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Subject: Best games for teenagers? rss

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In discussions on my site for kids’ games, several people have suggested that teenagers are a different category of gamers (makes sense to me) -- that just because teens could play games like Puerto Rico or Caylus (both officially ‘Ages 12+’) doesn’t mean they would necessarily want to. I’ve found a couple Geeklists here about games for teens - but only a couple. Seems like a "definitive list" is needed.

So what games would you recommend for teenagers?


Below is a list of the games I’ve seen recommended in geeklists. Any comments on these would be welcome.

Apples to Apples
Arkham Horror
Axis and Allies
Bang
Battle Cry
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Blokus
Blue Moon
Bonaparte at Marengo
Category 5
Citadels
Descent: Journeys in the Dark.
Doom
Dragon's Gold
Epic Duels (assume this is Star Wars: Epic Duels)
For Sale
Fury of Dracula
Give Me the Brain!
Goldland
Heroscape
History of the World
Liar's Dice
Lord of the Rings
LotR Confrontation
Lunch Money
Mag-Blast
Memoir '44
Monsters Menace America
Nexus Ops
Nuclear War
Pirate's Cove
Pit
Pitchcar
RoboRally
Royal Turf
Shadows Over Camelot
Taboo Jr.
Tigris & Euphrates
Turfmaster
Werewolf
Wizard: the Ultimate Game of Trump
Zombies


Some more interesting questions:

Is it possible to generalize about teens, to the point of saying “a majority of teens will like game X?”

Do you agree that they are a separate group, from kids and adults, when it comes to game preferences?

Do younger teens and older teens differ significantly in their interests, when it comes to board games?

Some people have suggested that after a certain age, many teenagers would also be open to adult games like euros - maybe around age 15. Do you agree with this?

What do teens like in games? Theme and miniatures have been suggested, for example.

What about teen girls – any good games for them? Most of the games that come to my mind would be for teen boys.


I’ll take the results of this post and create a “Recommended for Teenagers” Geeklist, and also add them to my kid games website, KidGameRatings.com.



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David Molnar
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My daughter is crazy for Crokinole. Also lately we've been playing more San Juan and Ticket to Ride than her previous favorite Starship Catan. She likes Ticket because she has a chance of beating dad, and San Juan she likes the pace (Starship can drag). Personally, as a teenager I couldn't get enough Strat-o-Matic Baseball. So generally I'm thinking, throw a wide enough net to include dexterity and sports games, and look at games with some luck involved.

David
 
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michael crow
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You should add Lost Cities to list. Its simple, fast, paced and the games are short.

As far as games for teens go, it depends. Some teen really enjoy the more complex games us adults enjoy. Others just don't have the attention span to play something complicated or long playing. Its really a case by case thing. Generally, if we have a public game night at the local gaming store I will bring plenty of games like Lost Cities in addition to the stuff I would normally bring.
 
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Brian Morris
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Quote:
Some more interesting questions:

Is it possible to generalize about teens, to the point of saying “a majority of teens will like game X?”


No more than one would generalize about adults. When it comes to games I don't think you can say this is a good teenage game over this one. It all depends on the teen's interests. Some will like euros and some will like wargames. Some will like simulations and others abstracts. Just like adults.
 
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Justin
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Well, if your looking for games a teen likes to play, you've come to the right place... ahem... guy.

Unknown to most, Im actually a teen, and yes, I do enjoy playing board games -- more so than a video game even!

From my current selection, I enjoy games like Ticket to Ride, Poker, Ingenious, Memoir '44, HeroScape, O Zoo le Mio, Nexus Ops, Lost Cities, and Diplomacy. But, my game selection is rather bleak as of now, so don't take my word for the masses!

Mostly though, I tend to enjoy lighter weight games, with some visual appeal. I tend to stay away from longer, more complex games due to the time factor, and that it's hard enough trying to find players for my current selection. But, if asked, I wouldnt decline learning a game such as Caylus or Puerto Rice.

Hope that helps!
Justin
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Lukas Litzsinger
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mrbeankc wrote:
Quote:
Some more interesting questions:

Is it possible to generalize about teens, to the point of saying “a majority of teens will like game X?”


