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Trent Boardgamer
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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Ok so me and the misses are heading off to Japan over December to meet up with some friends and we are looking for a great game to take to occupy us during the nights.

I'm not looking strictly for a travel game per say, as the game will be played inside on a table. The travel/portability requirement is due to it needing to easily fit in my luggage as we will be transferring to several different hotels on our holiday (With a couple of flights). I'm happy to strip a game down from it's box to make it more portable, however we wouldn't want too many components (Cards such as from Code Names or Grass wouldn't pose a problem for instance).

So some specific requirements:

1) Needs to play 2-5 players as the numbers will fluctuate through these player counts.

2) Needs to be easy enough to teach and fast enough to play (within 1hr), but actually have some depth to it so we won't get bored after playing it for a few weeks.

3) Portable (As per above requirement). Does not need to be transported in original packaging.

4) All players are English speakers and we will not be able to play any Japanese Language Games

5) Would be prepared to acquire a game in Tokyo (If anyone knows a good game shop with English Language Versions)

6) Needs to be a fun game with no more than a medium complexity.

Three games I'm considering at the moment are Grass (Card Game), Code Names and King of Tokyo (Although all the bits are a bit of a concern for KoT).

My friends live in Japan so we will already have access to normal playing cards and poker chips etc.

Any suggestions that fit within the above would be appreciated for consideration.
 
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Jim Bolland
United States
Apple Valley
Minnesota
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Codenames is best with 6 or more.

Diamonds, Modern Art, Money!, Too Many Cooks, Where's Bob's Hat?, and Wizard are good card games.

Isle of Skye, Pandemic: The Cure, TransAmerica, and TransEuropa are good board games that might be portable enough.

Edit: I didn't check to see what's still in print. Some of these probably aren't.
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Annemarie Post
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Port Royal is great with all players counts you want, and very portable. Same goes for Hanabi. Though they are both easy and fast to play, I don't get bored of them soon.

+1 for Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
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Tom Bruno
United Kingdom
Chesterfield
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I am thinking you might want games that can be reduced down to just a deck of cards. I'm sure there will be stuff around with the complexity you require but are not component heavy. KoT is a lot of small pieces, even if you are playing indoors, i'd be wary about taking it on travels

first thing came to mind was DC Comics Deckbuilder - I have and enjoy the teen titans version. they come in a big box but are essentially a bunch of cards, nothing more. You could get a deck box to store them in. would be a stronger recommendation but it can take a fair bit longer than 1hour to play

Birds of a Feather is good fun, it can be just a deck if everyone has a phone/tablet they can download the score app to. or just use the pencil and paper score pad. Might be a bit too light, dunno if you might get bored playing it over and over. but there are variants in the rule book

Star Realms I know it says 2 player. but there are various 3+ player variants in the rule book and some expansions that I think improve it for more than 2. It is a great game and one worth looking at
 
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Mark Smith

Colchester
essex
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Tiny Epic Kingdoms and if you can get Tiny Epic Kingdoms: Heroes' Call as well even better.
Me and the missus take Peloponnes everywhere now and that is a great game. There is a card version now so that could be another one to look at.
 
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Shawn Harriman
United States
Lebanon
Oregon
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Eight-Minute Empire was the first game I thought of with your parameters.

Great little game. To us it gives a lot of big game play in a quick portable.
 
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Quantum Jack
United States
Kentucky
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Spyrium

Perfect fit. Small box, even more portable if you take it out. Naturally scales itself from 2-5 players. Simple worker placement rules, but with a depth of subtlety unmatched in its 45 min play window.

Coup

Even smaller and simpler. 2 player isnt as good, but still entertaining.

Grimoire

A couple of card decks, and a handful of victory point tokens. Small box, but eadily removable. Great guess/2nd guessing game. All about the doublethink and better with each additional player. 2 player is still solid, 5 player is a bit chaotic. I enjoy it more on the higher end.
 
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T. Ips
Denmark
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This screams Tiny Epic Galaxies to me
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John Smith
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+1 for Port Royal. Very portable and playable on cafe tables, though you might have to overlay a few cards sometimes if someone draws a ton of cards without "busting."

Games take about 20 minutes. The cards also double up as "coins" and that works well. There is a co-op mode included with the expansion. The expansion includes some slightly larger cards, so that should be fine for your needs.

I tend to play just base out and about because the expansion includes larger sized cards.

It plays very well at two, but is even better at three.

Why you should buy it: for me, this has the best, most fun, push your luck element I have seen, and a 20 minute push your luck game that is fun hits a sweet spot for me out and about. Tom Vasel had it number one on his list for push your luck games.

I like to take King of Tokyo as well on holiday. The box is fairly small and it's just a blast and I am in that kind of mood on holiday. It may not go down so well with people that hate random dice or attacking games. However, I don't feel it has much depth, so it may fall short for you there. Port Royal has just enough depth for me as a light thinky game and if the base is not quite thinky enough for you, there is the expansion.

And not least of all, it's very affordable.

If you are concerned King of Tokyo might be too light, consider King of New York instead. I have not played the latter as I am happy with Tokyo, I don't play it for depth. Just simple fun and for me it is so close to perfect for what I want from it! Love it!
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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Bring 3 small games!

