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Subject: Fun for dad and 7.5 year old son? rss

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Mark Turner
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I am always looking for games to bond with my son over... we recently made the leap to Smash Up, which he enjoys plenty, is starting to understand certain combos quite well, but still has a little way to go before he fully clicks on playing to his best advantage. He also got the hang of 7 Wonders quite quickly.

Sentinels seems potentially pretty fun because it's coop, and I read that the enhanced edition should deal with scaling issues for 2 players...

Has anyone here played 2-player with a kid? Did you have a good time? Or might it be a little to complex for a 7.5 year old?
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Justin
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If your son can handle Smash Up, he should be fine with Sentinels. The one thing that I would say is 2 Heroes is not enough, you really need 3+ heroes, so one or both of you should play two heroes.
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Jeff Dougan
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I have played 2-player, with a 7.5-year-old, using a borrowed copy of the 1st edition. I refer to my son online as "The Grasshopper", in case you come across the reference in anything else I write.

For perspective: He started 1st grade reading at least two grade levels higher. I taught him a hacked version of Carcassonne at 4 1/2, with the "standard" rules at 6.5 or 7. He handles Forbidden Island pretty well by himself (including unobserved solo runs where I can't promise he isn't stacking the deck), and will play just about anything just because I am. (This makes me very, very careful what I play when he's around so he doesn't try to dive into something that's still over his head.) Part of his Christmas present was getting to spend Saturday afternoon with me at Winter Fantasy using the board game library.

He LOVES Sentinels, and it's going to crush him when I have to give it back, because I don't have the storage space for the Enhanced Edition right now.

Generally, it works like this: I'll run the Villain, Environment, and 2 Heroes. (Usually, one is Legacy because he's simple to run and doesn't do a whole lot.) I let him pick his Hero first, and then grab two more. Since we've got the first edition, we use coins for keeping track of hit points. I try to make him do the hit point math as often as I can, but help with tracking modifiers and making sure that start/end of turn effects happen without getting jumped over.

Happy to answer more questions.
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Tim Landry
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First, I own the core and all expansions. Overall, I like the game a lot.

But, the game doesn't scale down well--you will need to play the more complex heroes with just two players. And expect LONG games if you try--more than one hour, easily. (Over two hour games are likely--even with the core set of bad guys. This is my biggest beef with Sentinels--it can be sooo long for what it is. Longer than even my 13 year old cares for.)

There are better two player card games. My nine year old would even rather play the LOTR LCG than a two player Sentinels. If the whole family plays (four players) he's "okay" with it. The game is certainly more thematic and more "fair" with four players.

Again, I like the game a lot with more players, and it is the best, if not the fastest, of the hero games.

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Vic DiGital
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It's not in print anymore, but if you can find it, Heroscape is the best game I ever had for bonding with my son. He was 8 when Heroscape came out and we got in right at the beginning.

What makes it so great for something like this is that you can spend fun times just building the terrain even before the game begins. Plus, Heroscape is the ultimate modder's game, so it's a great way to introduce the concept of house rules, custom cards, figures and terrain, painting minis, etc. Endless possibilities.

It's out of print, but well worth seeking out.

(edit: lol, if you don't have room for the Enhanced Sentinels box, then you certainly won't have room for the bucketfuls of tiles and figures that come with Heroscape!)
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Jeff Dougan
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VicDigital wrote:
It's not in print anymore, but if you can find it, Heroscape is the best game I ever had for bonding with my son. He was 8 when Heroscape came out and we got in right at the beginning.

What makes it so great for something like this is that you can spend fun times just building the terrain even before the game begins. Plus, Heroscape is the ultimate modder's game, so it's a great way to introduce the concept of house rules, custom cards, figures and terrain, painting minis, etc. Endless possibilities.

It's out of print, but well worth seeking out.

(edit: lol, if you don't have room for the Enhanced Sentinels box, then you certainly won't have room for the bucketfuls of tiles and figures that come with Heroscape!)


