13 mini board games that are way more fun than the full-size versions
Fun-sized and full of fun
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Dedicated board game lovers know that if you want to have a good collection at home, it’ll take up some shelf space. Those boxes containing Monopoly, Jenga, Connect 4, and the rest of your favorite games can stack up, not to mention the need to clear off the kitchen table when you want to play.
But there’s good news for the cluttered and storage-limited: Some games are even better in their miniature, pared-down iterations. Whether you have limited playing or closet space, or just want to play your favorites on the way to somewhere else, you’ll enjoy these pint-sized diversions. Bonus: They generally cost less, too.
1. Scrabble to flex your vocabulary knowledge
Not everyone will tell you this, but it’s the truth: Travel Scrabble is the game of Scrabble to play, at home or on the go. The main reason? The letter tiles clip to the lightweight 10-inch square board, which prevents them from slipping and sliding in the car, on a train, or if someone smacks the board to the ground (possibly out of Triple Word Score-induced rage).
“Ingenious and beautifully made,” writes a reviewer. “The ‘nubs’ between spaces hold plastic Scrabble tiles in place, even if the board is jarred, tipped, rotated, or shaken. So no more angst when, in the heat of the moment, the board is jostled. A game-in-progress also stores nicely inside the box, which has a hinged lid, making it easy to open. I highly recommend this version to all Scrabble players, especially when traveling, or if space is tight.”
2. Monopoly Deal for express real estate deals
Monopoly is a game that requires a lot of real estate maneuvering, both on the board and the designated playing spot. (It can also have a destabilizing effect on relationships you’ve formed with the friends and family you’re playing with, but we don’t need to get into that right now.)
Monopoly Deal—a card game in which the main goal is to collect three full property sets of different colors before your opponents—is not quite the same as classic Monopoly, but reviewers say it brings the same joy (and handwringing) in a smaller package with a quicker playing time. Some reviewers say they like it more than the OG board game.
“Whether you love traditional Monopoly like me or if you hated being forced to play a five-hour board game with no end in sight, you will fall in love with Monopoly Deal,” writes a reviewer. “It has all the fun of the Monopoly game with great twists and features that make it exciting to play. It’s compact and great to take on the go for travel or a waiting-room time killer.”
3. Connect 4 to keep your mind sharp
This petite Connect 4 game, which measures about 6 inches tall and 8 inches wide, has the same game play a full-sized Connect 4 set—and it’s easy to learn and play many times over—with the plus of being able to bring it along it wherever you like. Reviewers love its minimal assembly and that the chips may be stored inside the board between games.
“My husband and I are teaching our five-year-old all the tricks to playing, and we have fun battling each other in the process,” writes a reviewer. “I haven’t had any real issues with this travel size, and I prefer it over the larger game. It’s easier to store and I like the option of being able to travel with it, if needed.”
4. Battleship to get strategic wherever you are
Battleship is a great two-person game no matter where you are and how you play, whether it’s on a classic set or the iPhone app. But Amazon reviewers especially love this smaller (tangible) edition, which includes two compact, foldable playing boards, the requisite boats, and red and white pegs (plus some extras if you lose a few along your Battleship journey), which makes it into a fun diversion at home or elsewhere.
“Small and compact, just the way my kid likes it,” writes a reviewer. “It filled the Battleship itch and [my child] likes playing it with tangible pieces [rather] than just paper or the phone screen.”
5. Snake & Ladders to experience ups and downs anywhere
Amazon reviewers love this quick and easy magnetic Snakes & Ladders game. It’s simple enough for young kids to understand—and, with its surprise ups and downs, serves as a good metaphor for life—but still provides a lot of fun both in and out of the house.
“This is the perfect game for travel or keeping the kids busy while running errands,” writes a reviewer. “The case is slim yet sturdy and easily slips into my bag without taking up too much space. I really like that the directions are printed on the case so you can't lose them.”
6. A more compact Jenga to get your stacking fix
This game requires little explanation. It’s Jenga—the block-stacking game in which you remove blocks from the structure until it topples—but smaller, which makes it better for playing out and about or in a spot with limited space. Some reviewers recommend buying two sets to make the tower a little taller and thus more challenging, but just one package works, too.
