My 7-Year-Old's Top 25
Matthew Cordeiro
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Every year around my son's birthday, I make a list of his favorite games. It's a useful geeklist for gamers with kids and also an interesting exercise for me to see how his preferences grow and develop.

I was surprised by how much the list changed from last year. I'm attributing the big turnover to a combination of his own personal growth, new games in our collection, and a bias towards games my 3-year-old can play, too.

Links to previous lists are in the comments section.
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1. Board Game: Star Wars: Imperial Assault [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:37]
Matthew Cordeiro
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If you ask my son what his favorite game is, you might get a different answer every time you ask, but this one is always in the top 3. IA is our go-to game to play on Saturdays, when my wife is working and my daughter is taking a nap. We've played all of the campaigns at least once, except for Jabba's Realm, which we just started. He's played as both the Imperials and the Rebels (always playing 4 heroes).

My trick for teaching him what is certainly one of the heavier games in our collection was to start small - skirmish missions with stripped down rules. Then, each game I would add something new. When we started our first campaign, he and my wife played as a team for the first mission. And from that point forward, he ditched my wife and played on his own.
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2. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:82] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
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Dominion was one of the first real "thinking" games my son started playing. I have all of the expansions and make custom sets of kingdom decks for my son. I started out with the most basic, straightforward ones and built up to the more complex ones. He has an insatiable desire to play with new cards and gets upset if I include too many cards he's already played with a few times. So far, he's played with about 200 different kingdom decks and insists on playing with platinum/colony every time.
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3. Board Game: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:276]
Matthew Cordeiro
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Since my whole family loves both Dominion and Harry Potter, this seemed like a no-brainer to add to our collection in 2016. And sure enough, my son loves it, too. The irony of having a Star Wars game and a Harry Potter game already in this list is that he hasn't seen any of the movies for either franchise. But thanks to the Lego video games, he knows the whole story and all the characters for both. I even put together a homemade Star Wars re-skin for Hogwarts Battle for my son for Christmas. (A true testament to our mutual love of board games and Star Wars, as it took me about 50 hours to design, cut out, and sleeve all the cards.) He will often play this game by himself, controlling either 2 or 4 heroes.
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4. Board Game: Machi Koro [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:918]
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We play with both expansions. My son LOVES the purple and red buildings. He plays to win. Whenever he plays MK, he uses a special die that looks like it was carved out of a stone, which we found on a beach walk. We call it the "pirate die".
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5. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
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I would love to play X-Wing competitively, and I've had the opportunity to play in a few tournaments and game nights. But with work and family commitments, this really isn't possible these days. Luckily, my years-long investment in teaching X-Wing to my son is finally paying off. We've been testing out some homemade missions I've put together based on the space battles from the movies and TV shows. I try to only let him play with me, but sometimes, he just wants to "play with the ships". I've gone through 2 bottles of Krazy Glue as a result.

He'll play with all the factions and always wants to try out the newest stuff. (He has yet to grasp the financial investment we've made in this game, which allows him to keep playing with new ships.) On a recent trip to the game store, the clerk asked my son who his favorite pilot was. My son replied, "Jek Porkins." The clerk's mind was blown. He was expecting him to say something like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, I think. (And no, I don't know why my son said Jek Porkins.)
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6. Board Game: Sushi Go Party! [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:170]
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This has been a big hit with the entire family since the day we bought it. Because my daughter can play with us, we play it quite often. My son loves to go for the cards that build in points as you get more of them. He always takes a very high risk, high reward approach to his card selection and will sometimes take cards just to block others from getting high scores.
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7. Board Game: Robo Rally [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1251]
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My son just got this for his birthday and has played it every day since then. So, it does have a bit of the "new hotness" effect aiding its inclusion in this year's list. This was a natural upgrade from Robot Turtles, which my son also loves, and is certainly more interesting for adults. He hasn't settled on a favorite robot yet, and he's kind of bummed that each one doesn't have its own unique special ability.
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8. Board Game: Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:3979]
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Speaking of unique special abilities, this game has made its way back into heavy rotation thanks to my daughter's interest in it. Except, per my son's request, we've replaced the Busytown characters with whatever action figures that happen to be lying around - Star Wars, Ninja Turtles, superheroes, Peppa Pig... And then my son assigns each one a special ability to use in the game.
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9. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:952]
Matthew Cordeiro
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We just got the Engines of War expansion last Christmas. To mix things up from game to game, and to keep the play time reasonable, we throw all the monster tiles in the bag and pick 40 at random. Then we add 2 of the special bosses from the Dark Titan expansion. My son will sometimes play this game by himself, controlling 2 or more "players" at once.
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10. Board Game: Say Anything [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1000]
Matthew Cordeiro
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Still my son's favorite party game. Now that he can write his own responses, it's even easier for him to play. He also like to be the scorekeeper.
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11. Board Game: Carcassonne: Star Wars [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1648]
Matthew Cordeiro
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I had to pick up this game because a) it's Star Wars, and b) it removed my least favorite part of Carcassonne - the farmers. Farmers can't breathe in space! And of course, my son instantly loved it. We both love the new battle mechanic and will never turn down a chance to take over a planet. (Note: he has never played the original Carcassonne would probably find it boring after playing this version.)
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12. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:328]
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Cooperative games work well for our family, and this one is no exception. My son will take any role (but prefers water carrier), and definitely gets the importance of teamwork in this game. And he absolutely loves building the ship and flying it around.
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13. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:242] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
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The artwork sold my son on this game. At first, he struggled with coming up with his own clues and would often choose very obvious ones. He's much better at it now. He's also pretty good at guessing other people's clues.
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14. Board Game: Clue Master Detective [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2427]
Matthew Cordeiro
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This game had been sitting on our shelf unplayed for ages, and my son kept asking to play it. Finally, we played it with him, and he loved it. Every time we play, he's amazed at how quickly my wife and I can figure out the hidden cards. He hasn't yet learned how to gather information when a player doesn't have a named card.
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15. Board Game: Suspicion [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:5628]
Matthew Cordeiro
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A friend let us borrow this game, and we played it with my son. He really enjoyed it and asked for it for his birthday. Thanks to the power of the Amazon Wish List, one of his friends gave it to him at his birthday party. He has somehow devised a system to play it solo. He does this with most games, actually. The funny thing is, I did that with all of my games when I was a kid, too.

