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Traveling with Board Games

Geek WeekI love my board games, and I'm proud to have the great boxes they come in displayed prominently on my living room shelves. Board game art is a fantastic genre in and of itself (I'm proud to know a couple board game artists, who are awesome folks and talented to boot), and obviously those big, brightly illustrated boxes are meant to make games stand out on game store shelves. But those big boxes also make it challenging to travel with your games if you want to take them with you on vacation. Of course, there are travel editions of many more mainstream games, but they're never quite up to snuff.

This summer, our family had the chance (thanks to my nonagenarian grandma) to take a cruise to Alaska (if you're ever in Juneau, don't miss Alaska Robotics, the geekiest place in town). Cruises are exciting, but there's also a lot of at-sea time that forces you to take it easy and find things to occupy your time. That's why I wanted to bring a number of our more interesting board games. But stuffing full boxes into our luggage wasn't going to happen (and might end up damaging said boxes).

So, I consolidated.

Now, this may be rather obvious, but it worked so well that I have to pass it on. If you take all the parts of a board game out of the box, the volume is greatly reduced. Really, most board game boxes are terribly inefficient as storage mediamost board game boxes are terribly inefficient as storage media. Use sandwich-sized zipper bags for cards, tokens, playing pieces, and dice (each labeled), and then put those bags into a larger gallon-sized bag for full containment (again, labeled). In some cases, the game boards even fold down small enough to fit in the larger bag. If not, put a rubber band around them to keep them together. This will reduce the travel size of any given game by up to 70 percent. I was able to pack a nice selection of our board games for on-ship play. We got a lot of folks standing around when we played Castle Panic in one of the bars and had a lot of fun.

So, for your next family trip, whether you're on a cruise, off to Disneyland, or up to a campground or cabin, think about taking more of your games with you by consolidating them down into their component parts, sans boxes. This may also be a great way to store them at home, if space is at a premium. I mean, I'd hate for you to have to forgo those beautiful boxes, but it's better than having no games at all!

More from Ken Denmead on PowellsBooks.Blog:

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Ken Denmead is the editor of GeekDad, a blog on Wired magazine's website. A professional civil engineer, he lives near San Francisco with his wife and their two sons, who are both geeks in training. He is the author of three books, including Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects... Used Trade Paper $6.50
  2. Castle Panic Board Game Gifts Miscellaneous $35.00

Ken Denmead is the author of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share

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