The kids are out of school. Gas prices are dropping. The sun is shining (perhaps). In short, it's summer. And where there's summer, there's travel -- and where there's travel, there's cars and planes full of bored people wondering if they're there yet, and nobody wants that. Turn your journey from chore to cheer with a selection of travel-friendly board game classics.
Settlers of Catan Settlers of Catan: Travel Edition
Breakout smash Settlers of Catan has introduced millions to the so-called "German-style" board game: simple rules, short play sessions, and a pronounced emphasis on strategy rather than luck. This travel edition streamlines Catan's rules still further, and transforms the board from an easily-disturbed grid of cardboard hexes into a robust set of lightweight plastic components. It'll make your trip fly by. Buy | Search
Sorry Sorry: Fun on the Run
Timeless classic Sorry is widely available in this compact, folding travel version. Smartly, the cards are replaced by a wheel set into the center of the board, and with only two pieces per player instead of four, it's a shorter play. The drawback? The arguments. Getting one over on the competition is pretty much Sorry's whole reason for existence, and if you mix that with frayed, travel-worn tempers in the cramped interior of a car or airplane, you might spark some serious fights. Buy...perhaps with caution. Buy | Search
Scrabble Scrabble Folio Edition
Too confrontational for your family? No such tussles are likely to result from a nice friendly game of Scrabble (although we've seen some players get awfully possessive about those triple-word score spots). This portable version uses miniature snap-in tiles and a folding board, making it small enough to throw in your carry-on and solid enough so the odd bout of unexpected turbulence won't shower your fellow fliers with stray letters. Buy | Search
Carcassonne Carcassonne Travel Edition
Another classic German-style game, Carcassonne's simple, jigsaw-puzzle-like gameplay is a favorite of many seasoned board game addicts. This travel edition is smaller, and packs into a handy cloth bag which also serves as the game's scoreboard. Recommended for ages 8 and up, it's a great game for families; the kids will enjoy fitting the pieces together, while the adults can focus on scoring. One proviso: you'll need a small table or other surface to play on, so this is better for boring hotel nights or unexpected layovers than genuine on-the-go gaming. Buy | Search
iPad An iPad
Yes, you could indeed get a considerable number of board games for the price of an iPad. However, perhaps you're taking one with you anyway -- in which case, don't underestimate its power as a group entertainment tool. The App Store offers an avalanche of pass-and-play multiplayer board games; everything from family classics like Scrabble, UNO, and Boggle to modern hits like Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne. Regardless of your tastes, you'll find plenty there to entertain you.
And when your iPad runs out of battery juice, you'll be ready for something simpler. Florida-based BagGames offers an uncomplicated selection of three immortal board games: chess, checkers, and backgammon. Unlike most travel games, these are full-size versions with folding boards that pack, pieces and all, into a handy, portable cloth bag. Sometimes, the old-fashioned way is best. Search
Play Word Search II on Yahoo! Games: