We can finally see each other outside! So let’s get together and do some much needed board gaming.
Yeah, I know, board games, the great outdoors and the great british spring aren’t exactly the best combination. Think soggy cardboard, desperately running for shelter, cards going everywhere…
Well the good news is, it doesn’t have to be like that. You can absolutely have a great time with board games in your garden or at a local park, you just have to choose the right ones. And when it comes to that, don’t you worry, we got you covered.
For Younger Children: Where’s Mr Wolf
When it comes to gaming outside, one thing that is pretty much essential is a compact and sturdy play area. Where’s Mr Wolf keeps all tiles within the box, you don’t even need a table to play this one, everything you need is right there for you.
The game itself is a fun co-operative memory game, all about remembering which animals have been placed in certain barns. It’s great for developing teamwork and communication as well as memory skills.
Nice and easy to learn with an eye-catching bright design, this is a newer entry to our library but has already proved a hit amongst our younger visitors.
For Families: Just One
I say ‘for families’ because I wanted to put a category on this, but really I could have said ‘for everyone’ and it would have worked.
Just One uses a small pack of cards that can be contained within the box for most of play, only one is ever needed at a time so there isn’t a lot to grab if it starts pouring with rain. Just One also uses toblerone shaped dry erase boards and whiteboard pens, and is contained within a small portable box.
This game is a co-operative word guessing game, the deserved winner of Game of the Year 2019, in Just One all players must give a one word clue to a guessing player in order to indicate a specific word. So here you’d want to be really obvious, surely, so if the word is ‘puppy’ you could give a clue like ‘dog’.
Wrong. If two (or more) people give the same clue, the guessing player will not get to see any instance of that word appearing. So if you make your clue too obvious you risk the guessing player just having too little information.
Tense, funny, and surprising. Just One is an addictive game, we’ve seen people playing this for hours at a time.
For Fast-paced fun: Jungle Speed
This takes me back a little bit. At its core Jungle Speed is a snap-like game: everyone takes it in turns to flip a card from their stack, when two cards match the players with those cards rush to grab the totem in the centre of the play area.
So why is this game so great for playing outside? Because I haven’t mentioned Extreme Jungle Speed, yet.
See, you could keep that totem that everyone needs to grab at the centre of the group, but wouldn’t it be more fun to put it a couple of metres away? Or up a tree?
Best played with people from your own bubble as it does have occasional contact with others, and is useful to have access to a table to place the cards on but not strictly necessary.
For Large Groups: Avalon
So here’s something you might not know about me, I love a good picnic. As such, I’ve been to many a picnic party in my time. And what I’ve learned is that at every picnic, there is one essential ingredient, more vital even than a tub of pasta salad or a platter of sandwiches: a large group social deduction game.
Why are these so great for playing outside? They’re often fast, infinitely replayable, easy to teach and the fun only increases when your buddy becomes a terrible liar after his fourth cider. But better still, in most social deduction games each player will hold just one single card throughout, and any remaining components can be kept within the small box. Most of the game is played through discussion, so there’s no need to be in close contact with other players.
There’s a few games that fit this really well, smaller groups might want to consider ‘One Night Ultimate Werewolf’ but if you can muster at least five people, I’d highly recommend ‘Avalon’ (sometimes called The Resistance: Avalon).
This one has a team of bad guys, who know who each other are, and a team of good guys, who don’t know who the bad guys are. You play together over several missions, participants are chosen and sent on a mission which they can choose to succeed (if they’re good) or fail (if they’re bad). As all mission cards are shuffled up, nobody knows who succeeded and who failed each mission, creating an air of tense suspicion.
And I haven’t even got to Merlin yet, he knows who the evil people are but can’t be obvious about it because if the bad guys work out who Merlin is they’ll assassinate him and win.
This little box is packed with an array of special characters, all with their own individual rules, you’ll just want to keep playing again and again so you can see all that it has to offer.
For Strategists: Twice as Clever/Doppelt so Clever
True story: the last time I played this game was outside, when mid-game we got attacked by a swan and had to do the speediest pack up and run away that you’ve ever seen. It was absolutely terrifying, but we lived to see another day thanks to the contained nature of Twice as Clever.
This is a roll and write game where dice can be easily rolled and kept within the game box, it might be worth having something to lean on to write on the sheets, though.
Twice as Clever is awesome because it’s a roll and write where you have to balance probability with being greedy with carefully watching the plans of other players to make sure you’re not giving them all the good dice. Then there’s the opportunity to set up amazing combos, where you’ll take a whole turn crossing off one thing which lets you cross off something else which lets you cross off another thing, it’s so satisfying when you can get that to work.
So, we’ve supplied the games, it’s on you guys to gather up your best gingham blanket, pack a hamper and get gaming!