Airplane Games

Hive, Blokus Duo, and Ticket to Ride iPad app on airplane tray table

I’ve had to travel for work lately, and I had the good fortune to sit with my friend and co-worker Charlie on a couple of fairly empty flights recently. We both like games, so we spent the time trying out games on the airplane tray tables. We played Hive, Blokus Duo, and the Ticket to Ride iPad app.

Our flight was so empty that we were able to spread out across three seats and tray tables, which was nice. That was especially helpful during Blokus Duo. I have blogged about Blokus Duo before, so I won’t go into detail on that here.

We used the center table for the Blokus Duo board and our own tables to spread out our remaining pieces.

Preparing to start Blokus Duo on airplane

Preparing to play

Placing Blokus Duo pieces on tray tables

Me placing a piece

I was purple, and Charlie was orange. It worked pretty well with the three tables. I’m not sure it would have worked as well with just two tables, although I think it could be done.

Mid-game in Blokus Duo on tray table


End of Blokus Duo game on airplane

End of game

Charlie won definitively, with 22 remaining squares to my 28. I have a hard time seeing the optimal moves, and I tend to focus on blocking my opponent more than protecting myself. I like how fast this game is and how it makes me think differently from other games.

Blokus Duo worked pretty well on the plane, but I think it would be more awkward to fit on just two tables, so I probably won’t bring it again. Also, the box isn’t quite as small as I’d like to fit in my carry-on purse, although it is nice and light.

We also played Hive, which required even less space. (I have also blogged about Hive before.) But the Hive pieces were more slippery on the tray table surface, so we put down magazines to keep the pieces more stable.

Playing Hive on airplane tray table

Early in the game

I was black, and Charlie was white. I won this time, but we both still feel like there are probably a bunch of moves that we’re not seeing because we’re still pretty much beginners at Hive.

Mid-game in Hive on airplane


Hive game at end with white surrounded on airplane tray table

End of game

Hive is pretty good on the airplane table, and it only requires one table. The main disadvantage to Hive on the airplane was that it’s somewhat heavy in my carry-on, and I have to haul it around the airport and airplane. Even though I liked playing it on the plane, I don’t think I’ll bring it again because of the weight.

Our flight attendant stopped by and asked us about Hive while we were playing it. She seemed very interested in it, which was fun.

Charlie and I have also played a few iPad games on the plane. On this particular flight, we played Ticket to Ride. (I blogged about the Ticket to Ride iPad app earlier, too, so I won’t go into detail on it.) I won this one, but Charlie won on the previous flight (unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures that time).

Final scores on Ticket to Ride iPad app 171 to 87

Our final scores

Compared to Hive and Blokus Duo, the iPad is much more convenient for airplane gaming. It doesn’t require a tray table at all and is very light and compact for fitting in my carry-on.

Charlie and I also tried the Carcassonne iPad app and the Settlers of Catan iPad app on another flight. I’ll be blogging about those apps soon. The quick story on them is that we liked the Carcassonne app a lot but didn’t like the Catan app very well. More details to come in a future post!

It’s fun that Blokus Duo and Hive give you the tactile experience of using game pieces, but the truth is that they just aren’t that convenient to play on the plane. The iPad was the clear winner in terms of convenience, compactness, and variety of games to play. I’ll definitely keep bringing it on flights. Many of the apps even have solo player options for when I don’t have a human opponent to play with!

If Charlie and I sit together on more flights, we’ll probably be more likely to play iPad game apps or else Scopa or Zombie Dice on the tray tables, which we think would work well. (Scopa and Zombie Dice are both VERY small and light and don’t require much space.)

4 thoughts on “Airplane Games

  1. My gf and I play Zombie Dice on iPhone when traveling together. It doesn’t always feel as random as rolling real dice, but it’s a fun game and only .99 for the full version (I probably played 200 games against computer on free one before buying it’s so addictive LOL).

  2. Grab a measurement of the tray tables (if they’re standard) and cut a piece of that rubbery drawer lining stuff they sell at the dollar stores to fit.

    That will keep your Hive tiles in one place for sure. We use it on our table for games like Zombies!!! where the tiles are thin and slide easily.

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