There’s nothing like finally taking that summer vacation and then getting stuck in the hotel while the skies rain down on your plans. To save us from extreme hotel ennui, I make sure we take along a few easy-to-pack games to help us pass the time until the sun comes out again.

These games all come from the wonderful small company Gamewright, and if you’re looking for alternatives from the same-old, you’re in luck.

I am embarrassed to admit that I am story-telling impaired, always falling back on a tale about a princess, a
castle and a cliche. But with Rory’s Story Cubes,  I’m forced to spread my wings beyond those images that pop into my head. (and don’t miss Rory’s Story Cubes Actions which will add some drama into your tales)

And best of all, it’s easy enough for my kids to use to spark their imagination, since all they have to do is roll the nine illustrated cubes and build the story from there. I keep the small case tucked into my bag so we have an instant diversion while waiting for dinner at the restaurant or waiting out that freak rainstorm in the hotel room.

Sleeping Queens

Beautiful queens, fierce dragons and brave knights were all my kids had to see when we first got a hold of Sleeping Queens We started playing almost immediately and have been hooked ever since. The object is simple but fun: Use your cards to wake the sleeping queens in the middle and try to be the first to get the most queens. But what makes this game special are the amazing illustrations on the cards that go way beyond standard game fare. And knowing that the game was conceived by a six-year-old one night when she was supposed to be sleeping makes the game even cooler to my kids.


Dweebies remind us of the much-loved Hisss, but for older kids who can think strategically about the cards they are using. Instead of building a snake, kids put the monster-like Dweebies in rows, trying to scoop up as many points as possible when they finish the row. I love that this is no more than a deck of cards, comes in a super-sturdy metal container, and even the youngest can play along with a little help. Plus, Dweebies? As a whole? Totally cool creatures.

You can find Gamewright games at our affiliate Amazon.