Family Camping Holiday In England

The view from our tent, just before another deluge
Friday saw us heading up to Rutland for the Bank Holiday weekend to meet our nephew and his family for a few days camping - in the pouring rain!

It was no surprise that both he and I took quite a few games with us and that given the weather we played many of them. More details on these a little later. However it struck us that there were some important points to note from the weekend that might be of interest to other families and parents with young children.

1. That the two 7 year old boys had each bought only one cuddly toy with them so improvised endlessly (when it stopped raining) with sticks, logs, trees, etc (found around the camp site) and their imaginations in re-creating Star Wars speeders, light sabres characters and situations. It is amazing to see how much fun children can have when
the commercial props are removed and they start using their imaginations.

2. It seemed strange to us the number of televisions we could see as the light dimmed in the caravans surrounding us. We took no technology aids / games for the children to play with, or indeed ourselves. They saw the weekend as a big adventure, a change, and at no time complained about the lack of the technology distractions available to them at home not least the TV and video.

3. The children continually asked if “can we play .....” even when the sun did come out and their requests surprised even us at times.

4. With the choice of games we had available we didn’t have to seek entertainment at costly adventure parks, stately homes etc., so the cost of the adventure was kept down and the weather wasn’t a serious issue – even in a tent.

5. Whilst there was the obvious initial investment in camping gear (and games!) it was a cheap weekend break for 6 people, particularly when you consider the versatility and the reusability of both the camping gear and the games (frequently played at home anyway).

Some of the games played over the weekend plus photo’s can be seen below.

Playing Bohnanza by gas light whilst camping
Playing Bohnanza (a lively trading / farming game with some great artwork) huddled around the gas light on the first night as the rain beat down outside.

Straw - The sun came out but the boys wanted to play games
Playing Straw (an amusing maths game whatever your age) in a dry interlude, with two little chaps who didn’t want to co-operate with the photographer, on day two.

Stone Age - By gas light
Stone Age (one of the few games we have with dice and a really good one at that) on the second night with the rain beating down again.

Shadows Over Camelot - Playing whilst camping
Dry at last (day 3) but the boys finally got their wish and we played Shadows Over Camelot (a co-operative game on the theme of King Arthur and his knights quests, but a game with a minimum age of 10). It was the longest of the games we played and the boys requested it again the next day. Whilst they didn’t understand all aspects of it they understand the fight of good versus evil and that the family is fighting evil so they are working with / helping the adults and if one person wins we all win, plus obviously it had plastic figures!

Carcassonne being played amongst the debris of camping
Day 3, as the dog was walked I sat down with my nephew to play Carcassonne (the classic tile laying game where points are gained for walled cities, roads and monasteries). A popular game with some members of our evening games group but the first time I had ever played it as a two player game - highly recommended even though I lost.

Qwirkle - The players with two young helpers
By late afternoon our six had become eight with the arrival of Natalie’s sister and her fiancĂ© so whilst Gavin and I worked on the food for the evening meal others sat down for this year’s Spiel Des Jahres winner Qwirkle (a pleasing and colourful alternative to Dominoes). The game was declared a winner by the two new players and is always popular with my nephew’s wife and of course mine so a success all round.

Shadows Over Camelot - The players playing by gas light again!
Evening of day 3, the children are in bed and the six adults are left to play Shadows Over Camelot again. Unfortunately evil prevailed, again, and the good guys lost. Maybe in future we will not play the traitor option as the player taking this role in both of the days games would rather not have been a traitor and found it detracted from their enjoyment.

Shadows Over Camelot - A close up of the figures and part of the board
The full list of games played (along with how many times we played them) during our camping holiday were Bohnanza (1), Uno (1), Straw (1), Incan Gold (1), Stone Age (1), Catch The Match (4), Shadows Over Camelot (2), Mijnlieff (2) Qwirkle (2) and Carcassonne. Click on any of the names and you will be taken to Board Game Geek, a site (a poorly named) that has a wealth of information, photo’s and video’s about these and many other games.

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