Games to take on Holiday (or Vacation)

Summer is here and the kids are out of school and you know what that means? Holidays, unless you’re American, in which case vacation! My earliest holiday memory is a camping trip in Tenby, Wales. You may never have visited the glorious Celtic valleys and if you haven’t you’re probably not aware that their most defining feature is the way in which water constantly falls from the sky. This meant I spent a week of playing dominoes and simple card games. You don’t want to be taking dominoes on your holiday; you want something a little more special. So whether you’re sunning yourself poolside on some exotic Caribbean island or sitting in a tent off the Welsh coast desperately trying to keep your underpants dry, here are a collection of five games that can fit into even the smallest suitcase.

Love Letter

It’s a tiny deck of cards in a handsome velvet pouch and it’s all you need for hours of fun. Love Letter is a simple concept; you are trying to get your suitor’s love letter to the princess of Tempest. This is achieved by passing the letter between castle staff or, more literally, by taking a card and then discarding a card. Whoever has the highest rated card at the end of the round wins. It’s a simple combination of role selection, deduction and player elimination until the remaining player gets their letter to the princess.

With small a small package containing a fun, yet simple game, Love Letter is the perfect travelling game. It takes no room to play and although it contains some fiddly wooden cubes you don’t need to worry about them as they’re only score counters.

Lords of War

When travelling you want something small and card based games fit the bill nicely. Lords of War is a simple yet tactics laden game of combat that packs up into a tiny box. Two decks and a simple piece of paper is all you need to get killing each other in an abstract fashion. Lords of War is similar in style to Summoner Wars but contains fewer components and removes the dice for those that are afraid of cube based randomness. Its quick, its replayable and its small, perfect vacation gaming.

Magic: The Gathering

Nearly all collectible card games make good travelling games due to their compactness. The current hotness of course is Netrunner but it has a tendency to expand and take up a lot of space that may be at a premium. I suggest you stick to the classic that is Magic: The Gathering. I’m going to go a step further and suggest that, instead of splashing out on a huge amount of starter decks and random boosters, the perfect vacation companion is a dual deck.

Magic Dual Decks contain two premade decks that have been carefully constructed to be balanced against each other. Pop a pair of these in your suitcase and you don’t need to worry about being torn apart by cards that cost more than the price of your flight. Nor do you have to be concerned about building or tweaking your decks. Ignore the meta game, just shuffle them up and away you go. Its then you’ll remember why Magic was so good in the first place.



You’ll no doubt be investing in various sprays and lotions to keep the bugs away from you while on holiday but here’s a collection of bugs that you will want to keep with you. Hive is an abstract tile laying game where the aim is to surround your opponent’s Queen Bee. It’s another one of those games that fits into a small bag and takes up a tiny amount of table space. With a finite number of tiles even the most sprawling of games won’t make many demands on your space.

The Resistance

All of the games mentioned so far, with the exception of Love Letter, have been two player affairs but what if it’s a huge holiday, with mums, dads, aunties and uncles or just a random load of people. Then you want a game that can play with loads of people The Resistance is a game about secret agents in a dystopian future, weeding out the traitors in your mix and can include ten people. Its takes the form of a simple deck of cards that designate leaders, allow players to vote on the mission team and secretly support or sabotage the meeting. If dystopian futures aren’t your thing then Ultimate Werewolf is a more understandable theme with a similar style of game. Either ways it’s a game where bluffing is king and accusations get thrown around. Just don’t blame me if it causes a family feud.

So here are a few simple suggestions that playing games on your summer break that will fit snugly into your hand luggage. Do you have a favourite holiday or vacation game? Let us know in the comments below.

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