Renewed Enthusiasm or New to Your Kids December 2012
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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The Christmas holidays, yay! And in this part of the world, it's been raining solidly for the last month, making everything very soggy and necessitating plenty of indoor play opportunities. Naturally Santa and/or doting relatives feel the need to expand the games collections of kids too................

So, looking back over the last month, which are the best games you've newly introduced to your kid(s), and why? Please pick an entry even if it's the same as someone else's because it's more fun that way. Or are there some which have enjoyed a new lease of life?

It would probably be helpful if you say what ages the children you played with are, and how much they enjoyed it as well as how much you enjoyed it.

Please, add you own entries - one per child might make sense if they are of different ages and abilities. And if you play with kids that aren't yours - nieces, nephews or friends' kids, include those!

Just like the idea of this series of monthly lists, I've also nicked the idea of an announcement thread from Grimwold (Thanks Andy!). If you'd like to be alerted to the existence of the new list when it appears, subscribe to this subscription thread..

Last time's list can be seen at New to your Kids or Renewed Enthusiasm Oct & Nov 2012
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1. Board Game: The Hobbit [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:3410]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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This found its way into the pile of presents under the tree for middle son Matthew (11), and we opened it the same day that we saw the new Hobbit film at the cinema - seemed rather appropriate.

Safe to say that the theme is one Matthew is very keen on (he must have read Lord of the Rings a dozen times), and the gameplay doesn't disappoint. There's a lot of luck, but it really does seem to balance out, and the experience is fun. It feels a bit like a co-operative game, though it isn't, because you aren't directly fighting against one another. This has come out several times since, so Santa got that one right!

We also played Dominant Species Card Game which was new to me as well, a decent game though might be better with more than two.

There was also a rare flop:Druids Waltz. He really didn't get this one, and as a result doesn't like it. To be fair, his mum has the same reaction. Ah well, can't win them all.
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2. Board Game: Monster Derby [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:7831]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Another oldie, which I can remember buying in a games shop in London purely on the basis of its looks (would I ever do that nowadays?!). We played it quite a bit back then, and I thought the boys (Daniel, 13 and Matthew) would like its quirkiness. I was right, Dan spent most of the game enjoying himself squishing the pixie he thought I had bet on whilst Matthew concentrated on trying to get his own monsters to the finish. However, my hare disproved the old story as it stormed through and with my other choices picking up points as well, it was victory for an old hand. In spite of this both boys were keen to play again!
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3. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:391]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Rebecca (now 7, what a big girl!) is pretty good at saying "No!" so it is no surprise that she did well at this game, beating the rest of us the second time she played and picking it up very quickly.

The ease with which small card games can be stuffed into a larger game box means we tend to have a good variety, so Rebecca was also introduced to Nur die Ziege Zahlt and The Great Dalmuti. The former was perhaps a touch too hard for her, though she did ok it was obvious she didn't really get the bidding aspect, and working out your potential score for winning a trick can easily fox adults too. So although we played it a couple of times it may be one to park for a while.

However, the Great Dalmuti went down very well, and after a couple of rounds she was playing well and enjoying it, though was disappointed not to get to be the eponymous tyrant.

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4. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:3315] [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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We tend to take this when visiting family because everyone enjoys it, and even those who don't usually play games will join in quite happily. We had one massive game on Christmas Day with about 12 participants as well as several smaller games at other times. The kids really enjoy it and spend much of the time laughing loudly. They are also picking up a bit of culture as they discover the names of (to them) unheard of musicians, film stars, politicians and sports stars!
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5. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:137] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
...sure...
Netherlands
Rijen
Noord Brabant
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Yes! My nieces loved it. Now they're ready to become Real Gamers devil

I hope.
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6. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:216]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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We had been playing this excessively when our six year old daughter demanded to join in. Now she asks for it every day. She hasn't gotten the finer aspects of the game yet, but she is learning what to do and what to avoid. Her occasional victory makes her very happy.
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7. Board Game: Heckmeck Junior [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:6671]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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This is another favorite with our six year old. Our three year old sometimes plays along, but needs instructions (she just loves dice). 21 plays since Christmas - most of them including one or more of our kids...
I hadn't expected this to be that nice; usually the kids' versions of popular games haven't convinced me much.
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8. Board Game: Angry Birds: Star Wars – Jenga Death Star Game [Average Rating:4.97 Overall Rank:14151]
Robin
United States
Alaska
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This is currently my nine and seven year old boys favorite games. Santa made a very good choice.

