The Ultimate List Of Board Games For Travellers

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Board games became part of our life a little over two years ago. It started out when we met a board game enthusiast from Netherlands who has a collection of over 250 different kinds of board games. In India the average population is exposed to games like Snakes and ladders, Ludo, Chess and oh yes… Monopoly! We aren’t even aware of the treasure trove of different kinds of board games that exist across the world. Quite frankly you can’t blame us. Laying our hands on these elusive pieces is difficult. Almost every single board game is more expensive in India when compared to other countries. At times these prices can be double or triple the original cost. So, when our friend Sander introduced us to his collection a few years back, it was a revelation. Now we have our own tiny ever-growing collection!


I remember being astounded when Sander handed us a game just before our trip to Indonesia. He treasures his games and the idea of traveling with one of his prized possessions really scared me. What if I accidently damaged it? Or worse… What if I lost something? Sander however was cool as a cucumber and insisted that board games make amazing travel partners. That was the start of a new phase. A phase where travel always meant carrying a pocket sized game.

Here are a few board games that we tried out and really enjoyed. These are the ones that can fit into a traveler’s supplies easily.

Note that we have scoured for board games for Travellers in so many different countries. One big realization is that they are the cheapest in the USA. Hence, we’ve included links to the respective games on the US Amazon site. We did also have a good experience at Meeples Café in Malaysia which had a great collection and really reasonable prices.

GlobeTrove is an amazon affiliate and receives an advertising fee for every successful purchase.


So, everyone who travels will probably have different requirements. Over time we have perfected our own. Don’t get me wrong… There are times when we make exceptions but that is usually if Shawn is travelling on a business trip and we are going to be in a single spot for a long time. Anyway, our requirements for board games for Travellers is as follows.

  • It needs to be light and not bulky: Weight definitely matters when you are backpacking and so does the dimensions.
  • It should be a 2 player game at least: Shawn and I always travel together so the minimum number of players should be two. A game that requires a minimum of three players would be useless on the road now wouldn’t it.
  • It should be fun: This sort of goes without saying. Board games for Travellers need to be particularly versatile. That means that every round should be different, or the game never gets old. Remember, you will probably just be carrying one or two games on your trip.


So without further ado, we are going to go through the list of board games that we have found fit the above description. Bear in mind that people travel in different ways. So when we talk about a game fitting in with a travellers weight restrictions, you need to consider what works best for you. Backpackers prefer the smallest and most compact games while luxury travellers don’t mind carrying slightly bigger boxes. You will need to explore a bit to find the perfect match with your signature travel style.



Number of players: 2-5 (Best with 4)

Board Game Geek Rating: 7.0

Hanabi is a great game if you have a good memory (which I don’t!). The game comes in two forms: either tiles or cards. We prefer the tile version because they are so much cooler to play with, but cards do the trick to. It doesn’t matter which version you get, Hanabi is a small game which shouldn’t weigh more than a couple of grams. It can be played with as many as 5 players. The game doesn’t require much space when laid out. So, it meets all our requirements for board games for Travellers.



Number of players: 2-4 (Best with 4)

Board Game Geek Rating: 6.7

Qwirkle is an easy and yet abstract game. It doesn’t have a board to follow. Rather, you place the tiles down in your turn such that you either match colours or shapes. Each tile counts for a point. If you manage to complete an entire set of either all six colours or all six shapes, then you make a Qwirkle. This means a bonus of 6 points! Like Hanabi, Qwirkle comes in cards and tiles. It also comes in cubes. Again, we prefer the tile version.

Note that the version of Qwirkle that we carry comes in a traveller’s pouch. Qwirkle is one of my favorite board games for travellers. It is an easy game to explain to people, so if you make friends along the way it’s a great ice breaker. The downside is that you need a nice medium to big table to play the game. We’ve played it at restaurants and coffee shops too.



Number of players: 2

Board Game Geek Rating: 7.0

Lost cities is a card game. It has a single long board in pack. The deck of cards comprises of five different colours representing the five different archeological expeditions that one can undertake. The game progresses by stacking up cards in the correct order. Each successful expedition adds to your points while each unsuccessful one deducts a sum from your score.

Lost cities is easy to carry. It is slightly bulkier than Qwirkle and Hanabi but it doesn’t weigh much. Its bulkiness is largely attributed to the box that it comes in. You can work around that by leaving the box at home but make sure you don’t damage the board when packing it.



Number of players: 2-8 players (Best with 5)

Board Game Geek Rating: 7.0

Citadels is a super interesting card-based game. It comes in a small box which is both light and portable. The best part about the game is quite likely the number of players that can play it simultaneously. We’ve played it with four players and with eight players. The rules change if you play with less than four players, but I digress.