No more than one would generalize about adults. When it comes to games I don't think you can say this is a good teenage game over this one. It all depends on the teen's interests. Some will like euros and some will like wargames. Some will like simulations and others abstracts. Just like adults.


Ditto.
 
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Christopher O
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A bunch of male teens at my wife's family reunion seemed to be really taken with Doom. Probably the video-game familiarity factor.

Everyone seemed to like Apples to Apples.

I think another distinction that usually gets made (although perhaps in an ideal world it shouldn't matter) is male teens vs. female teens, as both groups seem to have distinct preferences over style and approach to play.

 
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Bob McMurray
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My son, a sophomore in high school (16yo), has a relatively large group of friends who love to get together and play board games. Their favorites are Arkham Horror and Shadows Over Camelot. I think they like to play together against the game.

As an interesting footnote, some of them really like Zendo too!
 
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Have faith
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mrbeankc wrote:
Quote:
Some more interesting questions:

Is it possible to generalize about teens, to the point of saying “a majority of teens will like game X?”


No more than one would generalize about adults. When it comes to games I don't think you can say this is a good teenage game over this one. It all depends on the teen's interests. Some will like euros and some will like wargames. Some will like simulations and others abstracts. Just like adults.

Here's a thought experiment...

Imagine a room full of 14 year old boys. You bring in two tables, and set up games ready to play:

Table 1 has Doom, Pitchcar, Zombies and Nexus Ops.
Table 2 has Puerto Rico, Caylus, Power Grid, and Princes of Florence.

Are you saying the odds are the same that they will go to either table?
 
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michael crow
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cull wrote:
mrbeankc wrote:
Quote:
Some more interesting questions:

Is it possible to generalize about teens, to the point of saying “a majority of teens will like game X?”


No more than one would generalize about adults. When it comes to games I don't think you can say this is a good teenage game over this one. It all depends on the teen's interests. Some will like euros and some will like wargames. Some will like simulations and others abstracts. Just like adults.

Here's a thought experiment...

Imagine a room full of 14 year old boys. You bring in two tables, and set up games ready to play:

Table 1 has Doom, Pitchcar, Zombies and Nexus Ops.
Table 2 has Puerto Rico, Caylus, Power Grid, and Princes of Florence.

Are you saying the odds are the same that they will go to either table?


Its an almost sure thing that the teen boys that show up to our game nights would run for table one and those you cant get in on table one would sit and play at table 2.
 
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Dr. Dam
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As a teacher I may have some insight here.

Like some have suggested it is an error to generalise that teenagers will like a certain style\theme\length of game. A non gaming teenager in remedial maths will have very different preferences to a teenager with an IQ over 120 and in the Mensa club.

But there are some generalisations that can be made for the majority of non gaming teen boys for example.

Theme is key - If it is interesting then they may give it a go. Ameritrash (I don't like that term but use it for its familiarity) games are often favoured because they have a draw factor (they like mini's). They also like to kill their opponent's (for social interaction) rather than trade with them. They are likely to look at heavy strategy games that at first glance appear bland (e.g. Princes of Florence, T&E) and go "What the?"

Luck - Is quite acceptable to them because it is familiar to them and means they will have a chance no matter how bad they are tactically. This of course ties into the Ameritrash style of game.

Short\Medium Time Frame - This is a must for the non-gaming teen market. Whilst they may be attracted by those bits and dice, they are not going to play a game for 6 hours. This is why Memoir '44 and BattleLore are a hit with this group and War of the Ring (A better game on most counts) is mainly played by gamers.

My Suggestions for teen games aimed at the non-gaming sector are -

Betrayal at House on the Hill
Monsters Menace America
Risk
Nexus Ops
Memoir '44
BattleLore
Blood Feud in New York
Robo Rally
Blood Bowl

Girls are of course a completely different kettle of fish (in general) and if I talk in regards to the non-gaming fraternity then our passion can be a hard sell.

But in general you have to keep it to non-war (dice and mini's), short time frame and in my experience card games work best.

