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Subject: Starting a boardgame night with family rss

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James Mangum
United States
Pleasant Grove
Utah
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My brother suggested that we start a family game night that could include our kids that are eight or older. This would give us four kids 8-12 and four adults. My brother is only familiar with traditional games and I have only been playing designer games for about six months.

A couple of questions:
1) are there any good posts out there about setting something up like this?
2) any suggestions on games for such a diverse group?

Edit: curse the auto-correct. I meant posts not pets.
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Greg Austin
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I don't know about pets, but I think a decent game that can have all of you playing together is Tsuro. It's very light, however, so it would only be a snack to something more substantial.
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Donnie Clark
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Arlington
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There aren't any hard and fast rules for family game night. Pick a few games your family might like to play...and play. I would suggest planning a simple and easy meal that night so nobody is stuck with heavy kitchen duties before or after.

Check out Zooloretto. Fun them for a broad spread of ages, can be challenging, and several modular expansions to keep things fresh over time.
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Shane Larsen
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Salt Lake City
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A few good family games I recommend:

Takenoko
Finca
Cinque Terre
Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Have fun!
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Derek S
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Calgary
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Essentially you are looking for a game that plays up to 8 players, is relatively light, and is light on the player downtime or keeps everyone involved as much as possible (usually a requirement for children).

Games that fit all the criteria:
+1 to Tsuro.
Red November
The Resistance
Saboteur
RoboRally = although with 8 players, play with 2 flags or less. Unless you want to be playing for hours.


Other honorable mentions that don't quite fit all the criteria are:
Dominion + Dominion: Intrigue = Depending on the people playing, it can be a bit heavy on downtime with 8 players.
The Red Dragon Inn = Each box supports 4 players, and the boxes can be matched with other boxes in the set for up to 12 players. However, can be a bit heavy on downtime with 8 players.
7 Wonders = only plays up to 7 players.
Citadels = The rules say it can only be played up to 7 players, but I've found that making up our own 9th character will allow the game up to 8 players quite comfortably.
Arkham Horror = Some children can handle this game and some can't, I've played this with children before and it's been just fine, and other's just can't handle the time requirements and complexity of it. However it is a cooperative game, so an adult can always just simplify it for them saying "here are your options, what would you like to do".

 
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Shane Larsen
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For 8 players, get The Resistance: Avalon. It's a no-brainer.
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r0t1 prata
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Augustus, plays up to 6 only though so maybe two kids can share with adults.

Dixit Odyssey which has a scoreboard for 12 players max.
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Ray Still
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My wife, my kids (ages 9 - 13), my sister-in-law, and I have a family game night once a week. We have been doing this for a little over a year. In addition, we have a game night at our home once a month with a fairly large number of people. So I can share my experience both in selecting games that fit the age range you mentioned, and how to manage a game night with attendance > 5.

The > 5 is important because, for many family style games it is the maximum player size. So you should expect that at some point in the evening you are going to have to split up into groups and play different games. In my experience, a good way to structure the evening is to get things going with some shorter games that support a large player count, and then break into a couple of smaller groups to play different games that have similar play times. When those games end, you can mix up the groups and then play something else. At the end of the evening, gather everyone up for another short game including everyone.

In terms of recommendations, here are some that have appealed to my aforementioned family unit:
1) Tsuro. This was mentioned by others, and I whole heartedly agree. A really good, light, quick game that supports a lot of people. Great way to start off the evening.
2) Incan Gold. Another good, quick starter game that supports a lot of people.
3) Ticket to Ride. A family classic.
4) Small World. Great, competitive area control game that is not overly complicated.
5) King of Tokyo. It has Kaiju and lots of cool dice. Kids love it.
6) Zooleretto. I beleive this was mentioned earlier.
7) DC Deck Building Game. Simple DC comic themed deck building game.
8) Pitchcar. Great dexterity game that will should fit everyone in your group. However it is a bit on the pricey side.

Few other suggestions:
1) Make sure you have snacks. It just makes the evening more pleasant.
2) Have some kind of award to hand out for the nights best player. It gets the competitive juices flowing.

One other thing I feel I need to mention. Several people suggested The Resistance or The Resistance: Avalon. I have had several people tell me that lying to their kids, and expecting them to lie, even within the context of a game, was not a pleasant experience. YMMV.

Hope this was helpful. Best of luck to you.
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John Crawford
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Renton
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BANG! The Bullet!

This is one that my family (kids aged 7-12) enjoys.
 
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Martin Steventon
United Kingdom
nottingham
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Lots of good suggestions above.

Maybe you need some party games to get people into the swing of things.
Wits & Wagers or Time's Up!.

Dexterity games are often popular with kids,
Bausack ,Click Clack Lumberjack or PitchCar.

Good luck and hope you have fun.
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Bill Eldard
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Burke
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TransAmerica (A great filler game)

10 Days in Africa . . .or Asia, or Europe . . .

Money!

11 nimmt!

Carcassonne or Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers

Formula D

Qwixx

Medici

Metropolys

Trains (this is one of our hottest games right now)

Chinatown (May be hard to obtain a new copy)

Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix

P.I. (A clever, simple deduction game)

Cooperative games like:

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Lord of the Rings
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Justin R
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TR: Avalon, for sure. Short...you'll end up playing 3 times or so.

Citadels was mentioned as accommodating only 7, but the FFG version ships with the Dark Cities expansion, which accommodates 8. Also a light game that won't take up the bulk of the evening.

Roborally +1.
 
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Oliver Kiley
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Theme, in my view, is really going to make or break the experience for kids. If the game has a cool theme that resonnates in someway with their interests, that's a good thing. More abstract and subtle board/card gamers aren't likely going to generate the sort of enthuiastic response you might be hoping for.

So - perhaps to help you narrow down. What kind of interests do the kids already have? Do they play any types of video games? What kinds of books, stories, and movies do they like? What other hobbies/sports/interests do they have? I'd start from that standpoint and look for some games that might fit from a thematic angle.

EDIT:

From there, start thinking about what kinds of interaction you think would be best for the kids. Do you want them sitting back in recliners stroking their proverbial beards in silence - or do you want them throwing dice at each other, laughing, talking, etc. I'm inclined to think the latter.

Last think about timing and logistics. How much time do you think they'll sit down at a table to play? Are they the kind of kids that can focus on something for hour(s) or do they loose interest in things quickly? Find a game with a playtime to match.
 
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MP Szakos
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+1 to Wits & Wagers Family

Also, Backseat Drawing is lots of fun with 4+
 
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Captain Yellowbeard
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Mezmorki wrote:
Theme, in my view, is really going to make or break the experience for kids. If the game has a cool theme that resonates in someway with their interests, that's a good thing. More abstract and subtle board/card gamers aren't likely going to generate the sort of enthusiastic response you might be hoping for.

I introduced the family game night concept to our twins, son/daughter at age three (3). From my experience we have had success in our family game nights with both highly thematic games and abstract games.

We began by playing abstract games with them to assist with their learning skills, to reinforce counting principles, pattern matching, understanding spatial relationships. All elements required to operate in simplified artificial environments.

We played games of matching picture tiles, Double Nine Color Dot Dominoes, Blokus, Quirkle, and assorted card games and jigsaw puzzles. Yes, we had Candyland, Chutes & Ladders but we also had Sorry and Trouble both of which can be categorized as abstract racing games.

Now the children are six (6) and we do have more variety in our game library. We enjoy games with heavier thematic elements along with our favorite abstracts. I firmly believe that giving our children a foundation in abstract games has provided them with certain skills and made them better well-rounded gamers.
 
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