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Subject: An Alternative to Stratego for an 8-Year Old rss

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Sean T
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I've done a pretty good job in my family bringing along others into modern board games, but I'm not really a war or military game expert. Funny enough, my nephew has taken a likingto lighter strategy games, has a game of Risk under his belt and has mentioned Stratego. His birthday is coming up, so I want to take a shot at getting him something.

Is that really the best game in the market? I've only played it as a kid and I didn't like it at all, and barely remember it. Is there a better alternative to it for an 8-Year old like Memoir 44 or something similar?

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Geoffrey Greer
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Really depends on what he likes about the genre(s). Stratego is more abstract, "chess-like," and very "thinky." Memoir 44 is more action-packed and full of dice -chucking glory (and defeat). Then of course Memoir 44 is more tactical, while something like Quartermaster General is more strategic, grand-scale, and probably more interesting than Risk. If you can narrow down what you might be hoping for in terms of themes, mechanics, and the complexity you think he can handle, I'm sure you'll get a ton of great suggestions.

 
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Jordan S.
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I'll say without hesitation that I think Stratego is a good game, especially for younger players or those who aren't steeped in the hobby. My son (7) likes Stratego quite a bit and picked up on the game very quickly.

If your nephew has interest in the WWII theme and doesn't shy away from a bit of reading/special-rules-memorization, Memoir '44 might be a decent choice. It takes a good bit of set-up and requires some prep-reading for each session but as long as those aren't barriers to him, it's not a terribly difficult game to learn and has plenty of meat to it.

If he has any interest in Lord of the Rings (and again, doesn't mind a little reading), check out Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. It's built around the core concept of Stratego but has asymmetric sides and special powers.

Not related in theme or anything but the strategy and ideas of a game like Forbidden Desert might appeal to him. It's got the hidden information element and "sniff out the objective" of Stratego.

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Virginia Milne
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At our game group, to people who enjoy playing risk, I suggest, "Try Small World, which plays like risk ++"
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Ryan Keane
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When I was probably 8 or so, I "discovered" Wizard's Quest in the back of our games cabinet, which apparently my older sisters loved but never told me about, and I never looked back at Risk again. Although if he has a devoted group to play with, Risk Legacy IS a big improvement.

My dad and I played a ton of Stratego over the years and really enjoyed it, so I don't think you can go wrong there. That said, I sure would have loved to have found THE light block game Quebec 1759 in my parents' game cabinet back then as well. I think a young developing wargamer would be fine skipping the Stratego training wheels and jumping straight into the true first block game that he may still be enjoying when he's 37.
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Gláucio Reis
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I'm not sure why it must have a modern warfare theme, just because he played Risk once and mentioned Stratego. And Memoir '44 is nothing like Stratego. If you want a similar but better game, get Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation.
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Pokey 64
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He's 8 and wants Stratego so get him Stratego. It's a good game! There'll be plenty of time to get into more complicated games in the years to come.

More importantly, play Stratego with him! Even if you think it's not a great game, play it with him anyway! Nurture him and his interest will grow. Something more complicated may discourage him. Get it for him and play it!
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James C
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Strategy is not a shabby game. I'd recommend it for an 8 year old.

For what it's worth Memoir '44 is probably good for him too (but very different).

If he's open to a fantasy theme, summoner wars is also very accessible.
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Brad Neuhauser
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Getting more abstract, Hive comes to mind.
 
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Scot Duvall
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+1 SmallWorld
Also consider the chess-like Onitama
 
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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I'd happily play Stratego now. It's a good game.
 
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Josh Worley
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I agree Stratego is a fun game. Something much newer that plays a lot like it (with even less theme than Stratego) is Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War. It's pretty much OOP (but still in stock on the publisher's website last I knew) so if you look for it on Amazon or CSI or somewhere else it will be a lot more expensive than Stratego.

But yeah, if he likes or wants Stratego, I would get him Stratego.
 
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James C
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If you're thinking that Stratego is too vanilla, you may wish to consider Stratego: Waterloo (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/174064/stratego-wate...)

Looks pretty nifty.
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foldedcard
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Stratego is a very respectable game. That said, my 8 year old just discovered The Duke and loves it. Abstract but a small bit of theme and enough randomness to avoid the clinical feel of chess.
 
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Dan
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Stratego is a good game, and I enjoyed it as a kid. The only limitation is it is strictly 2 players.

If you want something that can be played with 2-5 players, Small World is a winner.

Battle Line is another great 2 player game, but it is cards, not dudes-on-a-map.
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Mark Raciborski
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Well these are suggested for 12 and up...

Have you thought about block games... 2 player game.. Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan

I don't think it's any worst then Risk to learn... it's blocks and card driven.

I prefer Maria but it isn't a block game, war game using cards, 3 player only, don't believe the box saying 2-3 players, it's not hard to play, but more for adults, older teens, highly recommended.

I'm not War gamer, these are more board gameish ...

Julius Caesar is a true block game..

These would be games I would want to be introduced to moving from Stratego.

