Tactical card game suited to a long plane ride?
March 14, 2010 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of a tactical card game (Dominion, Magic the Gathering, etc) which may be suited to a long plane flight?

I enjoy tactical card games, but at least the ones I'm familiar with are not suited to plane rides. You almost always need to lay out multiple piles of cards, flip cards over, put out dice, etc etc. That won't work too well on a long plane ride with cramped quarters.

Does anyone know of some type of interesting card game (even better if it has nice artwork, etc) which would be suited for a long flight?
posted by ceberon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Fluxx doesn't always require too much room relative to the other games you mention.
posted by schyler523 at 10:20 PM on March 14, 2010

Nothing off the top of my head but you could have a bit of a trawl around the vastness of BoardGameGeek and I think the chances of finding a custom list addressing precisely this requirement would be pretty high.

The Catan card game requires some space, but divided over two chair trays I think you could swing it. There are plenty of little dice-rolling apps for your phone or whatever if you're worried about wayward cubes.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:32 PM on March 14, 2010

Seatback trays is what I meant to say.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:38 PM on March 14, 2010

You could probably play Munchkin on an airplane. You'd have to stack your cards a little differently, but it could easily be done.

A game lasts about 90 minutes for two players. And an immediate rematch is often desirable by one or the other party.
posted by Netzapper at 10:50 PM on March 14, 2010

The non-CCG version of Illuminati which requires space but given some ingenuity (and possibly a digital camera with a good display,) I think you can pull it off.
posted by griphus at 10:50 PM on March 14, 2010

Best answer: Fluxx isn't what I would call a tactical game. Amusing yes, but about as tactical as candyland. complexity does not equal tactical.

I think Magic would be doable on seatback tables. You might have to overlap some mana, but i do that for convenience anyway.

Munchkin would also be workable.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 10:56 PM on March 14, 2010

Best answer: My wife and I haven't had any trouble with Magic, honestly. If you play that already, you're basically set. However, there are some non-CCGs that might suit. We favor "Race for the Galaxy," which is basically just competitive solitaire (and the first expansion is very nice. The second one is amusing but not as vital.) It's worked pretty well on planes in the past. We also managed Lost Cities, but that was a bit more awkward. (That one's *great* for the fifteen minutes waiting for food in a restaurant, though.)
posted by Scattercat at 11:59 PM on March 14, 2010

Best answer: San Juan (the card game version of Puerto Rico) is like Race For The Galaxy, but simpler and with a smaller footprint.
posted by matt_arnold at 1:33 AM on March 15, 2010

@turgid dahlia: The Catan card game takes an acre of space - there's no chance of playing it on a plane.

I find it hard to believe any card game is going to be playable in these circumstances. Magblast, San Juan, Mamma Mia!, Nicht Die Bohne, and at a stretch, Magic might be playable. Or you could use a regular set of playing cards and play German Whist.
posted by salmacis at 5:12 AM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding Lost Cities, although it's a bit of a squeeze.
posted by dfan at 9:27 AM on March 15, 2010

Seconding Fluxx. It's a hair more tactical than Uno, if that helps. Unless you have a particularly wild (ie, improbable) game going, it shouldn't take more than one seatback to accommodate. I recommend Monty Python Fluxx, but YMMV.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:49 AM on March 15, 2010

There is a game called "Set" that isn't a tactical game, but it's a card game. You deal out 12-15 cards face up and try to group different shapes into threes. Sounds easy, but it is serious brain exercise. I've never played it on a plane, but it will easily fit onto a seatback tray table. You can see some gameplay examples on their website.

Gameplay gets very competitive and fun for people of all ages.

And you can buy it on Amazon.
posted by mintymike at 11:07 AM on March 15, 2010

Any of the Grave Robbers From Outer Space games would be fantastic! It's funny, it's tactical but not too complicated, and you could easily play on two seat-back trays. You'd want a small pad of paper and a pencil to keep score, but that shouldn't be an issue.
posted by EarBucket at 1:44 PM on March 15, 2010

If you had a pre-configured box of some kind, Dominion could be adapted for plane use. The cards in the supply don't really need to be all laid out like you do in the table version - they could be in a dividered box of some sort. If you're sticking to two people you can leave all the extra provinces/curses/coppers in your main game box at home. The actual gameplay is restricted to just shuffling your one deck, so that should be fine for tray tables.

Gloom could work on a plane as well. You'll scare the heck out of your row-mates with that one.

And it may be just me, but I've never been that impressed by the actual gameplay of the Grave Robbers from Outer Space games - especially if you're coming from Magic or Dominion, GRfOS might seem shallow. The cards are hella fun to read though - another good one to scare the seatmates.
posted by Wulfhere at 5:06 PM on March 15, 2010

@turgid dahlia: The Catan card game takes an acre of space - there's no chance of playing it on a plane

Yeah, you're right - I hadn't played it for ages and pulled my copy out last night to verify my memory, which, as it turns out, isn't great. So, scratch that!
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:53 PM on March 15, 2010

1. I second whoever mentioned Jambo. 2 player only, but can modify for more, and small footprint.
2. Maybe the Ticket to Ride card game, except I personally found it dull.
posted by Elagabalus at 12:48 AM on March 16, 2010

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