Best River Trip Games
Multi-day rafting trips are not just about the whitewater and side hikes; a lot of fun can be had just hanging around at camp. By most standards, camping on a river trip is quite deluxe. Just about anything can be loaded onto a raft with games being no exception. I always pack a few games on rafting trips, especially ones that lots of people can play. Getting the whole group involved builds team spirit and camaraderie. Here are five of the best river trip games for your next adventure.
An ancient viking tradition turned yard game, Kubb is fun for all ages. Opponents on two different teams must throw six wooden dowels at the other player's five wooden blocks. There is one large block, the king, in the middle that must be knocked over at the end to win the game. A few rules will keep you on your toes during this simple sounding game. The rules being complicated to explain all at once, guides are commonly accused of making up them up as we play.
However, here is a quick introduction to the rules. Again, the first team to knock over all the blocks and the king wins. The play goes back in forth as each team takes turn throwing the wooden dowels. As the blocks are knocked down, they stay in the game and continue to be targets. Players must throw the knocked down blocks into the other court, past the king. Then, those new blocks need to be toppled over before the original back row of blocks. Finally, once a team has all the blocks in the opponent's court over and has a dowel left, they can go for the king. For more detailed instructions on how to play viking chess, watch the videos here or go on a rafting trip! The best river trip game, Kubb is sure to bring out the competitive side of any adult or child.
2. All in the Family
To play All in the Family, just collect paper, pens, and a hat. The more the better, but any number of people can play this game. Players are individual at the start and teams, aka families, form as the game progresses. It is fun to play a few days into a trip when everyone has gotten to know each other a little bit better.
The rules are simple. First, sit in a circle and nominate one person to be the moderator (usually a person who knows the game). Next, have each person write the name of someone on a small piece of paper. Any name is valid, but I encourage people to choose names they think everyone in the group will know. Have the monitor collect all the pieces of paper in the hat. Finally, the moderator reads each name out loud.
It is important to pay attention to the names because after they are read, each person tries to guess who wrote down what name. If you guess correctly, that name writer becomes part of your family. You are now a team and can keep guessing names until you are wrong. If you guess incorrectly, it is the next person's turn. After the first round of guesses, the moderator reads the names again and only the heads of the families and individuals guess again. The game is over when everyone is in one family. The simplicity and total involvement make it one of the best river trip games.
3. Ducky Wars
One of my favorite games to play with kids on the river, ducky wars requires a pfd, shoes, a ducky, a deep pool, and two people. This game can be played while floating in a calm part of the river or at camps with a good eddy. It is best to have some adult/guide supervision as both people will probably swim. What is more, witnessing the incredible saves, falls, and war faces from the participants make this a great spectator sport.
To play, flip a ducky upside down and choose two people to duel. Have the duelers swim the ducky to a deep part of the river and climb onto the overturned ducky. Standing towards each other on opposite ends, the opponents will try to rock the other person into the water WITHOUT touching. Weight shifting side to side and walking back and forth is acceptable, but the one rule is no touching. At some point someone will slip and take an ungraceful fall into the river. To win, you must be the last person touching the ducky. However, ties are not uncommon when both people splash into the river simultaneously. On a hot day at camp or while floating through deep pools, this is the best river trip game to cool you off.
4. Liar’s Dice
Bluffing and beating the odds, Liar’s dice is a nail biting game of luck and strategy. Dice are the only materials needed and the number of dice determines how many people can play. With a minimum of five dice each, players should be instructed to keep their rolls covered with their hands. After rolling their dice, players guess how many of one number, for example sixes, are in the mix. But, the trick is that you can only look at your dice. The play goes in a circle, and you have to increase the bet in numerical value of the die or the amount of dice guessed.
Once you think the bet is too high, you challenge the previous bet on your turn and all the dice are revealed. If you are correct, they lose a die. Alternatively, if they are correct, you lose a die. The game continues until there is one die holder left and a winner. Competitive spirits get high and figuring out the odds forces nerve racking decisions. For more information, other easy to read rules can be found here. Played around a campfire or with your morning coffee, this is one of the best river trip games.
5. Adventure Bocce
Finally, no list of best river trip games is complete without adventure bocce. Disregarding the restrictive court of normal bocce, adventure bocce uses the whole camp as the playing field. What is more, the excitement of the game is increased with more sporadic and uneven terrain. Not needing more than just a normal bocce set, this is an easy game to bring on the river. I like to play in teams, two per color, to include as many people as possible. For those unfamiliar with bocce, you have a small white ball and eight big bocce balls in four different colors. To start, someone throws the white ball. Then, one at a time, each player tries to throw their ball in the same spot. The closest to the white ball wins the round and gets to choose the next location by re-throwing the white ball.
Rocks, logs, sand, and hills will send your bocce flying in random, unexpected directions or will stop the ball before it reaches your intended destination. In addition to good throwing aim, players need some luck to miss obstacles in the court. Using the whole camp provides entertainment for everyone, just be careful to not lose your bocce in the river! Surely to be full of surprises and shocking outcomes, bocce ball is a classic river trip game.
What are your favorite games to play on the river?