New to your kids - New Lease of Life - Gaming with your kids in August 2013
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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The summer holidays have finally come to an end over here and our kids are back in the classroom (some with more enthusiasm than others).

I've offered to run a weekly lunchtime boardgame club at the primary school so that will provide some interesting ammunition for this list - I'll be starting in a week or two.

In the meantime, 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 and have suddenly become popular again?

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..
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1. Board Game: Army of Frogs [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:4000]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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I'd picked up this at a bargain price for Matthew's 12th birthday this month. He and I and Rebecca (7) tried it out. It's pretty easy to pick up, and the pieces are nice and chunky, so it worked well. Rebecca was particularly pleased that she won the first game. Having played it with various numbers of players it works better with 3 or 4 than 2 players, as it can get rather analytical - it probably could with more than 2 as well, it's just that we'd never bother to go to quite so much effort.
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2. Board Game: Catan Card Game [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:736]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Matthew also had a go at this two-player version of Settlers, and seemed to like it well enough, though there are 2 player games he prefers.

One of the latter is Lord of the Rings: The Confrontationwhich came out on numerous occasions - it really fits the bill for a quick blast before a meal or bedtime, and he's pretty good at it.
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3. Board Game: Game of Dracula [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:12062]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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I think this was new to me as well as Rebecca, at least I don't remember playing it before. It's surprisingly good for a mass market game with a few neat twists - not just roll and move fare by any stretch of the imagination, though it is still very much decided by luck. She liked this one (she won this too), better than any of the other more recent games which were:

Schotten Totten: she got the hang of this quicker than I expected and did very well, winning the first game (that's getting to be a habit).
Hare & Tortoise: She got the rules ok, but the strategy and the maths involved were too much for her to enjoy properly.

Elk Fest: She found this slightly frustrating, finding it difficult to flick the discs accurately enough. I had thought she'd like this as she likes PitchCar, but perhaps that's more forgiving as you can flick the discs as hard as you can get away with rather than needing finesse.
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4. Board Game: Maskenball der Käfer [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:4153]
Iceland
Reykjavík
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I'm playing this with a 4 and a nearly 3 year old and there are having a ball. Its being played daily since we opened it first and the smaller child still jumps from happiness on every move.
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5. Board Game: Halli Galli [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:4436]
Iceland
Reykjavík
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I'm playing this with 6-9 year old kids at work. First they come to make a racket with the bell but in the end they all stay for another round. Counting to five can be pretty challenging and entertaining.
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6. Board Game: Zooloretto: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1888]
Mr. Blue
United States
Orange County
California
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A quick and fun addition to the -retto line of games. My 6 year old especially enjoys this one.
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7. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:421]
Mr. Blue
United States
Orange County
California
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An intense and chaotic 10 minutes that our family has enjoyed. The 6 year old plays on a team (usually with me), but our 9 year old doesn't have any problems playing this. Fun stuff. Did I mention intense?
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8. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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I bought this in Malaysia since I knew Shawn would be interested in the new maps. We tried out the India map, and I liked the Mandala mechanic.
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9. Board Game: Dungeon! [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:3533]
 
Alyssa McCain
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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We played a rousing game of Dungeon with a five year old and eight year old on one team, and then four adults playing their own characters. Everyone loved the game and had a great time!
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10. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:367] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
howl hollow howl
United States
Oregon
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My nine-year-old daughter's first DBG. I don't care for DBGs in general, but thought that a theme and spatial element would make it acceptable (it does, if barely). My daughter enjoys card games over board games (e.g., Unexploded Cow, Smash Up), and she loves anything with a money element, so unsurprisingly she really likes this one. Two plays in and it seems to be a keeper; she's already looking forward to an expansion that lets you add/move waste to another player's hand (she prefers more direct interaction... as do I).

