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Subject: Input on Ep 39: Traveling With Games rss

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Chris Steele
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Illinois
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This week we're talking summer vacations! Sort of.

What are some good games to travel with? Maybe games made to travel or games that are easy to travel with. What about alternate storage for games that might not be travel friendly in their original packaging?

Small card games seem like good choices. But games with more than a deck or two of cards seem problematic. Table footprint is also a concern.

What are you playing this summer?
 
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Steve
Montenegro
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Traveling with anything besides a card game is hard. I remember growing up my family would play a lot of Pit and Phase 10 whenever we went camping because that is all we would take.

But since I love engineering and strategy games, I do a little better now. I also have a folding picnic table that we take with us camping, so that helps.



I flew to Germany a couple weeks ago with my family and this is what I brought. (I wasn't camping in case you were wondering.) I made an insert for Star Wars: Rebellion which made it only take half of the box. Inserts not only add stability to the box, but can be designed to keep the components in place when transporting. While transporting a Rebellion box isn't exactly easy, I was able to put all the bags of pieces for Archipelago in the box as well as a couple other card games. By filing the box, and then wrapping the box in plastic wrap everything stayed put and traveled well in my suitcase.

Archipelago travels really well because it doesn't have any miniatures and the board is modular tiles instead of a large board, so that one is really easy to take with you as well.

Also, if you are going to be transporting multiple games with boards, you can put all of their boards together in the bag with your laptop or some other flat object that you care about, and they keep each other from warping. This is best if all the boards are similar size, but that is not a necessity.

Lastly, bagging all the different components, and labeling them which is the most important part, allows them to fit in a wide variety of containers. And just download the rules on your phone or other mobile device so that you have them.
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Michael Ohl
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This is something I have been thinking about myself. I have a few things I am planning out for car games, or things that can be played while driving. My idea for that this year is to try out RPG systems that have one page of rules for the entire game. Everyone is John is the one I plan to go with here though I did consider Lasers and Feelings but went against it solely due to the dice needs.

For games I plan to take along to play I will have a few staples, Love Letter, GYM, and SOW. If you aren't familiar with the last two they are from the Pack-o-Games series that packs a card game into the size of a pack of bubble gum. I also will have with me Tiny Epic Kingdoms as this can easily be transported and while it does take up table space it is not bad and Little Drop of Poison because it is small and fun. These are some of the games I know will work well with family and friends while waiting in line at a convention or when space is limited.

Then for the rest of the time when I know I will have a little more room I bring some of my favorite games such as Sheriff of Nottingham, Cry Havoc, Vikings Gone Wild, and Colony. For travel with them I purchased a cajon bag that is padded that will carry 7 or 8 games easily. I wouldn't take this with me on a plane most likely as it would probably be a bit expensive to add on the extra luggage, but I drive to most places I travel and avoid planes anyway. I've seen a few alternate storage solutions such as BitBox on Kickstarter but game boxes are on thing I love so much I can't see myself using this rather than the original game box. Though some games have ridiculous boxes for what is inside, I am considering going to Gamecrafter and getting a custom box printed for the game.
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Xelyn Toran
Germany
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We normally also just pack card games (The game, exploding kittens, ...). However after thinking about it I came to the conclusion that it's not simply about the table footprint, but more about the connected table footprint. What I mean is, that for a board you do obviously need a (plain) area which is almost as large as the board. However, card games may still need some space to lay down cards (plus draw deck, discard pile and so on). But while all that area may be as large as a board it doesn't need to be one conencted area. I feel that's why it's easier to play card games while traveling (the same applies to some dice games).
This does not touch on transporting problems like size and weight, but I feel the other commenters already had that covered. I never thought about RPG's, but even if you take some basic books that seems practical for traveling.
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Samir B
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rawlinsusmc wrote:


Also, if you are going to be transporting multiple games with boards, you can put all of their boards together in the bag with your laptop or some other flat object that you care about, and they keep each other from warping. This is best if all the boards are similar size, but that is not a necessity.



For transporting games I agree about bagging games. I'm going to cheat a little and just cut and paste my comments from a few weeks ago (which were already read on air once)

sbiswas23 wrote:

A note on packaging of games...
Chris' reboxing videos got me to start reboxing some of the games I have been playing more recently. I really took to heart your comment from a while back about using separate bags for each player to get the game started quicker. I took it a step further. For a recent trip, I took my organized materials and put each game into a separate large Ziplock bag. This let me carry 10 games all in one standard bookbag. (Onitama, 7 Wonders Duel, Not Alone, CV, For Sale, Codenames, Evolution, Guillotine, Dream Home, and Pandemic) Of course they all went back into their boxes when I got home.


