Games you can play with your 1st grader
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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My son is 6 going on 7, and he loves playing games. Of course, being 6 he enjoys pretty much any board game, from Sorry! (kill me!) to Attika (ahh, much better). But being 6, he has limited math skills (2-digit addition and subtraction he's pretty good at, but no division or multiplication), and long-term planning and strategy just aren't part of his thought process. Yet.

But I want to play with him, and I want to have a good time as well. Here's a list of games that I've played with him that have worked well.

Oh, and because I'm such a mean daddy, I pretty much never "let him win." Though when he's made a bad decision because a concept was a little too complex, I'll let him retroactively correct it.

I'd be interested to hear what other parents play with their children successfully....
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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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This is by far the most-played game in the house by both my son and his 5 year-old sister. He totally understands the rules, and with the exception of sometimes not planning ahead, he wins a fair portion of the time. The trains are fun, and the concept is pretty straightforward.
 
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2. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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One of my favorites, and while I tend to crush "the boy," most of the time, he'll often come in much closer than I expected. And he just loves it.
 
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3. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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This borders on the extreme side of planning and thinking, not to mention math. And bidding against a six year old can be quite maddening. But he does pretty well with very little coaching.
 
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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He loves this game! If it wasn't for the farmer option, he'd be very competitive. For whatever reason, he just doesn't do the farmer thing well in the endgame.
 
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5. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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If there's one game that my son is good at, it's settlers. He totally gets the basic math of placement, and can be ruthless with roads to block people off. And he's a tough little negotiator.
 
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6. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:565]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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A little harder to understand, but he likes it and can make a good number of strategic decisions.
 
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7. Board Game: Stratego [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:2282]
Paul Kidd
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Found the old copy I used to play with as a kid in my parents cupboard. My six year old loves it and is pretty darn good.
 
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8. Board Game: Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:389]
Paul Kidd
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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This has been mentioned in some other lists, but I find this better than the original as the hunters scoring is much simpler than the farmers. Also, the theme and artwork is a little more engaging for youngsters, I think.
 
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9. Board Game: Columns [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:8325]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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A great game with easy to understand rules. And it's engaging for all ages.
 
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10. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14524]
Chris Sjoholm
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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My son loves going through my game collection. This week it's Risk. He also enjoys Paris Paris, Scrabble (!), Shuttles, Uno, Ricochet Robot and a lot more.
 
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11. Board Game: Hare & Tortoise [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1073]
Stacy Whiteman
United States
San Jose
California
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Based on the games on your list, you've got to try Hare & Tortoise. I've played with kids when they were 6 & 7 and it was a little challenging for them, but they had no trouble understanding what to do.
 
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12. Board Game: Evo [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:756]
Truong Le
United States
Houston
Texas
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My 7-year-old nephew loves this game, and he is good enough at it that adults can play competitively against him. He's obsessed with dinosaurs (and of course realizes that the dinos in Evo are not "real" since they can sprout hair and horns and legs anywhere), and gets a great thrill out of playing the special cards to his benefit or against his opponents. And what kid wouldn't love the thematic idea of hatching dinosaur eggs?
 
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13. Board Game: Warhammer Quest [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:655]
Robert Matthias
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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When my two boys were in that 7-10 year range they always drifted towards games with miniatures instead of wooden cubes. They would continue to play with the pieces long after the game was over. In some of the games listed above, pieces would be substituted for miniatures. (Darth Vader as the Robber of Catan, Tikal with MicroMachine WWII soldiers.) Also, don't count out simple role playing adventures. My boys loved to create different characters which of course meant they were reading, adding dice rolls, comparing abilitites, etc. Children can be very creative in a role playing setting. (How do I get my brother, the dwarf, out of the giant spider web.) Here is a list of some of the games we played a lot of when they were young.

Heroquest
Blood Bowl
Talisman ( they could play this forever)
Classic Dungeon
Battle Cry
Ambush (one would move the pieces while the other read the paragraphs)
Twilight Imperium
 
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14. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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We just started playing this. Once my son got over the "must play each color," phase (which I admit to having an issue with initially as well), it's much more competitive.
 
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15. Board Game: G.I. Joe TCG [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:12211]
James Grierson
United States
Spanish Fork
Utah
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G.I. Joe trading card game is about as easy as they get. If you want something for you and your 7 year old, this one should be pretty easy as long as he/she can count to 20. Basically all you do is put up 2 lines of troops and then they all kill eachother. It only takes about 3-5 minutes for one game.
 
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16. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:132] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Ted Alspach
United States
Louisville
Tennessee
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Just started playing this with my son, and either I'm horrible (very possible), or he's figured out something I haven't. Every game is close, and he's won a few times. Great ruleset - My 5 year-old daughter can play (though there's not much strategy going on - it's more about how many pieces can she flip...
 
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17. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Brian Mitchely
United States
Roanoke
Virginia
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Magic The Gathering. Cassidy, now six, started when she was four. She now needs little help with her game and is a fair player. The basic game is great, untill you get into the "Collectable" part of it...
 
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