In honor of summer, I’m sharing my top 12+ tabletop games with a summer theme. From camping, to Independence Day for Americans, amusement parks, to gardening, to beaching, to travel, I’ve got you covered with games that feature those summertime themes.
First is Summer Camp. I haven’t played it, it just looks so fun so it caught my eye! Feel all the summer camp vibes that come from being in the great outdoors camping with friends: fishing, swimming, adventure, nature-based arts & crafts, cooking, and games.
How about an amusement park themed-game, since summer is the prime time to visit those? In this game, you are an amusement park designer. Your goal is to design a park that attracts the most crowds to get the most cash.
Flourish is all about designing a garden. The art for this game is so beautiful! It’s for 1-7 players. This is from James Wilson, the designer of Everdell, and his wife.
America’s Spirit is a treasure I found at a Goodwill in Tucson AZ. This is strictly for lovers of America trivia. I love the different categories: quotes, American history, famous American people, and American geography. Then you have another category that’s not trivia but rather “predict what the other player will say” about what his/her favorite U.S. president is. I make it a point to play this every year around Independence Day. It’s pure fun if you love America trivia!
World’s Fair 1893 is a game for history lovers. It’s based on the real World’s Fair that happened in Chicago in 1893. I love that it involves real people, real art, and inventions. It’s basically a set collection game with a mechanism of worker placement in order to collect the sets. The exhibit cards have pictures of real exhibits from the fair with interesting descriptions. Then the influencer cards tell you about real people from history involved with the fair, like Ida B. Wells and Tesla.
Many people visit zoos in the summer. So here’s a zoo-themed game: Ark Nova. A very popular game, it’s in the top 10 currently at boardgamegeek.com. In this game, you are a zoo designer. The player who creates the most scientific appealing zoo with conservation projects wins.
My Farm Shop is for those of you who want to feel like farmers selling your goods at a famers’ market.
You’ve probably never imagined being a coral reef. It’s amazing how you can find a game on so many random subjects. Who thinks up all these themes? In this game of Reef, you are a coral reef. You get points for building yourself up according to certain colors and patterns. Sounds like a great game to increase abstract thinking and puzzling skills.
Tides is a game all about tides, of course. You can find a print and play version here.
In Santa Monica you get to see who is the best designer of a beach-side town. I haven’t played it but it’s by AEG, the makers of Calico, so it’s probably just as good. It looks pretty plus relaxing so I want to play it!
If you want to get super nerdy about the study of the water that lives by the beach, Oceans is the game for you. The game features cards about many different species of animals that live in the great mysterious depths of the watery earth.
I can’t blog about summertime themes and games without mentioning family reunions. Generations is a board game for mini-family reunions of 4-8 players who are related. This isn’t a glamorous, exciting game like some of the others in this list. It’s a simple game of getting to know your family members better. If you have the right crowd of family members who are up to it, you can generate a lot of laughter with the questions. I love it! We’ve occasionally played it on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. My dear children are good sports and humor me by playing it.
Speaking of family reunions, picture-taking is usually involved, right? Picture Perfect is a game about taking pictures to accommodate everyone’s preference to look their best. You have cutout figures to arrange according to certain rules. Sounds like a fun logic game.
Now for a bunch of games about traveling, either going to the United States national parks, or around the world.
The Trekking games above involve traversing maps on a a board and collecting points by traveling to different places, I like that mechanic OK, but I prefer the Trekking games below with “trivia” in the title because I like games with more trivia.
Last but not least, here is what the guys at The Dice Tower have to say about some nature-themed games, which make me think of summer, since that’s the season when it’s easiest to enjoy it.
You’ll see some mention of the games listed above. Happy summer board gaming everyone! If you can, take a game up the canyon or to a meadow and game while you forest bathe like I did with Everdell, above. It’s so fun to take advantage of these warm days and soak up the sunshine while we can.