Although we all hope for a nice summer with lots of warm sunny days that can be spent outside, in the UK that’s not always possible. When you go on a caravan holiday with your family in our fine and beautiful country, you are often at the mercy of Mother Nature. There will be times when you are stuck in your caravan or, at the very least, awning space. That’s why it’s so important to plan and prepare your trip.
As well as making sure you all have enough clothes, food and other supplies, you need to make sure you have entertainment sorted. Now, given how our modern lives are filled with lots of handheld and portable tech, you could just get the iPads, tablets or even smartphones out and use them to wile away those hours spent inside waiting for that downpour to clear.
Given, though, that one of the reasons most of us go on caravanning holidays, is to escape the trappings of modern life, relying on our gadgets and gizmos to keep us entertained when the weather’s not good would seem counter-intuitive, just a little. Don’t you think?
That’s why it’s good to have a back-up plan. We’re not saying, don’t bring your tech (unless you really want to return to a more innocent and simpler lifestyle for the duration of your holiday). What we are suggesting is that you bring other forms of entertainment as well. One of the easiest forms of entertainment to take that you all can benefit from is a selection of great family board games.
Caravan Board Games (Family Friendly)
Ah yes, Scrabble, that classic word-forming game from the masters of kid’s toys and board games, Mattel. This is a firm favourite among families and for good reason. For one thing, it’s incredibly easy to setup. You just take the board out and each player takes seven letter tiles from the bag and places them on the little stands. You then each take a turn trying to place the highest scoring words with your available letters. Even if this is your first-time encountering Scrabble (and where have you been all your life that you’ve never played Scrabble?!?), those instructions are straightforward.
Another reason this is perfect for families on caravan holidays is that it can be played by just about anyone. Okay, so there’s only really space for 4 people and the box does point to players being aged 10 or over. However, we’ve always seen those rules as being there to be broken. Surely, if you can spell, you can play Scrabble.
Finally, it’s very portable. Which is something that you need to consider when you’re trying not to overload your caravan or tourer.
Another classic that has never gone out of fashion and perfect for examining the pros and cons of capitalism. Monopoly involves buying property and assets and making money. There is a lot more to it than that, but for a beginner that explains quite a lot. The traditional British version, as shown in the link, is a board based on London destinations. Be warned though, this is one that we’d suggest you stick to the age guidelines for this one, because some of the rules and instructions can get quite tricky, especially as the game progresses.
Another word to the warning, Monopoly, as anyone who has played it before, will know that it can get heated. So, if any of your family (including you reading this) are prone to getting frustrated easily or have unscrupulous tendencies, this game will only emphasise these further. Monopoly regulars…we’ve all had players tip the board in a mad rage because they ended up in jail or lost all their money, haven’t we?
It’s worth noting though, as this is the aim of the game, a little heat and fire should be expected, just take care that it doesn’t get too out of hand.
3. Exploding Kittens
Okay, so Exploding Kittens is the first of the more modern board games highlighted in our list. This is a game, as the makers suggest, for people who like explosions, lasers, kittens and even goats. When it was first released it was the Kickstarter project that had received the most backers in the site’s history.
Essentially, it’s a kitty-centred and very strategic version of classic Russian Roulette, without guns. Obviously. You get 56 cards, some of which are the main game cards, whereas others are what are known as Defuse Cards and others that you can use to skip turns, more on that later.
Each player takes turns to draw a card from the deck until someone draws an exploding kitten. What do you think an exploding kitten card means? That’s right, you’re out, because you’ve been exploded. By a kitten. Simples, isn’t it?
But wait, we mentioned Defuse Cards before. Well, these are cards that you can use to distract those pesky and bomb-tastic exploding kittens cards so that you don’t get eliminated out of the game or blown to smithereens. Hilarious Defuse cards feature things like catnip sandwiches, kitten yoga and laser pointers. Additionally, there are cards you can play that enable you to miss a turn and avoid that explosion, peek into the deck so you can make strategic decisions on when to play Defuse cards or not, attack your competitors or just move an exploding kitten card to an undisclosed location in the pack (i.e. hint hint, somewhere where someone else will draw it and not you).
