19 Best Travel Board Games for Adults

Toothbrush, check. Headphones, check. ID card, check. It's time to add another item to your travel checklist – board games! You're exhausted after a long day of wanderlusting, you've walked more than ten thousand steps already, and you can't wait to get back to your hotel and relax a bit. What better way to do that than to pull out those board games?

If you haven't played any games since Monopoly as a child, you are in for some surprises. A lot of modern games are engaging, visually-appealing and a great way to bond with friends. I've had vacations where we've done nothing but play games. And I'm sure you'll love it too. So pop a few beers and jump right into it (but careful with your drinks around those games, please). Here is a list of my favourite games to play while travelling:

1. Dominion (and Expansions)

This deck-building card game is an absolute favourite with my group of friends and me. Choosing a new set of cards to play with during each game brings a lot of variety to this game, and the expansions only add to it. It's also very fast-paced, which guarantees that you'll get at least 3 - 4 plays in one session. It's also an excellent game to play with two players, which is an added advantage.

The game comes in a large and pretty heavy box. But since the game is essentially just decks of cards, feel free to lose the box while travelling.

No. of Players: 2 - 4
Play Time: 20 - 40 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $28.01

2. Ticket to Ride

We can't create a travel board game list and leave Ticket to Ride out of it. This game, with its colourful pieces and map layout, is winning hearts all around. Unlike a lot of board games, it is straightforward to learn, but winning it requires a fair amount of strategy. The playtime, at 1.5 to 2 hours, is slightly on the longer side. But I recommend it if you have a group of 3 - 5 people who like to play strategic board games. Go ahead and connect your favourite places in the world!

No. of Players: 2 - 5
Play Time: 90 - 120 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $49.99

3. Carcassonne

Get transported to this gorgeous fortified city of France! With only a handful of rules, quick gameplay and attractive artwork, this game can lure non-gamers too. The setup is also speedy. If you have about 30 - 40 minutes to kill, you probably can't do better than Carcassonne.

The box is also on the smaller side, making it more portable than most games - on this list and otherwise.

No. of Players: 2 - 5
Play Time: 30 - 40 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $24.99

4. Dixit

I recently discovered Dixit and instantly fell in love. The artwork is beautiful, just gorgeous. The rules are excessively simple and can be taught in about 5 minutes. It has all the other benefits of having a small box, quick gameplay and being light on strategy. It's the kind of game you can play in trains too (we recently did). And let me just circle back to the absolutely beautiful artwork on the cards. Okay, enough with my use of superlatives. But I seriously cannot recommend this game enough - unleash your inner art enthusiast.

No. of Players: 3 - 6
Play Time: 20 - 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $27.95

5. 7 Wonders

This game themed after the seven wonders of the ancient world is another excellent addition for your trips. The rules are a bit complicated, as is the gameplay. But the game can get addictive very quickly. The simultaneous gameplay enables short-lengthed games, and so you can play multiple games in one session. It's also a fantastic fit for larger groups, as it accommodates up to seven players.
It also has a Duel version for two players, which has different gameplay but is equally engaging. This duel version comes in a tiny box and is highly portable. My husband and I have spent many an enjoyable evening duelling each other :)

No. of Players: 3 - 7
Play Time: 30 - 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $44.99

6. Splendor

Splendor is one of those games which can take a while to explain but are pretty intuitive once you start playing. I've always played the digital version on my iPad, which is as portable as it can get. The digital game works well because of the minimal number of action choices you have at each step. My group and I have played Splendor literally everywhere - while sitting at the airport waiting for a friend; while waiting for dinner to arrive at an extremely slow restaurant (Goa restaurants can test your patience); or while being groggy-eyed at 1 A.M. in the train compartment. It is a great game for new gamers too, and you can test the waters with this one.

No. of Players: 2 - 4
Play Time: 30 - 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $30.56

7. Pandemic

I would not have added this game to a "board games for travel" list in a pre-COVID world. But in the current scenario, I think it's impossible to draw up any list of board games and not include Pandemic :) This is a cooperative game, where all the players are playing as a team against the board and have to race against time to cure the diseases. You can chuckle at the "Quarantine Specialist" trying to control "outbreaks" in the hotspot regions.

No. of Players: 2 - 4
Play Time: 45 - 60 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $36.45

8. Hanabi

Hanabi is a cooperative card game, and, in my opinion, it is brilliant! The rules are elementary, even though the game itself, is not. And you need just a deck of 50 cards and a few tokens to play it. It's so portable that you can carry it to cafes and play while your food's getting prepared. You'll be baffled by how much information can be conveyed by saying very little.

I highly recommend it if your group enjoys aspects of puzzle-solving.

