In my last entry, I wrote about how I almost always pack a bag of games if I know that I’m going to be going out gaming. However, I also tend to have a game or three on me, even when I don’t have any plans for gaming at all. I like to think that this is because I’m always prepared, although my family tells me it’s because I’m obsessed.
Indeed, there are some games that basically live in my courier bag. I keep a copy of Pico 2 and Proton in one of the pockets. I actually have gotten a far bit of play out of Pico 2 because of this. The fact that it’s only eleven cards and could be played just about anywhere except underwater helps. (I suppose I could play Proton underwater. However, Pico is honestly the better game of the two)
Needless to say, there are certain things that you look for when it comes to games that you toss in your bag or your jacket pocket. For one thing, they should be small and light. There may be people who cart around Agricola on the off chance some stranger in the street will want a game of it but I’m not one of them. They also shouldn’t have a lot of small, easy to lose pieces. It doesn’t hurt if they don’t have a big footprint when you set them up for play either.
In addition, we’re basically talking about light games that don’t take a lot of time. Fillers, if you will. The kind of games that end up fitting into those unscheduled nooks and crannies of opportunity and free time tend to be short ones.
One game that set the benchmark for me is Cinq-O. While I haven’t played the game much in recent years, I have many fond memories of playing it at laundry mats and restaurants and picnics. Since the game consists of six dice plus a hard plastic container/board that is just large enough for said dice, it’s easy to pack and carry anywhere. It also isn’t a bad little game, basically a simplified yahtzee where you don’t have any score sheets. It’s no Dominant Species but it fills its niche nicely.
However, these days, I have another game that tends to be my pocket game of choice, one that will come as no surprise for folks who have read some of my past entries. The standard deck of cards.
Man, am I ever going to run out of good things to say about playing cards? Not only can you play a wide variety of games with them, many of them really good games, but they take up less space than a paperback book. (For my younger readers, a book is a luddite e-publication) And, if anything happens to them, a deck of cards is one of the easiest things to replace. They even make them waterproof these days.
A deck of cards is like carrying around a game closet in your pocket. Sure, that’s coming from someone who has shelves of other games in his closet but if I am going to stuff just one game in my courier bag or jacket pocket, it’s going to be a deck of cards.