Packing for your summer holiday and feeling like something’s missing? If you’re reading this, then it just might be a board game. But which one? There are countless games to choose from, but not all travel easily. Here are the 7 best board games to take on summer holiday.
Our Top Picks for Best Summer Holiday Board Games
In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.
Tiny Epic Galaxies / Tiny Epic Quest
The Tiny Epic Series pack a punch in their epically tiny packages. Each of the Tiny Epic games has its own theme and game style. My favorites are Tiny Epic Galaxies and Tiny Epic Quest.
While solo gaming is an option for any of the Tiny Epic series, my solo play go-to is Quest for its easy setup and Zelda-esque vibes. Traveling across a fantasy kingdom, sneaking past goblins, exploring temples in search of treasure; this game is certainly reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda.
When I’m in the mood for galactic domination, Galaxies is my go-to. With so many options within the series to choose from, you’ll most definitely find a favorite to stow and go.
Any of the series’ 1-5-player games can easily fit into your carry-on luggage, backpack, or tote bag. Whether you’re traveling solo or with others, their solo or multiplayer game options are the perfect games to fit any itinerary.
Hanabi is a 2-5 player cooperative card game where the goal is to create an awesome firework show by reorganizing the hot mess of materials given. Players rearrange the materials by playing the cards in the correct color and numerical order, before running out of fuse tokens. The catch, though, is that you can’t see the cards in your hand, so try not to look as you help each other reorganize an amazing firework display.
Hanabi is quite compact and one of the most portable games on this list, fitting into most back pockets, so there’s no excuse for not having enough room to pack this game.
Forbidden Island is one of my favorite travel picks and I am still mesmerized by the beautiful artwork.
In this 2–4-player cooperative game, players are a group of adventurers searching for 4 sacred treasures on the island, but they have to act fast as the island is sinking! The goal is to find all 4 treasures and make a sweet escape off the sinking island before it submerges forever.
With a super easy setup and configurable difficulty, this game has huge replay value and is an excellent gateway game for non-gamers and kids alike.
The box is smaller than the size of a textbook and much lighter, so it can easily fit into any bag. However, if you’re strapped for space, leave the box at home and bring the game along in a gallon or quart-sized ziplock bag.
King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is an epic king-of-the-hill monster battle board game for 2–6 players. The only ways of winning are by either being the first monster to gain 20 victory points or the last monster standing. The game starts out with all players outside of Tokyo and the quickest way to muster up points is by getting inside the city and staying. One major caveat, though, is the inability to heal your monster within the city walls. Will you have what it takes to be the King of Tokyo?
I don’t know about you, but I know I certainly have what it takes to bring this along on my summer travels. I don’t bring the box, though. I don’t like checked luggage, so I stuff all the components into a ziplock bag and I’m good to go.
Love Letter is the ultimate travel game of risk, deduction, and courtship for 2-4 players. While trying to win the affection of the princess with your love letter, you must deter other suitors’ letters from reaching her. You win by gaining the most tokens of affection from her highness.
Love Letter is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, so it’s perfect for a summer fling.
Century: Spice Road
With Century: Spice Road, you’ll find cards, spice, and everything nice! Travel back in time to the 17th century Spice Road with this casual deck-building card game for 2-5 players. The road to victory is by building the largest spice empire. To build your empire, trade or harvest spices and use them to buy victory point cards. The player with the most points wins.
The game is about the size of a hardcover novel, so it is portable. There is always the option to forgo packing any boxes and bringing the game along in smaller condensed bags. The game has an optional playmat that isn’t necessary for gameplay, but it certainly adds to the ambiance and is more aesthetically pleasing otherwise. The beauty of the playmat is that it’s thin and flexible, allowing you to pack it flat or roll it up nicely to suit your Tetris packing needs.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a 4-12-player murder mystery social deduction game, where you try to guess who the murder is or if you are the murderer, try to get away with that murder. Players start out as a team of investigators and a forensic scientist aka the game master, however, the killer is amongst the team. The objective is to sniff out who the murderer is, while the murderer (and accomplice if there are 6 or more players) tries to get away with it.
While this is the largest boxed game on the list, the components can be easily repackaged in a gallon-sized ziplock bag or several smaller ziplock bags (if you’re more organized than I am) for easy stowing. Gameplay takes about 20 minutes, so fun can be had anywhere on your travels.
The playing time for all of these games average about half an hour, so whether you’re killing time on a layover or winding down at the hotel, there is always time on your summer holiday to play. Which game will you be taking with you on your summer travels?
We hope you enjoyed our picks for the best board games to take on a summer holiday. Drop a comment below and let us know your favorites too!
Find even more Travel Board Games in our video below:
Kendra has always been a hardcore fantasy nerd. Growing up in the worlds of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, and Abercrombie, DnD & board games just came naturally. She and her husband, Bryan, started GameCows.com in 2018 as a fun passion project that just took over their lives. An avid board gamer since childhood and chronic DnD chronicler for more than two decades, she loves to play, write, travel, and learn dead languages.