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I’m going on vacation and I’m bringing… #4

As summer approaches board game enthusiasts around the world are dreaming of playing their favorite games on vacation. Playing analog games is a great way to spend time with family, friends, or to connect with total strangers. Whether you are at the seaside, backpacking in a foreign country, or off-the-grid in a mountain cabin, there’s always a suitable game. In this series we take a look at the top 5 games your fellow board game enthusiasts love to bring on vacation. Today we are going to look at the top 5 by The Board Gaming Pinup Girl from Canada!

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Hello again! I showcased a bit of my board game collection a few months ago for Analog Games. If you don’t remember me, my name is Mandi, but I go by the moniker The Board Gaming Pinup Girl on social media. I am a host (along with fellow hosts Tracy the Gaming Maven and Steph The Games Teacher), on our YouTube channel, To Die For Games.

Today, I am going to talk about games that I like to take on vacation. I do not get to take vacations too often because I am always working, so I make the most of it!

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When I’m able, I have a quick getaway to the cottage where we can swim, play sports and of course, play some board games! I am designated the “bringer of games” which I usually transport in my large (yet fashionable) bag.

There are so many games in my collection that I could bring when I travel, but these are the ones that are often requested by my friends:

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5. Codenames (Vlaada Chvátil, 2015)
“Yes, I know that Codenames has been out for quite some time, but it was one of the first games that my friends absolutely adored. It’s an easy game to bring on vacation because there are only small cards and a few other small pieces. I like this game because it allows for team work and it really demonstrates how differently our minds work. I give the strangest clues and my friends usually seem to know exactly what I am referring to! Only being able to provide one word clues is difficult, especially when you are trying to describe a variety of words for your spy to choose, but it’s always a fun discussion after a round to determine why they chose the card that they did. Playing with new people on vacation is the most entertaining. They either think we are extremely strange or we are super fun and cool. I like the fact that we can take turns at being the spy master and the spy. I am a terrible spy master as I always want to change the configuration of the map card which lets me know what cards belong to our team. I think I may have contributed to a few wins for the other team….oops….haha”

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4. The Grizzled (Fabien Riffaud & Juan Rodriguez, 2015)
“As much as my friends do not like to admit it, they are a little competitive, even when we play cooperative games. The Grizzled hits the table often during vacation time because it is difficult to win and my friends insist on consistently trying until they are victorious! It has yet to happen. I love the artwork in this game as it is truly accurate and overwhelmingly fits the theme. It is such a small game but does a great job of building tension, because you cannot talk to your fellow troops in battle. The objective of the game is to exhaust the pile of cards over the peace symbol and have no cards in hand. If the deck of card on top of the war monument is exhausted first, you lose the game! The Hard Knocks are what really make the game. My favourite one is the “Mute” card. It is challenging for some of my friends; me included, not being able to verbally communicate with each other during the game. Each Hard Knock provides the player with an ever frustrating challenge, but it makes the game that much more exciting. I am very excited for the expansion. Double the fun!”

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3. Happy Pigs (Kuraki Mura, 2013)
“Normally, I do not bring games that have a lot of pieces on vacation, but I can’t resist playing Happy Pigs with my friends. It has pigs, need I say more? In this game the objective is to acquire the most amount of money by farming and selling your healthy pigs. There are several actions that you can take, but within my group, we seemed to pick the same actions and weren’t that many action points to go around! It’s a cute and light game that appeals to a variety of people and it definitely lightens the mood. We all love animals so this game was an instant hit with my group.”

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2. Parade (Naoki Homma, 2007)
“I am a big fan of card games, especially ones where the art is appealing and it’s compact. Parade is a game that is one of a few card games published by Z-Man Games. This Alice in Wonderland themed game has a different objective where in order to win, you need to acquire the least amount of points. We place our cards at the end of the parade line and attempt not to acquire any cards in the process. Based on the number of the card we placed will determine which cards are safe and which cards we will have to pick up. Cards of the same colour or equal to or less than the card placed, after the safe zone, count as points against you! My favourite part is everyone counting the cards at the same time the player counts the cards. We definitely have trust issues with this game…but we love playing it. Just when you think that you are going to finish the game with a score of zero, you are forced to take a high value card. Such a great time!”

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1. Deep Sea Adventure (Jun Sasaki, 2014)
“I first saw Deep Sea Adventure on Instagram when Caryl, owner of Quiche Games, mentioned that it was a quick, and fun little game. The colours were bright and it was compact. I wanted to know more, so in pure “Mandi fashion”, I just ordered it. It was a pricey game for such small packaging, but it was worth every penny. This press your luck game hits just the right spot. The objective is to have your explorers try and make it back to the submarine, with as many treasures as you can, without losing oxygen. Sounds easy enough, right? My problem is that I get too greedy so I always go way deeper than I should. I love the fact that I can put this game in my fanny pack (yes, I have quite the stylish fanny pack that I wear at Cons) and I can pull it out at events and everyone has a great time learning and playing the game. I think I have managed to sell quite a few copies of this game because everyone with whom I have played this game, loves it. It was so much fun that I had to do a review on it on our YouTube channel!”

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“So, there you have it! My list of games to take on vacation fluctuates, but these are currently the five games that make it in into my vacation bag. I hope that you enjoyed my list and get a chance to try these games out if you haven’t already! If you want to see more of games that I enjoy, check out my YouTube channel, To Die For Games!

Photo credits: Paul Deveau
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