Games for young children (i.e. my siblings)
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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My mom is looking for games that my youngest siblings can enjoy. The youngest is 3, and while he doesn't need to be able to play alone, he needs to be able to participate (e.g. rolling dice, placing pieces). The 5-year old needs to be able to play without much help. Other kids are aged 7, 10 and 13. An ideal game will still be very much enjoyed by the 10- and 13-year olds and provide some interest for my mom as well.

So I am curating this list! I have only tried a couple of these games, so comments and thoughts on age recommendations are appreciated!

Sections in bold are addressed to my mom, who has been given the link to this Geeklist.
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1. Board Game: Viva Topo! [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1777]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom, I HIGHLY reccomend starting with this one. It can be played by the widest age range. However, it is a bit pricy. You can find it for $50 (including shipping) on Amazon.com.

This looks like a VERY fun chase/dice-roll/push-your-luck game for kids. It's for ages 4 and up, but a 3-year old would enjoy participating by moving the dice and pieces if playing with a parent.

Players are mice, trying to make it as far around the track as they can to score for the best cheese! Dice rolling moves the mice, but 1/3 of the time, it ALSO moves the cat. Worst part is, on each lap the cat moves faster and faster! The strategic element is realizing when you should keep running for better cheese, and when the cat is too close and you should bow out with the cheese you have before it catches you!

I think this is a game that all my siblings could enjoy and play together. Plus the theme is cute!
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2. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:704]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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I'm adding this one after seeing it on TableTop. It's truly a family game that can be enjoyed by all.

Simple rules. Simple scoring (could probably be played solo by 8-10yo and up). Lots of fun. I would definitely be down for playing this!
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3. Board Game: Catan: Junior [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1594]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: this would also be a really good one that the middle kids would enjoy and could play on their own. You can find it for $35 at The Sentry Box.

I'm told this is an excellent adaptation of Catan for young kids. It is quite different than the original but provides many of the same elements in a good game with a pirate theme!

Similarities:
-collecting resources from dice rolls
-combinations of resources to build new things
-trading and optimization

Differences:
-only one die to roll for simplicity
-the robber does not attack other players, only helps you
-you can build pirate ships, lairs, and parrot cards
-trade only with the bank
-Easy to understand win condition - you win if you build all your lairs!

I think the 5-year old on up would be able to play this game no problem. Even us adults should find it fun! All in all it sounds like an excellent game, worth getting (even if we already have Settlers) and one I would genuinely enjoy playing with my siblings!
 
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4. Board Game: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:2188]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: You can find this one on Amazon for ~$20! Possibly locally as well. Seems like a great choice and would get played very frequently.

This is a DnD-inspired push your luck game. Players roll dice to represent party members (mages, clerics, fighters, theives, etc.) and monsters (goblins, skeletons, dragons and the like). Lots of fairly tactical decisions are needed to optimize the number of monsters defeated and the amount of treasure found!

For each dungeon level defeated, the next monsters become more numerous and your party size wanes. Will you press on for more glory or cut your losses and run with your XP and treasure?

I think this game would be a huge hit and very playable by 8 and up, probably even 6 and older actually. And the smallest ones would still enjoy helping roll the dice.
 
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5. Board Game: Go Away Monster! [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:3074]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: you can play this with the youngest 3. The older ones might play a couple games but I doubt it would hold their interest. The good news? Only $13 at the Sentry Box!

This is a game for very young children. Suggested ages 2-5. Older kids will probably become bored.

Kids reach into a bag trying to find the right puzzle pieces to complete their bedrooms. But mixed in with the items are silly monsters! If you pull one, yell "GO AWAY, MONSTER!" and throw it in the monster pit! Hamming it up when this happens makes the game fun.

It also apparently teaches kids to confront fears, as well as basic game skills like turns, reaching an end goal...
 
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6. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:837]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: this game can be found at the Sentry Box for $33. Very high production quality and while the gameplay is simple, it's also highly strategic - bet you dad would like it!

This is a gorgeous, gorgeous game. My boyfriend really likes it - it truly is a game for kids AND adults.

The players are dragons. You place tiles with interconnecting pathways that the dragons must follow. If you collide with another dragon or fall off the edge, you are out!

Board gamers suggest ages 6 and up, but I think my 5-year old sibling could play and enjoy it with a bit of help on his turns!
 
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7. Board Game: Escape from the Hidden Castle [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2227]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: tricky to find but if you're interested I can help you locate a copy under $40.

This one looks REALLY fun - a movement-based "chase" game with dice that still provides some tactical depth! Players roll dice allowing them to either run away from a ghost or control the ghost to chase others!

I bet the 5-year-old could play well, and the 3-year old could roll the die and move pieces.

I predict that this one would be a real hit, though I haven't played it (yet) myself. I'd love to try it!
 
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8. Board Game: Hoot Owl Hoot! [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:4496]
Taylor Nakamoto
United States
Montrose
Colorado
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Great co-op game for the younger two.
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9. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:359]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: you can find this one anywhere. Try Sentry box. Warning: there are cheap versions for $27 or less with cardboard tiles. Considering the young children, you'll REALLY want to spend the extra $ to get the plastic tile set for ~$43!

Oh my gosh, almost forgot about this one! It feels like a cross between dominos and Face-it.

The rules are a teensy bit more complex, but as long as someone 10 or older was around to keep score properly, anyone could play and even the 3 year old could enjoy placing tiles.

