Gaming on the Go: Five Great Games for Your BackpackSeptember 17, 2018
You never know when an opportunity to play a game will present itself, so it’s good to be prepared. While it may not be practical to carry around copies of Gloomhaven or Twilight Imperium, a standard-sized backpack has plenty of room for games that make for a fun impromptu game night.
With these games, no matter what player count you might unexpectedly come across you’ll be able to get your game on in no time. A few of these even have solo options, too, which will give you something to do until other players show up.
Here are five great games to take with you for the next time you encounter some unused tabletop space.
Tiny Epic Quest
It may be tiny, but it sure is epic. I’m an unabashed fan of the Tiny Epic series of games, which always pack a ton of game into their small boxes. In Tiny Epic Quest, you and your fellow adventurers attempt to level up by battling goblins, learning spells, and completing quests. As you improve your character, you’ll unlock weapons and artifacts to help you during your journey. These are stored on the actual meeples themselves; Gamelyn Games’ patented ITEMeeples bring in a wow factor to the game’s small form. Like many of the Tiny Epic titles, Tiny Epic Quest provides a more satisfying experience than other, much bigger, games.
Shards of Infinity
It plays up to four, but I’ve found Shards of Infinity to be the ultimate two-player deck builder. The action is fast, furious, and fun, as you and your opponent play cards to unleash your armies in a quest to recover the Infinity Engine. You’ll hire allies and mercenaries to aid in your mission, but you’ll also attempt to gain enough Mastery to wield the all-powerful Infinity Engine to win the game.
A classic Reiner Knizia auction card game that was recently revamped with beautiful new artwork. Everybody starts with the same amount of money to bid on the society cards, trying to gain the most by the end of the game. You either bid or pass and the winner pays the amount while losers get their money back. The player with the most prestige points on their society cards wins. It seems like a no-brainer to bid as much as you can, but there’s a clever twist in High Society: after game play ends, the player who has the least amount of money remaining is automatically out. Only those who remain can qualify to win.
A Sudoku-like puzzle that can be played by as many people as you have scoresheets for. Six dice of various colors correspond to different parts of the United States. Pull one out of the bag and roll it, then write the number into that section of the country. It starts off easy, but quickly ramps up in difficulty since the number you fill in must be equal to, one less, or one greater than any adjacent numbers. Thankfully, there’s one wild die that lets you fill in any color and every player gets three special abilities that let them manipulate the dice.
Mint Works takes the worker placement mechanism and boils it down to its essence. Players try to convert their mints into buildings in their neighborhoods by placing their workers on various action cards. It’s sleek and elegant, with each game being a race to seven points. Just be sure this game isn’t too close to a tin of mints in your backpack or else you’ll be popping a not-so-tasty wooden token into your mouth.