The illustrations on the box and all the cards are designed by the very funny people at The Oatmeal.
4. The Logo Game
The Logo Game is a great game to play when you’re on a caravanning holiday. As the name suggests, it’s all about the logos, products and companies we all know and love. We live in a very busy world and advertising is big business. This is a trivia game all about those things in our lives. To move around the board, you need to get the questions right. The first to get to the winning zone and answer their final question correctly, is the winner.
The questions range from simple ‘what is or name the’ questions to spelling brand names and identifying brands by their advertising campaigns. A lot of fun and a nice nostalgic walk down memory lane.
5. Weird Things Humans Search For
This is another newer board game, but worth a mention because it’s a nice bridge between the modern world of the internet that we live in and the escapism from that modern world that caravanning gives us. The name is very self-explanatory. In case you didn’t know, the world is full of weird people and as most people nowadays seem to have an internet connection, their weird is put on full display by the weird things they search for through Google.
Have you ever started typing something, often fairly innocuous like ‘my dog…’ and then been flabbergasted by the predictions that Goggle displays based on what other people have looked for in the past? This game is based around that. Every round of the game features the first half of a genuine internet search and then it’s up to you to figure out the missing half.
You get points for guessing any of the answers mentioned on the card for that internet search and get the top points if you get the number one answer.
As it’s very compact, it’s perfect for packing for your next caravanning holiday. Be warned though, due to some of the content, that this game is more aimed at adults and teenagers.
6. Articulate – The Fast-Talking Description Board Game
Articulate is a modern board game based on a rather old parlour game. How hard is it to describe certain words without using that word? Incredibly hard. That’s how hard. Articulate capitalises on that fact and uses it to make a fast and furious ‘what’s on the card’ style game. Oh, and is if that premise wasn’t enough, you aren’t allowed to use cheat phrases like ‘sounds like’ or ‘rhymes with’.
Anything from 4 to 20 people can play this at one time, so you can imagine just how raucous it can get, especially if you have a large get together with guests to your caravan or invite another family or couple along to play with you.
7. Connect 4
Connect 4 is another of those classics that people of a certain generation onwards grew up with. It’s portable and compact and incredibly easy to play. Slightly harder to win and involves a lot more strategy than you initially think. Although only two people can play this at one time, you could have mini tournaments, where the winner plays the next person and things like that. It’s one of the easiest and quickest to play.
8. Snakes and Ladders
Another classic and another simple game and that’s fine because sometimes simple is all you need for a good time. Even if you are some, frankly, strange kind of person who’s never played a game of Snakes and Ladders in his or her life, you should be able to pick up on the rules and instructions. You climb (and get further along the board) up ladders and slide down (and move backwards on the board) snakes.
The entertainment factor of this game may wear thin after a while, so it may be best to take along more than just a Snakes and Ladders board, unless you fancy pulling all your hair out!
Cluedo is perfect for playing in a caravan because, although it’s about cold-blooded murders and solving who dunnit, you don’t have to do much more than choose from a selection of cards. So, if you’ve ever wanted to be Miss Marple, Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, put your thinking cap (or deerstalker) and get sleuthing.
Pictionary is a classic board game that involves drawing sketches to help your teammates guess a word or phrase. It’s like a drawing-based version of charades. Although being artistic would put you at a distinct advantage, it can be even funnier if you are not very creative when it comes to drawing.
11. Guess Who?
Okay, so this is more designed for children. But, come on, when the rain’s pelting down, this game would be a lot of fun for adults. Often, you will find that the kids are much better at these sorts of games anyway. Another self-explanatory game, if you’ve never played it before. You must whittle down a large selection of possible people to guess the person your opponent has chosen.
