Traveling with Board Games

Winter has sprung, and with it comes the unnerving desire to escape this tundra for sunnier shores. This may be the first trip you have taken since the pandemic began, given that so many vacations were postponed or felt too dangerous to take. Maximize your time with family and friends, perhaps in a tropical locale, by busting out your best board games. Here’s how to transport and play them the right way:

Pack in your checked luggage

This might seem like a no-brainer, but allow us to elaborate: Checking luggage is the worst, we understand. It carries with it the danger of employees tossing your suitcase around like a hot potato or opening it up to collect the veritable riches within—like a hot potato. But board games arrive in boxes that, often, feel reinforced and bend only after years of use, which means they can withstand the elements, man-made or otherwise, and arrive at your destination relatively unscathed. The same properties that make games luggage-proof also contribute to their inability to fit snugly in seemingly any backpack or petite carry-on. Often, the edges stick out, or the zipper tears at the backpack material itself—and don’t even attempt to shove that thing under your seat for risk of looking like a fool and pissing off your seatmates. What you will sacrifice in convenience you’ll make up, in spades, upon arrival when you find one of those little tags indicating your luggage was searched and your board games (but potentially not your wallet or passport) have traveled safely.

Ensure board games are on the itinerary

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of travelers and vacationers: Some travel to take in the sights of a new location; these people prefer tourist-y stuff and lots of relentless sightseeing. Others arrive at their destination ready to plop themselves on the beach with a good book (or not) and zone out for 23 hours a day. Both groups, however, remain slaves to the itinerary—the former using it for up-to-the-minute planning, the latter using it to, well, know what not to do. By adding a board game session to the itinerary before the trip even starts—or as soon as you land—you’ll ensure that both parties will, at the very least, see it written on paper and have the seed planted that, at some point, there might be gaming. Nobody likes new ideas sprung upon them in the middle of a vacation unless they are maddingly bored, and you can’t necessarily count on a tropical or interesting destination making anyone feel that way. Get in early.

Teach your most eager friend who understands board games already

It won’t be hard to identify this person. After all, you have seen them at board game evenings before (plus, you are friends) and they have demonstrated that, yeah, they’ve got the goods, the smarts and the wherewithal to be a true gaming allstar. Those skills might not necessarily come up during this trip, but what you want to harness is their excitement for learning new games and, most importantly, playing them right away. Rope them in as soon as you land to ensure they are going to be playing the inaugural run of your game. Their motivation is bound to be infectious, and because they are adept at picking up new board games, you won’t have to slow down too much in order to catapult things into the mid game—where the action really gets spicy. Other friends and family members are sure to notice how much fun the two of you are having and want to join.

Next time, suggest a gaming convention

Your winter vacation is certain to whet your appetite for more trips, so start planting the seed for a trip to GenCon, Origins, C2E2, San Diego Comic Con or one of the other appropriate events—inching ever closer to your ideal vacation itself.

BONUS TIP: SWAGGING UP YOUR STUFF

If you don’t have space in your luggage to take the games with you, perhaps consider shipping your stuff to your destination. That way you can free up your luggage for souvenirs (and extra underwear). To have your stuff arrive in style we suggest using custom designed packaging labels, like we have done in the past! This also helps show off your stuff at conventions and even will catch the eyes of curious onlookers!

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