This game is simple, but is as strategic as the players want it to be. Really great abstract game - I love to play it and I bet even dad would as well. Like Face-it but with even wider appeal for older groups. Highly reccomend.
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10. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:759]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: you can find this one at Walmart! Normally $20, on sale for $15.

This is a mechanical game (think Hungry Hippos) but VERY silly and I hear it's very fun, even for older players. =P I don't know for sure about the 3-year-old's reflexes but the 5-year-old and up should LOVE this.

It was also won prestigious children's game awards, so that should count for something!

A battery-powered motor swings a plane around and threatens to knock each player's chickens out of their barn! Players must time themselves correctly to press their lever and knock the plane away to protect their chickens. Last one with chickens remaining wins!
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11. Board Game: Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:1488]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: this is a good one, but not one of my top reccommendations. In any case, you can find it for about $35 on Amazon.ca.

So this one I have played! Cool puzzle game. I'm pretty sure the 3-year-old sibling would be lost, but the 5-year-old could enjoy it. But it has an upper age limit; even younger teens usually find it too easy to have lasting value.

Players shift tiles in a maze to open pathways allowing them to reach various "treasures" and other items.

I've also heard that a handicap where a young player can choose to chase any artifact in their stack works very well.
 
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12. Board Game: Spooky Stairs [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2358]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: This is a good game but tricky to find and a bit pricy. The edition you want is under the name "Boo Who" - look for it on Amazon.com for $50.

Another Ghost-themed game! This one is also a rolling-dice race-type game, but with a memory element that can cause crazy switch-ups!

One at a time, player's pawns are transformed into ghosts and covered with a hollow ghost piece that magnetically attaches to the pawn. You have to keep your memory straight on which ghost is yours ... which becomes tricky when ghosts start swapping places! Bluffing strategies may be employed by older players which could make things even harder... you might accidentally end up moving your opponent's piece to the win if you lose track!

Similar to other games, 4 and up can play this alone but the 3-year-old can certainly participate!

Sounds like a fun game, but it seems like it might be hard to find a copy...
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13. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:727]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: DON'T buy this one! It may make an appearance around Christmas as it is...

This game is VERY highly rated as a kids game, family game, light strategy abstract game, and as a filler game for adults! It has many nominations for awards in these categories.

Ice is represented by hexagonal tiles with different numbers of fish on them. Players' penguins "slide" across the ice in straight lines, always collecting the tile where they started and leaving a gap in the ice! If you become trapped, you are finished for that round and collect the tile you're on. Collect the most fish on your tiles to win!

I haven't tried it, but I would love to! I think this one would be an excellent game for all my younger siblings - even the 3-year-old will enjoy it with a bit of help on his turns!
 
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14. Board Game: My First Carcassonne [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1317]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: this one's out of print. I couldn't find it anywhere but it'd be a good one to keep an eye out for.

This is the junior version of a very popular game, Carcassonne. The rules are very different but I hear it feels the same and plays very well for children!

Suggested ages are 4-10, and while older players may find it simple, parents are unlikely to be particularly bored while playing it with their kids.

Players must place tiles together to complete roads on a map and place all their workers to win! (All tile edges "match" to make it less challenging.)

Sounds good, and I think it would have similar appeal to Face-It.
 
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15. Board Game: Ribbit [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1433]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Mom: I can't find this one either unfortunately. Not even the original turtle version in French.

This is an interesting kids' game that can be played at two levels of complexity. The game is for 5 and up, but the simple rules can be played by as young as 3! This makes it very flexible.

The normal game is excellent at teaching bluffing skills and strategy. Five coloured frogs are in a race across the pond. Each player SECRETLY wants a certain frog to win. But EVERYONE is able to play cards that make all types of frogs go forwards... OR backwards! So if you are too obvious about which frog is yours, other players will foil your plans. You have to be sneaky and move other frogs while subtly moving YOUR frog for the win!

Also, a frog that lands on another frog's back will be taken along for the ride when the bottom frog moves, which is a very cool dynamic.

In the simplified rules for younger players, there is no secrecy or bluffing and it becomes a straight-forward race game with silly frogs. Sounds like a good one!
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16. Board Game: Spot it! [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:950] [Average Rating:6.66 Unranked]
Eric "Lackey" Portney
United States
Bremerton
Washington
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There are several versions of Spot it, almost all would work well for your family. I've played a slow matching game version of this with my 3-year-old nephew. Older kids can play it as a race to find the match between two cards.

There is also Spot it Jr.! Animals and a Numbers & Shapes version if you want it specifically for your youngest sibling.
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17. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:568]
Ed Lovell
United States
Tracy
California
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My kids love to play this too. The rules are really simple. They may not get all the strategy of trying to block opponents, but that will happen naturally anyway during the course of the game. A 5 y/o can handle it. My 9 and 11 y/o love it.
 
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18. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:257]
Ellen Lloyd
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Adding this one not for my own sake (I already own it), but for the sake of those whom I point to this list!

This is a dice-rolling game where each player is a monster in a battle for Tokyo city. Dice are rolled to deal damage, aquire points, heal wounds, and aquire currentcy to buy special powers (e.g. Acid Attack, Extra Head). The theme may appear childish at first but it is a BLAST for ALL ages.

I break this game out everywhere, it has more plays than anything else in my collection. It gets TONS of playtime with all my siblings ages 10 and up, as well as my parents. Excellent fun and the luck factor allows even the youngest to win without sacrificing entertainment value.
 
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