Topic of the Week: Your Vacation Home

Hi folks. So glad this is enjoyable enough that people missed it when I stopped! I may or may not check in in the “how are you doing” thread but vague version is that I haven’t been doing great for a few weeks. Hopefully rebooted, to some extent, now.

So: You have a vacation home. It’s rad.

  1. Where is it? (if you actually have a vacation home, feel free to use it or you can make up a better one). What is your favorite thing about it?

  2. What board games do you stock it with? Please share your decision process.

Extra credit (Let’s assume you regularly have friends here or rent it out):
3) What books are on the shelves?
4) Let’s assume that streaming doesn’t exist. What movies are on the shelf?


Technically accurate but not answering the question: I already have a huge media server at home, including books, so I’d make a copy of it there. (Offsite backup!)

Given my preferences in weather, somewhere that doesn’t go much above 25°C in the summer, and a nice large patio/stoop with shade. Don’t mind how cold it gets in the winter. I like snow. So we’re probably looking at 70+ degrees north. (Or south. I’m not fussy.) Lots of natural light, for when there’s light at all, and blue-white “cold” illumination for when there isn’t. (This has always felt more pleasant to me than yellowish imitation flame.)

Chances are I won’t get a lot of visitors there so I’ll concentrate on the smaller player count and soloable games. More Imperium and Flash Point (Flash Point ends up on basically every list of games I make) and VOLT, and less in the way of party games.

Authors that I want available even when the power is out: Diana Wynne Jones, Frances Hardinge, Georgette Heyer, Emily Tesh, T. Kingfisher, Martha Wells. (This will change, except for DWJ and Heyer.)

Films that I want available: hmm, not sure there’s really anything I feel that strongly about. I can go weeks without watching a film and not feel any lack. Music, though, I want a lot of music. Tangerine Dream and Iron Maiden and good versions of Mozart and Melissa Etheridge and Julian Dawson and…


Hey! Not a name I knew was in general circulation. I encountered Murderbot and loved the series. Tried some of her other stuff, namely City of Bones, and it was good enough to finish but the worldbuilding was excessive and slowed the actual story down to a crawl. But Murderbot. Murderbot.


I have a slightly non-standard experience with her: I read The Element of Fire when ti was new, and loved it, Then I met, I think it was City of Bones, bounced off it quite hard, and didn’t go back.

Then came Murderbot and now I’m gradually catching up on what she wrote in between.


So the important thing about a vacation home is that it is not too far away. Traveling needs to be a short drive or ideally a train-ride that is not longer than say 5-6 hours. I want some water, preferably the sea but a nice lake will do. I would also want some big rocks, mountains are better but rugged coastlines will do.

  1. Location:
  • Scotland and Scandinavia are just too far away, same for the South of France. Black Forest is just hills, no mountains, but it would be very close. But lakes and sea are just not there. Southern Bavaria has the lakes and the mountains (and good beer) but the cuisine is not quite my thing anymore…
  • That leaves me with: Bella Italia which is one of our favorite travel destinations for foodie reasons and the northern lakes like Lago Maggiore and Lago di Como are really beautiful and they are still in the alps so yay mountains! Traveling distance is just within the limits and it is possible to get to both by train. So probably somewhere along the coast of one of those lakes. Maybe Cannobio or just outside of Como.
  1. Games (unless stated otherwise, these are copies from my collection that I probably wouldn’t miss at home but might finally play more on vacation)
  • Obviously this is the place to store my copy of Gloomhaven (at home I have Steam Gloomhaven and Frosthaven)
  • Another copy of Spirit Island
  • Dune–because we might finally get to it when the weather is bad (and we are obviously bringing along friends to play with)
  • Fall of Rome: that’s the pandemic iteration to bring to Italy, right?
  • Condottiere: at least it’s thematically fitting, might finally get played?
  • Hoplomachus Victorum: it takes up too much space at home and needs time I’ll only have on vacation, also location wise gladiators need to be as close to Rome as they can get
  • Mille Fiori is another one that wants to live in Italy.
  • Concordia (Venus Edition) with all the Italian maps I can find
  • Viticulture if anything is a game wanting to be played on a vacation in Italy, then this one.
  • Another copy of Just One & Codenames (including Duel), because one should always have a copy at hand of those
  • A plain deck of cards, some dice
  1. I read digital books. I will just take along my ebook library. I might have a copies of my favorite SFF books. Maybe a bunch of print copies of Uncanny or other SFF zines. I might stash another copy of Sandman there, too. Also: tons of cookbooks, in this case Italian with a focus on vegetarian food and desserts and possibly one with bread recipes. Oh and the collected works of both Jane Austen and the Bronte siblings. Oh and maybe a copy of Gardens of the Moon (Malazan 1) so I can get people to start reading it, so I can discuss it with them :smiley:

  2. Movies: Similar to @RogerBW we’d probably copy our NAS with the digitized DVD/Bluray collection. If it was my choice I’d just take all the Science Fiction movies and shows that I can find. I think I wouldn’t miss much else. Star Wars of course. Also Star Trek. That’s just the comfort watching. The Orville was great. Matrix. Blade Runner. Dune–all iterations. 12 Monkeys. Strange Days. Serenity (+Firefly). Fifth Element. Demolition Man. I’ll not include any movies that reek of horror (no Alien etc.) or all those Independence Day clones. But I’d take the modern Dr Who. Then: Martial Arts movies like Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Forbidden Kingdom & the Drunken Master movies. All the Tarantinos + Robert Rodriguez movies. I recently fell in love with the Avatar:tlA / Korra shows, those need to be there. I’d love to rewatch Fullmetal Alchemist. Lastly, Once Upon a Time in the West. I do prefer the German title though “Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod” … it’ll probably be the oldest movie there. Mostly for the cinematography and the soundtrack. Who cares about plot? PS: forgot Crying Freeman and Brotherhood of the Wolf.


We went to Lake Como on honeymoon. Stayed in Bellagio. It’s so beautiful


1- Oooh, being so far away from any fancy places, I would place that “bach” anywhere on the East Coast that is not terribly far away (2 hours driving or so). Mahia would be amazing, but a bach there is going up for a fortune these days. Otherwise, somewhere South on the East Coast (Castle Point, perhaps?) would have the advantage of allowing a quick escape to Wellington, which is always handy (when you don’t live close to a bigger city, a city weekend can be very attractive for shopping/culture). But they would have to be by the beach.
2- Mainly party games like Codenames, Werewords or similar, and perhaps some not so complex games, plus a couple of solos, like Under Falling Skies. Something narrative like Tales of Arabian Nights or Sleeping Gods could fit in for bad weather (although these days, if the weather is bad, I would not go to it, I guess).
3- Books on the shelves, hmmm mainly I am reading books from the library, and most of my book collection I had to cull when we moved to NZ. Perhaps any of the psychology books and a few biographies, and the Cormoran Strike books that I would not mind re-reading. I am pretty sure that if I rent the place a visit to a second hand bookstore would be in place.
4- Movies: The Die Hard collection, Aliens/Predator collection and mainly historical movies like Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven. Again, mostly my DVD got culled before travelling here on 2018. What I would include is most of my CD collection that I brought to NZ in booklets.


I am not sure of my answers yet. I just want to say I’m finding thoughts on this topic very helpful. I have a scheduled week at a beach house with my husband’s family this summer (his parents, brother, sister-in-law, and 3 nieces). Ideas and theories on games to bring to a vacation place are most welcome.