“If you enjoy playing Jenga, you'll love this miniature version,” writes a reviewer. “I bought these to give to my students and am so glad I did. It gives them an opportunity to think creatively while enjoying themselves. I love that these are portable and can be taken anywhere.”
7. Trouble for some competitive fun
This travel-friendly Trouble set has everything you know and love in the classic game, including a compact Pop-O-Matic die roller. The pegs clip into place on the board, so you can have the Trouble experience you’re used to, but in a smaller package.
“It comes with a top that covers the pegs so if you stop to go eat or something the case fits right on top and pieces don't fall out,” writes a reviewer. “Then you can finish the game when you get back into the car. This is the best little game ever. I like it better than the large one.”
8. Mini cards to set up for any kind of card game
This all-purpose card set is just like a regular set of cards, only narrower. They are also textured, to provide an easy grip despite their smaller size, and waterproof in case of surprise spills. The deck’s case is waterproof and comes in cool colors and patterns like tropical, outer space, and classic red, green, and black. Sure, a regular deck of cards doesn’t exactly take up a ton of space, but reviewers say they like that these narrower cards are even more compact and can make holding and packing them away easier.
“I keep this deck in my bag. Once I got used to the smaller size I found I prefer it to standard size cards,” writes a reviewer. “Super durable and cool. [They are] small enough to fit anywhere, big enough to handle easily. Excellent quality and execution.”
9. Simon to put your memory to the test
Simon is a memory game that involves watching a series of light patterns and doing your best to replicate them—and, usually requires a large, unwieldy wheel to play. Save yourself some space by getting the “micro” version of the game, which reviewers say is just as fun as the original and fits into the palm of a hand.
“It's crazy to think the original game was the size of a Chrysler hubcap,” writes a reviewer. “This works a lot better and uses a heck of a lot less batteries. It's still just as frustrating, however. A game of memory for someone who has no memory can and often is the worst. Notwithstanding, this is a fantastic and simple game.”
10. Clue to unleash your inner sleuth
This compact Clue edition has every item you may expect in the classic detective game—a gameboard, player pieces, weapon tokens, room and weapon cards, dice, and a notebook—only smaller. This makes it easy to stow and whip out when you’ve got a mystery-solving itch that can only be tamed by finding out what, exactly, Professor Plum did and where.
“I was gathering travel items for our trip to Europe when I found this game,” writes a reviewer. "It was beyond perfect! It was small and compact and easy to travel with. We have used it now for trips, in flight, camping, etc. It is still the fun game I remember playing as a kid only mini sized. Overall, really liked this product.”
11. Blurt for fun rapid-word recall
Blurt is a word recall game in which players race to reach the end of the scoreboard by being the first to shout out the correct word associated with a clue. In case that description didn't wow you, trust us: It's loads of fun, whether you're at a party or on a long road trip. Some reviewers like the travel edition better than the full-size version, because it’s easier to keep track of the pieces.
“Fun little family game,” writes a reviewer. “Comes with magnets and scoreboard that's part of the container. Brilliant! You can't ever lose 'em. Happy with my purchase of this game.”
12. Chess to battle your knights on the go
Thanks to its sturdiness and convenience, this magnetic chess set is consistently one of Amazon’s top-selling travel games. The pieces’ strong magnets keep them in place, if you bump the board or simply want to pause and switch locations. The board also folds in half, which creates a storage spot for the pieces, and it comes with a felt pouch to take it wherever you go.
“It's magnetic with just the right strength—you can tip it upside down without the pieces coming off, but they aren't too hard to move,” writes a reviewer. “The pieces are true to their intended form, the carrying case feels solid, and the board is portable but still decently sized when you open it so that it's not too awkward to play.”
13. Checkers for a compact classic
Like Chess, Checkers is a good game to play for kids and grown-ups alike. Reviewers like this travel edition, which has magnetic pieces to keep your spot in the game and folds up into a small, portable package to make long car trips or waiting for a table at a restaurant more bearable.
“I bought this with car use in mind as it is magnetic,” writes a reviewer. “But it turned out to be great for home use, too. My grandsons are 5 and 8 and usually upset the board at some point during a game of checkers. So it really works well!”
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