Man, Thunderstone is now looking really tempting...
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11. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:275]
Colls
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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I introduced this to my eight-year-old daughter, and she really likes it. We played very poorly our first time, and then really got into a groove on the second. I can't remember the scores, but we felt very pleased with ourselves.
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12. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:213]
Colls
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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This is a HUGE hit with my eight- and six-year-old daughters. The six-year-old plays on a team and the eight-year-old plays independently.
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13. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:213]
Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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Excellent short filler. Some depth, but ultimately enough luck that kids can play and expect to win some without any concessions from the adults. And it plays so quickly, and is accordingly so forgiving on elimination, that noone is disappointed.



Edit: Colls = ninja

Edit 2: 10 year old; played for over a year; I would think 8+ would work.
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14. Board Game: Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1428]
Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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Good random fun for the family. I will try not to mention my victory yesterday.

Some players may be spacially aware to the point that they can make the lab changes meaningful; but for most of us mere mortals I think it's a pretty random game - but with a great, fun mechanic nonetheless.

Edit: random = young; 5+ probably works, but frustration may mean older is better.
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15. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:211]
Jerry Martin
United States
Loveland
Colorado
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I played this with my mother, Nephew 8 and son 6. It didn't take long for them to figure out how to play and though I wouldn't say they played with the best strategy, everyone had fun. My son actually won in the end. I tend to play randomly when i play with younger folks. I think if a gamer wanted they would win this often against less experienced players.
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16. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:16]
If it falls on me and pins me underneath it, does that still count as seizing the day?
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.
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We have a weekly "Family Fun Night" every Friday, where we rotate whose turn it is to pick the movie/game for the evening, after we consume some of my wife's excellent homemade pizza. A couple of weeks ago it was my turn, and I decided we should try the Family Version of Agricola -- which does not use the Occupation or Minor Improvement Cards, and has different Action Cards to make up for the missing cards. (Surprisingly, my son had mentioned being interested in trying it, otherwise I would probably have picked something else.)

We had a bit of trouble getting the correct set-up since we had never played the Family Version before, but got it all straightened out by the end of the second round. (My wife and I had played this several times as a 2-player game, so were familiar with the method of play.)

We worked our way through the game, which took a good two hours. I had thought that it would go quicker without the Occupation and Minor Improvement cards, but the game time was still the same: about a half hour per player.

Although my son (age 12) had a number of empty fields on his farm, he had purchased several cards with high bonuses, and so ended up with 33 points, winning by 2 over his mom. I had 28, and our daughter (14) had 26. Respectable scores for two first-time players, I thought.

Final result was my son rating the game 4.5 out of 5.0, and our daughter gave it a solid 4. I was surprised because I didn't think they liked the game that much while playing, but apparently they did.

Looks like this is a hit, but I don't want them to get burned out on it, so it may be a long time before the whole family plays again. I'm sure my wife and I will get in a few more 2-player games in the meantime.
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17. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:176]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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By far my son's (11) favorite new game of the month.
I think we played at least 15 times together in the 2 weeks since we got it.
We also have the buildings expansion and use a draft to select the extra buildings.
Lots of strategy packed into a 1/2 hour game.
My favorite 2p game to play with anyone in my family (I still love Summoner Wars with my kids).
My daughter also really likes this game.
I am now seriously considering picking up Agricola down the road.


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18. Board Game: Via Appia [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:2039]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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My daughter's (8) favorite new game in August.
As a family we have played about 6 times, mostly 3/4 player.
I would not recommend this game as a 2p game, but it is a great family game for 3/4 players.
I can see this game playing well with younger kids, the rock crushing mechanic would pull them right in.
In fact that is by far the best part of the game, besides that it is pretty standard fair.
However, don't let that dissuade you because you get to "crush" rocks a lot in the game and it never gets old.
Great family game.
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19. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:266]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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This was the last new game we got in August and it would have been both of my kids #2 pick.