Death Star Jenga is one of the Angry Birds games that we own where we get to play the real game. Most of angry birds games are mixed together in a bin for a building activity. The At-At Attack game is the boys least favorite because it is hard to balance the face on the at-at body.


The boys also played and thoroughly enjoyed Say Anything Family Edition, Crappy Birthday, and Pirate Versus Pirate.

Pirate Versus Pirate is a fun, simple 3-player game where the players have to move their pirates around the triangle board to eliminate their opponents while trying to retrieve the coins and get the coins to the boats.

Here is my blog post about our Say Anything Family Edition and Crappy Birthday: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/15745/say-anything-fam...



The boys did a great job understanding the concept of giving the worst and best gifts in Crappy Birthday. The silliness of the pictures helped as well.

Say Anything Family edition had plenty of question choices on the card which allowed us to cater to the audience a bit. If the kids were having trouble with the spelling of the words, they could also draw a picture on their tile.

Pleasantly surprised that these fun games were so accessible to the kids.
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9. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:190] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Bart Spee
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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My youngest (8) discovered smallworld and we played this quite a bit.

Other favourites:
Love letter and dominion
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10. Board Game: Spooky Stairs [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2201]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Christmas time, many games with my son (4 years & 4 months). (yes, I'm lazy so I'm mostly quoting this from the New to you geeklist.)

Geistertreppe 11x
Out of the many Christmas presents of my kid and my stepson, this proves to be the most fun kids’ game. Roll and move meets the shell game and some fun spooky theme. It’s a very successful mix of paying attention, memory and luck, a game that’s suitable for a 4-year old but even an adult can enjoy. No wonder it was Kinderspiel des Jahres some years ago. thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

Quoridor Kid 6x
Well, I’m not really sure it’s great as a children’s game (well, my kid didn't really get the strategies yet - but it's a 5+ game which should be taken seriously this time) but probably it is good for the right age. Out of our 6 plays on New Year’s Eve, the kids played only once. This is actually nothing else but Quoridor on a smaller board (7x7 instead of 9x9) and some “mice and cheese” theme. I have never played Quoridor before but it has moved onto my wishlist now. thumbsupthumbsup thumbsup

Cheeky Monkey 3x

This is the other side of the coin: I ordered this one (the edition with a plush monkey that is the “box” of the game and also functions as the bag you pull the chits from) for my wife and me but when I started reading the rules I found out it has rules for smaller kids and even for very small kids – like 4-year-olds. So we have only played the most simplified version yet. In a way it’s like Pickomino – the card game and I like it. I’m sure it’s going to be even more interesting with the ruleset for 8+-year-olds but it’s also good (and, while challenging, still fun) as a children’s game. thumbsupthumbsup

Magician’s Kitchen 14x
This kind of follow-up to Magic Labyrinth from Drei Magier Spiele is also a game with hidden stuff under the board (rearranged before each game), the power of magnets and some (5) missions to be accomplished on the seemingly flat board full of hidden obstacles. The main difference is that it has no fixed routes but it also develops fine motoric skills. I must say it’s not as much fun and not as interesting for an adult as Magic Labyrinth is, but still, it’s the new favorite game of my son now and we had laughter, excitement with him during these 5 to 10-minute plays so I can attest this is a simple but good good kids’ game. (It also says 5+ on the box but it's really good for 4+ I think.) thumbsupthumbsup

What’s Rubbish 1x
Well, looking at the ratings you could easily say the answer is: “This game” but it’s not true. Well, it’s nothing for adults, of course, but it’s fine for pre-schoolers. It’s a spin-and-move game with some learning values, face-down tiles continuously placed on the boards and different objectives (different trash bins) for each player. However, I would not recommend it for age 6+. thumbsup


