Don’t forget to pack the games!

IMG_2879I’m back!  Yes, the lack of articles over the last 2 weeks is because I was on vacation.  And I offer up this photo from my trip to kick off my rant about games and travel.

In this photo you can see my husband playing Ms. Pac-Man at the airport in San Juan.  They have old arcade games peppered throughout the terminals and given that we had five hours to sit around, my husband and I really appreciated them.

Here in the US if you end up in an American Airlines Admiral’s Club you can find games by Buffalo Games, Fundex, Out of the Box, Hasbro. Rio Grande, Top Trumps, Live Oak and more.  They were put there by Nate Scheidler, Organizer of the Chicago Boardgames Meetup Group, to give weary travelers not only something to do but also exposure to new and different games.  It’s a great idea and I wish it could spread beyond the doors of the Admiral’s Clubs, but until that happens, you’ll have to pack your own.

AmericanAdmiralsClubGames2I personally think that games are the best way to kill time.  As I mentioned in my Yahtzee article, I keep a dice and some score sheets in the trunk of my car in case of an emergency.   I also toss in my bag a couple games when I’m traveling because you never know when you’re going to be stuck in an airport or in your hotel because of rain and nothing makes those long waits more enjoyable than a couple rounds of your favorite game.   This trip I brought: Cinq-o, Yahtzee and Bananagrams and I wished we had room for the travel backgammon.

So what should you pack?  Chung Wu who is a Design Manager at RC2/Learning Curve (and my ex-coworker at Meyer/Glass) says “Containment is key.” He selects things that won’t explode into a billion pieces if dropped.  I think that it should be small, light weight and have a TON of repeat play value.  To make your selection a little easier I’ve asked a couple people what they bring and here were their answers:

  • Nate brings Pickomino, SET, and My Word!
  • Chung Wu brings his electronic versions of Boggle, Battleship, Yahtzee and Connect 4
  • Game inventor and craft guru Peggy Brown brings Toss Up with her everywhere
  • ChiTag director Mary Couzin brings a just a plain deck of cards
  • My sister Emily brings UNO, Skip-Bo, Cinq-o and a plain deck of cards
  • My other sister Amy brings Apples to Apples if she’s going with a group

What game(s) do you bring with you when you travel?


Add yours
  1. Paul

    Regardless of the game, I just like them to have a bit of nail bitting action. I don’t mind the stompings from time to time (the give and take of said stompings) but nothing beats a close game that finishes well.

  2. Nate S

    There are a surprising number of games you can “make portable”. If you take a standard Settlers of Catan game out of the box, you could make all the pieces fit into a much smaller container. Odin’s Ravens, Lost Cities, even Dungeon Twister. While not all of these are necessarily “light” games, longer holdovers usually have you looking for longer and more engaging diversions.

  3. Emily

    While there are a billion pieces to it, I really like the travel version of Scrabble as well. It’s fairly compact, and set up so the tiles can’t move around. Great game for killing hours on a plane.

  4. Chung Wu

    You’re right Kim! You can never know when a emergency Yahtzee situation might occur! That’s why I also keep dice, golf pencils and score cards in a ziplock baggie in my car! Last time I checked I beat you 😉

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