Which games I’ll take on our upcoming vacation with friends is a different list though. It really depends on our common tastes. We’ll be up to 6 players. With 2 of the 6 possibly taking more breaks from playing than the rest and 1 person typically shying away from the “nerd” games (see below). Yesterdays preliminary list includes:

What I’ll bring:

  • Quest for El Dorado
  • The Crew 2
  • Codenames
  • I am allowed 1 or 2 “nerd-games”. I am thinking Revive and/or Beyond the Sun.
  • My proxy copy of Nokosu Dice
  • Trailblazers
  • Naturopolis/Sprawlopolis (I don’t travel without these)
  • Anomia (my copy has yet to be played)
  • Scout
  • Very maybe Daybreak–we played a 4 player with them on Sunday… I loved it… but cooperative games are not everyone’s jam in this group

What I think they will probably pack (including all expansions obviously):

  • Wingspan
  • Ark Nova
  • Mischwald
  • Cascadia
  • Terraforming Mars --they might not, and I think they rate Ark Nova higher.
  • A bunch of small card games including stuff like Dodelido and Wizard or whatever was recently acquired

My holiday home is probably a mobile home in Jard Sur Mer in the Vendee (although near Disney would also work).

To answer honestly, when we’re on holiday we do stuff - beach mainly so don’t have the energy for big games.

That’s not a Hat
A deck of cards for 99, spades and crib
Mino Dice
For Sale
Hive - because it plays on the back of a surfboard.

Something light but with the possibility of creating a meta due to repeat plays.

Don’t do TV on holiday. Internet to check the cricket scores is enough.

Music is what’s on respective Spotify playlists. I have songs like “Whole of the Moon” by the Waterboys which evoke strong going to the beach emotions, but a wide mix of stuff.

Books - everything in my ‘to read’ pile - Future of Geography, the Marcus du Sautoy book about games, Nick Frost’s book about food and a collection of Maigret currently.


A dream version of this is going to be somewhere cold, where staying in by the fire and reading, gaming and cooking is more socially acceptable. But with a crisp walk a couple of times a day.

A smoker, a pizza oven and big pans for slow cooker stews and curry. Well stocked kitchen with good coffee and expensive wine. And a range of stuff to make cocktails in the evening. And cheese, all of the cheese.

A massive table with surprisingly good lighting. A log fire so it’s cool enough to wear a jumper and slippers, but not too warm to get uncomfortable.

Music and books are still the same. Although a selection of erotic fiction to enhance a game of Bring Your Own Book would be on hand. Multiple copies of Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall so I can give one to everyone who hasn’t read it. Same for Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler.

Of course there will be well thumbed, million selling copies of books by @Acacia @yashima @Marx and @Whistle_Pig’s husband to hand!

Lots of maps. Lots of gadgets that I’ll fall in love with. Surprisingly good WiFi. A hot tub.

A black box edition of Glory to Rome with someone who can teach it.
Cosmic Encounter with all expansions (everyone will know how to play. Everyone will want to take a day to play the campaign
Spirit Island
The stupidly huge version of Castles of Burgundy
Great Western Trail: New Zealand and someone to teach it
Bring Your Own Book
Boast or Nothing, Nyet and any other trick takers that I want but don’t own
Yokohama because I don’t own it
Ride the Rails - because I really want to play it and never have
The King’s Dilemma
A wonderfully conditioned Crokinole board
Ready, Set Bet - another one I want to own and play in perfect circumstances
Cuba Libre
That’s not a Hat
Lama Dice
Mino Dice


You are so sweet :slight_smile:
And I’ll invite myself over for that grandiose Cosmic experience and your Crokinole board and generally very nice selection of games you have there. Does your house have a sauna by chance? Is it in Finland?

PS: We’ll bring some good wine. But you would have to deal with my partner wanting to stand next to the smoker and chat about wine for hours on end.


Sounds like my kind of guy


I overlooked this in my own fantasy. Can I come over to yours?


Chuck in a pool table to while away the odd hour and I’m there!


Vacation home. Needs water, preferably ocean. Large lake will do. River = no. I’ve got a deck, with an outdoor dining table. A bar with high stools along the rail, where you can sit and talk and look. Hopefully at water.

Also a nice greatroom - kitchen, dining, social area. And lots of bedrooms for guests.