No. of Players: 2 - 5
Play Time: 25 - 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $53.46

9. Azul

Another game in a small, portable box, Azul is a great game to carry on your trips. It's a quick play, and the rules are straightforward. It mixes just a little bit of strategy with a whole lot of fun, making it very popular with casual gamers. As an additional bonus, the tiles are beautifully patterned.

No. of Players: 2 - 4
Play Time: 30 - 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $30.40

10. Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham is very similar to the card game of bluff. As a merchant, you have the choice between carrying legal goods and making a small amount of profit or risk sneaking in prohibited goods and making massive profits (provided you don't get caught). Sheriff of Nottingham promises to be a fun-filled game, ranking high on player interaction.

No. of Players: 3 - 5
Play Time: 60 - 70 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $118.85

11. Catan

Well, Catan is on this list simply because you can't have a list of modern board games and not have Catan on it. It doesn't satisfy any of the characteristics you'd want in travel board games. The box is kind of heavy and big, and the gameplay is pretty long sitting at an average of 2 to 3 hours. But Catan is an excellent gateway game and is exceedingly popular. So if you have a group which can commit to spending a few hours playing this game which is all the rage, go for it.

The Catan Dice Game is a travel-friendly version of this game, which has quick gameplay and is very portable. You can choose to try this instead of the full-blown version.

No. of Players: 3 - 4
Play Time: 60 - 120 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $25.99

12. Tokaido

A travel game in the real sense, Tokaido has you travelling across the East Sea Road in Japan. This game with beautiful artwork can be a very relaxing and simple game to play. Most people who have played this game describe it as zen, and it's the best description of Tokaido. You can embark on this journey through Japan to meet new people, try new dishes and buy beautiful souvenirs. It can also make for some good conversations as the actions in the game remind you of your travel anecdotes - from the current trip or previous ones.

No. of Players: 2 - 5
Play Time: 45 - 60 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $34.99

13. Citadels

Similar to 7 wonders, Citadels is a great strategy board game for larger groups. The box is small-ish, and at a playtime of an hour, it's just at the edge of being short enough. The game is exceptionally high on player interaction, with a lot of bluffing and backstabbing involved. Definitely, a fun game to try out. No guarantees about no broken friendships though.

No. of Players: 2 - 8
Play Time: 20 - 60 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $10.39

14. Jaipur

Jaipur is the first exclusively two-player game that we have on this list. This light-hearted battle of wits lasts for about 30 minutes, where you and your opponent play at being merchants in the royal city of Jaipur. The game also has fascinating artwork. I'd surely recommend this game if you are travelling as a couple.

No. of Players: 2
Play Time: 30 - 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $22.56

Party Games

These are fun games that don't need too much thought, ideal for larger groups after you've had a glass or two of wine. But these are not drinking games.

15. Avalon

Avalon belongs to a favourite genre of games for me - social deception. If you've played and enjoyed Mafia or Werewolf, you are sure to like this one too. Avalon tilts towards being a party game and is also a great candidate for team outings.

The box is quite small and portable. If you are travelling with a large number of people, I'd highly recommend this game.

No. of Players: 5 - 10
Play Time: 30 - 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $17.12

16. Cash & Guns

Cash & Guns might just top the list of one of the most "fun" games I've played. After all, how can pointing prop guns at your friends and forcing them to duck not be fun? With the other drama elements which are in addition to all the props, it's hard not to pique people's interests. This one's a non-thinker, just go for it!

No. of Players: 4 - 8
Play Time: 30 - 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $16.58

17. Taboo

This word guessing game is a riot. The game box contains a set of cards, an hourglass, a buzzer and a stand. But really all you need is the cards with the words on them (or an app which does the same). You can play this in teams, or even in a casual setup where one person gives the clues, and everyone else guesses. However you play this, it is guaranteed merriment and laughter.

No. of Players: 4 - 10
Play Time: 20 - 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $19.06

18. Bananagrams

Bananagrams is a fun and fast-paced version of Scrabble (sorry, Scrabble lovers). I'm not sure whether or not it can be categorized as a party game, but it is undoubtedly a game that is not to be taken too seriously. Each game lasts for about 10 minutes, and so, of course, you are not going to stop after having played one. All you need to play Bananagrams is the set of lettered tiles (and a bunch of word-nerd friends), and you are guaranteed a fun time.

No. of Players: 1 - 8
Play Time: 15 - 20 minutes
BoardGameGeek Link
Amazon Link
Price: $12.99

So now, your game nights are sorted, especially at this time when you are mostly stuck at home. Buy any one of these and we promise that these board games are going to add excitement and zest to your house parties. Have fun gaming!


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