Oh, and while I'm still not sure why these are BGG games, we had two small boxes under the tree as well: Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages and Rory's Story Cubes: Actions.
I bought Rory’s Story Cubes in 2012 and it became a big favorite – most of the time I tell bedtime stories using these dice to my kids but sometimes I can even make our son tell a story to me (and I find these excercises great from psychological aspects). These two new sets are fun – Voyages is probably the most exciting of the three as you can make your fantasy run wild using these dice, while in case of Actions (full of images showing verbs) you really have to add some fantasy elements of your own to make the stories interesting. So, telling stories is a bit harder with Actions but I accepted the challenge. Just like I told them a story using all 27 dice on Boxing day…
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11. Board Game: König Kasimir und seine Tiere [Average Rating:5.12 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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I bought this one for Christmas for our daughter who is 2 years, 5 months old. She likes to and wants to join us when we play games with our son but she is just not the right age for most of them - 2 and a half is really the minimum age for starting to accept some basic rules and play by them.
That's what König Kasimir und Seine Tiere is for (age: 2 1/2+) : it has 8 colored animeeples and two figurines (king and queen) and a colored dice with two wild sides. There is even some kind of nursery rhyme included for the kids, telling the story of the game. You roll the dice, put the animals in order, and when all the animals are in a queue you help them walk across the cardboard castle gate. Yes, that's it. But this game helps her getting into this gaming thing; she likes rolling the die, playing the queen (as the queen takes all the animals with her and chooses when she has a choice - the king must not choose!) and when they are all in the castle she feeds them and puts them to sleep.

She is also starting to be able to play some of the simplest games with us, including Hisss, Orchard and The Little Orchard.
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12. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:452]
Marcel Sagel
Netherlands
Groningen
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I'm not sure if I'm being an irresponsible parent, letting my kids play this game. I mean, how can they grow up to be good human beings when I encourage them to laugh when people get covered by a searing hot lava stream!?
Anyway, they caught the spirit of the game quickly. "Let's throw daddy's guys in the volcano!"

Other new to the kids games last month:
7 Wonders - My oldest (9) is becoming quite the little gamer, and he really liked this. We now allow him, on occasion, to join us for the first game of a game night, but only if the first game is not too long. 7 Wonders is an excellent option, since all the adults love this game too.

Logistico - The kids weren't too enthusiastic about this, but I can't blame them, neither was I.

Traditional Card Games - Grandma (my mum) taught the kids "Eenendertigen" (Thirty-one), which I also played a lot as a kid. If there's one thing the kids like better than playing games with mum and dad, it's playing games with grandma. This time, they got to play games with two grandma's at the same time. So that must be like what, Christmas? Oh wait, it was Christmas. I also joined in for a round, so it qualifies as a game I played with my kids.
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13. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:257]
Clare Marie
New Zealand
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We played a few new games in December thanks to Christmas & Solstice presents ..

Firstly we have Flash Point: Fire Rescue which I gave to my co-op loving son (11yrs old only with special needs so emotionally/intellectually more like 8-9), and it's been a hit - even though we tend to lose since he's far more interested in rescuing people/pets than putting the fire out lol

The second
was a gifts from my awesome BGG Secret Santa, and we've had a lot of giggles playing it .. As my cousin said "I don't think I've ever played a 'horror racing' board-game before!" ..

The third
is actually one of my old fav's but the boy hadn't ever wanted to join in before .. Thankfully he now realizes it's a blast! (subtly moves duck! duck! Go! to the back of the shelf whistle


And going back over my Item for Geeklist "An Advent of Christmas Gaming Challenge" list I think the only other new one was a game we don't personally own (now that's a change!!) .. Some friends staying in the bay introduced us to
which I have to say I LOVE! and most definitely want to add to my own collection ..

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14. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:510] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Sam
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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This game went free on iOS in Dec, so I got it for my iPad. It quickly became a favorite with my 14yo daughter. We enjoyed it so much that we bought a physical copy after Christmas.
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15. Board Game: Monkey Madness [Average Rating:5.37 Overall Rank:13674]
Chris Halaska
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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I sent a copy of this I had thrifted off to a nephew for Christmas, kind of regretting sending it away. A couple of days later, I found that I had thrifted another copy (too many games!), so was able to have one around after all!

