Games for Festival Fun

by | Jul 11, 2019 | Olaf's Corner | 0 comments

Summer is here, Manitoba!

Our province will soon be celebrating the warm weather with outdoor festivals like the Winnipeg Folk Festival or Winnipeg Fringe Festival, just to name a few. We’ll be hanging out with friends or family, soaking in the sunshine and relaxing on our lawn chairs or blankets. What’s not to like?!

Ever thought about adding some board games to the experience? There are good people around you with some time to spare, plenty of sunshine and amazing background entertainment, I mean, the setting is perfect.

Let’s look at some great games that you can bring along and introduce to your festival pals.

One of the main concerns, of course, is size. Most of us are probably just bringing a back pack or bag for the day, so carrying a couple of large board game boxes is probably not the easiest thing to do. Luckily, there are some incredible games that are only slightly larger than your smart phone. There are tons of games out there that come in a compact 13x10x2 cm box. Don’t let the size fool you: A lot of them offer a surprising amount of fun and complexity. Many of my favourite games come in very small boxes.

One should also consider the amount of surface area needed to play a particular game. At a festival, we’ll probably spend most of our time sitting on a blanket or at a picnic table. Neither have a lot of space to offer. If you are sitting on the ground, you will also find it harder to reach game pieces that are further away from you. Therefore, the games we choose should require as little playing space as possible.

The same applies to the number of game pieces needed to play. Make sure the game can be set up and dismantled quickly when you’re finished with it. This will make it much easier to switch things up if players need to leave, new friends want to join or the mood shifts. If you have games that have a lot of pieces you also run the risk of losing a few.

I would suggest choosing games that are less complex or shorter in duration. At a festival, board games should provide a light break from scheduled activities. They should allow people to get involved without having to learn a lot of rules. If it turns out to be a game they enjoy, you can always play a few more rounds.


2-10 Players, Ages 8 and up

Timeline: Diversity

Timeline is a game played with small cards, each of which has an historical event or discovery on one side and the year it occurred on the other. The players take turns placing a card in a row on the table. After placing a card, the player turns it over to reveal the date. If the date on the card is chronologically correct in relation to the cards already laid, it remains in the play area. The first person to correctly place all of their cards wins. This game comes in different versions such as, Classics, Canadian, Events or Inventions.


2 Players, Ages 8 and up


Hive is a game for 2 players only. Even though it’s not as small as some of the other games, it is perfect for the outdoors. Included in the box is a carrying pouch and the game pieces are chunky and easy to clean. Each player plays the role of a hive of insects and tries to surround their opponent’s queen bee. It has a hint of chess mechanics but is different enough to make it interesting. The beauty is: The more you play, the better you become.

So, what am I going to take to my next outdoor festival this summer? Here are my favourites:


2-5 players, Ages 8 and up.


Hanabi is a co-operative game. The goal of the group is to fully play all five card colours, stacking them in five columns at the center of the table. However, in a novel twist, each player holds their cards face-out so only the other players can see the faces of the cards you’re holding. On your turn, you can choose to either give another player information about their cards, play a card or discard a card. Communication is key!

The Mind

2-4 Players, Ages 8 and up


In this co-operative game, the goal is to reach 8 levels as a group. There are 100 numbered cards in the deck. At level 1, each player gets one card, at level 2, 2 cards and so on. All the team has to do is to play the cards in ascending order in the middle of the playing area. The problem is, you cannot talk or communicate with each other in any way. So basically, you have to try to read each other’s minds. It’s an unusual concept but very addictive!


3-6 Players, Ages 10 and up


Anomia will get your adrenaline going! It features a deck of cards with different categories on each card (i.e. hockey players, pizza toppings, European countries, etc). Each card also has a coloured symbol on it. On their turn, each player takes a card from the deck and places it in front of them. If two or more players have a matching symbol, they must quickly give an example of a person place or thing in the category of the opposing player. Whoever gives a correct answer first wins both cards. The player with the most cards wins. Fun!