Cher
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I'd like your top five recommendations for my family, particularly for my son, husband and I as three players, and the two of them as two players.

Our family is a bit odd. My husband grew up with Risk, and still loves to play it, yet he spends most of his time commanding large groups of people in the online pc game "Eve". War and heavy strategy are his thing. My son is turning seven in a few weeks, and is pretty game savvy for his age. He's been playing board games and card games almost every night for years; typically he's played things like Uno, Skip-bo, War, Backgammon, Chess, Battleship, Stratego, many Gamewright card games, and Sorry. My mother lives with us and she plays with us every once in while, but she prefers the simple no-brainer games.

I think my son is ready to step it up a notch, and I'm hoping to find some games that will interest me as well. I just picked up Carcassonne with Inns and Cathedrals and we've played that a few times in the last few days. My son and I love it, but my husband wants something meatier. I also got Risk 2210 A.D. for him, and Ticket to Ride for the whole family for Christmas.

So, the question is, what else should we get? I've read many, many recommendations here, but I feel that my son's age (6, turning 7) is a very important factor. He and his Dad will be playing games every night, and I play every other night or so. He can handle Carcassonne, Monopoly, and Risk, though he wouldn't ever win on his own. He understands how the games work, though. Would he be able to hand Settlers of Catan, ir is it too complex? I was also thinking about Memoir '44 for the two of them.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
 
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Ryan Olson
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Before I got to the last paragraph, I was going to suggest Memoir 44. My son has been playing since he was almost 7 (he's 8 1/2 now), and loves it. Not hard to grasp at all. In fact, we only tried the simple rules once (only use movement cards), and he has had no trouble with the normal rules since.

Now...he may not win alot, but he is getting better, and likes the game enough to want to keep playing it despite not winning all the time.

Not sure about Settlers. I'm not a fan, so I haven't played it with him.

If your family doesn't mind abstracts, you could look into Hey! That's my Fish (more game here than it looks like), Blokus, or Ingenious. My son does quite well at these.



 
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Dan Poole
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If hubby likes Risk and World-Level war games, he would love Twilight Struggle, though your son is a little young for it. Interstingly a lot of women really love that game too, including my better half.

Ticket to Ride is always a good choice for the family. Of course "meatier" means more complicated. There are dozens of geek lists outlining games for children here. As far as you and your hubby, you have to decide what kind of game would you like....Tile-laying, resource management, card-driven, etc. I would look at the games by rank, starting with the #1, Puerto Rico, and peruse them until you see something of interest. As far games go for 2-players, Caylus, Goa, Starship Catan, Al Hambra, Attika, St Petersburg, , masons, Hansa, Memoir, Twilight Struggle are just a scant few off the top of my head. Again, most of these are a little much for a 7 year old, though on the other hand, it is amazing how much they can understand at seemingly young ages. Enjoy!!!!!!!
 
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Geoff Bohrer
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Cher, just as an off the wall suggestion, maybe

Pirates of the Spanish Main

You can get into it fairly cheaply, it's stone-axe simple in it's basic incarnation, enough stuff gets blown up that hubby might like it (I do, and I'm a grog and an avid Risk player), and the adventure aspect might appeal to you. And it's got cool little boats!

And speaking just for myself, though it might apply to hubby, I'd sooner eat my gun than be forced into settlers or TTR. Just sayin'.
 
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My elderst son just turned 5, so all my three boys are younger than your son, but I have a few suggestions for you. First of all, I would second Hey! That's My Fish! It's a lot of fun and easy to learn. I'd also recommend the game Cartagena. It's a pirate-themed game where you play cards with symbols on them to escape from a pirate prison. A few more you might want to check out are Ghost Chase, Dragonland, and Diamant (also known as Incan Gold).

The company Gamewright also makes a number of great family games. While they make a lot of games for younger children, they also have great family games to play with older children as well. Two games we own that my 5 year old enjoys but does not fully grasp the strategy to are Castle Keep and The Legend of Landlock, but I would check out Gamewright generally. Good luck with your search.

 
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I guess I would go a different route--it sounds like you might need two player games that could also be three player games; or perhaps a multi-player game that scales down to two or three players. Here are a few that my family uses (I have a seven year old boy, and his four sisters):

My first suggestion would be to get a bit heavier game that would interest dad and son, and they could grow into. Perhaps Axis and Allies--a step up from Risk, with cool bits for your son, and more strategy for dad. Another might be Nexus Ops, a similar step up with a sci-fi theme. Both seem to scale OK with either two or three players, so they could learn and you could play as you find time.

A second suggestion would be to find games that fill a niche between Euro and Wargames, that scale down nicely. Some of them have been mentioned--my son is able to play well and compete in Pirate's Cove, a pirate-themed game; Wings of War, a simple card game about WWI fighters; Pitch-Car, a manual dexterity game for 8 or less; and Descent, a fantasy game of combat. The other bonus with these types of games is that he can invite his friends over to play, so they serve double duty.