 
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Brian McCue
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Go ahead and get him Stratego. It's perfect for his age; there'll be plenty of time for Drang Nach Osten! later.

It's important to note, especially if you are a disliker of Stratego, that there has been some rules drift in the last 50 years. In particular, some editions may not have had the rule that said Scouts cannot attack when making their multi-square special move. This makes a huge improvement.
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Mark Raciborski
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Had to refind this thing...

Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p9O9mrgQzcU

 
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Ken Lewis
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At that age I would recommend getting them the game they asked for and perhaps supplement it with another game you think they might enjoy.

Stratego is a decent game for kids getting into the hobby, and I just looked on Amazon and saw that the science fiction version is still available along with the standard version.

EDIT: My son was able to play Axis and Allies after playing Risk and no longer wanted to play Risk after learning how to play Axis and Allies, so that is a possibility you might want to look into.
 
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Ryan Keane
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danamark wrote:
Well these are suggested for 12 and up...

Have you thought about block games... 2 player game.. Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan

I don't think it's any worst then Risk to learn... it's blocks and card driven.

I prefer Maria but it isn't a block game, war game using cards, 3 player only, don't believe the box saying 2-3 players, it's not hard to play, but more for adults, older teens, highly recommended.

I'm not War gamer, these are more board gameish ...

Julius Caesar is a true block game..

These would be games I would want to be introduced to moving from Stratego.



I think these would be a bit beyond an 8-year-old without any experience with other wargames or more strategic games. I agree with others - get him what he wants, Stratego. I think Quebec 1759 would be the best next step.
 
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Poop Smith
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Stratego is a great game!
However if you want to get more into a board game feel you might try
Stratego Conquest Which adds in some cards for additional luck, territory control like risk, and is 2-4 players.

My 6 and 10 year old dig that plus
Small World
King of Tokyo
Ticket to Ride
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Bryce Nelson
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By all means play Stratego with him. It is actually a really good intro strategy game. if you want to find something more unique, let his parents get him Stratego at Wal-Mart or target, and you get something that a mass market-shopper wouldn't find, so it becomes uncle Sean's special game. I suggest finding Onitama or Hive. as an 8 year-old, I would have been more into the martial arts of Onitama more than the bugs of Hive, but Hive is still a really good game.
 
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Frank McNally
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Definitely get stratego. Two other games OOP with stratego elements are:

The Generals (where piece interactions are electronically adjudicated so winner remains secret).

Tank Battle, which has stratego element (hidden piece rank) and a battleship element, spaces targeted somewhat randomly. Very cool tank miniatures.
 
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Ray
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I'll also say that Stratego is great and if that is what he is asking for: go for it. I think we hobby gamers try to stay away from mass market...but they are fine games and especially for younger players. I don't shy away from them, because I want my kids to know them and also know great alternatives to them...but not to be the weirdo that never played Monopoly, but knows 10 other games that are so much better!

If you want to venture into similar gameplay...Lord of the Rings The Confrontation is really great like Stratego in many ways. But there is less room for error, especially as the Fellowship player. Stratego gives you some great leniency so if you lose a piece, the rest doesn't fall apart.

But I love Confrontation and if you can find the large Deluxe Edition (it's in a Ticket to Ride sized box) get it because it's long out of print, but still can be found. It's a larger set of the smaller version (which is identical) but the great part is that each character's power is on the larger set's pieces rather than a guide that you set in front of you. It's not a deal killer, but it's much easier to remember that Gimli kills the Orcs from the piece itself rather than a guide.

I didn't see where you were asking for Risk clones or type of games, but Risk Europe is a great alternative to regular Risk that has a few modern game techniques in it. And it's a very nice production if you are looking for a Risk type game. Memoir 44 is also really awesome and the game that brought me into the hobby!
 
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Daniel Rouleau
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Memoir '44. My son and I played a lot of Memoir '44 when he was 8 to 10 years old. I suggest the parent sets up the pieces by himself the first few times you play because that process ate into my son's attention span when we first started playing. You may want to remove some of the more complex tactics card from the deck depending on his reading skill level; you can always add them later if he likes the game.

Song of Blades and Heroes. A set of skirmish rules we started using when he was 8. We started playing with LEGO minifigs but later changed that that plastic figures after I purchased other games that included figures.

Tank on Tank: East Front. I bought this title last year and it became our go-to game for simple matches under 45 minutes. The mechanics are of the same difficulty level as Memoir '44 in my opinion. Huge counters are a plus. I do believe luck, especially early in the game, is more a factor in this game than in Memoir '44.

Stratego. We played Stratego and the rules are definitely more complex than in the Stratego I played in my youth. I would hesitate to call it easier than the games mentioned above. Not a bad game but we prefer the three above.

Small World. We do play it as a family every few months. The variability of races and abilities makes it interesting. In my opinion, it plays well with 4, fine with 3, but we found the play boring with just two. We would rather much play a competitive game of Ticket to Ride or Carcassone, two good family games that also provide a vert competitive experience when played with just two players.
 
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