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My son and I have always been into board games, but one of the things that got us more heavily into them was playing games in the car while waiting for some appointment or event. My son joined a soccer team a few years back and our routine was to go to practice right after school, do some homework in the car, and maybe play some short games until practice started. Soccer practice was usually three times a week so we had a lot of time to play games.
The first game we tried to play in the car was Dominion. If you’ve ever played Dominion, you’d probably wonder how in the world we could have played in the car where there’s not a lot of space to lay out stacks of cards. It took us a few iterations but we figured out how to do it. At first we tried laying the cards on the slightly-tilted dashboard and on the center console. That didn’t really work because the cards would slide off the dashboard pretty easily. Our next attempt was to use the Dominion box to hold some of the cards and some of the others were on the center console. That worked, but any sudden movement of the box would make a big mess of cards. We finally figured out that we could use two collectible card 9 pocket page protector to hold the cards. After this I vowed to come up with better ways to play in the car (which I’m hoping one day to implement).
We started searching for more games that we could play in confined spaces like the car. A few of them we played a lot. We started playing DiceMasters but only with three heroes because we didn’t have enough space to lay out that many cards and dice. DiceMasters is a lot of fun because there are a lot of interested characters with interesting abilities. And it’s always exciting to see if you get an ultra-rare collectible card/dice in one of the expansion packs.
We played Coup quite a bit although as a two player game it was a lot of the same gameplay over and over. We used the Coup box to hold the tokens and the center console had the two stacks of cards. Despite mostly playing two-player, we probably played Coup a hundred times in the car. Everyone we introduced this game to really loved it.
We found Love Letter to be really easy to play in the car, although we didn’t keep track of score using the cubes. I found a cell phone dashboard holder, the kind that the phone sits on top of a slot and looks a little like an easel, and the Love Letter cards fit nicely in there without worrying about them sliding off the dashboard. Love Letter’s such a nicely packaged small game that I pretty much carry it everywhere I go.
The card game Poo was pretty easy to play in the car as there’s really only two stacks of cards. The only problem was that the discard stack tended to get messy and we needed to straighten it out every few turns. The theme was fun as well, flinging poo at other players as fast as you can.
We played a lot of Dungeon Roll. We put the black encounter dice on a ledge where the navigation screen was located and rolled carefully on the center console. The only downside I see to Dungeon Roll is that the box is shaped like a treasure chest and would probably get crushed if I carried it around in my backpack.
We even played Machi Koro in the car, but we only tried it once because it was a little too messy. We used the box to hold the cards and played with our own made up rules where there were three random stacks of cards instead of all of the different cards laid out in their own pile. We actually found playing that way to be more fun than the actual rules because when we played normally it was always who could get the Convenience Store cards first.
We even tried playing the Star Wars Card Game by Fantasy Flight and put all of the stacks of cards in the box. I don’t think we finished playing that game because it took too much space. Similarly we tried playing the Lord of the Rings LCG, which was our favorite game for a long time, but it was just impossible with the number of cards that needed to be laid out.
Roll For It is really easy to play with almost no space because it just requires space for three cards plus the deck and some space to roll the dice. We always use the box to roll the dice in. Roll For It is one of the easiest games to explain to new players. We got some of my son’s teammates into Roll For It.
Zombie Dice may be the easiest and most portable game that we’ve played. There’s no cards involved and just requires a place to roll dice and a place to store a few dice for display. There’s really only dice and a dice cup so it can withstand some rough play without being damaged.
Hanabi was another game we were able to play in the car. It does require a little space to put stacks of cards. This game is pretty fun because you’re depending on the other player to guide you to play the right card and you have to remember what they told you across turns.
We played Sushi Go a few times and it’s easy to play with little space. Sushi Go is probably best if there are more than two players. You need to have a little space to place a few stacks of cards down per player.