As for good games for travelling, footprint is a big deal for the journey itself. I have a personal connection to "Six" because my wife and I played it all the time (in diners and restaurants, on the beach, on a plane, etc) when we were first dating and it came in a little pouch that made it easier to carry. I've heard that "The Insider" can be great in a car trip if you have enough players in the car. My friend brings "Tiny Epic Galaxies" along every once in a while on trips.

XelynToran wrote:
I never thought about RPG's,.


Me neither... but I am thinking that it would be great too.
Random thought but would a choose you own adventure book be too far removed from the conversation? I can see my wife and I enjoying one of those on a car trip. It's got narrative and decision making. It be like a mini verbalized Amerithrash game.


But this so aligns with a question I had. Are there games that you carry along when you go out just in case the option of playing comes up? I was out playing poker this past weekend and we started talking about board games and if I had Resistance, Tiny Epic Galaxies, or even the aforementioned Exploding Kittens, I'm sure we would have gotten a game in before the end of the night.

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Terrence Miltner

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My best travel suggestion for any game is to find some of these rubber bands. I found mine at a trade show for work and have since seen them in library supply catalogs listed as 4-way Rubber H-Bands.
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Christy
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When packing games for a trip, I lean toward games that have A) cards only, B) flat components only (such as Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases), and C) any of the above plus minimal other components. For example, Las Vegas requires cards and dice, but the cardboard Vegas "tables" can easily be left at home, and you can pack the rulebook in a file folder.

Here are some of my adapted tips from a geeklist last year when I brought a bunch of games on a train trip:

d10-1 Pack as efficiently as you can. If there are any components you can do without, such as score trackers, generic tokens, boards that are just for show, etc, leave them out. Some cards/tiles/scenarios are just for variety; take only what you need for however many games you think you might play. If you have any versatile components (dice, meeples, tokens, whatever), think about whether you can use them in multiple games, or maybe you can even use everyday items such as coins, paper clips, etc.

d10-2 Ditch the box whenever possible; good alternatives include plastic deck boxes, zippered cosmetics cases (good for bits, I had a pink sparkly one), and small hardware bags (ditto, I had several very manly ones).

d10-3 Put all your flat stuff -- rulebooks, player aids, essential boards, etc -- in one spot. I had an awesome, sturdy plastic file folder that was perfect for the job.

If you're into card games, check out the Quiver on Amazon. This is what I used for my train trip last year (overpacked but it was so much fun!).



A Midwestern Odyssey: Amtrak Con '016

And here's what I packed for a similar trip this year (flying):



Packing Light, Yokohama, Tabletop Game Talk, & Blueberry Muffins

Games packed include Kodama, Red7, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective (two cases), Las Vegas (minus the casino tables), the Castles of Burgundy card game, Tides of Time, and Sagrada.
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Scott Little
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Tigard
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I will echo what others have said. When I travel I ditch the game box and tend to bring card heavy games. On a recent trip I took Imperial Settlers. I put the cards in a small card box with the few wooden bits I needed. What about the player boards? Hmm, that is annoying. I was playing solo, so I took a quick photo of the relevant boards and used the photo as a reference. You could also quickly scan and print a copy of the boards to use for a multi-player game. It isn't as nice as the real cardboard, but it is much more portable. Most games have a rules pdf on BGG, so I load the rules pdf onto my phone or iPad. I never take rule books for that reason.

One other related air travel tip. I have had my bag searched because the cards and other components can look odd on the x-ray when doing carry on. Now, I always pull out my cards and put them in a bin like I would with my liquids and gels. It has so far prevented extra scrutiny at security.
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Shaun M
United Kingdom
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If a game only uses standard dice, some space could be saved by leaving those at home and using a mobile app instead.

I use Quick Die Roller on Android. It allows you to create a custom 'die bag' which contains the die combinations you need, e.g. 2d6+1d4 or 2d6+1 etc.
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Samir B
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I had a thought this morning of how a lot of the conversation is focused around the packing of games to play when you get to your destination, or of games groups can play together on the road.

For travelling on a plane or a train I have also started packing a couple of solo games that I can play with relatively little space like Friday and Island of Dr. Moreau. Card driven but entertaining, and as cmarie pointed out, leave the fiddly bits that can be done without at home and use a scrap of paper or an app on the phone to roll dice or keep tabs of scoring. (Just be prepared to explain what you are playing as your neighbor may never have seen games beyond Monopoly or Magic --
And you never know you may bring someone new into the hobby)

cmarie wrote:
Pack as efficiently as you can. If there are any components you can do without, such as score trackers, generic tokens, boards that are just for show, etc, leave them out. Some cards/tiles/scenarios are just for variety; take only what you need for however many games you think you might play. If you have any versatile components (dice, meeples, tokens, whatever), think about whether you can use them in multiple games, or maybe you can even use everyday items such as coins, paper clips, etc.


