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Portable Gaming Is Back!

By Morgan Coulter @coffeeandcooperation

Once upon a time, gaming in public was something you could do without thinking twice about it. But after a year of a global pandemic, we’re all missing our favorite local game spots. Whether it’s a game cafe, a coffee shop or a brewery, we all have somewhere we like to hang out and “waste” an afternoon.

While there’s still so much that’s closed, my favorite local brewery is now open (with plenty of guidelines in place to keep you safe!) and it’s been such a joy to escape my house for an afternoon, drink a Cherry Cobbler Sour, and GAME. Here’s a few tried and true games that have become staples for us while at the brewery.

These are games that are compact, don’t have a lot of components, and are easy to learn but a blast to play. Let’s check them out!

1. Love Letter by Z-Man Games. This game has become a favorite of ours. It consists of only a small deck and a few tokens that help you keep track of the winner each round. In Love Letter, you’re attempting to win the heart of the princess by having the highest value card at the end of the round, or by simply being the last person left in the game. It’s incredibly simple; draw a card, play a card. But it’s a good amount of luck and guess work, and is always a blast. We’ve found that this works really well at two-player (although it goes up to 6 player!) And if you’re with a group of friends, check out Marvel Infinity Gauntlet. It’s the same concept, but is set in the Marvel World. We enjoy that one with a higher player count though, so we tend to pick Love Letter when there’s just two of us.

2. The Bears and the Bees by Grandpa Becks Games. This is a beautiful card game in which you’re building a hive with cards from your hand. You can match your cards by color or by using a wild (honey!) But be careful, bees can produce extra cards for you and bears can tend to mess up the whole hive. First one to get rid of all their cards wins! This game is incredibly simple to learn; you can dive in within minutes of hearing the rules. There is advanced game play for those looking for a challenge, and it plays with up to 5 players so it’s another great option if you’re out with friends. Since it only consists of the deck of hexagon shaped cards, there’s hardly any set up at all.

3. Trash Pandas by Gamewright. This is a hysterically fun game in which you and your opponents are collecting trash and stashing away food (and shiny objects!) It’s a push your luck game based on a single die. Each round you roll the die, trying to get different actions. Once you get the same action twice you’ve busted and lose your turn. (Unless you have a card to help out!) The game consists of a deck of cards, one die, and 6 tokens so it’s perfect for a table crowded with food and drinks. And we all know that push your luck games are even more fun when you’ve had a beer!

4. Railroad Ink by Horrible Guild. This game has been a new obsession in our house after meeting with friends via Zoom to play this every Saturday. In Railroad Ink, you’re rolling dice with railroad tracks, roads and stations on them, and attempting to connect them all together! This is a brilliant game. Each game feels unique, and it’s all because of what comes up on the dice. This is a great game at any number. It’s one of my favorites to play solo, and as long as everyone’s got a board there’s no limit to the number of people that can join in! And with only boards, pens and dice it’s another great compact game for when you’re out and about.

5. Metro X by Gamewright. Another favorite roll and write, in Metro X you’re attempting to visit as many stations as you can on a subway map. But watch out! Tracks cross and every station has to be visited. You’ll soon find yourself with gaps in the line that need to be filled, but will you get the card you need to fill it? Metro X is for 1-6 players, and only consists of boards, markers and a deck of

cards. Everyone that I have played this game with absolutely loves it, whether or not they’re gamers. It’s addicting and after every game you want to start again because you’re convinced you can do better!

As the world begins to re-open, head back out to your favorite gaming location and enjoy your afternoon! Test out one of these games, and make sure to let me know what games you love to play when you’re out and about!

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