I am doing a lot of traveling this year, so I did some research and came up with several games I could play while flying across the country. Here are my favorites so far (all available on Google Play for Android tablets):
World of Goo is a puzzle game that makes use of physics and slimy balls of goo. The idea is that you manipulate the little balls into shapes that bridge gaps, climb walls, and otherwise work to get you from one spot to another. Different balls of goo have different properties that make your life easier, and each level has an environment designed to make your life harder. It’s great for planes because it doesn’t require speed or big gestures (so you won’t elbow your neighbors), and there are many levels to play for only five bucks. Also, you can replay levels to try to improve upon your score. This kept me busy for a good hour, and my husband kept stealing it out of my hands when he disapproved of my building methods. Good times.
Ticket To Ride is a board game that’s been turned into an app. What’s great about this app is that you can play one player, a “pass around” local multiplayer, or online. So if you’re with friends on the plane or alone, or have access to wifi, you have many options for game play.
The game itself is fun–your goal is to build train networks all over the country. You have destination goals (for example, Boston to Miami) that will earn you extra points, and you can use your trains to block other players from hitting their goals. It is very simple to learn, no fiddly rules, and perfect for a long flight or car trip. This would be great for kids, too.
The only downside is that the app is expensive, $6.99, and only includes one map. Additional maps are available for in-game purchase. I’m not thrilled with the price point, but I did enjoy playing several rounds with my husband. I would recommend it as long as you have the extra money lying around.
A slightly cheaper ($3.99) version of a board game, Elder Sign: Omens is a great option for solo travel. Elder Sign is a “light,” dice-based version of the board game Arkham Horror. Instead of eight million fiddly rules and hours of play, you can get through a round of Elder Sign in fifteen or twenty minutes.
The premise is that an ancient Lovecraftian horror (you choose which one) has been released in a museum. It’s your job as a team of investigators to find and eradicate the horror. You travel to different rooms in the museum using four different characters and attempt to roll dice to “resolve” problems and earn boons–boons can be items that will help you, spells, or elder signs. You need a certain number of elder signs to send the horror in question back from whence it came. If you don’t get to sealing off the horror before the appointed hour, well, you die. Horribly.
This is a fun single-player game that will leave you frustrated and engrossed as you go back time and time again to attempt to beat that stupid monster. I really enjoy this one on long flights alone and I highly recommend it. Someday, I may even win a round.
Suggestions for what I should play test next? Leave them in the comments! I’ll try pretty much anything I can get as an Android app.