Three Great Summer Vacation Board Games

Summer is in full swing! It’s a great time for biking, hiking, and swimming in the pool. Here in San Marcos, it’s also 98 degrees on a cool day, so biking and hiking are sweaty affairs and there’s only so long you can spend in the pool before you get all wrinkly.

With that in mind, here are some summery board games that can help you while away the hot hours of the day in air conditioned comfort.



Summer vacation is all about getting away from it all, so why not take an imaginary trip? Tokaido looks back to the days when Japanese tourists would take a four-day stroll from one end of the Tokaido road to the other.

Players recreate this journey by visiting shops, eating great meals, and taking hot spring baths with snow monkeys. There’s a clever turn order mechanic to keep you on your toes, and who wouldn’t feel relaxed after bathing with a monkey?

Tokaido was designed by Antoine Bauza. It works for 2 to 5 players and lasts about an hour.



If exotic scenery isn’t your thing, how about some camping? And what would be the fun of camping if you didn’t have a chance of being eaten by bears?

Bears is a clever little dice game where players try to keep their campers safe from rampaging bears. After rolling a big pile of common Camp Dice, players roll their own sets of dice and try to make matches with the common pool. You can score a few points by shooting Guns at Bears or Running Away from Tents, but the biggest points come from Sleeping in your Tent and hoping all the Bears get chased away.

Bears was designed by Anne-Marie De Witt. It works for 2 to 4 players, lasts about 20 minutes, and his portable enough to take on your next camping trip. There’s even an expansion die with the very goofy name of Trail Mix’d.

X-Wing Miniatures

If you were between the ages of 8 and 13 between the years of 1977 and 1982, then your summers were defined by Star Wars. I had to recreate the space battles with Legos back then, but today’s kids can blow up the Death Star using the spiffy prepainted miniatures of the X-Wing Miniatures Game.

X-Wing uses piloting dials to keep the game moving. Players use the dials to simultaneously choose where they’re flying to, then the ships move and blast at each other. A small dogfight lasts for a few minutes, and you can buy more fighters and capital ships for gigantic multiplayer battles. If you want to cut loose with entire fleets, X-Wing also has a big sister: Star Wars Armada.

X-Wing was designed by Jay Little using the Wings of Glory system. You can play it with 2 players or the whole Rebel Alliance.

Archived from the San Marcos Board Gamers website.

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