Let me welcome you to another article in my “Top 3 Wargames” series. Here I am describing my personal, subjective experiences with various types of titles in this genre. As the holiday season approaches – at least in Europe and America – I thought it would be good refresh my proposals for games suitable for travel.
You will find here titles which can be used when on journey – some of them even on a bike ride! – taking minimal amount of space to carry and then play. They would definitely have to be rather short in time and simply can be a great way to spend some time when on the move.
Important note: I did not put here games I do not know / I am not aware of even though I am fully aware that the below – already long list – can be enlarged. Any additional ideas warmly welcome!
PS. I could not resist. There is more than 3 ideas this time…
Other articles in the series:
A small card game created by the boardgames veteran Reiner Knizia. Two players face off across a ‘battle line’ and attempt to win the engagement by taking 5 of 9 flags or 3 adjacent flags. Flags are decided by placing cards into 3 card poker-type hands on either side of the flag (similar to straight flush, 3 of a kind, straight, flush, etc). The side with the highest ‘formation’ of cards wins the flag.
In 2019 we got the re-implementation of the game. This new re-themed version of Battle Line is a two-player strategy card game built around the theme of Medieval warfare. This re-themed version of Battle Line features 60 beautiful new cards by illustrator Roland MacDonald, as well as 10 full-color tactics “wildcards” that give players extra flexibility and choices and help make each new battle wildly different from the last.
The game is very easy to pack, requires limited space and takes no more then 30 minutes to play. Still, it provides very interesting game play and you need to really plan well to win. As I love that title I was not able to resist temptation and got both version – the Ancient one and the Medieval one. There are just minor differences between them and I play those titles interchangeably.
More about game:
I appreciate games from the smaller publishers and Hollandspiele is one of my favorite. Browsing one day through their webpage I found an interesting, small and quick position called Table Battles. I fell in love with it immediately! And when I saw that there is and Expansion about most interesting period to me – Table Battles: The Age of Alexander – I knew I will get it.
So what is this game about? Players roll and allocate dice to Formation cards, with each card accepting specific die results or dice combinations. On a later turn, those dice are removed to activate the formation, attacking a specific enemy unit, with hits resolved by removing wooden pieces assigned to each formation.
I really like how the games plays – it is exciting, with much tension and the luck factor is not so significant. It also takes only small amount of space and can be easily played in 30-60 minutes.
More about game:
Another point on my list does not have any cards this time but units / special tokens which fuel your actions and strategies – all this in PCS Blitzkrieg! Publisher claims you can recreate World War Two in 20 minutes in this perfect wargame for non-wargamers, which allows two players to battle across the War’s most iconic theaters, winning key campaigns and building military might.
So how the game works? Players draw army tokens from a bag to determine their starting forces and to replenish their losses. Rather than ‘fighting’ battles with dice or cards, players allocate their military resources to each theatre’s campaigns, winning victory points, further resources, special weapons, and strategic advantages as they play.
I found this small, easy to learn and fast to play game really enjoyable and engrossing. You always have a decision – to invest in the future units, building-up forces for later offensives or immediately attack and gain the strategic advantages. And the special units adds additional flavor to the game – really, try it if you had not have a chance so far!
More about game:
The Mission: Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades is a “grand strategy” solitaire game covering 1,200 years of Christian history on a map of the ancient Mediterranean, Near East, Europe and Africa. While the secular world of empires and politics plays out around you, your missionaries spread the Christian faith and convert areas of the map to your new religion. Each turn covers decades, and the flow of play will teach players about the expansion and doctrinal battles of early Christianity while you build institutions to educate, heal, and inspire the societies you touch.
So why I appreciate that game so much? Firth, the theme is very deep in this game. It goes through the narrative, mechanics, components, events. You really have a feeling that you travel in time and witness the onset and then development of Christianity. Still, in my opinion, the strongest feature of the game are the various epoch through which the games leads the player – from Apostles times, through Pagan and then Christian Roman empire, barbarians invasions, raise of Jihad and its transformation into Abbasid caliphate. Each of those plays completely differently –this is fantastic piece of design!
I really like this game – theme, components, epochs, mechanics. It does not take too much space, can be played quickly (especially the Jihad scenario) and is perfect for an solo evening when on travel.
More about game:
The Shores of Tripoli plays out exciting episode of Early American military history – the First Barbaric War – one I was oblivious to! As the United States, one player will pressure Tripolitania to allow the free movement of American merchant vessels – or face the consequences. As the leader of Tripoli, the other player will continue the lucrative piracy of the fearsome corsairs while countering the American threat on land and sea.
From the first time I heard about the game in 2019 I was intrigued by a completely new historical subject to me – I will be honest, I never knew that US was fighting in the Mediterranean to repeal the pirates and they were supported by Swedes – all this happening during the Napoleonic Wars! What draw me to the game was also the asymmetry plus great Card Driven Game concept where you – throughout the game – have access to all of the cards but it is question when and how to use them.
I can definitely recommend it as travel-friendly wargame, as it is compact, allows for two-player and solo mode, can be easily finished in less than hour – plus is so much replayable!
More about game:
Designed by Mark H. Walker, La Résistance is a simple, yet engaging, dice and card game set during the German occupation of France in World War II. During the occupation, brave French men and women fought against the Nazi conquerors, disrupting their communications, destroying supply warehouses, and ambushing German patrols. La Résistance gives players a chance to lead a band of resistance fighters, working to keep their men and women alive as they also strive to become the most famous resistance leader.
On each turn, a player will roll six dice, placing the dice on mission cards common to all players, he or she attempts to defeat the mission card by matching dice on the card, spending recruits, and using their resistance leader’s special abilities. To win, a player must amass 12 Glory Points or break – by stealing or otherwise removing all rival resistance group members – the other resistance bands.
Three to five people may play, so this is compact, quick and engaging proposition for larger groups travelling together!
More about game:
These are of course only few proposal from the many games I am usually taking for trips or journeys. They all allow for pretty decent game-play experience – of course, taking into account limited space, limited amount of components and time needed for play.
I would be grateful if you could share your ideas for vacation / travel games!