International and weather-friendly: Here are some fun, modern games to play outside

by Shellie Boudreau

There are many ways to create a circle of new friends and build relationships full of laughs.

When living abroad and mingling with Danish and international friends, sometimes language can be a barrier.  However, have you considered hosting a game night?

At MyAalborg, we thought to share some insight into how we grew amazing friendships outside the university, college and sports arenas.

Perhaps you heard the beautiful sun would make a strong appearance this week? Yet Danish wind and rain will come in the future – so here are three awesome weather-ready games for international bonding entertainment this week and next. 

A Game for a Party of Two: Hive

The game Hive was an instant hit for my partner, me, and eventually, our daughter.  There are no cards to read or difficult forms of communicating. Hive resembles chess, but the game is designed to be shorter and more straightforward. 

The hectogon pieces are heavy and colored bright. According to the kitchen scale, the game weighs 574 grams and is small enough to place in your carry-on too.

The chunky pieces in Hive will not be easily lost in the sand or blown away, making them the ideal companions for a trip to the park or beach. 

Hive includes many bugs; they are not alive, so there is no need for bug spray. Instead, consider reaching for sunscreen and a good hat this week. 

Each bug can move in its own way, like your friends on the dance floor. The ants can move large distances, while the beetle takes one step at a time and can climb on top of others. The goal is to pin the queen bee.  

Hive takes only a few minutes to learn and is an international game, meaning friends can look up the rules online. Need more convincing? Here is what GameGeek has to say about it. 

A Game for a Party of Two or more: Qwirkle

A limited number of games can be played anywhere on a flat surface, as most require a board of sorts.  However, if you are looking for an alternative to Scrabble, go for shapes instead and give Qwirkle a try. 

Qwirkle, like Hive, has chunky pieces but many more. So you will need a larger flat surface or table, and the box will unlikely fit in your carry-on.

The pieces each consist of a shape and color.  Your goal is to lay out as many pieces each turn.  To do so, you must lay different shapes of one color or many colors in the same shape.

The more pieces you can lay out at any given time increases your points.  Like Scrabble, you can work off the other pieces to create multiple rows or columns to earn more points.

Sounds easy, well, that might be the case, but Qwirkle is a winner of  Mensa Select, Major Fun Award, and Parent’s choice. That combination of awards is not an easy feat. 

A Game for Family of Two to Four: Battle Sheep

Try to imagine aggressive sheep. The game is already funny, right? 

What do they say? ‘The grass is greener on the other side.’

That is what sheep must think about In Battle Sheep, as they fight for the most space to graze.

Battle Sheep game

There is one catch, the sheep must be connected like a herd.  So if you have 13 and your opponent has 12 spaces, you win, unless the total count of their connected sheep is more. 

In this game, you must first build your board which can take on irregular shapes and patches of grass.  Then you take turns laying out your sheep one row at a time.

We took this game home with us to Canada, and the kids played with my mom. Eventually, my younger brother (then 25 years old) also joined the battle.

Such a fun and simple game capable of bringing out laughter and trains the young mind to think ahead. Speaking of minds, that leads us to another recommendation.

A Card Game with No Talking Rules

For days with little wind outside or if the game night is being hosted indoors or at a café, consider trying the 2018 Spiel De Jahres award-winning game The Mind.  This is a card game, so not precisely wind-proof but is worth considering for other reasons.  

The Mind takes the pressure off talking, keeps everyone involved, and is a great way to make international friends feel welcome.   

Here you must play your cards, numbered between 1 – 100, in ascending order without speaking or making faces.

To start, each person is given one card, then the next round, you are given two, etc.  With every round, the game requires you to rely more and more on your psychic connection.

Honourable Mentions

Other honorable mentions are the two-player game Patch-work, the multiplayer family game Carcassonne, and a  more strategic game Contagion

Next time you are in the city center, check out the local game store Spilforsyning or book stores for other great ideas.  

Also, you can borrow games from the libraries, especially the main library in Aalborg, which has a wide selection. 

Did we miss your favorite all-weather or language-friendly game? If you have a recommendation, let us know on our Facebook page

What: Games to play with international friends and family
When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere

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