The game requires people to take on roles as one of the characters in the stack. Each character has its strong suits and its shortcomings. The aim of the game is to collect gold and to build buildings. Once a player builds his/her eight building the round comes to an end and the score is totaled. The game does involve keeping a straight face which is really hard (at least for me!) and the joys of bluffing. The fun packed game is one of the best board games for travellers who are travelling in a group.



Number of players: 1-4 players (Best with 4)

Board Game Geek Rating: 6.7

Forbidden island is larger game and is probably not the first game that comes to mind when you think of board games for travellers. We however pack the tiles together in a smaller zip lock bag or box. It definitely makes the board game more portable. We usually play the game with upwards of two players.

Forbidden island is a cooperative game which means that everyone is playing against the board. The objective of the game is to collect the treasures before the island sinks. Each person takes on one character and has his/her own special powers which can get you out of a tight scrape. Since the board is made up of tiles, the layout changes every time you play it. Luck plays a large quotient in how quickly you win or lose the game.



Number of players: 2

Board Game Geek Rating: 7.6

We first stumbled into this game in Malaysia. Patchwork may not come in the smallest box, but it is light and easy to pack. The game is meant for two players and that makes it perfect for us. The downside is that Patchwork is comprised of numerous pieces, so you definitely need a nice place to lay it out. A bed or a table usually works.

Players compete to use different patches to form the most aesthetic covering for their board. Each piece has its own bonuses and points. Pick a piece with two many points and you may run ahead too fast without covering your much of your square. Pick one that covers a lot and you may not earn enough to buy more. That being said, money here is earned in buttons which I think is rather cute!

Patchwork is ever changing since the arrangement of pieces changes each time. That is what I like about it! Despite the size of the box, I love to take Patchwork along when I travel with a suitcase. It gets a little difficult when backpacking.



Number of players: 2

Board Game Geek Rating: 7.4

When I heard the name Jaipur, I did a double take. Yes! My friend Janet has often told me about the fabulous board game that she absolute loves. Its name just happens to be Jaipur! Being from India, I thought that was cool. So, when we stumbled across it in a board game shop in Singapore, we just had to add it to our collection. Bonus points for this game include that it comes in a small light travel friendly box, definitely involves strategy and quite a lot of camels!

If you asked me which is my current favourite among the list of board games for travellers, I would definitely say Jaipur. That is if you are traveling as a couple. (If it’s a group then its Citadels). The aim of the game is to collect and sell goods. The quicker you sell goods the higher the points you get. The more goods you sell, the better bonus points you get! It is a thin line to walk and that is what makes it so much fun!


Collecting board games isn’t just a hobby. It soon turns into a passion and you begin to network with like minded people. Don’t know people who play board games, well then you teach them how and soon you have newly recruited board game addicts! Hahaha… (Read as an evil laugh!)

One of the best ways to know about board games is to consult Boardgamegeek a website designed for nerds just like us. The other way is to get in touch with fellow geeks. When Shawn’s friend Riza heard that we were putting together an article about board games for travellers he sent Shawn a list of a couple of board games that fit the description. A members of Everything Board Games Community , Travis Drake and Mike Inguagiato suggested a few too! Since I haven’t played the games, I’m just going to add a list of them and update them as we add them to our collection.

  1. EPIC QUEST (Number of players: 2 – 4 (Best with 4) Board Game Geek Rating:8)
  2. KORORO: Avenue of the Kodama (Number of players: 1-8 Board Game Geek Rating: 0)
  3. BETWEEN TWO CITIES (Number of players: 1-7 (Best with 5-6) Board Game Geek Rating: 6.9)
  4. HIVE (Number of players: 2 Board Game Geek Rating: 7.2)
  5. VALLEY OF THE KINGS (Number of players: 2 – 4 (Best with 2) Board Game Geek Rating: 6.7)
  6. SHADOWS IN KYOTO (Number of players: 2 Board Game Geek Rating: 5.7)
  7. HANAMIKOJI (Number of players: 2 Board Game Geek Rating: 7.04)

To reiterate, collecting board games has become a hobby. Finding board games for travellers has become a challenge. They are perfect on a quiet day on a holiday or when you are stuck on a long journey. Moreover, board games are great ice breakers when it comes to new companions! Definitely something you want to bring out at backpacker hostels or dorms!

We plan to keep updating this list as and when we find additions. If you do have any suggestions do drop them in the comments below.

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2018-10-11T09:30:59+00:00 June 4th, 2018|Board Games, Travel Accessories|0 Comments

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