One more quick game that I found worked really well. For a camping trip one year I brought Dominion, but just the necessary materials and 20 supply decks that I enjoyed playing that did not require additional tokens or boards. We had a great time with lots of replayability, and it all fit in one quart sized Zip Loc bag with plenty of room to spare.
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Aaron Wan
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I've been thinking about magnetic games. Things like chess, backgammon, go, a modified hive, maybe even a modified santorini game might work!

the one thing i REALLY hate is having to look under the chair for stuff thats dropped in trains or planes and whatnot, and magnetised games would minimise that i think.

I don't think I've really travelled with any of my games though, short of some of my game prototypes.
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Jason Rodney
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Moore
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Hi Tabletop Game Talk,

You raise some good concerns on traveling with games. The major factor in traveling with games with me is "my Wife". She does not game like me, and does not want to play medium or heavy games and neither do I when I am vacationing. Selecting games depends on the fun-factor for us both. For our Hawaii trip we took "Timelines". With a small footprint and quick setup, it was perfect for us. Most of our travels just include me and her. I do like travel games that do have a high player as well. Because you never know who you will meet.

My travel games are:
- Timelines
- Any Tiny Epic game - great for solo play too.
- Munchkin
- Burke's Gambit (or any social deduction game)
- Codenames
- Scrabble (the wife and I's favorite)
- Love Letter
- Farkle
- BananaGrams
- Star Trek Five Year Mission
- Red 7
- Hollywood Game Night
- Dominoes/Poker deck of cards (a must when visiting her family)

thanks,

Jason
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Christy
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Shaun's die roller app idea is super cool! (as long as you don't need to place dice or really do much of anything with them other than roll them)

+1 Scott's comment about flying with cards. Especially if they are shrink-wrapped together or if you have a full deck box, the density of cards can look suspicious to the TSA. Taking them out ahead of time is a great idea, much better than trying to reassemble the contents of your luggage once they've taken it apart.

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Steven Sites
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Not a lot of experience traveling with games on flights as I have 4 kids 3 of which are below the age of 5 so I have traveled with games. I usually take the board game with most air in it and then fill it with card games. Buy my wife does a really good job of packing everyone clothes and other essentials that I can make space to bring one or two heavy hitter games. However when that Gloomhaven box shows up at my door in August.... We will have to wait and see about that one.
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Michael Ohl
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So I loved this episode, it has been one of my favorite, but still I like Tricking out your games better but this was still fun. I liked reading all the other comments and then hearing the discussion form all you. I really recommend Everyone is John for car rides. It is a blast and always gets raucous.

Now for my travel solution I mentioned, I figure I should get in on the picture game. Here is my small game bag, with some of my largest games inside. If I remove Cry Havoc I can get 2 to 3 more games inside as well as I can fit 6 or so more small games such as card games and small box games. I mention the small one because I have a larger bag I don't carry around any more. This I got at Walmart for $10 and is just as good quality.

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Steve
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So I was listening to your podcast and as you talked about making portable versions, it accrued to me that I did that with Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization. I remade all of the cubes out of magnets, made all the cards as 1" x 1.5" with only a small clip art image, and a bag for each deck. I put everything in a 1' x 1' metal tin, and now I can play it on the plane. It is only 2 player as that is all that I made it, but one person gets the top lid, one person gets the bottom of the tin, and the cards slide along some wood tile holders I stole from a copy of scrabble. Then when we are getting ready to land, we just bag up the cards in small bags so they stay in order, close the tin, and we can reopen it and finish when we get to the hotel. I do not recommend it though, because it was a ton of work. But when you really like a game......
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Christy
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Along with what Steve said, and as a follow-up to the mention of Bananagrams in the episode: I did make a travel copy of Santorini using a copy of Bananagrams after backing the KS campaign at the print-and-play level. Ugly as all heck, but it technically works.

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John Riemenschnitter
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one of my favorite travel games is mint works, which is a worker placement game for 1-4 players that literally fits in an altoid mint sized tin.

i also often carry pairs, which is a classic pub game that's just a deck of cards, rocky road a la mode, sushi go, and roll for it. all of these are small footprint, easy to teach, and play in the 15-30 minute range...
 
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