Amazing Greystones to Bray Cliff Walk in Co Wicklow, Ireland
For several reasons, that we are all well aware of, the number of people going on staycations has increased over the last 1+ years. By a staycation I am referring to a holiday in your home country rather than travelling abroad. Personally we have always enjoyed holidaying in our home country and as a British nationals who have been living in Ireland for the last 2 years, 'Staycationing' allows us to explore a country which is new to us.
When 'Staycationing' we generally look for accommodation with a decent table as, just like at home, that table isn’t for eating but also for some serious board gaming. With the rise of websites such as Airbnb it is easier than ever to find the perfect place with space for all your board gaming needs. Nothing beats going for a nice long walk in the countryside, or a day exploring a new city and then returning to back to your holiday accommodation for some tabletop gaming. But taking account of being tired after a day of walking/ exploring, this can influence our game selection for our trips. For a trip away for just the 2 of us here are 5 games we often select for taking on our staycation trips and the reasons why:
We always try to be realistic with our game choices, although sometimes we do let our hearts and over excitement get the better of our head. Main points of consideration for us are; how much space do we have in our luggage (luckily for us our next staycation we will be driving so plenty of room for board games), the table size at our accommodation, and what activities will we likely be doing which could impact the games we actually want/ have time to play. For instance if we are going on a 10 mile hike every day then a new game or heavy game, like Trickerion, probably isn’t the right choice as I am almost certain we would be too tired to properly enjoy it. Therefore the above board game list is balanced with mid weight games that we have played a lot so do not need to learn and are also in normal sized boxes with smaller or lighter games that we can easily play in the evenings. On to the list:
This game is on my personal top 5 games blog so I won’t go into detail regarding the game itself as you can read my thoughts in the blog post. The reason we often bring it away with us is because at this point we have played GWT around 10 times so it doesn’t take too long to set up and get into the game. It provides an experience in which we have enough 'play throughs' that we don’t need to spend time figuring out the different strategies while still being deep enough that we definitely haven’t discovered or tried everything there is in this game. There is also enough variety in the set up that it provides a slightly different experience each time we play it. One point to consider is that it does take up a decent amount of tablespace, so we only bring it when we have a good sized table to play it on. Also there are a number of different components so if you are worried about dropping and losing bits then it probably isn’t the best game to take.
One of the first games in our collection when the only board game mechanic we really knew was roll & move. This was a perfect gateway game into the world of tabletop gaming. There are a bunch of different themes to choose from, ours being a slightly tatty Adventure Time copy. The reason it has stayed for long enough in our collection with enough plays to get tatty is that most importantly it is fun to play, even at 2 player count, and secondly is everything we need to play is in a small drawstring bag. On trips where our flight has been delayed for hours it has been Love Letter which passed the time and on our staycation trips it is easy enough to play a couple of games before bed or take it out with us to play if we are chilling out in nature.
The first couple of plays of this didn’t go too well, as only I was really enjoying it and I thought it might be leaving our collection quite quickly. However, at home and on trips away, it has turned into a Meeple Design favourite. It can be played with up to 4 players but at its core it is a 1v1 duel style game which has a Yahtzee dice rolling mechanic. Each turn you roll your dice, which are unique to your chosen character, aiming for a certain combination of die faces which allow you to attack your opponent or buff your character. It plays quickly, is in a relatively small box and most of the pieces for your character, such as dice, cards & tokens, are contained in their own box. If we have had a long day out and are tired then this is the perfect game that we can pull out to play a few rounds and have some fun. There are also enough character combinations to allow for variety and enjoyable repeat plays throughout a staycation.
Another small box game that basically consists of just a deck of cards. It is purely a 2 player game which plays a bit like poker so involves a lot of bluffing. In between both players is a boundary wall made up of 9 stones and on your turn you play one card on your side of 1 of the stones, with a max of 3 cards being played at each side of each stone stone. The aim is to build a higher ranking of 3 cards then your opponent at each stone with the winner being the first player to claim 5 stones or any 3 adjacent stones. That pretty much sums up the rule book so, as a running theme, it is easy to play but also every game is completely different. There is always a winner and because the games are so quick we generally play best of 3. It's another game that even after a long day we never mind playing it due to easy set up with simple rules, to the point that all we refer to now is the player aid showing the different card combinations.
Our final staycation top pick is also another small box game. The difference between 7 Wonders Duel and the others is that it is a slightly longer & larger experience. As hinted at in the name of the game, it is a 2 player only game played across 3 ages and like the original game you draft cards for your civilization. What we like about 7 Wonders Duel, is that each age has unique cards and you set them up in a different formation for each age. You then draft cards from the formation, slowly revealing the new levels of the formation. This way of drafting is intriguing as you can only see some of the cards in the formation with the rest face down, so there is sometimes an element of risk taking a random card. There are also 3 ways to win during the game which adds a nice element, as its important to pay attention to your opponent's turns. Overall it's a great game to take away if you don’t have much space for board games but still want a slightly more complex experience that you generally get from bigger box games. I also find the box a bit oversized so you can always put the components in a couple of baggies to save even more space.
I won’t go into too much detail for these 'honourable mentions', but I feel like I have to cheat by adding 2 more games to the list, as they both make great 2 player staycation games.
The first is Race for the Galaxy, I love this game and even better is that it is basically just 2 decks of cards with a couple of thin player aids which makes it very easy to take away.
Second is Hanamikoji which is 2 player card game and is packed into a tiny box. It's simple and quick but the game amazes me with how difficult the choices are on each turn despite the fact that you only have a choice of 4 actions which decreases each time you use one. Its published by EmperorS4 games and I feel like I really need to try more of their games.
Do you have any Staycation board game recommendations? What will you be taking away with you this summer?
We would love to hear from you - comment below.