I introduced this to my almost 3 year old daughter, and it's the first game that she's been able to concentrate on and follow the rules. It's a very simple game (pick the monkeys out of the bag, put them on the right colored board, share with your neighbors), and she loves it - apparently, my 4 year old nephew does too.

She's been wanting to participate in our games more and more, mostly just playing with the pieces, so it's nice to have a game she can consider her own & really play. We're on the road!

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16. Board Game: Wings of War: Burning Drachens [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1167] [Average Rating:7.15 Unranked]
Chris Halaska
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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Just one quick note about my 7 year old son, since he got a bunch of games for Christmas.

The top of the pack so far is Wings of War. This is actually a game I got from Thrifty Secret Santa, but my son adopted it, and we've had several aerial battles so far. He even managed to convince one of his grandpas to play (who got shot down unfortunately).

I took it easy on him the first game, and let him shoot me down, but I shouldn't have bothered. He's a natural at picking out tricky maneuvers, and has won more games than I have. I can't wait to start adding in more rules & more planes.

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17. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:637]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Yet again it was a month of variety for my children, without any particular game standing out in plays. I did manage to introduce them to one new game though - Can't Stop. My 5 year old seemed to enjoy it, although he only played it a couple of times. As usual the real hits were the components, with all three of my children (7, 5 and 2) enjoying building towers with the plastic bits for the board, both during and after the games!
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18. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:346]
Dylan Kirk
France
Paris
Ile-de-France
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Son and daughter discovered this, Prophecy, and Small World
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19. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:545] [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
John Fowler
United States
Oregon
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I'm behind, so this entry should actually belong in the Oct/Nov Geeklist. Oct & Nov are good months for gaming for our family as 1) my 12 year old son has his birthday, and has taken to asking for games; 2) we have our local convention (small but fun); and 3) Thanksgiving allows family get-togethers and more gaming.

So, my 12-year old had three top choices for his 'best new' for Oct/Nov, but this one (Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game) appears to edge out the others. I'm not a fan, BUT, he's introduced it to a couple of his buddies (who liked it) AND his 7-year-old sister, and SHE liked it. In fact, they have played it together a couple of times without adults, during vacation days from school. GREAT!

His other top choices are:
Tales of the Arabian Nights - seemed to think it was hilarious when bad things happened to his dad.

And

Mage Knight Board Game - enjoyed this one so much he had to order the expansion right away, even though it wasn't out yet. We wait eagerly, as this is the one of the three that I find most interesting. It's too difficult for the rest of the family - we are enjoying it as a long-term 2-player - we have it out on the table for the Full Conquest now...
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20. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:627]
John Fowler
United States
Oregon
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For my 7-year-old daughter, Unnamed Object takes the top prize, after playing this at her uncle's house at Thanksgiving. So much so that she asked for it (and received it) for Christmas. This is fun, fast, and has easy rules. But, poor luck (or pushing too far) can definitely lead to very poor end results - and she has cooled a bit on the game after losing it fairly dramatically over the recent holidays (she won at Thanksgiving).

Her other top choices were Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game, as mentioned above,

AND

Mice and Mystics. This is the dungeon-crawler that I prefer - we've only made it past Chapter 1, I hope we get to go back and explore more of the story soon!
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21. Board Game: Milestones [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2141]
Martin (Hairy) Hatfield
United Kingdom
Little Kingshill
Buckinghamshire
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Played a whole game of this one day when eldest son had been vomiting, and was thus kept home from school.

He really enjoyed it, probably the meatiest thing the two of us have played together. He needed lots of help and advice but I think will need less on his next go!
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22. Board Game: 3D Action Snakes and Ladders [Average Rating:3.74 Unranked]
Martin (Hairy) Hatfield
United Kingdom
Little Kingshill
Buckinghamshire
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This was a Christmas present from someone or other. It does make snakes and ladders marginally more interesting, but only just. It was a hit with our middle boy (aged 5)
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