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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First play with my 8 and 7 year old sons. rss

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Mark McKay
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I just finished a 3 player game with my two sons, 8 and 7 year olds. They played pretty darn well

To preface, I have been introducing my boys to strategy games since about 4 years old. It started with Chess (they got to stay up later if they could beat me ), then went to risk (which they play together by themselves all the time now since I don't care so much if that game gets damaged), then Nexus Ops, Small World, and finally Game of Thrones board game. They have grasped all the games pretty well so far. I have been letting my boys play a mini game I made up of TI3 using just the tactical actions to fight over mecatol rex. So they new the basics of tactical actions and combat. This really helped in explaining the rest of the game to them, which to my surprise went really smoothly.

I had a day off and my boys asked to play TI3, a game they have seen played several times now and have really wanted to play so... we decided to give it a try. Micah, my 7 year old was the Naalu, Judah, 8 year old, was the Federation of Sol, and I had the Hacan.

We all started out grabbing up our nearby planets. Judah and Micah both did a great job of amassing large fleets in the process. Judah had a few dreadnoughts and cruisers/destroyers in his fleet. Micah made an early dash for Mecatol Rex and an early lead. Micah didn't have much of a fleet protecting MR and I was able to take it two turns later. Judah had moved his fleet of Dreadnoughts adjacent to MR but decided he liked his 3 trade good agreement with me too much to attack me. He instead opted to go for blood, attacking Micah insteadarrrh.

Of course Micah decided to get revenge and they had a large fleet battle, with Micah emerging the winner. I was ruthless (I know, I am horribleshake) and shocked Judah by breaking our peace treaty and attacking his smaller fleet. He couldn't believe it but thankfully they have learned good sportsmanship and don't get upset or quit when things don't go their way (teaching them that if they start a game they have to finish it pays off).

Micah had been trying to convince Judah not to attack him but instead team up to attack me. After I stabbed Judah in the back, Micah felt it was a great time to pipe in on Judah's shock and say "See, I told you we needed to attack Dad!" laugh They then both started trying to rebuild to launch an attack but were too little too late as I managed to reach 10 vps with MR. soblue

I was impressed with how well they were able to grasp the game, especially with how much is going on. They are not able to put into effect well thought out strategies yet but they do a fine job making wise turn by turn decisions. I have yet play a game with more than three players because I can never get more than 3 people on the same schedule to play. But now I feel pretty good about allowing my boys to join into the next game we play as they took their turns in a timely manner and are able to hold their own even though they may not win yet. So maybe I will get a five player game going sometime yet.

I know some of my play with my sons seems pretty ruthless but I do like to play competitively (although I don't go all out) and give them the full experience to see strategies that are possible. They seem to learn pretty well from those experiences and incorporate them into future playsninja.

Have any of you had experience teaching younger players strategy games? What are some of the things you like to do to help them understand or improve their tactics? What do you think about adding players to the game even though they most likely won't win? (I was kind of thinking they might be like city-states in Civ5 ) I look forward to hopefully many fun filled competitive nights in the future with them.
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Rob Katuska
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This is such an awesome story. Thanks for the write up!
 
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Chris
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The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations. GK Chesterton
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One way to be able to play competitively against kids, or to include them in a game with other adults, is to give them a handicap. Perhaps they start with extra trade goods or even control of an extra planet or two near their home world.

This obviously works for any kind of game, but it is a lot more satisfying for you and for them if you play for real (ie don't "go easy" on them).

Also, if you inform them from the beginning, in this game or any other, that backstabbing is a real possibility, or that trade agreements are not the same as being on the same team, they won't be surprised when these are broken. (Or if you explain why it's a good idea to break an alliance sometimes).

When playing with other adults, it's also important that if one adult takes advantage of a kid who makes a dumb trade "Will you give me four sheep for one gold?", the other adults act as a balancing factor later. Let the kid make the mistake, OR, offer a better trade, OR gang up against the guy who took advantage of a kid who didn't know better. :-)

When I play chess with my 6 year old, sometimes I will point out all the things that are threatening him, or point out a couple of opportunities, but leave it to him to decide which of those is the bigger threat or the greater opportunity.

Don't know if that answers any of your questions.
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Mark McKay
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Thanks guys,

Chris, I agree with you that it is more satisfying for all to play by the same rules. I know my boys know when they are given advantages and often times don't like feeling like they have to have the handicap.

I think TI3 will work with well with other adults and them too. You are right about balancing out bad deals made with the kids. That is one thing I love about TI3 is everyone can give suggestions, bribes, or any other form of persuasion to try to get someone to do what they want. So it allows everyone to present the kids with options and strategies they could use without having to change the rules for them. As long as at the end of it all the kids remember it is their choice.

It sure is fun to see the kids learning as they go, as I am sure you already know. Thanks for the input, makes me feel more confident about including them with adults.
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Andy Day

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Awesome story
 
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T Y
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I've played the Manhattan Project, Belton, King of New York, Eclipse, Lords of Waterdeep, and Ticket to Ride with my kids (11 and 8). The 8 year old understands the rules and has managed to win Ticket to Ride (Asia) and King of New York, but he has a harder time with the other ones. He gets easily distracted, so long-term strategy is a bit beyond his grasp right now.

The 11 year old is scary good and dangerous. He wins far more than his share of Ticket to Ride. He had a two-game run of winning Eclipse by turtling as the Planta, which led me in the next game to attack him ruthlessly (to the point of taking his home system); but it was a Phyrrhic victory for me, as my brother ended up winning because I wasn't paying attention to anyone else. The 11 year old also caused me to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this game of Lord of Waterdeep.
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Chris
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The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations. GK Chesterton
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You're welcome! Feel free to write up a report the next time you play TI3 with them with other adults, I'd be glad to hear how it goes.
 
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Michel Kangro
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Just read this session report. Great story.

My kids are 8 and 5 and the 8 yo girl plays chess with me every now and then, but other then that, almost only childrens games.

One thing I'd do before letting other adults join is making it clear for everyone if anyone is supposed to hold back or not, in your case, making it clear to everyone that the kids may be backstabbed or ripped off, as a precaution for both your adult guests and your kids. It might be different if it's another adult and not their dad doing the backstabbing. :-)
 
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