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My Oldest 5 Childrens’ Favorite Games in Their Words - With Photos
James Fehr
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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When I started in this gaming hobby in late 2004, I had 6 children and the oldest was 7. At the time, I could hardly wait for them to grow up and get to the age where we could play competitive Euro-games together but it seemed so far away. In the next 5.5 years, our family has expanded by 3 more children, and our oldest is now 13. It’s been a lot of fun being father to this brood, and one aspect of the fun has been always having lots of eager and willing board game opponents. It took less time for them to dip their toes into grown-up designer game waters than I thought, and before I knew it they were swimming in them. I don`t say this to brag - this community is full of parents with children who can whip them at grown-up games and my kids are still in the process of figuring out how to beat me at a lot of these titles. But it is very satisfying to see them getting better at these games fast, and most of all, having a blast while doing so.

For a recent school project, I asked the oldest five to put together their own individual lists of their top 10 games, with a short blurb about why they like them. This was more work for them than I thought. They each went through the list I printed of the few hundred games that I had played with them at some point or other and noted on paper which they especially enjoyed. Then they painstakingly culled that list down to their absolute top 10 favorites. I took their lists and assigned a score to each game listed based on its position in each top 10 list: a game at the top of a list would get 10 points, the second favorite would get 9, and so on. Additionally, for each person’s list that the game appeared on, I gave it one extra point. Then I ranked all of the games based on total points. This is the master list that resulted, from the games that scored highest to least high.



From left to right are: Julianna (age 8), Samuel (age 11), Bethany (age 13), and Isaac and Adam (twins of age 10).

I wanted to create this list as a record for myself of what types of games and experiences they liked at this age (and I`ll probably create another in a couple of years), but thought it would be fun to share it with everyone here on BGG as well. I tried to include photos of us playing the games when I could find them, and several pictures are from my personal gallery.
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1. Board Game: Nuns on the Run [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:885]
James Fehr
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#2 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"It seems real and it is extremely intense for a game. It can handle a lot of players and you feel like the character that you are in the game."

#2 on Samuel's top 10 list:
"I like it because it's like hide-and-go-seek tag the board game."

#9 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"Nuns on the Run is a good game to play with your family."

#10 on Adam's top 10 list:
"You can sneak around. It is intense."

My note: We have had a lot of fun as a family with this game. In fact, the kids are more excited to play this as a group than any other single game. I've played the nuns each time, and have won all but one game where Sam's character snuck back to her room with her secret wish just in time. I was hoping this game would be a hit when I bought it on a Dice Tower recommendation and it has exceeded my expectations!

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2. Board Game: Why Did the Chicken...? [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3165]
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#1 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"It generates lots of laughs and is the funniest game in the world. It is fun to see what different people come up with. It creates jokes that can be retold so that the fun lasts afterwards."

#1 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"I like Why Did the Chicken because it's a great party game."

#9 on Samuel's top 10 list:
"It is hilarious."

My note: This riddle-creation game is simple, but with the right crowd, it`s superb. The kids` desire to play is partly triggered by hearing the adults laughing and having fun with it after they go to bed.
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3. Board Game: GiftTRAP [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1210]
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#3 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"It reveals the likes, dislikes, and personality of the players and it is exciting to see which gifts come up."

#5 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I like GiftTRAP because it has to do with thinking."

My note: This is one of those rare games that helps you learn about the likes and dislikes of your opponents. It can be very helpful to play this before birthdays to ferret out that secret gift wish of my kids.

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4. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:33]
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#1 on Samuel's top 10 list:
"I like to build, protect, and overtake kingdoms."

#8 on Adam's top 10 list:
"You can attack each other."

My note: This happens to be my favorite game, and so it is very satisfying to see the boys take to it so quickly as well.

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5. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:75]
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#4 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"I like Space Alert because it's a co-operative game."

#6 on Samuel's top 10 list:
"I like the chaos and the coordination."

My note: We played a ton of this in early 2009 and got decently good at it playing with the Advanced Threat cards. The kids mostly direct themselves, and while it definitely induces stress, some of our best gaming experiences have been playing this game.

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6. Board Game: Asteroyds [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1604]
 
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#5 on Samuel's top 10 list:
"I like racing around dodging the asteroids."

#6 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"Asteroyds is a game where you need to have careful planning."

