Diddy tables!…that’s right!
Mugs of coffee and titchy, portable tables. Well, that’s the only gaming surface I find myself with when camping…actually even a body board will suffice on the beach…
…but, to be fair, what I usually do is not even camping, as such… I have a portable hotel with lights and a fixed double bed and seats and a kettle and everything…. but the table is diddy, nonetheless. This diddy table phenomenon lead me to thinking about what games are feasibly wondrous to take camping. Obviously small, fit in the pocket Loveletter type games are an obvious choice but I play solo and often want a much bigger gaming experience.
My initial thoughts were…oh I just can’t be arsed, it’s sunny outside… but I later reconsidered and I have now given second and even some third thoughts to what gaming is actually possible whilst out in the wilds. I originally intended to do a short article about this very topic but it soon became apparent that I would be required to continually add to the article every time I went on holiday. This would demand the compulsory editing of such an article and would not be overly practical for existing readers who wished to re-visit to look at the eddied additions. As such, I decided to make this a whole affair a completely new section on BSoMT.
And so without any a-do I present “In Tents Solo Boardgames”. Initially I have broken my camping game experience into three categories but this may see further devision, subdivision and complication.
In Tents Solo Boardgames: a campers Guide
Pockets bulging, suitcase crammed to bursting, I take to the wilds, equipped for untold hours of gaming in the open air…and by open air I really mean open air that is enclosed by canvas. A tent/awning, no less. Outdoors, yes. But that hater of games; the wind, cannot wreak havoc with my choice of entertainment whilst I remain within my canvas castle.
All too often one can see groups of people, families, even individuals sat about a tiny camping table in the centre of a field with a single deck of traditional playing cards. O.K. this may well provide hours of outdoor entertainment but even from childhood I have had an utter dislike for such ventures. Where is the theme.? The point of the game? The wondrous artwork? No! A deck of cards is just not enough to scratch that gaming itch. So what can we, the soloist do about this? What should we dare take away on holiday…or vacation, if you are of that persuasion, and how can we possibly gauge its suitability for a tent or caravan…or even a suitcase for a hotel/B&B get away?
A recent getaway to Cornwall set me to thinking. I have always stashed away copious quantities of boardgames for any holiday and not just titchy play in the hand card games…big whoppers too. But from a practicality point of view I wondered what boundaries could be pushed to provide us with that so important solo game experience.
I shall endeavour to provide some useful pointers, a camper’s guid, if you like, for soloists. The big, the bad and the ….something else that begins with a be to make a catchy phrase. Weight, size, footprint and components to loose, game length…and entertainment value…I might even be tempted to roll that BSoMT 1d8 die for a solo camping suitability rating. Actual gameplay reviews will be linked with each game mentioned (or a space for a link ready for when I finally get around to penning my gaming thoughts)
- In Tents Solo Games: in a pocket–
(Link coming soon) here I will explore games that offer solo play, come in small packages and, if we wear trousers with big enough pockets, might even keep them about our person. So, in other words, titchy, portable games that are the obvious choice to take out and about
Gaming in a pocket
- Pocket Landships
- COIN Tribe’s Revolt
- Black Sonata
- Aether Captains: Pirates and Traders
- (More to come)
- In Tents Solo Games: Small box, big feet–
(Link coming soon) a category of games that come in small boxes (or boxes that will not challenge a bag or suitcase but offer a big footprint game…not too ungainly as to swamp a portable table but that offer a “big box game feel’ for the soloist but take up little space in a packing regime
Small box, big feet
- Carcosa (solo mode)
- Attack of the 50 Foot Colossus
- A Victory Spoiled
- Death on the Rails (solo mode in the making)
- Escape the Dark Castle
- Waggle Dance (solo variant)
- In Tents Solo Games: Big box, Small feet–
(Link coming soon) as the title suggests, here I will be looking at bigger game boxes that, although consume valuable packing space in our cars, bags or cases, but offer enormous gameplay for us, the budding soloist, without requiring a sports hall to layout the components. This is the most interesting group for me as the occupants within offer the biggest logistic challenge but equally offer the largest gaming experience, pushing the boundaries of camping game experience.
Big box, small feet
- Darrien Appocolypse
- Nemo’s War
- Castle Panic/Dead Panic
- Liberty or Death (a special case)
- Cornish Smuggler (with my own card driven solo AI)
- In Tents not so solo board games (some little gems that are not so solo in nature but ideal for taking camping)[
- Hellfire Club
So, to conclude my introduction, I hope to provide such useful information as weight, box dimensions, footprint, ease of use camping, potential pitfalls and practicality. Any in-depth game experience reviews will be available via inserted links… This is not a review exercise in the truest sense of the term, but more a suggestion for those wondering what to take away with them when taking a holiday or trip.
I will point out at this juncture that several games I will be including are actually Print & Play versions and in several cases have been printed out at 50% original size. In these cases I will try to relate actual size to help those considering production copies of said games. I also multipack too…where a useless empty box such as most of those offered by Fantasy Flight Games offer valuable accommodation for bagged up components of smaller games.