10 travel board games that will feed your wanderlust

10 travel board games that will feed your wanderlust

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We’ve all been there – stuck at home, bored, tired of staring at a screen and longing for an adventure. Turn off the TV, set the cell phone aside and bust out one of these board games that appeal to those with a love of travel.

Each takes a different approach to fulfilling wanderlust, and we’ve ordered them from easiest and most approachable (even for board game newbies) to more advanced and meaty.

Sushi Go! – Complexity: 1/5

Pretend you’re dining out in Tokyo with this fun, fast-paced game — Photo courtesy of Gamewright

Foodies craving a culinary exploration can sit down at a Japanese restaurant during a game of Sushi Go!. During this quick game, players earn points by crafting the best combinations of sushi dishes, making the most rolls or creating a full set of sashimi.

While simple (it only takes 20 minutes to play), the game opens up opportunities for some clever strategy and competitive blocks. The art is adorable, and you can play with as few as two people (though it really shines at four or five).

Sagrada – Complexity: 1.5/5

Visit the Sagrada Familia in this dice drafting gameVisit the Sagrada Familia in this dice drafting game — Photo courtesy of Floodgate Games

Dream about a trip to Barcelona (or reminisce) while playing Sagrada, a puzzle game that casts players in the role of architects, designing stained glass window masterpieces using colorful dice.

Grids vary in difficulty, and players can use special tool cards to help aid their design and channel their inner Gaudí. It’s fairly straightforward and quick to play, making it an excellent “gateway” game for non-gamers. May the best window artisan win.

Ticket to Ride Europe – Complexity: 2/5

Train travel lies at the heart of this popular board game seriesTrain travel lies at the heart of this popular board game series — Photo courtesy of Days of Wonder Inc

Hop aboard a train journey across Europe at the turn of the century with this follow-up to the popular Ticket to Ride. This elegantly simple game offers broad appeal – you can learn to play in about five minutes, yet game shops host tournaments of it — as players attempt to connect cities with their train lines.

The Europe version includes a new map, as well as tunnel, ferry and station gameplay elements. If you enjoy the game mechanics, there are Ticket to Ride installments set all over the globe.

Wingspan – Complexity: 2.5/5

Enjoy some wildlife watching with WingspanEnjoy some wildlife watching with Wingspan — Photo courtesy of Stonemaier Games

This one’s for the birdwatchers out there. A competitive engine building game at its core, Wingspan pits players against each other as they seek to attract the best birds to their wildlife preserves. It’s quickly become a favorite since its release in 2019, and even hardcore gamers will appreciate its excellent theme and replayability.

Betrayal at House on the Hill – Complexity: 2.5/5

For all those ghost tour enthusiasts out there, this game’s for you. This tile game sends players into a haunted mansion, uncovering it room by room so no two playthroughs are alike. It’s a semi-cooperative game, where one player secretly betrays the rest, tasking the innocent party members to uncover the traitor before it’s too late.

Pandemic Legacy – Complexity: 3/5

While not as directly travel-related as some of the other games on our list, Pandemic Legacy does take players around the globe in a race to stop a fast-spreading pandemic. Sound familiar?

The game takes place over 12 to 24 sessions (one to two sessions per “month” in the game year), and the rules and game elements evolve over the course of play. It’s an intense, cinematic experience that will make you want to binge play through the whole thing.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Complexity: 3/5

Part role-playing game, part card game, Arkham Horror sends players (taking the role of various investigators) on a Lovecraftian adventure through the New England town of Arkham.

The core game is good on its own, but it really shines through its expansions, which see investigators jet-setting around the globe, searching the catacombs of Paris, exploring strange jungle ruins and navigating a dream realm. Each eight-scenario campaign plays almost like a legacy game.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island – Complexity: 3.5/5

If your wanderlust is of the tropical island variety, then give Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island a try. One to four players are shipwrecked on a deserted island, where they are tasked with building a shelter, finding food and uncovering the island’s many mysteries, from hidden treasures to cursed temples.

Six different scenarios offer thematically different play experiences with ever increasing difficulty.

The 7th Continent – Complexity: 4/5

Discover a new continent with this challenging exploration gameDiscover a new continent with this challenging exploration game — Photo courtesy of Serious Poulp

The rules of this exploration game are fairly straightforward, but even experienced gamers will find it challenging to complete a quest (lift a curse) without dying. Players (solo or cooperative) choose a character and embark on an exploration of a newly discovered continent, all while crafting, foraging and struggling to survive.

An easy saving system means you can stop and resume as you like, much like a video game.

Gloomhaven – Complexity: 4.5/5

You can spend hours and hours (and more hours) inside the world of Gloomhaven, wandering the map as a mercenary adventurer, either on your own or with a few buddies. The world of this cooperative dungeon crawler is persistent and evolving, so the choices you make in a session carry over through the rest of the game.

The game itself is massive, with tons of content waiting to be unlocked as you explore. It’s the top-rated title on BoardGameGeek for good reason.

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