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    Spring Bank Holiday: 12 Board Games to Enjoy Outdoors

    There’s nothing like a bit of fresh air to liven up a bank holiday weekend, especially a spring bank holiday, when the days are longer and warmer.

    If you’re a board game fan (and who isn’t), then you might think you have to stay indoors to pursue your favourite hobby. The good news is that you don’t. You can get your gaming fix and a hit of vitamin D at the same time with these spring bank holiday board games - does life get any better?

    Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

    Number of players: 2
    Age: 13+
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small is a perfect bank holiday board game for two, plus, it has a beautiful outdoors theme to reflect the fact you’re playing it outside! The game components are quite weighty, being made of wood and thick cardboard, so they’re unlikely to blow away unless you’re planning to play in a gale (tip - don’t play outside in a gale…).

    In the game, you and your opponent are animal farmers - horses, sheep, pigs and cows. The object of the game is to enclose as many pastures as you can and fill your fields with as many animals as you can raise successfully.

    You and your opponent get victory points for the variety and number of animals you raise, as well as for the number of pastures and special buildings you achieve. Whoever has the most points after the game’s eight rounds is the winner and as Agricola: ACB&S is different every time you play so the game has great replay value.


    Number of players: 2
    Age: 9+
    Duration: 20 minutes

    Another two-player game that’s ideal for playing outside as it uses heavy plastic tiles and, although it counts as a board game for our purposes, doesn’t have its own board. 

    You do need a flat surface to play Hive, though, such as a table or sturdy picnic rug and the object of the game is to surround your opponent’s queen bee and prevent them from surrounding yours.

    Hive has 22 tiles - 11 black and 11 white - and they all have their unique way of moving. Once the game starts, the tiles themselves become a kind of board (you’ll see what we mean…) and Hive is an addictive game with lots of replay potential.


    Number of players: 4+
    Age: 8+
    Duration: 20 to 30 minutes

    Fun for all the family, whether you’re playing it indoors or outdoors, Bangarang is a chaotic twist on the more traditional guessing games.

    There’s just one guesser and the other players have to help them to work out what the mystery word is, using mime, a single word, a noise, a drawing or by spelling out letters with their own bodies. 

    There are cards involved, as well as an erasable drawing board, so if you’re playing Bangarang outside, choose a still, dry day or play under a gazebo. Wherever you play Bangarang, you’ll all need plenty of room to move, so it’s ideal for outdoor fun.

    Survive: Escape from Atlantis

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 8+
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Survival: Escape from Atlantis is a reprint of a classic 1980s board game and it’s ideal for outdoor play because it has sturdy, thick cardboard tiles that are further weighed down by wooden game pieces.

    The objective of the game is to rescue stranded people from Atlantis before the island sinks into the ocean. Each player has ten people and you can move them in a number of ways in order to get them into rescue boats off the island’s coast.

    The island of Atlantis is created by hexagonal tiles and once you’ve had your turn you pick a tile which you remove to make the island smaller. However, there’s an action printed on the bottom of the tile and you have to obey it - it could bring in extra boats or a man-eating shark…

    Things can get cutthroat on a sinking island and so much depends on the turn of a die. All the “people” in the game have different point values, too. These values are also printed on their bases so you have to remember who’s worth more and therefore is worth eliminating or saving…

    Zombie Dice

    Number of players: 2+
    Age: 10+
    Duration: 15 minutes

    Zombie Dice is a great game for playing outdoors, but preferably on a table, patio or on a game tray as you don’t want to lose any of the dice in long grass.

    The object of the game is to eat as many brains as possible before you get shotgunned into oblivion! Zombie Dice features 13 custom dice with brains (your goal), shotgun blasts (you want to avoid these) and footprints on their sides. The footprints let you have another roll of the dice and your aim is to get to 13 brains before your opponents.

    Unfortunately, if you throw three shotgun blasts during your turn you lose your accumulated brains and another player takes their turn so it’s a case of deciding whether to push your luck or bank the brains you have.

    Zombie Dice is a brilliant outdoors game because it’s simple - it only takes one round to learn it - and the dice don’t mind getting rained on. Just make sure you count them all back in before heading home!

    Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age

    Number of players: 1 to 4
    Age: 8+
    Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

    Possibly one of the best outdoor board games, Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age uses chunky wooden dice and a wooden scoring board as well as wooden pegs. Not only are these components waterproof and unlikely to be blown away, they are also pretty hard to lose, even in grass.

    The object of Roll Through the Ages is to build your civilisation and gather commodities by rolling dice. Players can reroll their dice twice unless they roll a hazard and they use workers to create an infrastructure to build extra works or monuments. 

    As soon as one player builds the necessary five monuments or developments, the game is over and everyone’s points are totted up to find the winner.

