Six Pocket Sized Games for the Travelling Gamer!

Well, summer is just about here and most of you will, no doubt, be turning your minds to your well earned summer vacations. Whether jet setting off in search of warmer climes or packing the car and heading to the nearest beach, you’ll be left with one sad realisation…. You can’t take your gaming collection with you! A week without a gaming fix is unthinkable, but don’t despair, I’ve got you covered. So, before you start trying to squeeze that copy of Gloomhaven into your suitcase, here’s a list of games you can travel with and still have room for sunscreen!

Port Royal.

Here we’ve got a neat little ‘push your luck’ game from designer Alexander Pfister. Players will be drawing cards in an attempt to gain as many coins as possible, which in turn they’ll spend on recruiting new crew in a race for influence points. Ship cards will determine how much money you could walk away with on your turn, just be careful not to get too greedy…. If you draw the same colour ship twice on your turn, that’s your turn over and you’ll get nothing! If you’ve got plenty of cash you can spend your turn recruiting a new crew member. There’s a variety of crew that not only give influence points, to get you closer to victory, but also provide some bonus abilities. The crew special abilities really spice things up and add some extra depth to things. Gameplay is simple, in this pirate themed card game, as players are forced to choose between a safety first approach or taking more risks for higher rewards. Despite it’s simple mechanics, there is still just enough strategy in there to keep things interesting.

Sail to India.

Here’s a small box game that packs a surprisngly big punch. Sail to India will see players collecting and selling goods as they explore trade routes, develop settlements and expand their nautical influence. There are some really clever mechanics at work here and it’s far more sophisticated than its little box might lead you to believe. There are plenty of interesting strategic decisions you’ll need to make. Most actions and decisons are carried out through cube placement, but the game has some really neat mechanisms in place to force you to really balance the way in which you use and deploy your cubes. You’re going to need at least three players for this one though, so keep that in mind.

Welcome to the Dungeon.

Next up we’ve got another ‘push your luck’ game from designer Masato Uesugi. Welcome to the Dungeon sees players either adding drawn cards to a monster deck or removing the equipment available to use, by your hero, in the upcoming dungeon run. Players push their luck making the dungeon progressively more dangerous until all but one player is left. We then see if the player survives the dungeon, or is defeated by the monsters! Play continues until one player successfully completes two dungeon runs or is the last dungeoneer standing! It’s a crazy little dungeon crawl that can easily be played by the whole family and is short enough that it won’t become repetitive. Gorgeous artwork and simple gameplay make this a fun little filler and well worth checking out!

Multiuniversum.

Here’s another small game box that packs a satisfying punch! Designed by Manuel Correia, Multiuniversum sees players take on the role of scientists working at the secret CERN lab. Through their experiments with teletransportation they have inadvertantly opened dangerous portals to other worlds. It’s now up to you to close them! . Mechanically it’s a clever little card game that see’s you using your cards in hand to either take actions, depending on your location, or to close portals and earn victory points. It’s a neat little set collection game with some beautiful artwork and plays up to five. Highley recommened!

Star Realms.

Next up, here’s something to scratch that deck building itch from designers Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle. If you’ve played any deck builders before then you’ll be right at home with Star Realms. It’s a sci-fi themed game, where players start with a simple deck of cards that they’ll use to gain new cards. Players will gather resources and build their empire before ultimately destroying their opponent! There’s some cool interactivity between the various factions that exist within Star Realms, giving players plenty of strategic options for deck building. If you’re more of a fantasy themed gamer, then check out Hero Realms instead. It’s the same type of gameplay but everything’s wrapped up in a fantasy theme!  The core set is designed for two players and is the epitomy of ‘pocket sized’, but if you want four player games, just throw in another deck and you’re good to go.

Cauldron Master:

Here’s a neat little set collection game from Caezar Al-Jassar and Kuly Heer. Players take on the role of a coven of witches, each trying to concot the most impressive potions, using their witches to collect a variety of ingredient and condiment cards. There’s a little deduction thrown into the mix too as you need to anticipate your opponents decisions or be left with no ingredients to collect! It’s not the most strategically demanding game, but it’s got a nice theme and is easy to pick up and play. Games are usually wrapped up inside 30 minutes so it’s a great game to squeeze in if you are short on time but need a gaming fix! It plays 2-4 but is at its best with the full compliment of players, so perfect for the whole family.

Thanks for reading folks, I hope this has given you a few ideas for all those of you looking for a portable gaming fix! Let me know what games I’ve missed, that you think should be on the list. See you next time!

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