Easy to teach, language independent, quiet family games
Ian Peters-Campbell
United States
Santa Cruz
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
I've got two relatively new people in the house. One is my baby, who is about to turn seven months old, and the other is my mother in law, who's staying with us for several months to visit and help take care of the little pterodactyl.

She's a joy to have in the house, but she and my wife are Belarussian. Though my wife went to school for linguistics, and speaks a handful of languages pretty damn well, my mother in law is limited to "only" Russian, Belarussian, and Polish, none of which I speak.

One of the things we CAN all do together is play boardgames. Well, some boardgames. They obviously need to be language independent and family friendly. They also need to be easy to teach: if I can't explain the rules thoroughly to my wife in under ten minutes, there's no real chance that she can translate them to her mother in a reasonable amount of time.

This might lead you to think of dexterity games, but of course there's a baby in the house, which means I can absolutely positively not have clattery bangy games if I want gaming time rather than baby soothing time.

Soooo...all that said, here's a list of some of the games I have found that work well for us so far. It's a short list. If you've got suggestions to add to it I'd love some more games to play, and hopefully if anyone else is in a similar situation this list will prove useful!
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:390]
Ian Peters-Campbell
United States
Santa Cruz
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We play a lot of this. It was actually kind of challenging to explain the final scoring rules, but I think everyone mostly understands and enjoys it now. It's quick to play, very visual, and easy to set up and tear down. One disadvantage is all the special "nugget" tiles, as they each have special rules which are kind of challenging to grok when you can't refer to the rulebook.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:260]
Ian Peters-Campbell
United States
Santa Cruz
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great game. This is really fast, and fun, and easy for everyone. It's all about numbers rather than words, and everyone understands checks for $10M vs checks for $2M. The only downside here is that it's so fast, and so light, that it doesn't always leave me feeling satiated.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:92] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Ian Peters-Campbell
United States
Santa Cruz
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So far this has been a big hit. I've never been a big fan of TTR, I think because I have always played it with my "gamer" friends, and when I play with those people I want a heavier, more substantial experience, so playing TTR always feels like wasting a limited resource.

Playing with _family_ though...that's actually a pretty good game. In that context it's significantly heavier than some of the other games we can play, and so feels like a step toward rather than away from more substantial gaming.

This is great because everyone likes building trains between Russian and Polish cities, the European map is familiar, the game is pretty and colorful, and it's quick and simple to explain and play.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Tobago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:389]
Bernhard von Gunten
Switzerland
Täuffelen
Bern
flag msg tools
3B RULEZ
badge
3B RULEZ
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tobago is our new #1 choice for new players and/or guests and somehow replaced TTR. It has very nice components and is language independent.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:536]
Jay Sachs
United States
Woodinville
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think this hits all your criteria. Plus, it's got wooden fruiples. How can you resist?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:481]
Jay Sachs
United States
Woodinville
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A lighter card game, but definitely simple to teach, language independent, and fun. A bonus is that the pterodactyl will be able to play this sooner than most ...
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
Sandy R
United States
Manhattan
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This one might be worth looking into. Not only is it fairly easy to learn, quiet, not language dependent, plays well with 3 yet scales well for 2-4, but also someone has recently uploaded the instructions in Russian.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Vikings [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:312]
Jay Sachs
United States
Woodinville
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This one is my current favorite. I think the rules are not overly complex. Certainly after the first two turns it's clear what's going on.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Hansa [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:709]
Sandy R
United States
Manhattan
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another fun game... It is language independent, relatively simple rules, and someone has uploaded the instructions in Russian.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:396]
Sandy R
United States
Manhattan
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another fun, not too hard to learn, language independent game. I did not see any uploaded translations to help with teaching the game though.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1392]
Sandy R
United States
Manhattan
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok, maybe this might not be what you are looking for but can be fun for adults in the right mood for it, is language independent, and you DO have a future game player in the house even if it ends up not being a big hit now.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:828]
Julia
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Fluch der Mumie (aka Pyramid of Pengqueen) and FITS might work.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:767]
Julie Taylor
Canada
Waterloo
ON
flag msg tools
This one is so simple and quiet that we find it has an almost meditative feel to it. Plus it's lovely to look at.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:334]
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
flag msg tools
designer
Baseball been bery bery good to me
badge
This is a picture of a published game designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Proud Balmain Board Gamer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Apart from the occasional subdued cry of "Ra", this game can take place in almost total silence. Pretty simple to learn, completely language independent and still one of the best auction games around. Works well with my non-gaming SO.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:640]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Proud Balmain Board Gamer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another simple but silent game. It has a novel bidding/placement mechanic and play well with 3 players (although 4 may be best). IMO, a very visually appealing game, although many would disagree about the aesthetics of the board.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Taluva [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:412]
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
I'm into Taluva lately. It's language independent game, with attractive pieces, and the rules are quite short and elegant.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.