    Army of Frogs

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 7+
    Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

    Army of Frogs is similar to Hive because it doesn’t need a board and the pieces are made from hexagonal plastic tiles (the frogs), making it ideal for outdoor gaming. You can play Army of Frogs on a table or on the ground and the object is to create one large phalanx of frogs with tactical moves and placement.

    Each player starts the game with two randomly-drawn frogs and when it’s their turn they can either:

    • Move a frog of their colour from one spot on the board to another
    • Add a frog in their existing supply to the board, or
    • Draw a new frog from the bag to add to their supply

    The first player to link up all of their frogs (having at least seven frogs on the board at the time) wins the game.


    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 10+
    Duration: 45 minutes

    In Rattus, players are transported back to the mid-1300s, when the Black Death reached Europe, courtesy of lots and lots of rats. Rattus is a good outdoor game because it has chunky waterproof markers and while there are cards, you can use sleeves to protect them or play under a canopy.

    You and your fellow players have to save your populations and keep them thriving, all while trying to settle in various areas within Europe. You all take turns to choose a class of people - peasants, monks, merchants, knights, witches or kings - and place pieces on different areas of the board.

    Once your turn is over, you move the plague marker to a neighbouring region, where it affects player pieces and rats. 

    The different classes of people in the game behave differently - kings stay in their castles while witches try to control the spread of the plague, for example. However, the disease doesn’t discriminate and it can get out of control very quickly.


    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 4+
    Duration of game: 10 minutes

    The brightly-painted, all-wooden components of this cute game make it ideal for outdoor play and the theme is also ideal for younger children. Spend some time away from those screens and head to the South Pole, where some penguins have lost their eggs and need you to find them.

    Players take turns to roll dice to find matching eggs and the first to collect six wins the game. While this game is great for youngsters, you can make it a bit more interesting for older kids by using an advanced rule which lets players steal eggs from one another.

    Garden Dice

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 13+
    Duration: 60 minutes

    Garden Dice does actually have a board, as well as cards and discs. The board and cards are made from high-quality cardboard and the discs are wooden, so they’re fairly waterproof and robust.

    Garden Dice is a strategy game in which players take turns to roll dice and use the results to plant, water and harvest different vegetables. The veg range in value from humble squash to fancy aubergine and the dice rolls act as coordinates to determine where each plant goes.

    Garden Dice has a chain mechanism which lets players water or harvest several tiles with one action, which means they can build on other players’ chains. They can also employ bird and rabbit tiles to eat opponents’ harvests, although this does incur a penalty, as well as use sundial and scarecrow tiles to modify dice rolls and protect their own tiles.

    The game has various bonuses to increase tile values upon harvest and there are extra points at the end for collecting sets - when the last tile is taken, the player with the most points wins.


    Number of players: 2
    Age: 8+
    Duration: 20 minutes

    With just 16 wooden pieces on a 4x4 board, Quarto is a brilliant option for some outdoor gaming action. It’s fiendishly tricky, despite the apparent simplicity and so you can easily get addicted!

    Each of the 16 pieces has four different attributes - colour, shape, height and solidity. Each piece is therefore either black or white, short or tall, square or round and solid or hollow. 

    You have to place the fourth piece in a row in which the other three pieces have at least one of these attributes in common. This sounds easy enough, but your opponent chooses the piece you use each turn! Still, at least the pieces won’t blow away in a stiff breeze…


    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 8+
    Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

    In Azul, you’ve all been commissioned by the King of Portugal to decorate his palace walls with stunning tiles. You have a 5x5 board and satisfyingly-clicky resin tiles, drawn from a bag, to work with. The tiles, being made of resin, are heavy enough to withstand some wind and the board is made of sturdy cardboard, so if it does start to rain, cover it up ASAP.

    You all take turns in drafting colourful tiles from various suppliers to your board. Later on in each round, you score points based on how you’ve arranged your tiles. Completed sets and specific patterns score extra points while wasted tiles lose you points. As you might imagine, the player with the most points wins the game.

    Tips for playing board games outdoors

    If you’re new to playing board games outdoors, then we’ve got some useful pointers to help you get the most out of it and to avoid common pitfalls:

    • Choose games with mostly plastic, wooden or metal components to avoid water damage in the case of sudden downpours
    • If your favourite game does feature cards, you may be able to laminate them to protect them from dampness
    • Games with heavy place markers or meeples work really well as these are less likely to get blown over or away by gusts of wind
    • Brightly-coloured components are especially useful in outdoor gaming because they’re easier to spot if they fall into grass (try to avoid areas with long grass, though!)
    • If the weather is unpredictable, you can always head under a canopy or gazebo so you don’t have to interrupt your fun
    • Board games don’t always have to have their own board - Army of Frogs and Hive, for example, use the pieces to create a board, as long as you have a flat surface
    • Always do a count before you pack up, especially if you’ve been playing as part of a day trip or if you’re on holiday