As the weather heats up and school lets out, you may be spending a lot more time outside in the coming months, and with Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, you may even have a camping excursion planned with friends or family. There’s simply nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors, light breeze in your hair, sun on your face, and one of your favorite games on the picnic table…
Yep, you read that right: Games on the picnic table. You might not often think to bring your favorite games along on your outdoor adventures for fear of losing pieces, how heavy the game is, or a simple lack of table space. But what happens when it rains, or the fish won’t bite? What do you do once the grilling is done? Play games! Yard games, athletic games, water games, and even card games! With these five small, portable, and table-independent options, you’ll have a game for every camper, and even if you bring every one of them, these little tins and boxes will still take up less room than a folding chair. Sounds like the perfect weekend to me!
Chances are, you already have one of these varied and versatile games in your collection. Spot It! is quick, easy-to-learn, and wild fun for up to eight players of all ages. In each Spot It! game, there are five different mini-games to play, all requiring quick observation and speedy reactions. Some games don’t even require you to set your cards down, so there’s no worry of your cards blowing away or getting dirty on the ground. A fitting game version for your time in the tent might be Spot It! Gone Camping, with lanterns, binoculars, mushrooms, bugs, hot dogs, and all the other things you might see out there in the wild. Not only is there a Spot It! just for camping, but you can also find variants based on your favorite cartoon characters, educational versions with numbers and letters, and even a waterproof edition to take along to the beach!
If your adventure takes you out with a larger group, Mascarade is the game for you. Up to thirteen players each take on a secret role in this bluffing and memory game, and try to use that role, or another, to collect gold without being found out. Each character in Mascarade has a different ability, allowing you to swap characters or fortunes, collect gold, or investigate the other players’ identities. Because each player holds their card, this game is easy to play just about anywhere—all you need is a little space to put your gold tokens. Because of the element of secrecy in the game, this is also a great option to play around the campfire. Just be careful with those cards!
Test your knowledge of the creatures around you with CardLine Animals, an innovative, educational game for two to eight players. In order to get to know the animals with which we share the world, each player in CardLine Animals has a collection of cards, which they must try to put in order with respect to other players’ cards. Progressing in a circle, each player lays down a card in a row, based on either the size, weight, or average lifespan of the animal pictured. It’s fun to see how much you know, and maybe even learn something you didn’t know before! One quick tip before you go: these little cards are light, so if it’s breezy, you may want to gather some small rocks to hold them down.
A creative and artistic game for three to six players, Dixit requires careful thinking and clever wordplay. Each round, one player, the storyteller, selects a card and says a word or phrase that describes it. Then, every other player must lay down a card that might also be described by that word or phrase. The object of the game is to get as many people to think that your card is the original, but if you’re the storyteller and everyone figures it out, you don’t get any points at all, so you have to be careful not to be too specific or obvious. There is a board to keep track of the score, but it doesn’t require much room. You can also easily keep track of the score without the board if necessary, making Dixit small, portable, and endlessly fun.
How better to live among nature’s crawly critters than to play as one? In Minuscule, you and up to five other campers get to do just that, rooting for one baby bug to take the lead in a thrilling race through the woods. Place your racer on the track and then use movement cards to move them forward and backward so your assigned critters come out ahead. The closer your creatures are to the front of the line once the game ends, the more points you'll earn. While Minuscule is thematically appropriate, it’s also a great camping game because it doesn’t require much space to set up, the tin is perfectly pocket-sized, and it’s easy to learn for players of all ages. Younger nature-lovers will adore this quick game that lets them get up close and personal with their favorite racing bugs!
Whether you like bluffing, strategy, educational, or speed games, there’s one here to kick your Memorial Day weekend up a notch, and bring some extra fun to those sunny summer days outside. And if it’s a little too hot out, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered there, too! Keep your eyes open for more articles to come on filling your lazy summer afternoons with challenging, competitive, cooperative, and always fun Asmodee games!