Games for a Winter Vacation

by Feb 13, 2020Olaf's Corner0 comments

Winter is in full swing. ..

For many Manitobans, escaping to a warmer climate for a week or two in February has become a tradition. Destinations like Mexico, Cuba or the Dominican Republic are popular at this time of year, as they offer plenty of resorts featuring warm, sunny weather and beautiful beaches. It’s a welcome break after the busyness of the holiday season and offers us a chance to recharge and reconnect with family or friends in a stress free, swimsuit friendly environment. When it’s time to take a break from tanning on the poolside chair or after dinner in the evening, why not break out a board game? It’s a great way to connect with travel companions as you share some drinks and relaxed conversation.

Here are some of my thoughts on how to make the board gaming part of your vacation a successful one.

Bring games that appeal to any level of experience, group or mood.

Make sure you have variety in your game selection. Be sure to bring a game that can be played solo or with one other person for those times when you feel the need to limit your interaction with others. Additionally, pack a few games that cater to higher player counts as you never know when you’re going to make a few new friends while on holiday. It’s easier than you think to get people excited about learning a new game.

Give yourself some options for this eventuality in order to fit the mood of the crowd. Include simple, all-ages’ party games as well as some more involved strategy games to cover the bases. Length of gameplay for each of these options will also be an important consideration.

Use your luggage space wisely.

There are a lot of great games that require a larger box (Ticket to Ride, for example) but there are plenty of quality games, for a variety of player counts, that come in smaller packages. Take Anomia, for example. This game comes in a small box, yet it can accommodate up to 6 players and has a satisfying duration of play. The smaller the game packaging, the more you’ll be able to pack!

Manage game components.

Try to avoid bringing games with a lot of game pieces and pack the game pieces you have in small, transparent zip lock bags. Divide these game components into several bags and wrap any cards with elastic bands or hair ties. Most dollar stores sell both the small zip lock bags and elastics in their crafts section. Bring a few extra bags. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Depending on the game, you might even be able to leave the actual game box behind and just bag the components, cards and rule book.

Bring games that can be assembled quickly in a small area and cleaned up easily. This will make it easier to get a game going without spending too much time finding a proper place to set it up. Plus, it diminishes the chances of losing your favourite game pieces.


If you’re planning to take a winter vacation this year and are looking for some ideas for games to bring, here are some of my suggestions:

2 players, Ages 9 and up

A highly addictive strategy game for two players that is not restricted by a board and can be played on any flat surface. Hive is made up of twenty-two chunky and water-resistant pieces. They resemble a variety of creatures each with a unique way of moving. The goal of the game is to surround the opponent’s queen bee piece. The game even comes with a travel pouch!


2-4 players, ages 10 and up

Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops—all to acquire the most prestige points. On your turn, you may (1) collect chips (gems), or (2) buy and build a card, or (3) reserve one card. All of the cards you buy increase your wealth as they give you a permanent gem bonus for later in game purchases. In order to win the game, you must be the first to reach 15 prestige points.


2-4 players, ages 8 and up

A light strategy game that plays like dominoes with a kingdom-building twist. On each turn, connect a new domino to your existing kingdom, making sure that at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. Try to include dominoes with crowns on them: these royal treasures help to multiply the worth of your kingdom. The game ends when each player has completed a 5×5 grid, and then points are counted based on the number of connecting tiles.


2-10 players, ages 8 and up

On each turn, pick a card from your hand, then play it on one of four rows. Your card must be higher than the last card in a row, and it has to be played next to the last card that’s closest in number. If you play the sixth card in a row, you take that row . . . and all the points in it.


2-7 players, ages 8 and up

Players try to obtain fried worms for their chickens, so that they don’t go hungry. Of course, anyone who doesn’t manage to grab a worm off of the grill can help himself to those of his opponents. Each turn players roll their dice and set aside the ones matching any single value. The remaining dice are rolled, and matching values are set aside again until the player stops and takes a tile or ‘busts’ and puts their last tile back. A fun and very portable push-your-luck experience that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Are you intrigued to try a cooperative game? Here are my top suggestions:


2  players, Ages 9 and up.


Surround your opponent’s Queen bee with your selection of bugs.


2-4 Players, Ages 10 and up


Buy the most precious gems on the market to get the most points.


2-4 Players, Ages 8 and up

Build your kingdom by placing your tiles wisely.

Take 5/Take a Number

2-10 Players, Ages 8 and up

Avoid taking minus points by placing your cards wisely.

Pick-Omino Deluxe

2-7 Players, Ages 8 and up


Push-your-luck dice game. get the most worms before your roll fails.

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