I got to play a game or two of Heroscape right when it came out. I agree about the fun building the terrain and endless possibilities.
 
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Peter Schott
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My daughter could handle it ~ 8-9. There's a bunch of reading and keeping track of stuff, but if you each play two heroes the game isn't overly frustrating and giving them a choice of heroes helps. The tokens from the 2nd edition help, but aren't essential if you have some paper around. They just make it a little easier. She enjoyed it and likes being able to play the girl heroes. Some of those battles can go long (read through the session reports). That could diminish the interest level considerably if you just can't get momentum and the game starts to drag.

Of course, the big thing is to play games he enjoys. A big part will be that he gets to play with you, but if there's something that he likes whether or not you're there that's a definite bonus.

I don't know if something like Mice & Mystics might work. It's got a story-telling theme and the bits are attractive. Eric @ The Dice Tower has been playing it with his son and they've been enjoying it. (Of course, Eric also has the voice for it.) Just something else to consider in addition to SotM. I think it could work well for you based on what you posted.
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K.Y. Wong
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Jack Darwid came up with an excellent 2 hero variant of Sentinels which works really well.

My journey to find the best rules for a 2 Players game
 
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Sky Zero
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I'd recommend Legendary or even DC Comics for that age. Sentinels is too long and fiddly for a 7.5 year old.
 
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Mark Turner
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paschott wrote:


I don't know if something like Mice & Mystics might work. It's got a story-telling theme and the bits are attractive. Eric @ The Dice Tower has been playing it with his son and they've been enjoying it. (Of course, Eric also has the voice for it.) Just something else to consider in addition to SotM. I think it could work well for you based on what you posted.


Yep; we have mice and mystics and enjoyed it a certain amount, but he started to get a bit bored after about 4 chapters. We'll go back to it one of these days.

Thanks for all the advice, everyone.

I find myself not totally sold after all the responses, because of the comments about 2 players not being as good, play length etc... But will mull over this one a bit more.

Thanks!
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Scott Bender
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MrMT wrote:
paschott wrote:


I don't know if something like Mice & Mystics might work. It's got a story-telling theme and the bits are attractive. Eric @ The Dice Tower has been playing it with his son and they've been enjoying it. (Of course, Eric also has the voice for it.) Just something else to consider in addition to SotM. I think it could work well for you based on what you posted.


Yep; we have mice and mystics and enjoyed it a certain amount, but he started to get a bit bored after about 4 chapters. We'll go back to it one of these days.

Thanks for all the advice, everyone.

I find myself not totally sold after all the responses, because of the comments about 2 players not being as good, play length etc... But will mull over this one a bit more.

Thanks!


Mark, the game is awesome and I strongly recommend getting it. It is more than a little fiddly and can take a while, which tend to make it a tough game for younger children, though. On the other hand the theme is great and the game does an excellent job of making you feel like a super hero. And the fact that each hero deck plays so differently is really cool.

A quick point of clarification - there is a distinction in this game between players and heroes. Players can easily run multiple heroes and I play two player/four hero games all the time. I have one specific gamer friend who loves this game and lately this is about all he wants to play. I run two heroes and the villain while he does two and the environment. (The game doesn't work with only two heroes and is distinctly more difficult with three.)
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Bob Smith
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I'd definitely recommend Legendary or Thunderstone Advance as a better option for you and your son. SotM is broken for 2 player and loses the point of being a Hero when your controlling more than 1. It is still an awesome game and one of my favorites, but there are much better options out there for 2 players.
 
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P.D. Magnus
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Cold_and_hollow wrote:
SotM is broken for 2 player and loses the point of being a Hero when your controlling more than 1.


I totally disagree. I think this game is best with two players controlling four heroes (two each).

Sometimes a particular hero will not be effective, either because they get a bad draw or because they keep having to sacrifice their cards for the greater good. If you are playing one hero, then it is a drag to have to be that one. With two heroes, you can at least accomplish something with the other hero.