Suspicion is similar to Clue, and I think playing Clue first helped him figure out this game so quickly. Plus the deduction element is more straightforward, which is a better fit for his ability at this point, and the pace is a bit quicker than Clue. I suspect (pun intended) that his interest in Clue will wane as we get in more plays of Suspicion.
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16. Board Game: The Hobbit Card Game [Average Rating:5.23 Overall Rank:18257]
Matthew Cordeiro
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I'm not a big Lord of the Rings fan. I'm not a big trick-taking game fan. And yet, somehow this game just works for our family. I picked it up because I had some Fantasy Flight store credit I had to use. My son thought it looked cool and wanted to play despite knowing nothing about Lord of the Rings or the game itself. And yet, he really likes it. Truthfully, it's a pretty straightforward game, and he picked it up pretty quickly. He'll play as the good guys or Smaug, it doesn't make any difference to him.
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17. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:4060] [Average Rating:5.91 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
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So here's a game that I thought was really great, about 13 years ago when I first discovered all these "new" games. And over time, I liked it less and less. And then my son discovered it, giving it a new lease on life. This has happened to a lot of my older games that have fallen out of favor.

He loves fighting monsters. He loves building a character and equipping it with all sorts of random stuff. He loves collecting treasure and leveling up. So, we took the next step and got him into an RPG - Adventure Maximus. It's perfect for kids his age. He wanted to get into one of the FFG Star Wars RPGs, but my wife said, "No more Star Wars!" (Plus, it can get pretty expensive once you start picking up all the supplemental material, and I'm already buying stuff for 2 expensive Star Wars games.)
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18. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:312]
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His first worker placement game. We play with the expanded boards and governors from the expansion. I try not to block his dice placement options.
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19. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:438] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
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My son plays with a variety of opponents at all different skill levels, sometimes with a physical board, sometimes with a chess app. The boy next door has a Star Wars chess set, and we have a Harry Potter chess set. Those "fun" sets have kept the game interesting enough to remain on this list.
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20. Board Game: Leaps and Ledges [Average Rating:5.70 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
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This was a random Christmas gift from somebody, I don't remember who. I dismissed it as yet another Sorry! variant (of which we have many). Both my kids love it, though; probably because you build the board, it's tall, and it's more fun to knock other players off a tower than a piece of flat cardboard. My son plays very aggressively. If he can knock you off, he won't pass up the chance.
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21. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1033]
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The only "train" game in my collection. It's simple and fast. My son really gets into it, and it's a little bit of a geography lesson mixed in as well.
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22. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:751]
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My son is learning about the Civil War right now. (Since when is the Civil War a subject covered in elementary school? But I digress...) My wife thought it would be a good idea to have him play this game, and I certainly wasn't going to object. He loved it immediately and wants to play only as the Union, or as he calls them, the "good guys". His favorite general is Ulysses S. Grant, or as he calls him, "U.S.S. Grant". I tried to convince him that Ambrose Burnside is the best general because he was a Rhode Island governor and senator, and he has friggin' sideburns named after him, but he wasn't buying it.

The next step here is to get my son playing Memoir '44, which is my favorite game. I'm very interested in WWII. Both of my grandfathers were in the war. My wife doesn't share my enthusiasm, as she finds games about WWII a little unsettling. This probably has to do with the fact that she had relatives on both sides, including her grandfather, who was a POW.
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23. Board Game: Harry Potter Trading Card Game [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:4093]
Matthew Cordeiro
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This is another game that was resurrected by my son. It sat on the shelf unplayed for a long time, and then my son got into it. He has since built 5 decks of his own and "helped" my daughter build 2 decks. His favorite card is Fluffy.
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24. Board Game: Little Italy [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:12101]
Matthew Cordeiro
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My Italian American anthropologist wife objects to the theme of the game, but my son digs it. He sees it as a "cops and robbers" type game. Half the appeal is the components, really - brightly colored cars and dice will win over any kid.
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25. Board Game: Escape from the Hidden Castle [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2441]
Matthew Cordeiro
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I won this in a Games for Geekgold auction as part of a Halloween games bundle. It was by far the biggest hit with the kids of the 3 games I won. Another game where my son takes a high-risk, high-reward strategy.
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