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6 Summer Boardgames for rainy days

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The British summer can be a fickle affair, boiling hot one day then quickly turning into a tsunami the next - so when planning things to do for your family and friends it’s always prudent to include a few indoor activities.

One of the most sociable, exciting way’s to wile away the hours with others can be a board or card game!

We encourage you to overcome the moans and groans about how “quaint” or “boring” they are, because we don’t know another activity that can have several generations of family or friends sitting around a table being really engaged and excited together.

Computer games don’t do it, or movies - only boardgames!

We thought we’d take a look at some of the best boardgames out there with a Train and/or Gardens related theme!

3 great Train related games

1-trains -boardgame


  • Age 12+
  • 45 Min
  • 2–4 Players

In the imaginatively named game Trains you take on the role of a manager of your own private railway company - competing with the other players to build the biggest and best railway.

Everyone starts with a small set of cards which, over time, becomes the basis of an empire of stations, tracks and trains.

Trains is the first in a series of games published by AEG (the others being Planes and Automobiles - obviously!) - but Trains is by far the most highly regarded have won the Origin Award for best board game in 2014.

2-Train To Ride -Boardgame

Ticket to Ride

  • Age 8+
  • 30–60 Min
  • 2–5 Players

Ticket to Ride is without doubt the biggest selling game of the three here - often cited as being a great “Gateway game”, meaning it has lead lots of people to try more boardgames which could be described as “off the beaten track” (i.e. not just monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or scrabble).

The game’s designer probably describes the secret to it’s success when he says the following:

"The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets.

The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand, and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor."

Ticket to Ride is simple enough to be taught in a few minutes, and with enough action and tension to keep new players involved and in the game for the duration - it’s also won a ton of awards including:

  • 2004 Spiel des Jahres Winner

  • 2004 Origins Awards Best Board Game Winner

  • 2005 Juego del Año Winner

3-Age Of Steam -Boardgame

Age of Steam

  • Age 13+
  • 120 Min
  • 1–6 Players

If Ticket to Ride is a gentle introduction to “proper” boardgames, Age of Steam is a mighty clout to the head - a bit like comparing Monopoly to Risk.

It follows a similar theme as Trains (i.e. meglomaniac capitalists competing to create the biggest train company), just with a more in-depth, cut throat aspect.

Competition is brutal, with the game usually going to the player who plans most carefully - So if your family or peer group prefer a little more antagonism this might be the one for you!

2 great Garden related games

Gardening games are a little more thin on the ground that train games - and they tend to be less laden with prestigious prizes (which is probably more symptomatic of the geeky boys who tend to design them!)

4-Gardens -Boardgame


  • Age 8+
  • 45 Min
  • 2–4 Players

In Gardens instead of competing to create the biggest and best train company, players try to best their adversaries by finishing with the most beautiful gardens.

(Don't worry - There is and English version, but the only picture of the box we could was the German version!)

It’s a tile based game - players placing tiles each turn to plant, reshape and grow a garden that will be different every game.  Clever placement of the tiles and plants will be crucial to winning the game.

5-Garden Dice -Boardgame


Garden Dice

  • Age 13+
  • 60 Min
  • 2–4 Players

Garden Dice is a great looking game that, like Gardens, incorporates tile-laying but also involves lots of dice rolling (unsurprisingly!).

Players take turns using the dice to plant, water, and harvest five different types of vegetables which can be placed on the gameboard which represent the garden -  with differing point values, from the lowly squash to the mighty eggplant.

This is a great looking game which has won a couple of awards and can provide plenty of fun for a family of horticulturalists!

Is there anything we should’ve mentioned?

Do you have any thoughts, comments or views on hobbies and pastimes?

Is there anything you think we should have mentioned?

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By Alastair Baker at 15 Jul 2016, 00:00 AM