With summer finally here, we all need some games that we can throw in a bag and take anywhere.  Here are a few compact games that work just as well on a beach towel or picnic table as they do on your kitchen table.

 

Coup is a snappy little bluffing game for 2 to 6 players, with each round only taking a couple minutes.  Everyone gets two hidden roles that let them safely perform actions (assassinating other players, taking a bunch of money, stopping someone else from stealing cash), but because everyone’s powers are hidden, you can claim to be any role you like, performing any action you like.  If someone calls your bluff you’ll be forced to lose one of your roles, but if you weren’t bluffing after all they’ll lose one of theirs!  Last person with any roles left wins!

Citadels lets you fulfill your city-building, set-collecting dreams while incorporating a healthy dose of misdirection and reading your opponents.  Everyone chooses from the same set of characters each round, each character giving you a power that increases in strength and efficiency as you construct more buildings.

Looking for something for group, a road trip, or a night of drinking?  In Spyfall, everyone knows where they are except one person, who is the SPY, and has to figure out their location.  Meanwhile, everyone else has to figure out who the spy is!  Take turns asking each other leading questions that show everyone that you’re in the know, but without giving anything away to the spy!

  

Star Realms is a tiny deckbuilder that lets 2 players rapidly build up their fleets and bases and blast each other into space dust.  Want more variety of ships?  Combine it with Star Realms: Colony Wars, a standalone second set that also lets you expand the game to 4 players.  Prefer a fantasy theme?  Check out the recent sword and sorcery revamp, Hero Realms.

Want something deeper, that will reward repeated plays and let you pursue mastery?  BattleCON is a 2-player fighting game in a box, with each player getting to choose from a whole host of fighters, each with their own styles, powers, and nuances, then laying into each other with a straightforward but deep card combo battle system.

So Canada does a lot of awesome things, but did you know that we also have a healthy bunch of boardgame designers churning out awesome games? Well, I mean you probably knew that in theory given our relatively large population but I know I’d have been hard pressed to name a single Canadian developer until doing the research for this post! So I’m going to highlight three games you may or may not have known were created by Canadians!
This beautiful game was designed by Christopher Chung, a first time designer from Toronto. Place a lantern tile onto the board and while trying to match colours to earn favour and become the greatest artisan. The combination of tile laying and set collection mechanics is simple to understand but in depth enough to keep you engaged.
Montreal born Eric M. Lang is the designer of this epic Viking themed board game. A wonderfully epic game of battles and glory, the following quote from BoardgameGeek is all you need to know “The only losing strategy in Blood Rage is to shy away from battle and a glorious death!”
Two dudes from Calgary (Gavan Brown and Matt Tolman) made this awesome space mining themed deckbuilder. Now I personally am a sucker for any deck building game, but Super Motherload is top of the heap all the same. The excellent theme and clever use of boards to emulate a side scrolling video game adds to an already fun game.

Happy Canada Day everyone!