Suggestions for best games for me and my 8 year old son
A K
United States
California
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My son plays chess regularly and loves board/card games. We mostly play just the two of us. We are currently loving: Castle Panic, King Domino, Splendor, Ticket to Ride, Dragonwood (not so much this year as last), Qwixx, and our new favorite, Bohanza. We love Hive and Qwirkle. Will sometimes play Skip-Bo/Uno, and we have a lot of the Gamewright games like Pyramix, Loot, Zeus etc.

We have Forbidden Island and Takenoko, but haven't them played yet.

Looking for the best/your favorite 2 person games, old or new. Willing to buy used.

Also any games, given the ones we like, that you think we should consider next. Would prefer games with the vibe of Splendor in terms of art/historical context etc. Don't want war games or anything violent at this point. My son loves to build, loves Hamilton, math, art etc.

Thanks so much for your input.

Andrea
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1. Board Game: Onitama [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:177]
baker mouse
United States
brownsburg
Indiana
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You might like Onitama, a bit chess like but quick my daughter and I love it.
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2. Board Game: Junk Art [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:498]
baker mouse
United States
brownsburg
Indiana
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More of a dexterity game, but you mentioned he likes art this qualifies.
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3. Board Game: Kamisado [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1088]
Very Stout
United States
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Kamisado is a great two player 'blocking' game that can be played on different levels.
Simple to learn, but can be very deep.
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4. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Very Stout
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Also, didn't see Lost Cities on your list of owned games. Highly recommended!
 
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5. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:106]
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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Has a short, simple rule set and plays very quickly. My wife and I both enjoy it (but she likes it more than I do).
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6. Board Game: Scotland Yard [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1059]
David Socha
United States
Trumbull
Connecticut
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Your son is very lucky to have you as a parent. Given that he likes chess I am guessing he is developing his ability to logically think out sequences moves and opponent counter moves in his head. In Scotland Yard, one person plays as Mr X and one or more people as the police. The police are trying to surround or capture Mr. X. Mr X's location is hidden (it is occasionally revealed during the game) and on his turn moves to another connected location only indicating the mode of transportation he took. Locations are connected by one or more forms of transportation (taxi, bus, subway, ferry). This game requires the police to logically think through the possible locations for Mr. X based on the sequence of transportation moves. It is great for developing logic, reasoning, and ability to visualize the possible moves/locations in your head. It is an older game so you should be able to pick it up cheap. This style of game, hidden movement, is also used in Letter from Whitechapel and Whitehall Mystery. Those are based on a Jack The Ripper theme whereas this is a more generic kid friendly theme.
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7. Board Game: Lines of Action [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:2516]
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Our girls love Lines of Action, and you can play with a Checker board and pieces.
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8. Board Game: Carnivores [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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Nick Bentley has designed some great games, but two of my favourites are Catchup and Carnivores. Catchup looks like it would be easier, but our kids seem to do better with Carnivores. Either way, I recommend both. Like Lines of Action above, you can play these games by borrowing pieces from other games. (I think boards are available to print in the file sections.)
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9. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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I've only played Through the Desert with three or four players but never with the kids. However, I'm willing to bet that this would be a good one for you and your son. Should be easy to find right now.
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10. Board Game: Cardline: Animals [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1750] [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
Robert
Canada
Ottawa
ON
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This is my favourite in this series.
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11. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1219]
Very Stout
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Another game younger folk do better at.
Two or more, or solitaire if your willing to let your eyes trick you.
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12. Board Game: CV [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:887]
Dan
New Zealand
Auckland
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My 6 year old boy loves this game. Great for 2 players, and can go up to 4 players. Probably best with 2.

It's sort of like the Game of Life, but with a real Euro feel to it. Lots of dice chucking and collecting cards. Watch Rahdo's runthrough to get a flavour of it.
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13. Board Game: Dale of Merchants [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:792] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Arlyn Janssen
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Pros: My son (now 9) loves deckbuilding, especially "Ascension-style" with a rotating market of cards available. We've tried Star Realms, Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, et. al., but Dale of Merchants has overtaken all of them. One reason is that it's simpler and easier to setup, the theme is cute, it's a little tighter (less swingy) than some of the others and the game length is consistent. I personally like the different combinations of the factions and the different ways each game feels because of it.

Cons: To get the "different combinations", you really need both the base game and the sequel Dale of Merchants 2, which makes it go from a cheap, small game to a moderately-priced moderately-sized game. It's also not readily available in the US through regular distribution. I have seen it around at Miniature Market and elsewhere, but it's not something you can just grab and go. Some of the factions feel a little too similar to each other making some of the combinations fall flat.
 
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14. Board Game: Adventure Land [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1240]
Arlyn Janssen
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Pros: Especially with the expansion, Adventure Land: King & Princess, I love how different the scenarios are. My son loves the puzzle and we have occasionally played through 3 or 4 different scenarios in a setting and it feels like we're playing different games altogether in some cases. It has an internal momentum that kids pickup on quickly and that makes the pacing of the game flow nicely. Even when you're not mapping out the perfect optimal move for any given situation, it feels like you're making progress towards your goals, which keeps kids interested.

Cons: Luck can kind of nail you when you least expect it, swinging the game out of your favor. The "only east or south" seems simple, but it's not always an intuitive concept for new players, least of all children. I find the expansion almost necessary, which makes it more expensive than I want it to be as a package.
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15. Board Game: Temporum [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2417]
Arlyn Janssen
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Pros: It's a somewhat offbeat suggestion, but bear with me because my son loves it. One of the things that people are turned off by in this game is how little the theme interacts with the mechanisms, but it's my biggest pro, honestly. I think it's such a great game for teaching risk management, engine building, resource management, planning and, yes, dealing with disappointment. And because it blends those things so well and in such an intuitive way, we still come back to it. It's not highly strategic or demanding, but you do need to plan ahead. It's not highly combative, but you do need to be careful not to let your opponent cut you out of what you want to do. It's not super tight in terms of resources, but you do need to build an engine early that pulls you toward the winning condition. It's not long, either, at 20-30m.

Cons: I think we're the only ones who like this game, so I might just be way off in my assessment, making it risky for you. Some of the combinations of age cards are just really hard to make work. There's plenty of card draw randomness that can help or hurt you, or help you hurt others. That can be a pain in the backside, especially for a kid. The card quality is weak (black borders, too), meaning it really ought to be sleeved if you care at all about chips and dings making cards trackable.

(I'll leave these three for now. My son loves some of the same games yours does, so I feel pretty safe offering these suggestions. Also, Codenames Duet has been a smash hit. It helps us track with each other's thought processes, which is challenging and incredibly rewarding. There's not enough to say about it to make its own post as many folks already own the original Codenames, but I really didn't think Duet was going to do anything special and I have been proven wrong. It's absolutely perfect for us as a game and as an exercise (intellectually and socially/emotionally). Hope you find it helpful and keep on gaming! My son and I couldn't be more different ... he's so kinetic and "in the world" and I'm pretty well in my head, but games really help us connect on each other's level and they make space for understanding different motivations and understandings. Take care.)
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