We traded away Pandemic and picked up this game, and we are all glad we did. (We also got the To Forge a Realm expansion.)
My whole family (minus Lily who is only 3) really enjoy this game although my wife and daughter prefer Stone Age and my son prefers this game, I am on the fence and so both games are solid 8's for me.

Love how the dice are used as your workers, this adds some great tension to the game.
I also like all the different ways you can choose to build buildings, there are lots of ways to combine powers from different buildings.
The only negative I have for this game is that sometimes the game is all but decided by the end of the 4th year.
This is compounded by the fact that the scoring is all open, there is no hidden scoring like all of the civ cards in Stone Age.
But, this is still a very fun game and most of our games have been really close and we didn't know who would win until the end.

Overall this is a great family worker placement game. My daughter who just turned 8 can play this game very well, she has one at least once.
My son who just turned 11 is very good at this game and he loves the theme.

If I were introducing a worker placement game to play with the whole family I don't think you can go wrong with either Kingsburg or Stone Age. If I had to choose though I would go with Stone Age do to the hidden scoring, the theme and I found it easier to learn/teach.
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20. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Phoenix Elves – Second Summoner [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked]
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Centennial
Colorado
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My eight-year-old had largely lost interest in Summoner Wars in recent months, but the new second summoner for the Phoenix Elves faction has brought her back to play some more. She likes being the elf queen! And in this picture, she let me be Queen Maldaria:



She helped me learn Kemet in mid-August by playing my first game against me. We played a short, learner's game to half the usual victory point total, and she did very well, even though I was the winner. She wasn't all that taken with it, though. My adult opponents have enjoyed it more.
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21. Board Game: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:1991]
Larry Welborn
United States
Anderson
South Carolina
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This was my first Kickstarter game, as I suspected that it would go over well with my children. My son (12) loves dungeon games and my daughter (10) loves push your luck games.

End Result: A big hit with both of them. We got in 5 plays in a couple of weeks and everyone won at least one game, except my wife Melissa who only played a couple of times.

This game hits a sweet spot for us in terms of complexity, mechanics, and playing time.
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22. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:11]
Larry Welborn
United States
Anderson
South Carolina
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My favorite game of the month. I bought it for myself as a reward for a personal achievement, so it was the first play for all of us. We have played it 2x so far, with my daughter (10) winning once and me winning the other time.

Both son (12) and daughter understood the game and played it quite well. I look forward to this hitting the table again soon.
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23. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:263]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I'm surprised I haven't seen this one posted yet. In August, I played this twice with my 5 year old son and once with my 5 year old son and 7 year old daughter. It seems really good and enough like Forbidden Island to be easy to pick up but different enough to be interesting.

So far, I feel like it has limited randomness to keep it as interesting as Forbidden Island and the theme of the game comes out more in the island sinking away with the tiles disappearing.

Nonetheless, we are enjoying this one and it will certainly get more play here. I'm just not convinced it will have the lasting power of Forbidden Island. My kids like it but also don't seem quite as enamored as they were when we first got into Forbidden Island.
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24. Board Game: Zombie Kidz [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:10194]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I played this ultra simple cooperative game once with my 5 year old son and once with my 5 year old son and 7 year old daughter. It's not terrible and the simplicity is good for kids. It's also so simple that it's not too interesting and the decisions aren't really decisions... they kind of make themselves. I suspect it might be a bit better with 4 players where the board is developing around you quite a bit before you get another turn. I still can't imagine it would be real good. My kids liked it and want me to keep it around, so I will.
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25. Board Game: Imaginiff [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:12541]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I played this once with my 5 year old son and 9 year old daughter and my dad and wife. I hadn't played this game in 6 years. It's really quite good as a true party game and my kids loved it. My dad owns it and I doubt I'll buy it, but I can definitely see it getting requested again when were visiting him. Both of my kids really got into it, but my 5 year old was really into the game and jumping around the room with excitement as he was thinking about which number to assign to a person for the round. It was fun to see.
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