Complex games adapted to play with young children
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Victoria
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I am the parent of two wonderful boys (5 and 7). My boys know that I am a board gamer and are often asking me if they can play one of "Dads games". Now, I have bought many games for my kids that are actually "kids games" but often my kids will ask to play one of my games that is just too complex for them to understand. For a long time I would defer telling them that those games were too hard for them. A short while ago I realized that I was shutting my kids out from the hobby I love. This needed to change; If my kids were interested in playing games with me then I should work to make it an experience that they love and can think back upon fondly. Therefore for the past year or so I have been consciously inviting my kids to play my "complex" (above their developmental level) games.

My primary goal whenever we pull a game of the shelf is to have fun. Therefore regardless of which game we are playing I try and make the game as accessible as possible and not get caught up (at all) with playing the game correctly. My theory is that at this stage in my kids life they just want to be with Dad and have a good time and learning the "correct" way to play a game will come later with age.

With this is mind I try my best to create awesome experiences with my kids.

The following are games I have played with my kids. If you have done the same feel free to add your game but only list games for which you have modified not ones in which you have played according to the standard rules.
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1. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:137] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Victoria
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This is the first game that I ever took out for the boys. Carcassone is such an elegant game that it lends itself nicely to playing with kids.

For Carcassone I simply made the game into a tile matching game. I told the kids that on their turn they pulled a tile from the stack and then had to match it on, at least, one side to the tiles already on the board. Once all the tiles were out I told them that they could take their meeples and put them on any city/farm/road that they wanted. At this point the game becomes about imaginative play and the meeples become kings, peasants, farmers, etc...

Best. Game. Ever! I have played this one the most as it is so simple but just so fun. Highly recommended.

Carcassone + My Boys = Medieval Playscapes
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2. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:186]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Carcassone aside this one is my kids all-time favorite. I can't say we have ever actually "played" this one because they primarily just want to play with the animals and make up they own games. The last time we played this one the kids turned the game board over made a race with with the animals:





(The last one was my idea)



Agricola ACBaS + My Boys = Animal Race!
 
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3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:92] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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This is one we will all play as a family. We take the standard setup but take away the destination cards. The same options are available to each player on their turn (pickup cards or play cards). The only exception to placement is we don't play with the underground railway rules. The first person to have no trains left, wins!

The boys have latched on to this one easily and it has been requested often.

Trains + My Boys = A happy train adventure
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4. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:37]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Tzolk'in was really quite simple to adapt as the gear system lends itself to fascination. On their turn they place a worker, take some corn, and watch their worker go around and around the gear. The crystal skulls are a particularily cool aspect of the game; one of the first things my 7 year old said was, "Aww, cool! Sculls...of death!!". This game more than others is primarily spent spinning the gear. Which is essentially what I could have been doing considering my scores as of late...

Tzolk'in + My Boys = Time well spent
 
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5. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:158]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Victoria
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Ah yes...Feld. How do you fair against the overbearing wit and tenacity of my children?

[this is a secret] As it turns out, not so well...[/don't show this]

I have only tried Bora Bora once with the boys. The game is colorful but I did find it difficult to find a way to simplify this one effectively. This one turned into a component crash as all they wanted to do was use the huts as dominoes. Not so effective

(I would like to hear if someone has effectively simplified this for kids)

Bora Bora + boys = Fire Hazard (no fireside bonus either)
 
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6. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:53]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Victoria
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Waterdeep is such a fun game to pull out as there is such an abundance of cool art. When I first pulled this game out my kids were amazed at all the cool pictures of warriors and wizards. By far the most popular aspect of this game was the pictures on the cards (there may or may not have been a slight meltdown battle over who had the most Warriors in their deck).

I set Waterdeep up according to the standard rules and told the kids that they all had meeples (Agents) that wanted to go on an adventure. I let the kids each take a few "Lords" cards based on who they wanted to have live in their house (Tavern). On their turn they would be able to take a quest from the supply and take a token (adventurer) of their choice.

That's it.

A lot of the time was spent trading the quest cards between each other and then stacking the adventurer cubes in different color combinations. It sounds simple but my kids enjoyed this one a lot.

Waterdeep + My Boys = Fantasty Adventure (Arcana included!)
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7. Board Game: Alhambra: Family Box [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Alhambra is interesting to play with my kids as it is really quite simple to understand. However the strategy of getting bonus actions is far above my children. We play Alhambra similar to the normal game but take out the scoring rounds. On a players turn they can 1) Take cards 2) Buy buildings. Players still have to use the proper color of currency to buy a building. Once a building has been purchased a player can rearrange their personal Alhambra to look however they want. Essentially the scoring a the placement rules are taken away and what remains are beautiful looking home...far better and more grandiose than the original game!!!

Alhambra + My Boys = Mansions of unimaginable coolness (Minus the evil jinns)
 
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8. Board Game: Roma [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:880] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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I picked up Roma at my local gaming convention GottaCon Hyperlink. This game was an instant hit with the boys as the art is fairly palpable for kids(bright colors).

In Roma I will take the eight middle disks and place them in the center of the table (standard setup). Then I will deal each player six cards. Each player takes turns placing cards on either side of the eight disks. Whenever one of the middle disks has two cards on both sides the players have a battle. To battle each player rolls their three dice and add up their total. Whoever has the highest score wins VP tokens and money! The game ends when all 8 middle disks have cards on either side of them.

Easy and Fun.

Roma + My Boys = Gladiators
 
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9. Board Game: Catan Card Game [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:749]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Catan-Lite is played almost identically to Roma save for the addition of the roads instead of the 8 disks.

Catan Card game + My Boys = A tale of two cities
 
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10. Board Game: Blokus Duo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:791]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Essentially in Blokus Duo the kids try and fit as many of the pieces in the grid as possible before the other player can. I think of it like Tetris only with more tears.

Blokus Duo + Boys = 2 player Tetris Frenzie
 
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11. Board Game: Five Crowns [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:4130]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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In Five Crowns I play this game identically to the common card game "War". I find FC is more fun to play with as there are more face cards and therefore the game is a little bit more exciting.


Five Crowns + My Boys = War of the Five Crowns
 
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12. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:108]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Victoria
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My wife has played this one with the boys but has yet to reveal the what she has done to play Jaipur with them. This is a mystery to me. Any guesses to what she might have done?

Jaipur + My Boys = ----->>>?!?!?!<<<<----- (and it's killing me!)
 
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13. Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:166]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Ok, I know that this game isn't out yet (however the mass production copies have just been approved and will begin delivery sooon-ish) but I know that this game will see a lot of table time with my kids. Planets, Minatures, Resources! Frick this one is going to be fun.

(I will update this entry after I start playing it with the boys)
 
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14. Board Game: Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
Jordan " ; " Czop
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Alright, so this game isn't out yet either but will all the juicy components included I may never play the real game. (I splurged for the metal coins too!)

(Will update)

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15. Board Game: Let's Catch the Lion! [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2965]
MyO the HedgeFox
Russia
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The Verse flows throughout Aquaria. Through each ripple and wave, through every living being, The Verse binds us all as one.
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Big Chess-like game shrunk to an easy-to-grasp "filler." =)
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