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2011 Best Kid Games

Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
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I started recording my plays in March of this year. Since then I've recorded 404 plays. I've also played about 100 games of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization at and maybe a dozen games of Tigris & Euphrates here on BGG. I've broken my game plays into Medium-Heavy Weight, Medium Weight, Medium-Light Weight, Fillers, 2-players, Kid's Games, and flops. With very limited exceptions, the only games I've placed in the list are games that I've played at least 3 times in 2011.

This is is my third list. I have three beautiful children, ages 6, 10, and 10. While it's the 6 year old who loves to play games the most, I try to play games with all of them. Since I have problems letting my kids win, I try to pick games that give them an even footing. In general, that means deterity games, but also include push your luck and memory games. While I hope at some point to graduate to strategy games with them, that hasn't happened yet (with one notable exception). Before anyone asks, the reason Gulo, Gulo isn't on this list is because we just got it for Christmas and have not played it yet. I am optimistic it will be on this list next year.

1. Techno Witches . I got this one because someone (I forget who) was having a very good sale on it. Since then, we've played it a handful of times and always enjoyed it. It's as difficult for me as the kids and we all have fun, trying to fly our brooms out to the center spot and back home again. An excellent game that works well for kids and adults and plays in about 20 - 30 minutes.

2. Sorry! Sliders. We've had this since last Christmas and it is played as much today as when we got it. The dexterity element of this means everyone has a fighting chance and it plays quickly enough that even if you lose, there's always time for one more game.

3. Rat-a-Tat Cat. I had played tis with my kids a bunch of times several years ago. Then it got put in the glovebox of my car and forgotten until we happened to be out having hot chocolate one day. Out it came and the kids loved it as much as they used to. Luck plays a significant role in this game meaning the kids win at least as much as the adults. A good game that keeps me interested enough to play with the kids for as long as they like.

4. Blokus. This is the one "thinking" game I play with the kids. While I always win, the games are close enough the the kids enjoy playing. The pieces are colorful and the rules are simple. When I play with the kids, I play quietly until the board is mostly filled and then try to puzzle my way into placing most of my pieces. I keep hoping for the day when the kids start beating me at this. Maybe this year.

5. Castle Panic. This begins to fall into the category of games I play because the kids enjoy them. While this game mostly plays itself, there is enough of a challenge here that my (just turned) 6 year old is matching colors and numbers and trying to plan what cards to keep and what to play. While I'm helping her through most of the decisions, each time she gets it a little bit more. This is a game that I expect we'll play for at least another year or two. Probably my biggest issue with it is that it takes about 25% too long to hold my daughter's attention and so I'm left playing the end myself and just calling her over for when it's her turn.

6. Froggy Boogie. The second game that I play because the kids (specifically my daughter) enjoys it. There is certainly a challenge her in remembering which eye is opened and which eye is closed and if I enjoyed memory games more, I would probably like it more. The components are wonderful and the game has kept my daughters interest for either the last two or three years (I forget if we got it for Christmas when she was 3 or 4).

7. Unnamed Object. The last of the games I play for my kids. My son really enjoys the push-your-luck mechanic in this game. It is the one he is most likely to ask for when he thinks of it. While there's very little to this game beyond pushing your luck, it's short enough that a game (or two) is good for passing the time.
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