Summer is here and that means warm weather and lots of sunshine! If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to be taking full advantage of the nice weather by being outside as much as possible, but there is only so much lounging by the pool you can do before it gets a little boring. That’s where outdoor game nights come in and the ability to enjoy the best outdoor patio board games.
Enjoying a low stress, fun filled evening outside doesn’t require much effort. All you need is a table, some chairs and a group of friends/family and you’re ready to go! In this article we have assembled our go to outdoor patio board games that are perfect for a relaxing outdoor game night, so sit back and get ready to plan your next fresh aired event! We’ll be going over the best outdoor patio board games for an outdoor game night.
Why Should You Play Board Games Outside?
Most people assimilate game night with being indoors at a dining room table or around the coffee table in the living room. But why does it need to stop there?
Sure, there are plenty of things you can do outside during the summer. If you have a pool, you can go swimming. If your yard is large enough, you can play some sports (more on this later).
If you live near the coast, you can head to the beach, or go hiking if you’re more inland. There’s fishing, kayaking, wineries, boating, and countless other ways to spend your time outside, so why have a game night?
For our family it’s simple, to relax and unwind. After a busy week at work and Saturday morning chores, the last thing we want to do is something that’s “Go Go Go!”
What first intrigued us about the idea of playing games outside was how relaxing it was. We loved being able to unplug as a family and connect with each other. The slower pace of Saturday evenings was exactly what we all needed to rejuvenate ourselves for the next week.
Outdoor game nights don’t have to only be on Saturdays, that’s just the day that works for us. It can be any night you want. The best part of outdoor game night is that they are low stress. They’re more of a “go with the flow” evening, rather than a planned event. They can happen whenever you want or need it.
If you are the type of person who is more introverted or a homebody, then we encourage you to give it a try. It will take your usual evening of ‘on the couch browsing Netflix’ to the next level of relaxation and entertainment.
In the next section we will be sharing our go to outdoor patio games for outdoor game nights.
The Best Outdoor Patio Board Games for an Outdoor Game Night
Now that you have a good idea on why you should play board games outside, let’s go over some of the best outdoor patio board games for an outdoor game night.
Mexican Train Dominoes
I’m sure you have heard us talk about this game before, but it deserves its time in the spotlight. Mexican Train Dominoesis the game that sparked our obsession with outdoor summer game nights.
A few summers ago, we were sitting on our deck around the table, enjoying some fresh air and sunshine when we decided to play dominoes for the first time. Hillary, Branden and I had played a couple of times before at our friends grandmas house. I had bought the game with hopes that I could convince my parents to play (they can be a little picky sometimes about which games to play). I was elated that they were finally ready to give it a go!
Let me tell you, this was one of the most fun game nights we ever had as a family. Both of my parents picked up the rules quickly and were having a ball.
Thus began the summer Saturday night tradition of playing dominoes on the deck after dinner! Dominoes is the perfect game to play on a Saturday evening. Depending on how you prefer to play, it can be a more easy going, slower paced, leisure game which is perfect for relaxing.
Ticket to Ride
Another frequent flyer at our house is Ticket to Ride. Now this game has a lot of small pieces, so we encourage playing with older, more mature players for this one.
Ticket to Ride is a card collecting, train building game for up to five players. It’s easy to understand and can also be played at a slower pace. Perfect for an outdoor patio game night.
Patio Board Games with Minimal Playing Pieces
There are certain things you want to keep in mind when playing board/card games outside. If you’re gaming with younger players, you might want to pick a game with minimal tiny game pieces. After all, who wants to be digging through the grass or squeezing under a deck to find dropped and misplaced game pieces?
Here are some patio board games with minimal playing pieces to play at your next outdoor game night.
One of our favorite board games with minimal playing pieces is Telestrations! This one is a more high energy game, especially if you’re playing the after dark version for adults!
Each player receives a drawing booklet and dry erase marker. In the middle of the table are prompt cards. Each player selects a prompt, jots it down on the first page, flips the book over to the next, and starts drawing their word.
When everyone is done drawing, you pass your book to the player next to you. That player then tries to guess what you drew and writes what they guess on the next page. Everyone passes their book in the same direction to the player next to them.
They then proceed to draw the second player’s guess! Play continues until each player winds up with their original book. The last part of the round is our favorite part! Each player takes a turn going through the drawings and guesses from the beginning. It’s hilarious to see how the prompts evolve and all the different drawings that everyone creates!
Card Games for an Outdoor Game Night
Card games are great for outdoor play. All you need is a deck of cards for these!
The classics never disappoint when it comes to enjoyment. Card games might not be your friend if it’s windy out, but with only one object to use, it’s easy to set up a game in a flash and clean up is a breeze.
These card games are simple to play and the rules can be easily looked up online.
Other Card Game favorites
- Uno – Another classic, but this card game requires special cards.
- Exploding Kittens – More intense, but equally more exhilarating.
- Fake Diamonds – Not available in stores…yet, but available for preorder online. Check out our fake diamonds card game review!
- Cards Against Humanity – will always bring your friends to laughter and tears
- Throw Throw Burrito – this one is especially great for playing outdoors.
What if I’m looking for something a little more high energy?
If sitting around a table is a little too stagnant for you, then outdoor yard games might be the right fit for your outdoor game night.
With more people enjoying time at home, yard games have become ever more popular. With popularity comes high demand, therefore more convenience.
For example, Target has released a great selection of outdoor games including Giant Jenga, Connect Four, yard dominoes and more!
Here are our favorite backyard games to play for an outdoor game night:
Kan jam is a highly addictive frisbee game that requires two players (or teams), two “kans,” and a little skill.
The object of the game is to throw the frisbee into the top of the opposing players Kan to earn points. There is also a little slot in the front of the kan. Tossing the frisbee in here is an automatic win! The opposing player can try and swat the frisbee away, increasing the difficulty of the game.
Get a classic set here or opt for the new travel version that we just discovered this weekend! Great for camping or even just easier to store!
This is an oldie, but a goodie! Bocci ball is a two player game, each player has a set of four large weighted balls usually with a distinct pattern on one and solid for the other, as well as a small marker ball.
Our set is an old wooden one that has been passed down to our father from his father, but there are newer sets available online that even include a carrying bag!
How we play: To start, one player tosses the small ball. Next, players take turns tossing their balls so that they are as close to the small marker ball as possible. The winner is the player closest to the marker ball. Skill will depend on the playing surface, more skill is required for bumpy and hilly terrain. If you want to play defensively, knocking opposing players balls out of the way is not off limits!
Corn Hole is a great party game for a crowd. It’s easy going, but can get heated pretty fast! It’s the perfect game to DIY and make yourself, but they also sell them online and in stores. We plan on making a personalized one of our own and utilizing the artist in the family to custom paint it!
How we play: Each player or team of players has a set of 4 bean bags. Taking turns, players toss their bean bags trying to land them in the opposing players corn hole board. The player who lands the most bean bags in the hole at the end of the round, earns a point. Play continues switching sides until a player or teams reaches the set winning point score.
Outdoor Game Night – Best Outdoor Patio Board Games Closing Thoughts
The biggest thing we want to express is that game night doesn’t always have to look like a group of people inside, around a table with physical board games in front of them!
Game night can happen whenever and wherever you choose! Sometimes the more unexpected the event, the more fun everyone has! The point of game nights is to play games of course, but the most important thing is that everyone has fun and enjoys themselves!
That is why we LOVE having outdoor game nights and playing the best outdoor patio board games for a night filled with fun and relaxation.
So whether you’re on your deck, sitting around your patio, or playing in the yard, happy gaming and enjoy!