Travel games for business trips

Traveling on a business trip can often be quite boring, especially if you have to travel via train or plane. A lot of industry professionals like to occupy this traveling time by playing some sort of game. Those who feel lucky may like to use sites like to play bingo and perhaps win big, others may like classic phone games like snake or candy crush. I love taking board games with me to business trips – it’s a great way to spend the night away from home when you’re visiting a location that doesn’t offer too many exciting options for a night on the town. Because you are either on your own or with people who might not share your hobby, it is important that these games be playable solo.

You are travelling, and likely travelling light – the game also has to be fairly compact in size. Due to the space restriction, games with a bigger board are ruled out – the boxes are normally too unwieldy. What you can possibly do in such situations is find small game cards from any card break site, which can fulfill this need. Those that use small cards to build the playing space are great candidates for this list.

So what options are there to throw into your carry-on? Below are five excellent options for your consideration.

1. Dungeon Roll by Tasty Ministrel Games

Dungeon roll - custom dice galore!

Dungeon roll – custom dice galore!

Arguably best played solo, Dungeon Roll packs 15 custom dice worth of fun into a compact 10x9x8 cm box. Sure, it’s not going to make for an engrossing evening of high-tension gaming, but your mind is fried after these meetings anyways. Leaving the box behind and packing everything into ziplocs reduces the volume even further. Dungeon Roll’s breezy 10-min game time also makes it a great time-killer for those prolonged waits to board a plane. While in these ques I often start to dream about how I could rent a private jet, it’s at times like these that you get to meet new people. You never know if a fellow board gamer will come up and ask to join you!

2. Space Hulk: Death Angel by Fantasy Flight Games

Nothing like crushing defeat for a good nights sleep!

Nothing like crushing defeat for a good nights sleep!

Packed into this slim 20-cm box is an entire space marine adventure, leading your squad of six elite warriors on a semi-suicide mission against a swarm of alien Genestealers. The game generously lists win likelihood at 44% and casualty likelihood at 86% and the single die, sadistically numbered 0-5 and not 1-6 is believed to be weighted by some. This game is tough but rewarding, taking up a bit more time (~40 min) and table space. It also requires some reliance on blind luck so gamers averse to the die deciding their faith – beware. Those who accept the risk are in for a wild action-pack shootout involving psionic powers, flamethrowers and facing innumerable waves of creatures hungering for your blood.

3. Friday : A solo adventure by Rio Grande Games

Because you couldnt stuff Robinson Crusoe in your carry-on.

Because you couldn’t fit Robinson Crusoe in your carry-on.

If you don’t mind the bare-bones illustration, this tale of supporting an unlucky castaway will make for several enjoyable solo plays. The form factor is very tight with this neat small box containing 72 cards and the streamlined rulebook will get you playing in no time. Sooner rather than later, however, you will know all the game has to offer, so it’s best played in smaller chunks to stretch out the mileage. Being uniquely specifically designed for a solo experience, Friday is an approachable and likable, though not particularly long-lived.

4. Elder Sign by Fantasy Flight Games

Elder Sign or Yahtzee : Lovecraft Edition.

Elder Sign or Yahtzee : Lovecraft Edition.

Like dice games but Dungeon Roll a bit too simple and bland for your taste? FFG has your back with Elder Sign – by far the “biggest” game in this list. Because there is no game board to speak of, the contents of the box fit neatly in several ziplocs that are easy to arrange in a small travel bag. Put it all out on the table – and you have a solid medium solo game on your hand, complete with a nifty mechanic of solving horror mysteries through rolling the correct combinations of creepy green dice. Very brisk and dynamic in the solo variant, the game is also more challenging than usual as you are playing with a single character. Elegant mechanics and engaging flavour text will draw you in for a fun 40-60 min game. With small additional effort, the Unseen Forces expansion can also be packed lightly, further enhancing your experience.

5. Hostage Negotiator by Van Ryder Games


It can be fun to negotiate with terrorists!

Fantasy and adventure not your style? Looking for a grittier more down-to-earth experience? Hostage Negotiator, another compact engaging solo game is currently on Kickstarter and can use your help. Playable in 15-30 min it pits you against three unique abductors to ensure a safe resolution of a tense stand-off. Can you stay cool and collected when the situation reaches the boiling point in this innovative card game? A small investment of $20 will allow you to help this project come to life and start taking it with you on all of those trips planned for 2015 and on.

Finally, an easy game that you could play on the go would be online bingo games, which have been made so much easier with the feature of paypal bingo, meaning that your bets are sent through a reliable money server and you can enjoy making a bit of extra cash as you’re traveling for work. This is something you can pick up and put down when you want to use it, which makes it very accessible on a busy or light work day.

Did we miss any games that are a must travel companion? We’d love to hear about your favourites. In the meantime – happy travels and happy gaming!

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