light worker placement game that literally fits in a mint tin. This is the smallest game on our list, you can put it in your pocket and take it anywhere.
The game has each player starting with a limited number of Mint Tokens, which represent the workers under their control. Players use these mint tokens to earn more tokens, buy and build plans, or impact turn order. Plans are the way to earn points in the game, as well as earn other special abilities. Once any player has at least 7 points earned, or there are no more plan cards to draw, the end of the game is triggered. The player that earned the most points is crowned the victor!
8. Sushi Go!
|Number of Players||2-5|
Packed in a compact tin that's perfect to take with you on the go, Sushi Go! is an easy to learn drafting card game. Requiring only a paper, pencil and the cards in the tin, Sushi Go! can be played almost anywhere. This is one of our favourites to pack in a carry-on and take out on a long flight.
In the game, players are eating at a sushi restaurant and attempting to collect the best combination of sushi dishes as they pass by. Each type of food scores differently. For example, collecting the most sushi rolls will earn you points, while a complete set of sashimi will earn you points as well. Snag the wasabi card to triple the points of one other card, like the nigiri!
Each round everyone selects a card from their hand to add to their collection. After selecting, each player passes their hand of cards to the player on their left and everyone selects a card from their newly received hand. Play continues like this until all cards have been drafted and scoring commences. The player with the most points after three rounds is declared the winner!
7. The Fox in the Forest
|Number of Players||2|
|Publisher||Renegade Game Studios|
If you're looking for a compact two-player game that is perfect for travel, look no further than the card game The Fox in the Forest from Renegade Game Studios. A unique trick-taking card game for two, this game has players working to earn score more points than their opponent, but not so many that you become too powerful and turn evil. This delicate balance of winning just the right amount of hands brings an added layer of decision-making and planning to the game, which helps it stand out from regular trick-taking games.
The game features what you'd expect from a trick-taking card game; ranked and suited cards determine who wins the trick, but many cards feature fairytale characters with unique special powers that can completely change the game. Players can use these character abilities to lead after losing a trick, change the trump suit, and more!
If you aren't feeling the competitive aspect of this one, there is a cooperative version of the game, The Fox in the Forest Duet, which has two players working together to move through a forest, collecting berries while cooperatively playing tricks.
6. High Society
|Number of Players||3-5|
First released way back in 1995, High Society is a card game about splurging on the lavish elegances and indulgences. Designed by famed game designer Reiner Knizia, this game has players bidding on various accoutrements that reinforce their lavish lifestyle and status within high society. A card with an object is flipped over each round, with players taking turns bidding on the item until one person wins the auction, keeping the item and points associated with it. Points vary from very valuable all the way to negative, which players bid to avoid having to take the negative cards.
There is an epic twist to this simple bidding game that has given it the staying power its enjoyed for almost 30 years. At the end of the game, before players tally up their points, each player first calculates how much money they have left. The player who has spent the most during the game is deemed 'too poor' to remain in the upper class and is immediately eliminated from contention. The remaining players then tally up their points from their lavish purchases, with the highest point total winning the game. This aspect of spending enough but not too much adds a tension-filled layer to this auction game that we absolutely love!
5. The Mind
|Number of Players||2-4|
What better to take on a trip than a nice little card game that can fit almost anywhere but offers a little more depth and variety than a simple deck of cards? The Mind is sometimes described as more than just a game, an experiment and team experience where players must work together, but without communicating at all. Only by working together with a silent, shared 'mind' will you be able to defeat all levels of this game.
The game contains a deck of cards numbered 1 to 100. Each player starts with a number of cards in their hand that matches the level of the game. For example, for level 12, each player would start with 12 cards in their hand. Collectively, cards are played into a single discard pile in the center of the table in ascending order, without communicating which cards you are holding. Simply stare into the each others' eyes and play a card when you feel the time is right. If you played a card that no one has a lower value of, then you continue on. If someone does have a lower card in their hand you all lose 1 shared life, lose all your lives and you've lost the game!
|Number of Players||2-5|
Ditch the old fashioned deck of traditional playing cards for another game using little more than a deck of fireworks-themed cards. Hanabi is a cooperative card game that has players placing cards down in a specific order to create the most beautiful fireworks displays. Playing cards in order sounds simple right? Well, the twist in Hanabi is that you can't see any of the cards in your hand, but everyone else around the table can. Will you be able to decipher the clues from your fellow players and play the right card at the right time?
The game consists of cards numbered 1-5 in each of five different colours. Each player tries to place a row in front of them in the correct ascending order. Players can give one another hints to help them figure out which numbers or colours they are holding, but the communication limits make this much harder than it sounds! Finish the fireworks display before running out of cards and everyone has won.
3. Roll for It!: Deluxe Edition
|Number of Players||2-8|
Like Sushi Go!, Roll for It!: Deluxe Edition comes in a compact tin that is perfect to take almost anywhere. The deluxe version of the game includes a gorgeous velvet bag to carry the dice for the game. With the deck of cards, you can play this one with very little table space.
A casual, family-friendly dice game, Roll for It! challenges players to score points by rolling specific combinations that match the cards laid out on the table. On their turn, players roll all of their dice that haven't already been committed to a card, then place any of those dice that match targets on any of the cards. If anyone fulfills the targets of a single card (a pair of twos for example) they claim that card, take back their dice, and score the points indicated in the top corner of the card. Play continues like this until one player reaches 40 points and is crowned the victor!
2. Railroad Ink
|Number of Players||1-6|
|Designer(s)||Hjalmar Hach, Lorenzo Silva|
Sitting at the top of favourite roll & write board game since it was first released in 2018, Railroad Ink is a quick-playing game that can be played almost anywhere. Coming in a compact square box, the game includes six dice, players boards and dry-erase markers. Don't let the fact that there are only a handful of components fool you, each edition of Railroad Ink can be played with up to 6 players, and includes two expansions that can be added in at your leisure. With four 'core' versions, Deep Blue, Lush Green, Blazing Red, and Shining Yellow, each with their own unique ways to play the game, and seven mini expansions available, the combinations and replayability is almost endless with this game.
The goal of the game is to build a rail system connecting as many exits on your player board as possible. Players do this by rolling dice each round, the rolled symbols are then used by everyone to draw on their boards. At game's end, points are scored for the number of connected exits, and taken away for any incomplete routes. Careful planning and a dose of pushing your luck to extend those longer routes are the keys to victory in this one!
1. Hive Pocket
|Number of Players||2|
|Publisher||Smart Zone Games|
What makes the perfect travel game? Being able to be played anywhere that there is a flat surface checks the box for us. Hive Pocket is the pint-sized version of the strategic tile-laying game that doesn't use a game board. The game consists of twenty-two pieces, eleven black and eleven white. Each tile has a creature on it which determines their unique way of moving. Two players face off as they hope, fly, and crawl their pieces to be the first to surround the opponent's Queen Bee to win.
Hive Pocket begins with the first player laying a tile. As pieces are played, the playing surface is formed, with the pieces themselves being the board. Pieces are never eliminated and all pieces aren't required to be played. Players move their pieces according to the printed creatures unique conditions and lay additional tiles when they like, as they work to both surround the opposing Queen Bee while blocking their opponent from doing the same. A simple, yet elegant abstract game, Hive Pocket is our can't miss top pick for the best game to take on your next trip!