Pack those bags! It’s time to travel. And now, your board games can come too! Introducing our top picks for the best portable board games. These games are small, easy-to-pack, and provide hours of entertainment.
There are board games of all types to suit your traveling needs. Whether you’re on a long family vacation or a relaxing picnic with friends, these are great options to take along. Read on to find one that’s a good fit for both you and your suitcase.
Table of Contents
🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Portable Board Games
In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.
Tiny Epic Galaxies
Playing time: 30-45 minutes
Who says something tiny can’t also be epic? This portable board game packs entire galaxies into one travel-sized box.
Tiny Epic Galaxies is an area expansion game. Spread your control and strength over this outer space world. The current strength of your galaxy dictates how many dice you can roll. The dice enable actions such as gaining resources or influence over territories. Use your resources wisely to advance and earn Victory Points. The first player to 21 wins.
If you like this space-themed edition, check out the rest of Tiny Epic’s collection. There are several games with various themes and beautiful designs. They have a big-box feel in a tiny package so you can skimp on size, not on fun.
But that’s not all! If you need a Tiny Epic experience even smaller, try Ultra-Tiny Epic games too!
Playing time: 20 minutes
Traveling with friends or family can be difficult! They will inevitably bug us after some time. If you could use a friendly distraction, try this portable insect-inspired game for two.
Any flat surface can work as a hive. Take turns placing one tile at a time, ultimately trying to surround the opposing queen bee. Insects move differently according to their natural abilities. A grasshopper might hop a few tiles away, while the delicate queen can only move one space at a time.
Use your insects strategically to hunt down your prey – and hopefully squash that squabble. This game will have you buzzing in no time!
Playing time: 20 minutes
Sometimes all it takes to travel is thinking outside the box! Star Realms quickly transforms into a portable version by replacing the box with a bag.
Star Realms is a two-player card game. Duel it out as opposing realms. The goal is to weaken your opponent by attacking their authority. But first, you’ll need to collect the right cards. Trade cards to purchase ships and bases or use combat cards to attack.
You’ll discard your cards each turn. But don’t worry – you’ll come back to them later. The more you play, the more powerful the discard deck becomes.
Take the opposition to zero to be the star of this game!
Playing time: 15 minutes
Coup starts simply enough with two influence cards and two coins. On each turn, you have three options: take a coin, get two coins as Foreign Aid, or stage a coup. Influence cards can perform secret actions like blocking an attack.
It’s a game of hidden roles and trying to overpower your opponents. Do you have the right cards to steal their power? No worries if not. Fake it till you make it– just don’t get caught!
Railroad Ink Challenge: Shining Yellow Edition
Playing time: 15-30 minutes
Hop aboard this railroad challenge.
Railroad Ink Challenge comes with small individual boards, whiteboard markers, and dice. It’s compact and easy to set up on any surface. It’s a great portable option for players who enjoy spatial planning and puzzles.
Roll the dice to draw your networks. You might get railroads, highways, or stations — but make sure to connect them correctly. You can’t have a highway in the middle of nowhere after all.
The Shining Yellow Edition takes your trains to the desert. The addition of canyons and cacti adds even more of a challenge. Protect your cactus in an oasis, or a heatwave may wipe it out.
Build the best routes to get points. You’ll work independently but need to race others to complete bonus challenges.
There are many routes to take… but only one top engineer! Can you get on the right track to win? Use those networking skills to find out!
Playing time: 75 minutes
With Catan Traveler, you can travel to new lands as you play this all-time favorite board game. The compact version is similar to the original— with slight accommodations for size.
The travel-sized board has handy compartments to store pieces safely. Pieces are actually pegs that fit into the board securely. It’s the perfect setup for playing anywhere. If one thing is for sure, the contents won’t be shifting in this fight.
Use resources wisely to build roads, cities, and settlements across the board. Get to spaces first before your opponents take control of the land. The first player to ten points is victorious.
Playing time: 20 minutes
Love Letter is a Renaissance-themed card game. The Princess is in high demand, and you must race to deliver a love letter to her. But this task may prove more challenging than first meets the eye.
Cards represent different characters with unique abilities. Use them to sabotage opponents or get you closer to your goal. The powerful Prince can command a player to redraw cards. The insightful Priest can take a look at another’s hand.
Call in favors to get closer to the highly protected Princess. With a certain number of favors, you are sure to reach her safely.
Can you win the popular Princess’ heart? Only if you play your cards right…
Playing time: 60 minutes
Use your best self-deprecating skills to lower your player’s self-worth. Maybe you’ll fall down the stairs… or be assaulted by bears. Any type of misfortune is welcomed. So bring on that debt and disease, and reward your opponents with health and wealth.
And while death is inevitable, it’s best to be at an all-time low when it comes calling. The player with the lowest value will be rewarded in the afterlife. Plan ahead by enduring the worst fate of them all.
Despite its dark theme, Gloom is a lightweight game that adds some entertainment and storytelling to your travels.
Playing time: 30 minutes
Arboretum is a game of planning and planting. It’s simple to learn but requires enough strategy and patterns to keep you engaged.
Cards represent different types of trees. Players hold 7 cards in their hands. Each turn, take two new cards. Plant one tree and discard the other. Be strategic about your plant placement. You’ll want to create paths of similar trees for points.
When the main deck runs out, it’s time to count points. Only one player can benefit from each type of tree — so make sure to diversify that garden!
Will your garden path lead you to victory? Plant some seeds and watch them grow.
Playing time: 15 minutes
The aptly named Bananagrams comes in a cute, banana-sized pouch. It’s the portable, speed version of Scrabble.
In Bananagrams, players race to create individual word puzzles. Starting with 7 letter tiles, cleverly connect words downward or across. When all letters are used, yell “Peel!”— forcing all players to take two more tiles to add to their puzzles.
When all tiles have been taken, race to see who can complete their puzzle first. It’s a game of rearranging letters and playing with vocabulary. May the best word wizard win.
Have you tried any of the games on this list? Did we miss any of your favorites? Drop a comment below and let us know! We’d love to hear from you.
Cheryl is a teacher, writer, and board game fan. She likes incorporating games into all areas of her life, from classrooms and family nights to lively parties with friends. While she’s played too many to count, her favorites have always been classics like Codenames and chess.