The Travel Buddy Games Origin Story

Travel Buddy Games logo on map

Travel Buddy Games is a way to merge my two greatest passions: travel and gaming. You can read a short version of this story on my about me page, but this is the longer version for those interested in the inspiration for this site and the goals of Travel Buddy Games as a company.

For all of my life I have had an adventurous spirit. Travel and gaming both help satisfy my subconscious’s adventurous demands.

How travel does that is obvious. Going out into the world, seeing new places, meeting new people, trying new things, tasting new foods. These are the things I live for. And they are things that I know many of my fellow travelers crave too! But gaming satisfies that need too in a way.

When I sit down to play a game, the theme matters to me. The fondest memories I have of playing games are the ones where I could get into the story of what what happening. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy games of Monopoly or Chess growing up. I did. But rather it is to say that my love of playing games blossomed when I discovered games that immersed me. When I took on the role of a thief in Clue: The Great Museum Caper or when I played as the overlord in a game of HeroQuest, I was, for a time, transported.

Travel Buddy Games is an attempt to bring both of these kinds of experiences together in a way that is meaningful to travelers who don’t necessarily consider themselves gamers and to inspire gamers who aren’t necessarily travelers. The way that Travel Buddy Games seeks to satisfy both of these groups is threefold:

  • Travel Buddy Games must travel well. They will come in small packages to easily fit in your backpack or carry-on bag.
  • The games must be approachable. I see games and travel as both inherently social. That means I want you to be able to easily play with anyone you meet on your travels.
  • The games must be tied thematically to a travel destination. I want our games to inspire you to see the places they are set in. Or remind you of the adventures you had, if they are set somewhere you have already been.
Traveler enjoying a view with the caption 'See the world. Have Fun."

Why make games for such a specific audience?

The truth of the matter is, I want to make the kinds of games I want to play. And few games out there seem to fit this criteria for me.

There are certainly no shortage of “travel games.” But that usually means smaller editions of classic board games – as if anyone wants to hear me rattling my Travel Boggle on the airplane. There are some specialty board game publishers making games that are very easy to travel with. (Perplext and Buttonshy come to mind.) But these game are only half the equation for me.

I am a lifelong traveler and there have been many nights spent in hostels where I gathered in the common area with fellow travelers and a deck of playing cards. Over the course of an evening (and generally over a couple of drinks) we went from being strangers to being friends. This experience is magical and I want to facilitate its frequent occurrence for myself as well as others.

People long for connection. We want to know each other. We want to know where people are from and what their lives are like but too often we turn to our phones or our tablets to ease the awkwardness that we feel in a group of new people. For me, a deck of playing cards has always been a better option. I’ve always found that people are more eager to engage over an activity than purely over small talk. (That’s why your hostel has activity nights!)


I’ve always found that people are more eager to engage over an activity than purely over small talk.

-Joshua Lobkowicz

When I have the pleasure of making new friends during my travels, so often we talk about the places we have been and the places we want to go. How cool then would it be to be having a drink together in some distant cafe and talking about some of our favorite places to be able to say, “I’ve got a cool little game here about Singapore. Want to check it out?”

Personally, I think it would be an awesome way to show off the places I love. And I think it would be an awesome way to be introduced to new potential travel destinations.

My vision for every Travel Buddy Games title is not only that they are approachable, thematic, fun games. I also want every title to contain a little introduction to the place that inspired them so that they may continue to inspire others to see them for themselves.

How do you intend to make these games?

Believe it or not, I am a professional board game developer. (Yes, there is such a thing. And you can make a living doing it.) In addition to being the creator of Travel Buddy Games, I also work for a medium sized board game publisher called Grey Fox Games. I have been finding great game designs and helping polish them for years. Now I intend to find new designs to make great games for travelers.

Years of traveling and working in game publishing has made me friends all over the world. I am lucky to count game designers, game manufacturers, travel bloggers, and expats among them. I am excited to work with many of those people to find great designs about amazing places and turn them into finished games that I you will be proud to have in your pack.

Personally, I’m looking forward to having a game I know is designed with me in mind the next time I have a couple hours to while away on Deutsche Bahn or EuroRail.

Travel Buddy Games founder Joshua Lobkowicz waiting for the train in Germany

I think this is a good place to break. Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog post. I hope this gives you some insight into who I am and how Travel Buddy Games came to be. Moving forward, I intend to use this blog to chronicle the process of starting a publisher, finding designs, and sharing my experiences in travel and in gaming. I expect it will be a mishmash of all things travel, publishing, and gaming. And I will categorize the posts so you can follow along on the subjects that most interest you.

Welcome to the Travel Buddy family. I hope to see you on the road, on the trail, or at the gaming table before long.

Leave a comment with a suggestion for a blog topic that you would be interested in reading about here.

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