So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Games in the Car – While Waiting!

Like many people, our family can be waiting for our turn, whether it is at a restaurant, the doctor’s office, or some other place.  Like many gamers, my solution is to have games available to play.  I have seen “car kits” put together by gamers to put in their automobiles, but I was never completely convinced on the solution.  I guess I was looking for something neat and tidy, and many of these kits were in plastic storage boxes; the kind I really don’t like in the car.

Then I saw someone had used a backgammon case for their car kit.  Whoa!  What a great idea!  After all, backgammon is a great game that many people can play, and our son needs to learn how to play.  I decided that was the way to go.  I grabbed our backgammon set (the full size one, not one of the two travel sets we own!) and opened it up.  The pieces and dice have their own space.  Aside from the dice cups, the playing area can hold a few items.

What to put in it?  What games should I carry?  I ended up with the following games in my car kit:

  • BackgammonKind of obvious, but worth mentioning if only for to make sure I count right at the end of this post!
  • Chess.  I have a small Drueke chess set from around WWII that fits nicely inside.  Chess is my favorite game, how can I not have a set in the car kit?
  • Brandubh.  This is sometimes referred to as Irish Chess, though that’s not entirely accurate.  The game predates chess in Ireland though, and is related to a family of tafl games that is various traced back to the Vikings, Welsh, Saxons, and Irish.  It is a print-n-play (that you print at home and make in a small amount of time), with aquarium/floral stones of different colors used as the pieces.  Printed on card stock, the board takes no room, and the 13 stones take very little.
  • Zombie in my Pocket.  This game has been around for a few years as a print-n-play game.  Zombies are chasing you through a home that you have never seen before, but which you know has the talisman inside which needs to be buried in a mystical place in the back yard.  This is silly, solitaire fun that can keep me entertained for a little while.  It easily fits inside a 3x5 plastic baggie, and then into the car kit.
  • Standard Playing Cards.  We are set for solitaire and two-person games, but there are three of us in the family.  A deck of cards is also a pretty obvious choice, since it’s essentially a whole bunch of games in a pocket sized packet that will work with any number of players.  With that goes a…
  • Cribbage Board.  This can be played multi-player.  The only problem with this is than I am the only one who knows how to play.  That can be fixed though.  To conserve even more space, this tiny folding board fits inside the backgammon dice cups when they are placed top-to-top.  Not much else would fit in there.
  • Bandits.  This game might be taken out of the car kit and go permanently into a Scouting bag of games.  The younger Scouts seem to love it, but it seems a little light.  While my wife likes lighter games, this one isn’t her style.  I will look for a replacement if I do.
  • Bananagrams.  The whole family likes this game; I reviewed it a while back.  This game is a little thick to go in, but I will push it a little bit.  It might help if I took it out of the banana-shaped bag, but what’s the fun in that?

That makes eight different games that can be in this kit.  Yet, as the infomercial says, “Wait, there’s more!”  With these components there are a few more games that can be played, and that’s not counting standard deck card games:

  • Liar’s Dice.  Many people who are aware of this game know it through the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  This is a centuries old game with many variations; my favorite is Mia
  • Fox and Hounds.  This is really a checkers variant, but could easily be played with the chess pawns. 
  • Lines of Action, Crossingsthese are games published in the great book, A Gamut of Games by the late, great Sid Sackson (who also designed Acquire, another favorite of mine.)  You might have to use more of the chess pieces, or draw a checkerboard to use with the backgammon disks.  This might be a little ugly, but what the heck.

Promotional Image for Treehouse Pieces
There are other systems to include too.  There is a whole set of games surrounding Treehouse (aka Icehouse) pieces for example.

As you pack the car for your summer outings, what will be in it?  Don’t forget the games as you head out of the house!  However you pack them, in a box or in a backgammon case, having a few games along might be the difference between your time being fun in the sun or bland in the sand.

It’s Your Move!


  1. When you've mentioned games in the car, I was thinking of counting stuff on the road. Maybe stuff like rocks, some weird animals on the side of the road, things like that. These board games seem to be a good idea, too.

  2. Thanks! I am glad to pass along a great idea; even when they aren't my own!

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