Good luck on your search. Let us know what you choose, because I have still another present to buy for my son!
 
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Mark Crane
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I second Memoir '44, but set the game up before you bring him over to play to cut down on the setup boredom factor. I also recommend Nexus Ops as a good three-player that shares something with Axis and Allies and Risk.

Hive is a fun, two person abstract that is loosely like bug chess played with wooden hexagons.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I've played Heroscape and Duel of Ages with my six year old, and he likes them both. Duel of Ages needs to be set up with the right conditions to be really enjoyable, so do a little research. It is often available in math trades, and will play fine with three. Be sure to do a little research before your first game for best results.

Battlestations might also be a lot of fun, but again someone will have to plow through the rules and volunteer to be gamemaster.

Hey! That's my Cardboard Hexagon really is a fun game and a slightly better choice than Hive perhaps because it plays three.

Here is a geeklist ostensibly devoted to games I can play with my daughter (now 5) but many of these carry over to a 6/7 year old, including Through the Desert, Monsters Menace America (maybe modify the endgame rules), and Coloretto.

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/11454

Oh, Battleball can still be found for $7.00 or so in various outlets, and I think it's a fun dicefest that kids seem to enjoy.



 
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Mary Weisbeck
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I think Alhambra would be a good choice for a family game and since no one has mentioned Through the Desert yet, I will. It works for 2-5 players and should be easy enough for your son while still giving your husband a deeper strategy game.

Memoir has been mentioned several times but I'll add my agreement as emphasis.

Another game that might be worth looking at is Fairy Tale. It's a card-drafting game that plays with 2-5 players.

And I don't see any reason why Blue Moon City wouldn't be a good choice for the whole family.
 
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I'd like to say "not yet" to Settlers. I love it, but if you play Settlers to win, you're going to sometimes try to convince your opponents to take a deal that might not be best for them. It's pretty tought for a 7 year old to handle that kind of a situation - where Mom or Dad are telling him to trade his rock for their sheep, but maybe he shouldn't. My nephew played Settlers at 8, and he could play, but it was too easy to trick him so we all had to hold back. 10 is a better age to start I think.
 
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Welcome to the "GEEK", the best community of gamers on the net.

I don't know about 5 games but here are a few:

Blokus Trigon - I am buying this game for several people for several reasons but the key reasons are:

- Good for 2, 3 or 4 players
- Perfect for family's that have children
- Gameplay is simple yet engaging
- Has strong replay value

This is my top recommendation for any family with children as they will like the game and adults won't get bored playing either.

Samurai - 2,3 and 4 again. Pretty easy to learn and play, a little strategy, beautiful components.

Settlers - 3 & 4 although there is an option to play with 2 but it is not quite as good. A good game that you could all play.

RA - 2,3,4 & 5 all good. An absolute brilliant game, scoring might be a little confusing at first but after a game or 2 I'm sure everyone will catch on. Very simple to play and very little rules (you pull a tile, call an auction or use a god tile on your turn), I use this as a gateway game with 100% success. Although simple to play it is a little trickier to play well and this will satisfy the Husband. Highly recommended.

Memoir 44 while I have not played, sounds perfect for Dad and Son.

Acquire - Simple to play again but there is some depth here, not sure if it will be too much for the Son. Also, it is out of print but cheap ccopies of the older versions can be bought on ebay.

Good luck and Happy Gaming! J
 
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Cher wrote:
He can handle Carcassonne, Monopoly, and Risk, though he wouldn't ever win on his own. He understands how the games work, though. Would he be able to hand Settlers of Catan, ir is it too complex? I was also thinking about Memoir '44 for the two of them.


Settlers of Catan shoouldn't be a problem, Daughter the Elder was playing it from six. You can see some of the games she has played from around five to eight at Games that Daughter the Elder will trade bedtime books to play http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/1400
 
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James Fehr
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Some games that I've enjoyed with my young kids (6-9) that also have a healthy dose of strategy that a parent can find challenging are:
- Through the Desert - This is one of my favorite games to teach people new to the hobby - and my kids love it and can understand the rules and some of the strategy pretty well. I'd pick this before Settlers personally. The ONLY downside is that the colors of the camels used in the game may not be considered very manly.
- Tikal - Like Through the Desert, the rules for this game are really quite simple, but there can be some pretty deep long-term planning if you want there to be. It's a very good-looking board and plays equally well with 2, 3, or 4 players. It has a very interesting "build the map as you go" mechanic, so it feels like you're really exploring a jungle filled with temples and treasures. Some people feel that this game can cause people to take far too long thinking on their turns, but when playing with kids, this really shouldn't be an issue (not even an issue with the adults I play with). This game won the most famous of the "game of the year" awards in the late 90's.

Also, I have Memoir '44 on order. I've heard a lot about it, and from everything I hear, this may be the PERFECT game to buy, provided your husband won't mind a very good dose of luck to deal with.