So wait on this game if you are worried it will be too heavy for your son. But don't pass on it because it will just be the two of you.
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Bob Smith
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Sorry man I didn't explain myself very well. I was meaning the game is unbalanced for 2 player so at least one of you has to play two heroes. So you don't get the same thamatic feel of being a super hero. That's why a AI sidekick system could really work well in preventing this.

It's great to hear your having more fun playing two characters. It's an awesome game, but I just think there are so many better 2 player game experiences. I think SotM really shines when you play a superhero character as part of a superhero team working together to take down a super villain. Maybe that means sometimes you get a bad hand or have to sacrifice cards for the good of the team. For me though that's just part of the fun.

But as long as the father is happy keeping track of everything and plays two heroes this could be fine.
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Kenton Henry
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I just got this game and played the first time last night with my 6.5 year old son. I picked Legacy and Wraith for myself, Ra for him (based on his supposed simplicity)and let him pick one more to play (he picked Bunker). The game went a little long but he was pretty into it. He LOVED checking out each new card that was drawn, even if I made him read it. I probably guided the play a bit too much, and next time I will let him make his own calls, even if they're not the best.

I told him that he should probably pick one guy and play him lots so he knows how he works. We'll see if he's willing to do that, but I think if he did the game would go super smoothly.
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Ryan
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I have played this game with my 6 yo son (very soon to be 7 though) and he absolutely loves this. The first time he played Legacy and I helped him quite a bit. On the 2nd game he played Legacy again with far less help from me. Another time he REALLY wanted to try Omnitron-X so I let him, but he was a little lost playing a level 2, so I convinced him to try out Tempest and that's now his favorite hero.

Since then we've played 3 games and he's played Tempest every time and needs very little help from me. He keeps track of his hit points, extra damage and is quite good at remembering to use all his cards in play.

My entire tabletop is one giant whiteboard so it's easy to keep track of hit points, bonus damage, damage reduction/immunity, etc. cool

As a side note - both of my kids LOVE playing Munchkin. (my daughter is 9). We have a great time with the base game and we've started mixing in the expansions as we play. (4 expansion decks currently). They enjoy the co-op nature of the Sentinels, but sometimes they just want to gang up and try to take out dad - and I'm happy to report that they have succeeded in beating me a few times.
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Mark Turner
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Lots of interesting views here... Tks!
Interesting comment re munchkin. I have an old munchkin fun lurking somewhere in the dark recesses of my cupboard... I may try it...
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Ken K
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I picked up Sentinels about 2 weeks ago. Both my wife and 7.5 year old enjoy playing. To be fair, my son reads at about a 4th/5th grade reading level so the text isn't an issue for him. He does enjoy the super hero theme and the rules are simple enough for him to understand. It also helps that a new comic book store opened up down the street and this is becoming his new hangout.

Where he does have a little issue is in determining what would be the best play of cards, however with a little coaching he has started to figure this one out. Biggest issue I run across is that the game can drag on and he will get bored - especially if his character is defeated first.

Given the vast number of other games I've played with him, this one has given me one of the bigger "bangs for my buck." At least in terms of playing games with my son.

Best of luck.
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Jeff Dougan
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I'll update a post above: Tonight was the first time that I let the Grasshopper try running 2 heroes simultaneously, and it wasn't as much of a disaster as I expected. We collectively got creamed by Voss (facing Absolute Zero and Tempest, played by the Grasshopper, and the Visionary and the Wraith, played by me) after the two Gene-bound Guards were two of the first 5 cards that Voss had out, and nobody could get damage up enough to stop the flow of minions and loss of hit points.
 
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Gord Dickson
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My son is not quite 7.5 and he loves the game. When the spirit moves him he leaps out and enacts a scene. He also enjoys the Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft. There is so much narrative built into these games and my guy loves stories where he gets to be the hero.
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