8 great board games you can play anywhere

Ah, the great outdoors… There’s nothing better than a fun week of camping, a trip to the beach or a hike in the woods to celebrate the wonderful summer weather. The birds chirping, the water gurgling, the sun warming your skin, it’s a great change to escape the sweltering weekends of gaming inside.

But after a few hours of gazing at that beautiful natural scene, you may find yourself a bit… bored. Wouldn’t it be great if you could carry more than just a deck of cards or a book for fun? No need to daydream about your console or game table at home. We’ve compiled a list of eight great board games that are compact, have less lost components, and can be played almost anywhere.

From two-player strategy and family-friendly titles to great party games for large groups, find something new to play naturally this summer.

honeycomb bag

A red bag with the words “Hive Pocket” next to a pile of bricks with bugs on it

Image: Gen42 game

Sometimes you just have one other person who enjoys playing games on a day out. Challenge them to a match of honeycomb bag! This tile layer is a scaled down version of the classic class (hive) making it a great choice for familiar yet portable play. Your goal is simple: completely surround your opponent’s queen. The gameplay moves fast, but don’t underestimate this board game – containment strategies and tactics keep the game fresh.

The 26 bricks are housed in a handy bag so you’re less likely to lose them. Every piece you play also stays on the “chess board” until the end of the game so there are no loose pieces to keep track of. Spread a blanket on the beach, find a flat log or dust off the picnic table – you can play anywhere. This makes the game great for travel, and we think the bug-themed tiles shine best in the great outdoors. Take it out this summer for some strategy games under the sun!

pirate dice

A tin box with the inscription

Image: Article 12

Can’t find a flat surface to roll on? Play pirate dice all you need is the “box” of the game.

It takes up space like a box of mints, so you can definitely take this refreshing luck-based game with you wherever you roam. There’s a small coin pouch, a pirate ship, and seven dice – not much to keep track of even on a summer trip. Ready to play? Each dice has six different symbols: The more of the same face you roll, the more tokens you earn. Roll the dice in the tin (or on another surface) to arrange the matches, earn tokens, and eventually gain control of the ship.

The gameplay is quick, allows up to six players, and is easy for kids and those who don’t often play board games to learn and enjoy. It’s definitely a great way to spice up a long day at the beach or pass the time while traveling this summer.


Cover art for Cubeo, with stereoscopic text and black squares on an orange background.

Photo: Marek Kolcun

Cube is an ultra-portable, fast-paced, strategic two-player game that requires only 12 six-sided dice and a flat surface to play. The first person to merge their dice to a value above six wins. Block your opponent to stand up or lie down to score.

Not only is the game quick to play and easy to learn, but you probably already have everything you need to play. Find the rules online and use your own dice (we recommend two color six-sided dice set) for an easy last-minute addition to your summer travel luggage. Take it hiking for a little roadside fun that fits in your pocket and is easy to play even on the ground…if you don’t mind dusting your dice.

Follow the cult

The box is for the game Cult Follow, showing a cult figure on a hillside as sheep fall.

Image: Bravely Told Games

Select Follow the cult like your party game for the summer. Each round, several players combine prompts from their hands into a ridiculous cult. Then the rest of the group will listen to their recommendations and decide which denomination to join. Whoever gets the fastest two followers wins the round. Innovative storytelling makes this game appealing to groups of up to eight players (and countless viewers).

The small box and limited cards make the game super portable and great for outdoor use. Put your used cards in the lid of the box so they don’t get lost when you’re playing outside. For a really cult start, take it camping and play a few rounds by the fire after dark.

Find it on Macy’s or Amazon for $18.29


The box is for Similo's Fables, showing two characters on the cover (a god and someone holding a very red fruit) and prompting you to find the secret character.

Image: Terrible Guild

If cult is not your jam, Similo is a great choice. This card-based character guesser covers a wide range of topics, from animals to mythological and historical figures. Grab your favorite pack and two to eight players for this fun co-op deduction game. Play cards as clues to help other players guess your secret character. If they exclude you lose, but if they guess right, everyone wins!

This game is another easy game to teach for kids, friends and loved ones on the go. You can even choose two different packs and mix and match them for an extra challenge. Since it’s just a single pack of 12 cards, you can really play anywhere. Start reasoning on the beach, by the trailhead, or at your campsite to dispel summer boredom.

happy salmon

The box is for the Happy Salmon, green and red with a picture of a happy salmon on it.  It says it's

Image; NorthStar Game Studio

When you’ve had enough time to bask in the sun, get up and move along Happy salmon. With no turns, the player simply takes an action (such as high-five or swaps) from their deck and finds someone to pair with. When you find a match, take action and move on to the next card in your pile. The first person to have no cards left wins.

The game has a fake fish the size of a banana inside, so it’s fun and easy to take to the beach or river (or anywhere else). Also, it only consists of cards, so no pieces are lost. Gather the family to release energy or group up to six friends to enjoy the chaos. This game is fun for all ages and fun to play (or watch) in public.

The Age of Coins

Cover art for Coin Age, showing the map and coin collection taking up space on it.

Image: Tasty Minstrel game

Don’t want to carry your bag from your car to your favorite summer spot? You can still play Coin age. Start an epic match for control of the area on a card with just change from your pocket. Put the coin down to take up space and win points. The player who finishes with the most points wins.

This is the best compound play you could want for a single card “board”. It’s fast-paced, a real microgame, and packs a lot of strategy into each match. Print out the card before you leave the house and enjoy on any flat surface. Take it to the beach, by the pool, or even on plane and car trips to your final destination. Lost a piece? It’s just a few coins and a single card you can replace.

Get print and play instructions Thisand make sure you have money to play!


Box for Fugitive, showing a pair of people full of intrigue, and a scene where they are running.

Image; The game of Powers

If you cannot deduct enough, escape is to play. Take with you when camping, picnics, or on beach trips for an epic two-player chase that can be easily played on any flat surface. The fugitive leaves traces of the clue cards and tries to escape before the detective can find and catch them. Whoever succeeds in their goal first wins.

It’s fun, easy to learn, and a short time investment for a game on the go. Here’s another easy-to-teach game for older kids, family, and friends. Plus, no loose pieces get lost in the sand or dirt. For this joy Clue-esque game a try as a boring buster while you enjoy time outside.


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