Hope you find something they'll really enjoy! All the best.
 
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I'd suggest the following:

1) Heroscape
2) Memoir '44
3) Nexus Ops
4) Ingenious (for your mom)
5) Battlelore or War of the Ring (deeper game to grow in to)

 
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Well First off I also have a 7 yr old son. Plus a pair of twin girls 9 they all like gaming but the boy is more competitive about it.

Some of the previous suggestions were good but I'll repeat them since I assume you kinda seeing what is mentioned the most

Setters: This is no problem for my 7 yr old. I would suggest it although
sounds like you husband likes the war type games over abstact strategy.

Blockus Triagon: Good for the family

Heroscape: This is a combination of board game and war game. Should be a lot of fun. Although it can be a bit of a money pit. The initial game is a great value and each expansion is under $10. then another $10 and another $10. Oh wait that terrain expansion is only $20 have to get that

My son is definitely much more advanced in games that most kids his age, none of his friends catch on to the games. But since you said your son plays almost every night he probably has similar skills. The following
are ones he really likes but are pretty heavy but he really like them

Puerto Rico
Caylus

 
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Cher
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Thanks for all the responses! I'll probably end up getting many of these this year. After carefully considering each suggestion, I'm definitely getting the following right away:

Memoir '44
Pirate's Cove
Carcassonne: Traders and Builders (I want that one myself)

I've been considering Blokus for a long time because I know the whole family can play it, but we already play a lot of abstract games, so I may hold off a bit longer. Ironically, I was going to tell you all that Heroscape, while seemingly perfect for us, was out of the running a) because of the money (my spouse is always asking how much money I'm spending) and b) the geeklists suggest that it doesn't work as a three player game. Well, we were just in Walmart about 20 minutes ago, and he dragged me over to the games, picked up Heroscape, and shook the box excitedly. This sort of thing never happens. I pointed out the expansions and potential cost and he said, "We'll talk." Hehehe. It reminds him of Crossbows and Catapults from his childhood.

The ultimate question then, is whether Heroscape can be played with 3 players. Has anyone tried it? I don't want to invest a ton of money into something that I can't even play with them. I'm willing to do that with Memoir '44, but I want to play the rest of them.

The game that I personally want the most is Shadows over Camelot. I read and watch mostly fantasy/sci-fi, and it's cool that it's cooperative; we can help my son get the hang of it, and my husband can't go in for the kill (at least, to kill us, anyway). Unfortunately, I also read that this particular game isn't good for three players. Is this true? We bought Lord of the Rings a few years back, and we were bored to tears playing it as a two-player, so it just collects dust on the shelves. I don't want to get anything if it won't work for three.

Again, thanks for all your help. I've really been enjoying spending the last few weeks here, and plan to stick around.
 
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JP LaChance
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Check my profile, geeklist and reveiws.
My just truned 7yr old won his first game of POWERGRID this past weekend.

My recommendations would be:
1) Heroscape
2) Memoir 44
3) Blokus Trigon
4) Bohananza
5) For Sale


Best of luck
JP
 
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Phillip Heaton
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Cher wrote:
Ironically, I was going to tell you all that Heroscape, while seemingly perfect for us, was out of the running a) because of the money (my spouse is always asking how much money I'm spending) and b) the geeklists suggest that it doesn't work as a three player game. Well, we were just in Walmart about 20 minutes ago, and he dragged me over to the games, picked up Heroscape, and shook the box excitedly. This sort of thing never happens. I pointed out the expansions and potential cost and he said, "We'll talk." Hehehe. It reminds him of Crossbows and Catapults from his childhood.

The ultimate question then, is whether Heroscape can be played with 3 players. Has anyone tried it? I don't want to invest a ton of money into something that I can't even play with them. I'm willing to do that with Memoir '44, but I want to play the rest of them.

The game that I personally want the most is Shadows over Camelot. I read and watch mostly fantasy/sci-fi, and it's cool that it's cooperative; we can help my son get the hang of it, and my husband can't go in for the kill (at least, to kill us, anyway). Unfortunately, I also read that this particular game isn't good for three players. Is this true? We bought Lord of the Rings a few years back, and we were bored to tears playing it as a two-player, so it just collects dust on the shelves. I don't want to get anything if it won't work for three.

Again, thanks for all your help. I've really been enjoying spending the last few weeks here, and plan to stick around.


Heroscape is a two player game. You can try things like splitting one side into two groups so three can play, but it just isn't the same game.

I don't care for Shadows Over Camelot; the traitor option stinks up a game that can be hard enough without it. That being said, you really need more than three players to play it. Not my oppinion, that is the opinion of those in my game group who like the game and keep trying to get me to play it again so that they can get as many player as possible, "It's better that way".
 
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Cher
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Hmmm. I had a feeling someone was going to say that. I'm glad I asked; you just saved me from spending a lot of money. Again, thanks to everyone for your help.
 
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