Summer Gaming: Playing Board Games Outside

The weather is getting nicer, and I am reminded that my board gaming tends to drop quite a bit in the summer.  There’s a few reasons for this. I live where it rains 8-9 months out of the year. When it’s warm and sunny out, people here want to get outside. They want to go on walks, to the farmer’s market, have a BBQ or pool party. While this isn’t a bad thing, it can mean that instead of gaming on pizza nights or family events, we are instead swimming or playing outdoor games. So as gamers, how do we adjust toward warmer weather? Is there some games we can play outside, or maybe shorter games to get in while still enjoying the weather? I also realize that for some, summer means lots more time to play games, especially if you have kids in school. Instead of spending the evenings on homework, you’ll play board games. Since my kid isn’t in school yet, summer doesn’t change our schedule much, other then having a lot more outside time.

Many games can be played outside, especially if you have a table or stable surface.
Many games can be played outside, especially if you have a table or stable surface.

Things to consider when planning games outside:

 1. Is it windy?

In the summer, it gets quite windy in the evenings where I live. This can greatly effect what type of games you can play outside. Basically any card game is out if it’s windy. Some dexterity games, like Bandu, could be effected by the wind. Always plan a backup game if you start playing a card game and it ends up being too windy. Games with heavier pieces or dice won’t be effected by the wind.

2. Do you have a table or at least a stable surface?

Most games do require a table, but there are some games that can be played with players holding all their cards or game pieces. Many party games don’t require a table, which can be great for outside play. Some card games, like oddball Aeronauts, don’t require a table at all, and can be played just about anywhere. Some games may not need a table, but require at least a stable surface like a dice tray or concrete ground. Many dice games you can just carry a dice tray with you so that you can play it wherever you go. Portable stable surface!

3. Is it wet or sandy where you are playing?

When playing outside, there is a much greater risk for your game to get ruined. Consider this before bringing your game outside. Card sleeves can help this, as well as games with plastic cards or pieces. Spot it Splash, for example, has plastic cards so the risk of the game getting damaged is very small.

 

Hanabi is a perfect game to play outside, especially on the 4th of July!
Hanabi is a perfect game to play outside, especially on the 4th of July!

Conclusion:

In reality, just about every game can be played outside, but some work far better than others. Smaller games will be easier, especially since most people do not have access to large tables outside. Games with plastic pieces or cards can prevent them getting wet or messy. What’s great about board games is that they can be enjoyed outside or inside! So play board games this summer at the beach, on your back porch, or even in the pool!

Game suggestions for outside gaming:

Small card games: 

Star Realms, Timeline, Sushi Go, Red7, Hanabi

Dice games: 

Dungeon Roll, Martian Dice, Dragon Slayer, Skyline, and Roll for It

Party games: 

Time’s Up, 5 Second Rule, Say Anything, Telestrations, Spyfall

Dexterity Games: 

Bandu, Sorry Sliders, Animal Upon Animal, Chopstick Dexterity Challenge

Puzzle/Abstract Games: 

Pyramix, Blokus, Convert, Pentago

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