My note: We have played a lot of RoboRally, but I find it interesting that the children enjoy this even more.


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7. Board Game: Quelf [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:8873]
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#7 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"I like it because it is an attractive board game and because you can do wild and crazy things in it."

#8 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I like Quelf because it's so funny."

#10 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"Quelf is a good game for adults and kids."

My note: This is a way the kids can force their parents to be especially silly and they love it.
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8. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:251]
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#4 on Samuel's top 10 list:
"I enjoy racing around the track."

#9 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I like Carabande because you race."

My note: Believe it or not, this Carabande set was a gift from my Secret Santa last Christmas! My kids are better than me at this one.

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9. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:77]
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#1 on Adam's top 10 list:
"(I like) that you can populate places with lots of men and race your opponent to some land."

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10. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:2747]
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#1 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I don't know why I like the Boardgamegeek Game but I love it."

My note: This was also a gift from my very generous 2009 Secret Santa. I am very impressed with how much Julianna has enjoyed this game. I think its the combination of great artwork, the theme of collecting games, rolling colored dice, and filling store shelves that she finds so fascinating.
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11. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:746]
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#6 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I like Jungle Speed because you have to be quick."

#8 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"It is fast and it is a neat game because it is a dexterity game as well as a card game."

My note: There will be blood, but the kids have an absolute blast with this game anyway.

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12. Board Game: Aquaretto [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:543] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
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#2 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I like Aquaretto because the animals can get babies and they're so cute."

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13. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:157]
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#2 on Adam's top 10 list:
"(I like it) because you can trade."
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14. Board Game: Horse Show [Average Rating:5.21 Overall Rank:9997]
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#3 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I like Horse Show because it has to do with horses."

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15. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:87] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
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#3 on Samuel's top 10 list:
"It is not too short and not too long. It has lots of strategy."

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16. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:223]
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#3 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"Nexus Ops is a really good strategy game."

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17. Board Game: Perikles [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:664]
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#3 on Adam's top 10 list:
"You constantly have battles."

My note: I do not take it for granted that my children enjoy the occasional Martin Wallace game.

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18. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:465]
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#4 on Julianna's top 10 list:
"I like Hey! That's My Fish because you have to get lots of fish."

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19. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:3]
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#4 on Adam's top 10 list:
"You get to make your own civilization."

My note: My boys have really gotten into playing the Civilization computer game in the last several months and Sam has designed his own home-brewed Civilization board game with a modular board and hundreds of units. I was anxious to have them try this version of a Civ-game, and they really enjoyed it. In our last game, Adam, Sam, and Bethany ganged up on me and I ended up in last place, learning the importance of a large army when playing with my children.

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20. Board Game: Ubongo: Duel [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1043]
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#4 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"It is a puzzle and I love puzzles and is probaby the easiest of all the Ubongo series."

My note: I actually think this is the hardest of the Ubongo games, but I think Bethany likes that you're only competing against one other person.
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21. Board Game: Backseat Drawing [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4646]
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#8 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"I like Backseat Drawing because it's a guessing game."

#9 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"Backseat Drawing is a hilarious drawing game. I like it because it is kind of like reverse Pictionary. The drawer is the one that has to guess."


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22. Board Game: Colosseum [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:288]
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Alberta
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#5 on Adam's top 10 list:
"I like it because you auction."

My note: The photo below is from a session played with my sister and 3 of the kids.

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23. Board Game: Mamma Mia! [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:963] [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
James Fehr
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Alberta
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#5 on Isaac's top 10 list:
"Mamma Mia is a good game for people who like to cook."

My note: Isaac has aspirations of being a cook or a baker one day, and whlie he tends to be pickier in the games he likes, he frequently requests this one.
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24. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:5]
James Fehr
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Alberta
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#5 on Bethany's top 10 list:
"It has lots of possible strategies and you can win in unexpected ways. I also like it because it isn't a heavy game and because it is a game that I have always beaten Dad in."

My note: My wife and I used to play this every year with Bethany on her birthday. The picture below is from 5 1/2 years ago and is from the scene of her first victory as a 7-year-old. You're not supposed to win by calling craftsman every other turn, but somehow she broke all the rules and won anyway. And yes, I was trying my hardest.

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25. Board Game: Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1150]
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#6 on Adam's top 10 list:
"It's a team game."

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