If we’re thinking practically, I think this is Nag’s Head, North Carolina about 5 hours from here. I want a grocery store and 2-3 restaurants at hand but not a lot of civilization. (tried to find and upload a picture, but everything seems to be webp today and I don’t know what to do with that file type…)

If we keep pretending, my mind wanders to Bar Harbor, Maine. Not good for swimming but darn pretty ocean. Park City, Utah, in the rockies. Good for winter and summer. Coast outside Seattle, maybe Vancouver Island. And of course I grew up in Southern California, it’d be nice to have a place there though it also feels funny to “vacation” where it used to be “home.”

So, games. I’m thinking categorically:

Lazy Afternoons

Caverna. La Granja. These are the best, chill games I can think of. Probably Ark Nova as it’s easier to teach and the zoo theme speaks to people. AFFO could go here too but I’m just not as excited to table it as these others.


Unicorn Glitterluck, Monza, Dragomino (My First Kingdomino, parents give it a look), Sorry!

Got to have stuff for the kids. Sorry still delivers where most other incumbents do not.

Prolly some matching and guessing games.

Games that make the best use of the people at the table

Bohnanza. Ra. Coup. Libertalia / Mission: Red Planet, Harvest, Mountain Goats, One Night Ultimate Railroad, Codenames or Decrypto, Incan Gold, Camel Up, Anomia, Flamme Rouge, The King is Dead, No Thanks, Zoo Vadis.

This is probably the heart of the vacation collection. I want to be well engaged with the people I’m with, that’s sort of the point of getting away to a place like this. High and/or flexible player counts are helpful.

Games that benefit from long or repeat sessions

Tichu. The Crew, Race for the Galaxy, Hive, Innovation, Condottiere.

You know, usually short games but ones that grow with play, or have a shifting meta that really thrives when you have the same group of people playing over and over. I think this list is comparatively incomplete. Though just Tichu fills the niche.

Just the best

Keyflower, Ginkgopolis, El Grande, Agricola, Hansa Teutonica, Lorenzo Il Magnifico, Grand Austria Hotel, Tigris & Euphrates, Isle of Skye.

The prior lists are all kind of “what I would want while away on vacation with friends or family.” But you also want just the best the library has to offer. With the caveat of sticking to lower teaching complexity.

Maybe a winter collection, as well? Longer, heavier games for when you’ve gotten away but you’re hunkering outside rather than drinking beer at the balcony rail. Campaign games. Memoir, Jaws of the Lion. Polis. Eclipse. Undaunted Stalingrad.

Now that I’ve seen @Captbnut’s house I want Crokinole, of course.

If this were happening in real life I’d probably spend a week on this and focus on a much shorter list.

Movies are partially for me but I like to be a librarian. I want it stocked with the movies I most want other people to watch. Mixing my list of most respected movies with movies that would people want to watch while relaxing, we get something like this:


Intolerable Cruelty. Anchorman. Mr and Mrs Smith. Muppets from Space. Rush Hour 2. Shakespeare in Love. Undercover Blues.
Casablanca. Scent of a Woman. UP in the Air. Lars and the Real Girl.
Arrival. Fifth Element. Serenity. Gattaca. Star Wars: OT. The Abyss.
How to Train your Dragon trilogy. CHicken Run. The Incredibles. Toy Story Tirlogy. The Lego Movie. Inside Out. Finding Dory.
Braveheart. Avatar. Gladiator. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
The Dark Knight, Batman Begins. Iron Man. X-Men United. Superman Returns (yes, the one everyone else hates).
Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Last Crusade. Pirates of the Caribbean 1. The Princess Bride. Goldeneye. The Rocketeer.

I’m out of energy for books. Maybe another time : )


Did I miss a release?


“Passengers, close your eyes. Engineers, open your eyes and choose a passenger to feed to the train…”


I believe it was the Big Box version of One Night Russian Railroad.

You need Paddington 2 in your movie list