Eight-Minute Empire: Legends is a great little game, but keep in mind it only goes to 4. You need to get Eight-Minute Empire: Lost Lands for the 5-6 player expansion.
Coup is great with 3 or more.
Innovation is great two player, although it does go up to 4.
 
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Will Beckley
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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Codenames, Hanabi, Coup, Sushi Go, For Sale, No Thanks, Skull, and Arboretum are worth a look. Stripped down, you could fit all of these in a small box.

Arboretum only goes to 4, but it is really great 2-4.

Carcassonne breaks into a pouch nicely. Escape: Curse of the Temple can be made rather compact.
 
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James C
United States
Great Falls
Virginia
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+1s to Port Royal, Coup and Money!

San Juan (second edition) and Linko! should work well too.
 
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Greg Lorrimer
United Kingdom
Harrow on the Hill
Middlesex
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Knizia's Razzia! 2-5 players. Unusually good spread of recommended player numbers from 3-5, but ok at 2.

Simplified Ra (a famous gamer's game). Social. Quick setup. Mini version of Ra with just cards and a few money tiles. Very easy rules - no need to be a gamer - but plenty of depth of course, the cards are mini (half the size of poker cards). Even the box is tiny. Probably has infinite replay.

But it's out of print. However you've got time to pick up a copy from BGG market (and paypal is usually all you need, very quick to setup and easy to use). I would recommend the English version as it comes with scoring guides for each player which aren't usable in the German version I have.

Razzia is one of those games whose rating suffers from "no point in this when you've already got X, traded", ie, already got Ra. But it also doesn't have the tension from the 'bad' tiles in Ra; but said to be more family friendly. It's still got a decent rating, though.

Some friends have Priests of Ra, another version of Ra but with some of Ra's issues sorted out, and different scoring. They play it at two and are really enjoying it. "Intense!". Obviously it's not so social at two. I expect the same is true of Razzia.

 
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Greg Lorrimer
United Kingdom
Harrow on the Hill
Middlesex
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Another option is to sharpie some standard playing cards.

Using 4 packs of standard playing cards (to get the jokers) I carry a travel pack with me that has 60 cards (just squeezes in to one of the card boxes, but may need to open and reglue if you try this, but in anycase I wrapped mine with scotch) with the following games; social with simple rules, some depth:

Bottle Imp (3-4 player, best at 3)
High Society, Knizia filler (4 player; would need another suit to reach 5)
Wizard (4-6 player)
Lost Cities, Knizia 2 player (reduced version, and shorter)

That covers a number of modern games (ie, avoiding runaway leaders, kingmaking etc).

More complex rules :

You can also markup the jokers to do Tichu (4 player).
 
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Greg Lorrimer
United Kingdom
Harrow on the Hill
Middlesex
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I forgot to add that a sharpied pack can do The Resistance; Avalon. Not so great at 5, your max. But brilliant at 7 and 8 if you suddenly find yourself caught out.

The mission cards need a double shuffle. Ie, spades for the 'fail' cards, shuffled then dealt out face down. Hearts for the 'success' cards. shuffled and dealt face down. Then no one can tell who put what in.

I have the remaining spades marked as the baddie characters, and the other hearts marked as the goodies.

I mark the mission distributions on other cards, as a guide so I don't need the rules or the boards.
 
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Ri
United States
California
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Antidote, Citadels, Fairy Tale, Pandemic: Contagion.
 
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Y P
United States
Mississippi
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6 nimmt! - you can use the 104-card deck to play 6 nimmt! (obviously), The Game, and a number of other games. See this geeklist for more ideas.

Bring Your Own Book - if everybody will be bringing a book you can play this party game where you race to find a phrase or sentence from a book that best matches the current prompt, for instance "a ridiculous tabloid headline". It's a deck of cards plus a sand timer that can be replaced with a mobile device.

Coloretto - set collection card game with some push-your-luck

Deep Sea Adventure - super fun push-your-luck game in a tiny package. This might be cheaper to get in Japan since it's by Oink Games, which is a Japanese company. Also consider their other games like TROLL and A Fake Artist Goes to New York.

FUSE - a realtime co-op game that lasts 10 minutes per run but you'll want to play multiple times in a row. Consists of a bag of dice and a deck of cards.

Parade - reverse set-collection game where you don't want to collect cards, except when you do! Beautiful artwork although the theme is pasted on. Simple but potentially brain-burning, and the final stage is full of tension as it can rejig scoring for everybody depending on which cards are played.

Paperback - deck building meets Scrabble. Cards are worth varying points and have different special powers when played. Excellent word game.

Sushi Go! - playing a sushi game in Japan--a natural combo. Simple drafting game with some strategic possibilities.

None of these games are particularly deep, but the variety of multiple games should keep your group entertained. Have fun!
 
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Trent Boardgamer
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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Thanks for all the suggestions, definately a few there that will do the job.
 
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Christian Klinton
Sweden
Mölnlycke
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Bohnanza is a good cardgame. Easy to bring along (only cards), takes about 30 minutes and has some depth. Havent tried the 2player option though.
 
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Simon Maynard
United Kingdom
Exeter
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Condottiere, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Citadels should all be seriously considered.
 
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