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Subject: Need to pick a couple family board games for summer rss

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L B
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Kansas
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I'm looking to buy 2-4 games this summer that are good for 1-4 players, with most of the play being 1-3 players. My kids have fairly different gaming personalities and I tend to like buying games that they can play alone, together, or with me and/or their dad (a single game does not have to cover all this). Bonus points if they can easily explain it to and play with peers.

My 9 y.o. loves cooperative games or teaming up against someone, silliness, and has a hard time with losing. His current favorites are Castle Panic, King of Tokyo, Hey That's My Fish, Clue, Apples to Apples, and Talisman(horrible edition). He enjoys Small World and is starting to learn Battlecon: Devastation of Indines, but can get frustrated with the competitiveness. He's charismatic, stubborn, and enjoys superheroes, Star Wars, Greek mythology and My Little Ponies.

My 13 y.o. is highly competitive, bossy, and enjoys strategy. He loves memorizing rules, developing strategies and drilling down into details. He tends to try to take over any game by telling people what to do, so an ideal game would curb this a bit. His favorites are Battlecon: Devastation of Indines, chess, and King of Tokyo (because he likes to attack everyone). He's very book smart and enjoys science, math, karate, and a wide variety of computer games.

Ideally, I would love one or more games that travel well and could be played outside on a picnic blanket, since we spend a fair bit of time at swim & dive meets. Shorter games are good too, since our schedule doesn't allow a lot of 2+ hour games.

Some games that I was considering:

Hive Pocket
Roll Through the Ages
Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert (we definitely plan on buying Pandemic in the next year)
Battle Line
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Zooloretto or Coloretto

Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated!
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Brendan Lapsley
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I would suggest looking into Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, especially if they like superheroes. It's co-op and pretty easy to play.

You may want to be careful with Sentinels, while it's a great game, it can be brutal. I have also heard of people getting confused with rules and what does what, so if your kids have a hard time at all piecing together rules, you may want to play-test before buying.

I would recommend Forbidden Desert over Island. They are pretty similar, but I think Desert is a bit more fun. (If theme matters though, that should take precedence.) These are a bit more forgiving than some other games you mentioned. However, these both fall into the "One person decides everything" category.

Legendary and Sentinels would not do well outside, Forbidden Island or Desert should be fine, just keep an eye on the cards (not a ton of them, but enough).
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jes m
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You might try Cosmic Encounter. There is plenty of attacking, but a card drawing mechanic that keeps people from picking on each other. Plus there is lots of alliance forming so it can feel co-opish when people help you out.
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Erik Andersson
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Roll through the ages is perfect for travel. You can play it almost anywhere (just roll the dice in the lid).

Its fun too.
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Renee Thorson
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I have a 9 yr old son who has interest similer to your 9 yr olds. My sons favorite games are Castle Panic and King of Tokyo as well. Other games at the top of his list are Scallywags, Dominion, and both Forbidden island and Dessert.

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L B
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Thanks for the feedback so far. It's good to get recs from someone with kids that have the same likes.

I had been eyeing that since Dice Tower rates it so highly, but was concerned about whether it was fast enough between turns to hold the younger one's interest. I'll definitely take a closer look at that one.

Good to know on Sentinels. The boys are pretty good with detailed rules, but I always worry about getting games that aren't fast enough paced for the younger one. We've not lost a game of Castle Panic, which is part of what makes it so enjoyable for him, plus the pacing. I want him to have a little more challenge, but definitely don't want to frustrate him.

Good to hear on Roll Through the Ages. It was on my list for the portability. Happy to hear it's fun too.

It's looking like Forbidden Island or Desert will definitely be one of the purchases.
 
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David Dawson
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jesb wrote:
You might try Cosmic Encounter. There is plenty of attacking, but a card drawing mechanic that keeps people from picking on each other. Plus there is lots of alliance forming so it can feel co-opish when people help you out.


Cosmic is excellent, but keep in mind that it doesn't play well with less than four players. I think it's best at 5-7.

Since you don't have any deckbuilding games, I would suggest Dominion, Eminent Domain, or Trains. They're all great for that age group, and have plenty of opportunities for "interfering" with other people's plans without being too destructive.
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David B
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I would highly recommend AGAINST Roll Through the Ages. It is WAY too solitaire. You rarely care what others are doing on their turn. To make matters worse, turns are too long for a game of this weight and minds tend to wonder.

A game I have played recently that seems good for a diverse family is Livingstone.

Splendor is also worth a look.

Both of the above play up to 4. (Livingstone actually plays up to 5) Splendor is great with 2, 3, or 4. Livingstone really needs 3.

