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What Types of Games Are Good to Play While in the Hospital? – Part 2

In my previous article, I focused mainly on the digital adaptations of board games available for computers, tablets, and phones. While these games are a lot of fun and having the tablet is a great way to pass the time, I have found that I really do prefer to have a physical game in front of me as it spurs way more interaction between me and my fellow players. With this in mind, I decided to continue my search for games that I could take with us on our various hospital and doctor’s office trips.

Card games, I found, are absolutely great to take to hospitals! Many of them are self-contained, easily portable, and don’t take up much space to play. These came to mind mostly because I am always (and I do mean always) carrying at least two Magic the Gathering decks in my shoulder bag. I began to try and think of what other card games I could easily toss in my bag and carry with me as we moved from waiting room to hospital room to waiting room to lab and so on and so forth. The followoing are just a few of the ones I came up with, chosen mostly because they still function really well as a 2-player game as well as having met all of our other needs:

Experience the power of Voodoo! (Photo of Passport Game Studios product was taken and edited by KristaG)

Experience the power of Voodoo!
(Photo of Passport Game Studios product was taken and edited by KristaG)

Voodoo Mania

The best mis-matching game I’ve ever played! Yes, I do mean MIS-matching. In Voodoo Mania, players race each other to find which color and which ingredient are missing from the current card in front of them and play a card from their hand that holds that one item (combining the missing color and ingredient). This 2-6 player card game was released in 2013 by Passport Game Studios and takes mere minutes to play. The more players there are, the faster the game goes, but I feel it scales wonderfully no matter how big or how small in number the group happens to be. The first player to use up all of their ingredient cards wins the round, but the player with the fewest points after 3 rounds wins the game. This game is great for the hospital because all it needs is the deck of cards, the legend cards, and the box!

Cthulhu Fluxx is one of my favorite versions of Fluxx! What's yours? (Photo of Looney Labs product was taken and edited by KristaG)

Cthulhu Fluxx is one of my favorite versions of Fluxx! What’s yours?
(Photo of Looney Labs product was taken and edited by KristaG)


Geek Girl Allie wrote about Fluxx a little while ago and you can read her review here. I am, admittedly, fairly new to the world of Fluxx, but I like how every version of it is so vastly different from all of the others with simply the minutest of changes. Fluxx was first released in 1997 by Looney Labs and is playable for 2-6 players. It is quick to play and even easier to learn, though the rules are constantly changing as the game goes on. Any version of Fluxx is great to take to the hospital and usually left us rolling with laughter! Our favorite versions are Pirate Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx, and the original Fluxx.

Dark Tales

The original release of Dark Tales.
(Photo of dV Giochi product taken and edited by KristaG)

Dark Tales (with a few minor modifications)

The box says the game takes 30 minutes to play, but we found it actually runs a bit faster than that. In this game for 2-4 players, players face off against one another to complete a pre-generated story through the use of a common deck and treasure items. Points can be scored either through completing tasks during the story or saving up for the end game. Dark Tales was designed by Pierluca Zizzi and dV Giochi released it in 2014. There are already two stand alone expansions and I must say this is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen! The artwork on the tarot sized cards is absolutely stunning. I say that the game needs a few modifications only because it comes with a lot of tokens for scoring that are really small in size. This makes them somewhat risky to take to the hospital. However, they are not really integral to the game so scoring can be kept in a similar fashion on paper. The item tokens, though, are large enough in size that they can still be used in a hospital setting.

Exploding Kittens Kickstarter Box

The ominous blue Kickstarter edition box that holds both the family-friendly and NSFW versions of Exploding Kittens!
(Photo of Exploding Kittens, L.L.C. product taken and edited by KristaG)

Exploding Kittens

After a very successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, Matthew Inman, Elan Lee, and Shane Small worked together to design and release this very cute card game. There are two versions of this game available for purchase: a NSFW (not suitable for work)/adult version and the normal, family friendly version. Either of the base games is playable for 2-5 players. Exploding Kittens is a Russian roulette like game involving Kittens, shenanigans, and sometimes goats. I like taking this one to the hospital because it is compact, really quick to play, and honestly entertains everyone present (nurses and other patients alike!).

Lastly, there was one other type of game I could think of that I could take with me. Micro-games! A micro-game is usually a board game or wargame that is “pocket sized” or close to it. These games were very popular in the 80s and have been experiencing quite the comeback! I have absolutely fallen in love with micro-games as of late and have even backed a few new ones on Kickstarter! They are transportable, compact, and usually quick to play. Some of my favorites are listed below:

Eminent Domain: Microcosm

Conquer the miniature universe in Eminent Domain: Microcosm!
(Photo of TMG product taken and edited by KristaG)

Eminent Domain: Microcosm

Much like the larger game of Eminent Domain, also by Seth Jaffee, Microcosm is also a planetary take over themed deck-building game, but is only for 2 players and has some severe twists compared to the original game it’s based on. Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) released the game in 2014. Unlike in most deck-builders, players do not start with an opening hand. Instead, a hand must be built by choosing cards from the main supply. Just as the box says, games really do only take about 10 minutes once you understand the mechanics. The player that has gained the most Influence over the domain as described on the rules sheet wins. With the quick playing time and the pocket sized packaging, Microcosm turned out to be a wonderful game to play while we were waiting for lab work to come back. I would highly recommend taking this one anywhere!

Coin Age

Coin Age – the whole game fits in one little envelope!
(Photo of TMG product taken and edited by KristaG)

Coin Age

Designed by Adam P. McIver and also released by TMG in 2014, Coin Age is a micro-game designed for 2 players. My Player 2 and I own the Kickstarter version that came with stickers for marking actual coins as well as tokens to play with, but most of the time, we use neither to play. All we ever need to play this game is one of the 4 roughly credit card sized maps and some pocket change! In this strategy game, players try to amass points by successfully conquering more territories than their opponent. However, more points can be earned if you can conquer entire regions instead of just random individual territories so spreading yourself thin is not always the best of strategies! As this game only truly needs the map pack and some coins, this one is perfect for taking to the hospital!

All of these games have been a huge help in passing the time and keeping our morale up. I have honestly enjoyed the challenge and change of mindset when looking for games to fit our needs and constraints. We are both hopefully on the mend and are looking forward to getting back to the norm of our gaming lifestyle, but hope this experience can possibly help others who need to find games to help pass the time in waiting rooms or even while just waiting long hours in a busy locale (perhaps at a train station, airport, dentist’s office, etc.). Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for reviews of the above mentioned games and please let me know if there are any other games you can think of that would be great to add to this!



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