12. Trivial Pursuit
Are you a family or couple of knowitalls? Trivial Pursuit is perfect for you! It includes 2,400 trivia questions related to six different categories including Sports and Leisure, Science and Nature, Art and Literature, History, Entertainment and Geography. Answer the questions correctly, collect coloured wedges and make your way to the central hub. First one there and who answers the last question is the winner.
13. What am I?
What Am I? is another board game that takes its inspiration from a classic parlour game. You each must wear a headband with a card, that the wearer has no idea what’s on it and then must guess what you are, as indicated by the card. Simple, quick and a whole lot of fun for all the family. You get a total of 50 cards, 4 headbands, 20 scoring chips and a timer, so there’s plenty to keep you entertained for hours.
14. The Great British Taxi Board Game
Think you know Britain? Now you can put your knowledge and that of your family to the test with this awesome board game. It includes 400 questions all about Great Britain, covering general knowledge and history. Where does the Taxi part come in? You basically answer questions on subjects asked by your customers in order to increase your fares and tips. The person, or should we say cabbie, that wins is the one that makes the most money.
Chess may not be for everyone but that hasn’t stopped it being one of the most popular board games of all time. This travel edition is great for caravanning because it doesn’t take up too much space. Chess, although it can take a lifetime to master, has fairly simple basic rules to follow and instructions so anyone can ‘play’ it. It’s at the very least, fun to play, even if you don’t have any tactics or strategy.
When Chess is a little too difficult or you just don’t want to be stuck playing a game for several hours, there is always draughts (sometimes known as checkers). This is very similar to chess but does not have nearly as many complicated rules and manoeuvres. Basically, take all your opponents counters out of the game and you’re the winner! We used to love playing this as a kid, especially as when you get to the other side of the board unscathed, you win back one of your counters and turn that counter into a double-stacked-can-move-anywhere beast!
We all loved Operation as a kid, didn’t we? Especially that infuriating buzzer that sounded when you had a nervous twitch or just decided to bash the poor patients’ insides. This is great for kids, but grown-ups can also have a laugh too as it’s all about having nerves of steel and not too much actual knowledge of the body!
Kerplunk is another of those very silly games that we probably all remember playing as kids. This also relies on you having steely nerves and involves removing sticks without dropping marbles. Another bonus of this game is that despite it having just a few key components there are several different ways you can play it. Like Hot Sticks, Tricksy Trays and Golden Ball.
19. The Game of Life
You all get a chance to lead the life you never had or the life you plan on having. This game takes you through the ups and downs, successes and losses of life. A lot of fun and has some surprising twists and turns.
20. 5 Second Rule
We thought we’d round out our list with another modern classic board game. This involves a lot of quick thinking and even quicker talking. Basically, you get five seconds to name 3 of something. The silliness comes from blurting out ridiculous things as you try to shout out the right answers at breakneck speed!
Why Board Games?
If you’ve ever been a family that’s played board games in the past, you will know how good they can be for brining you all together. Rather than being stuck behind a screen and maybe muttering to each other between games, YouTube clips or Netflix boxsets, board games get you talking and interacting.
Of course, there will be arguments and disputes…but, that’s kinda the joy of them. Some of your kids may look at the board games and initially groan about how uncool they are. Fast forward 20 minutes later and they’re arguing with you over the rules of the game and how they saw you steal some money from the bank. Hah!
Another great thing about board games is the variety available. Not all gams will suit all families, but there will be one or two that you and your family will find enjoyable. If you don’t want to trawl for hours through the wide selection of board games, we’ve put a guide to 10 of our favourites here at Caravan Helper.
There are lots more out there, but the 20 above gives you a lot of options to try out. It may also be a good idea to look at travel editions of some of the real classics, if you are really worried about having enough space.
Whatever you choose, whatever your family prefer, having board games is at the very least a great back-up plan to have in the cupboard. Especially when you must cancel that trip to the beach and the seaside, that hike or that walk around the local town where you are staying because of the rubbish, rainy, but classic British summertime weather.