Hive is excellent for a 2 player game. But if you are in the market for a 2 player abstract, YINSH is hard to beat.
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Dave Petrison
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First games that came to mind were Legendary and Sentinels of the Multiverse. I've not played much of Legendary, but those two are often suggested as a great game for kids to play with their children. Sentinels of the Multiverse is fantastic, though ideally you might want to play with three players, or at the very least, three heroes (one person can play multiple decks of cards). Your child would love it as long as someone was able to keep track of statuses or powerups, as many different cards can affect many other cards, so keeping track of what's going on might be difficult if an experienced gamer isn't a part of it.

Stone Age and especially Lords of Waterdeep are other highly suggested games that he will probably learn quickly and will likely be able to teach the game to others once he's gotten the handle of it. Lords of Waterdeep is especially thematic and makes it very easy to keep track of scoring. They are gateway-worker placement games, and while they are somewhat competitive, you are working on your own enough that he might not be as upset by the losing as with head to head confrontation games.

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Renee Thorson
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Forgot to add, if he loves Castle Panic try the Wizards Tower expansion for it. My 9 yr old wont play without it anymore!
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Ryan Keane
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+1 for Roll Through the Ages - perfect for 3 IMO, just enough interaction from catastrophes and turns go fast. With laminated sheets and dry erase boards, you can play this anywhere.

+1 for Lords of Waterdeep - great gateway game for your sons.

Love Letter - very quick, with card sleeves, you can play it anywhere and my kids love it. Easy game to hook in friends during the swim meet.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue - I find the randomness leads to less alpha player and more teamwork. Forbidden Island is ok - I think it will be too light for your 13-year-old. Pandemic is a bit too dry for my kids.

Star Wars: X-Wing - perfect for the picnic blanket if you're not too picky about needing level ground. With just the base set, you can play 2 vs 1, either your sons against your X-Wing, or you and the younger team up against the more competitive older brother.

Memoir 44 - only 2-player with the base game, but really a must-buy for a Dad with 2 gamer sons IMO, if you don't have it already.

Cyclades - good game for Greek mythology, nice minis for your sons, but really best with 4. I haven't played Kemet, but that might be a good fit too.

Bang: The Dice Game is great if you might have more than 4.

Sentinels fell completely flat for us - the mechanics just did not help bring out the superhero theme - but I know many others love it. Still need to try Legendary but not expecting much. If Marvel Dice Masters was multi-player, I would have snapped it up for my kids, but sadly for 2p only, no interest sinking money into it.
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Joe Salamone
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I love Sentinels of the Multiverse, but you need to be aware that there is a fairly extensive rules clarification/FAQ guide that is important to read. Also, as mentioned above, keeping track of all the bonuses and power-ups is sometimes difficult depending on which card sets you use.
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Bob Graffagnino
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My 9 year old son loves the following games:

Ticket to Ride
Saboteur
Las Vegas
Lords of Waterdeep
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Bill Reed
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You need to buy
Mice and Mystics - a dungeon crawling cooperative game with great theme and a great story,
Summoner Wars: Master Set - a great two-player strategy game with multiple balanced factions providing great replay value,
Coup - a quick, light bluffing game in which everyone tries to lie to each other,
Hive - a two-player abstract strategy game with an insect theme. Very portable.
and
Clubs - a light card game that has strategic card play and can be played in teams or as every man for himself.

Have a great summer!
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Andrew Shegda
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Bang!

Race for the Galaxy

Smash up

Tsuro of the Seas

Escape: The Curse of the Temple
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L B
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Thanks for all the great suggestions! I have a good idea of what I'll pick up this month, plus several to add to the wishlist or move up to a higher priority.

Definitely picking up Hive Pocket for the portability and probably Forbidden Desert. Now, to narrow it down to just one or two more beyond that for now.
 
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Christine Miller
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As much as my family loves Lords of Waterdeep, I do not think it is great for travel. It requires a lot of table space and has a lot of pieces (i.e. not great for your picnic blanket scenario). It also does not play as a solo game. That said, I have played it with player count 2, 3, 4, and 5 - and its great! Your kids will love it (especially your 13 y.o.) and it will be pretty easy to teach should any friends come over.

I also want to put in a good word for Takenoko. It plays 2-4 in reasonably short period of time; but again, it will require a table.

+1 Dominion. I think this meets all of your criteria.

Good luck and safe travels!
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L B
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Thanks for the info Christine! Fortunately, I don't need all of this round of purchases to be able to travel or be played solo. I'm just trying to cover my bases and trying to make sure at least a couple of them will work on the blanket. I will definitely be looking into all three of these. I've had my eye on Takenoko for a while. So pretty!
 
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Lance McMillan
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Lakebay
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Check out these games:

Darkest Night (First edition)

Tenka

Lifeboat

For Sale

No Thanks!
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L B
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Just wanted to say thanks again for the recs.

Picked up Love Letter last night and my youngest is buying Zombie Dice and Smash Up with a gift card he has.

I'm planning to order Hive Pocket and Forbidden Desert. I will also be picking up either Dominion or Lords of Waterdeep, once my oldest decides which he wants more.
 
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