I travel extensively for work and whilst I have an IPad loaded with all manner of gaming goodness, my wife and daughter have commandeered that and disallowed me from taking it abroad after it went to darkest Africa with me. And buying another one is out of the question. So I spend most of my time at the airport or on the plane reading or catching up on shows on the company laptop, as PC games can get boring pretty easily for me.
With that in mind Ive got a work trip coming up wherein Im driving to Ottawa, flying from there to Miami and then flying from Miami to DC and then flying back to Toronto, all in 10 days. So I got lotsa time to kill on planes trains and automobiles and need games to fill it in.
Any game ideas, and reasons for your choice would be great.
Very cheap and easy to carry solo game. Will be able to fit easily on whatever surface you get to plan on.
It may get a bit monotonous, but I find it very difficult so if you keep playing till you win it'll probably last a while. It also comes with a couple expansions out of the box so that should help replayability.
Personally, I like it's predecessor Onirim better, but I think this is better for plane travel for a couple reasons. Difficulty may make it last longer (I'm 6-5 at Onirim, 0-4 in Urbion). Also, all that shuffling in Onirim would be sure to drive your fellow passengers (and possibly you) crazy.
I was an airline employee traveling all the time before I was a true geek. So naturally, when I became a geek, I immediately looked for games that packed into my carry-on, had durable boxes, could be packed in very little space, played solitaire for my work trips, and of course, played on one tray table.
Contrary to popular recommendation, most card games take up too much space. And dice games are frankly a very bad idea for multiple reasons.
Here is a short list of the games that work best for solo flights:
Adaman - Great game system all together in the Decktet. Adaman is a fast-playing, interesting numbers game that takes up minimal space. Onirim - The only problem with Onirim is that there is a lot of shuffling. I do everything in my power not to be "that guy" on flights. So I only felt comfortable playing this one when nobody was sitting next to me. Constant shuffling can be pretty annoying for the neighbor. For $olitaire - This is a solo variant for For Sale.
As you can see from the short list above, there really aren't very many that will fit on a tray table. And when you get your drink, things get really cumbersome. After years of trying, I finally decided the best thing to do was pack a meaty game into my carry-on, bring the rulebook on the flight to study it well, then pull out the game once I get to the hotel. This made my travels very enjoyable and I experienced some great solo games like Thunderbolt Apache Leader, Gears of War: The Board Game, D-Day Dice, Mage Knight Board Game, etc. etc.
Now if you are looking for two player games, see my next item...
If you're traveling with a gaming partner, and you have two tray tables to work with, things suddenly get much more pleasant.
Here are the games that my wife and I have enjoyed while we have enjoyed our flight privileges working for the airlines:
Battle Line is our favorite game as a couple. It fits on two tray tables. It's tight, but it fits. Parade - Also a tight fit; especially when the parade gets really long. Sometimes we have to temporarily swing the line of cards into a second row. But this usually only lasts a turn or two as one of us is eventually going to nab a bunch of cards in one turn. A big part in this great little gem. Morels - Also a tight fit because of the long row of cards, but it's not as long as it gets with Parade. Biblios - This one might be one of the tightest fits I know of. The board is only there to hold the dice (you don't roll these dice, otherwise I would not recommend it). Bharg - This is another game that plays with the Decktet. It's like Gin for Decktet owners. But better than Gin. Balloon Cup - I'm not sure if it's still out of print, if not, snatch it up quickly. It's a goodie. It's probably my second-favorite, small 2p game after Battle Line. Haggis - Trick-taking game for 2 or 3 that works great. Hanabi - This actually fits easily on one tray table, so it's too bad it doesn't play solo. It's a true co-op, where the rules require that there be more than one person. Great game for a plane. Hey, That's My Fish! - Get the small edition and it easily fits on one tray table. Use the other tray table for your drinks and peanuts. Jaipur - It's tight, but it also fits on two tray tables. I use the box to hold the tokens. It got a little cumbersome after the service, but there were no spills.
Lastly, there are the standard travel classics like BlokusTravel Edition and IngeniousTravel Edition. If you like abstracts, that's a good way to go.
Hope this helps. Good luck, have fun, and safe travels!