Geek Training My Niece :)
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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YES, DAMMIT!
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Since I got into this hobby a few years ago I realized that gamers, like everything else, are a dying breed, and the legacy needs to remain, hewn into the living rock...of Stonehenge and be passed on to the next generation. My attempt with my own children will start in a couple of years when they're old enough, so for now I've been working on my four-year-old niece. She's as smart as they come and LOVES games of all kinds, so I've slowly been funneling all of her gameplay energy on hobby games.

Below is a list of a few crushing defeats at the hands of this four-year-old tyrant.

*Rules are more of guidelines with her at this age. Sometimes she got them, sometimes she didn't. We kept it fun You may see things in the pictures that don't really make 100% sense. Just an FYI.
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1. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:203]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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YES, DAMMIT!
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The first game I used to play with her was Hive. The game itself was pretty tough to grasp for her when I first introduced it, which was when she was around three, but she was so enamored with the awesome bakelite pieces and begged to play, so I just made it a game of memory. I'd turn all the pieces over and we'd have to match black with white bugs. If you turned over a black ant, and then a white ant, you collected the pieces and got to go again. Most pieces wins. She stomped me into a fine powder on many occasions.

Then she turned four, and something just clicked. She asked me how to really play the game, and so the following was captured:


Takin it easy on her.


Wait. What?!?!
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2. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:771]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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YES, DAMMIT!
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Next I thought I'd bring out Tsuro to test her path-making abilities. She's such a smart girl. She always remembered to grab a new tile after she played one, and reminded me to do the same after each of my turns. It's amazing how I can agonize over which tile to use, and she'll just pick one seemingly at random and for no reason whatsoever. Surely she was foolish for so brazenly picking her tiles, right? Well, see for yourselves:



Still alive (I'm the green stone).


How is she going to get out of this one??


Oh, like that. I lose.
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3. Board Game: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:1991]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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YES, DAMMIT!
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Always a sweetheart, she said the next game we played had to be something I would win, because "everyone should feel how fun it is to win." So when she picked Dungeon Roll my heart sank. I don't think I've ever beaten anybody at this game, and it's just about rolling dice!!! Sure enough this one went the same as the other umpteen times I've played it. My little niece loves to roll dice, so this one swept her away. When I didn't win, she got upset and would just say stuff like, "Well, let's just pretend that you were me and I was you. Great job, Uncle Ryan! You won!"



Listening intently to a lengthy rules explanation.


Establishing the party. Her bears were invited...and also passed out drunk, apparently.


Hmmm, how to deal with that Goblin?


Kill the dwaagon. Kill the dwaagon. Kill the DWAAGON. Such a treasure hoarder
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4. Board Game: FITS [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1267]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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YES, DAMMIT!
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I brought out FITS next, as she really likes games with a nice tactile component (I don't have pictures of them, but Army of Frogs is another one she really enjoys). Her and I are similar in this. I really enjoy rolling dice, or other games where you're able to handle the components throughout the game. She wasn't really gripping the concept that you weren't able to move pieces once they had been placed, and that pieces couldn't just rotate into a gap. This was almost more of a puzzle to her. It was just as fun.



Lookin scary...


Nahhhh I got this.


Hey, wait a minute. That doesn't look like...oh whatever
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5. Board Game: ZÈRTZ [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:476] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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YES, DAMMIT!
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She spied the "marble game" on my shelf next, and we were quickly setting up a modified game of Zertz. She just put the rings out in any order she wanted, and we were off! Surprisingly we kept to the rules, sort of, enough that it was an actual competitive game. She had a few moments where you could tell her brain was crunching data, and watching her seriously engage in that type of thought was awesome to witness. Agonizing over where to put her next marble was a thing of beauty.



Deal with THIS!


Have at thee!!


Gettin' stuffy in here...


Practicing her victory pose
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6. Board Game: Aquarius [Average Rating:5.99 Overall Rank:3457]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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YES, DAMMIT!
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The next time she came over we were going to have another game day, and it started off with her wanting to build another colorful puzzle. I brought out Aquarius, and this is the game we played least by the rules. She just wanted to each draw cards and match them up as best as possible to make an awesome colorful portrait. It started out so well, but by the end of it she got very tired and refused to help cleanup, got a bit sassy, and the game day was over laugh

It's tough being four, sometimes cry

Watching her grow is an amazing thing in itself, but the fact that she's also growing into a little gamer is that much better. It's a bond that we will always have, and something that we will always identify each other with. I love my niece!


Flip the card and match the color!


She hated drawing cards that had only one picture on it.


Gettin' artsy while she takes her turn


Moments before the meltdown
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