We’re all going on a summer holiday……..Sir Cliff may have sung about it, but we are all doing it. Before arriving at your vay-cay spot, however, you’ve got to pack the necessities. And I don’t mean shades, shorts, and sun cream. I mean, games, games, and well, games, of course! Travel + Games = a very fun time.
To help you pack lighter than a feather floating atop a candyfloss cloud, here are some travel friendly games that will get you puzzling over your piña coladas and strategizing over your sunbeds without weighing you down!
Ubongo To Go is the latest in a series of brilliant polyomino based spatial puzzle games by KOSMOS. Ubongo actually means “brains” in Swahili, and whether it is the original, travel, 3D, Extreme , Junior, or this version, you’ll be using yours to shift shapes like a pro.
Rather than competing against others and a timer like in the original Ubongo, however, this To-Go version is a super portable solo-able game all tucked neatly into a splash proof (!) plastic carry case. Perfect for gaming on the go!
There are 20 puzzle cards, each with 7 alternative challenges on them. Placing the card you want to solve on the top, you then clip the plastic cover down securely over it and find the pieces which are all tucked neatly in a handy, space saving, pull out drawer underneath.
Your task is to completely fill the grid with no overlaps or gaps. Each card contains multiple challenges (i.e. using different shapes to fill the same grid) providing over 200 opportunities puzzle whilst you top up your St Tropez tan, babes!
Even though it is a solo-able game, that doesn’t mean others can’t get in on the action. Pass the box around the restaurant table and you’ll be guaranteed of a nice, quiet relaxing meal whilst your nearest and dearest puzzle over their pasta primavera!
A travel friendly game all about travel – how marvellously meta!
Now everyone who knows me knows I love roll and writes and flip and fill games. They’re portable, versatile, accessible, easily scalable, and can be fast and fun or chunky and crunchy.
Boomerang Europe is a pen and paper game for 2 – 4 players with a bit of a twist. The objective of the game is to tour around Europe on different methods of transport, visiting as many countries as you can. Whilst doing so, you’ll be trying to visit national treasures and sample their finest cuisines. Played over 4 rounds, the traveller with the most points at the end is declared the perkiest passenger!
But, instead of rolling a dice or flipping a card to determine your action, you have a hand of cards which you will be picking and passing. Yep, it is a closed drafting-writing game of a most unique kind. And with a small pad and a single deck of cards, it takes up less space than your eye mask and ear plugs!
With 28 countries to visit over 4 “holidays”, you’ll be inspired to tour around the best places in Europe. Watch out for your fellow travellers, however, because they can see your travel itinerary developing. And knowing they are going to be passing you cards every turn could inspire them to hate-draft your holiday into disarray! And if you like Boomerang Europe, you can always extend your travels to Boomerang USA and Boomerang Australia.
Parrrrrrtttayyyy people, listen up. It’s time to get your Groundhogs knocking and your Gorillas beating. We know the rule; what happens on holiday stays on holiday. So making fools of yourself over technicolour drinks and questionable food choices with new friends is going to happen. And what better way to get to know new travel buddies than with a game?!
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a ridiculously simple game that brings out the crazy, competitive streak in everyone. Going round in a circle, you each lay a card from your own pile. Regardless of what picture that card shows, you say the word that comes next in order. As soon as the word said matches the picture on the card just laid, however, you need to slap your hand down on the central pile.
Whoever is last takes all the cards. And if anybody lays a special card, you must do an action before any happy slappy action goes down – beating your chest like a gorilla, knocking the table like a groundhog or forming a horn on your head like a narwhal. The first player to lose all their cards wins the game. Watch out though – if you’re too eager beaver or you slap when you shouldn’t, those cards are going to be yours! A single deck of cards, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is going to be in your backpack or pool bag for sure!
We are die-hard Rummikubers. And this travel version, with smaller tiles and collapsible racks, it takes up a lot less space but achieves exactly the same brilliant game play!
Just like it’s big brother, Rummikub Travel is played over a number of rounds (or even a single game if time is tight). To win, you have to be first to get rid of all your tiles (which come in four colours numbered 1-13). And you get rid of them by laying them down in sets (or "runs") of at least 3 tiles. Runs must be either consecutive numbers of the same colour or multiples of the same number using the four different coloured "suits".
After the first turn (where you must lay tiles which total at least 30 or else you keep picking up tiles each turn until you can!), you can add tiles from your rack to existing sets or to create new ones. You can mix the tiles around on the table as much as you need in order to fit them in. But beware – any meddling comes with a 3 tile pick up penalty if you can’t make all the sets fit together by the time you’re done! There are also two smiley face Joker tiles which are wild and can represent any number or colour. If you can’t lay a tile on your turn, you must pick one from the communal pool.
At the end of the game, the winner’s score is the total of all the tiles left on the other players’ racks. And those jokers are no joke – if you have them on your rack and end-game, that’s a 30 point penalty! Ouch!
This is a great space saving version of the full game. And, by using the box lid as a pool for the communal tiles, you’ll be able to get your Rummikub fix on top of anything from an aeroplane tray table to a sweaty sleeping bag! Haha
So there we have it. Some game ideas to see you through your jolly holidays until you are reunited with your beloved collections at home! Have a brilliant summer, everybody, and don’t forget – shade and sunscreen really are holiday and homestay essentials!