Recommendations

Lost Cities
Balloon Cup
Odin's Ravens
Caesar & Cleopatra
Hera & Zeus
Carcassonne
Settlers of Catan

(Mmm Kosmos are prevalent here)

Hope that helps.

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Jeff Brown
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cull wrote:
mrbeankc wrote:
Quote:
Some more interesting questions:

Is it possible to generalize about teens, to the point of saying “a majority of teens will like game X?”


No more than one would generalize about adults. When it comes to games I don't think you can say this is a good teenage game over this one. It all depends on the teen's interests. Some will like euros and some will like wargames. Some will like simulations and others abstracts. Just like adults.

Here's a thought experiment...

Imagine a room full of 14 year old boys. You bring in two tables, and set up games ready to play:

Table 1 has Doom, Pitchcar, Zombies and Nexus Ops.
Table 2 has Puerto Rico, Caylus, Power Grid, and Princes of Florence.

Are you saying the odds are the same that they will go to either table?


Running a High School game group I would say that 95% of all the boys if not more would run to table 1 easy.

When I first started the game group I tried hard to get them interested in Euros but they continually go the other way, so I just got a bunch of AT type games and play those with them now.

Epic Duel is still one of the most popular games
Star Wars miniatures is very popular now.
Heroscape was popular for a while before Star Wars Minis
Magic the Gathering is very popular.
Several of them like Munchkin
Wings of War comes out often

Other games I can get them to play include
Blue Moon
Nexus ops
Battleground Fantasy Warfare
Pitchcar comes out every once in a while.
Wizard Kings from time to time.

The kids love games with conflict in them.
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Rand Lemley
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As an older teen (I'm still 19), I like many different strategy games. I got into board gaming like many other people, through Settlers. It's a game that my younger brothers and I still play whenever we get together. We play with any expansion, though prefer Cities and Knights.

I've only recently gotten serious about gaming so I haven't played too many games. Of the ones I have played I enjoy:
Manila
Wallenstein
Shogun
Factory Fun
For Sale
Ticket to Ride
Elasund: The First City
Carcassone

My high school junior brother loves Manila. When I'm up for a marathon game we play Munchkin in its various forms.

For high schoolers and up, I don't think complexity is a real issue unless it's very very heavy. Any slightly humorous theme is a plus. Just a few words from a teen himself. Hope they help.
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Dr. Dam
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Yeah Zombies, I left that one off.
 
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Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
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Teenagers I've played with have liked these games:

Balderdash (if I'm correct that the Icelandic game Fimbulfamb is the same as this one...)
Bohnanza
Bang!
Catan
Mystery of the Abbey
Party & Co
Perudo (Liar's Dice)
Pirate's Cove

 
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Justin
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Quote:
Table 1 has Doom, Pitchcar, Zombies and Nexus Ops.

This would be the table I head straight for. More appealing, in my opinion.

Good luck!
Justin
 
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Todd Pytel
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Lots of good comments so far - I'll just echo a few, aimed at the American middle/high-school boy bracket. I spend lots of time with 15-year-olds...

Ameritrash! - Theme is good, bits are good. Euro elegance is not. I wasted a tremendous amount of time playing Blood Bowl when I was young, and had a blast doing it. I would have been all over Doom and maybe Arkham Horror had they been around.

Length - Nothing wrong with a long game, unless you're setting something up as an after-school thing and need to clear out at a reasonable time. When you're 13-14, there's not a whole lot to do.

Age - I can't see teenage boys getting very interested in Euro-type "adult" games until they're at least 16 or so. Fiddly rules are more fun than elegance. Certainly, there would be exceptions out there...

Conflict - Absolutely a good thing. Coop games could be OK too, especially in a role-playing type group. But none of that wishy-washy "we all do our own thing" Euro stuff.

Wargames - I think a lot of teen boys could actually get pretty into wargames, or at least semi-wargames. Rules complexity and game length are much less of an issue for them than for a lot of adults. However the conflict has to be "theme-y" enough. No obscure battles involving irregular units from countries they don't remember from history class. M44 would be perfect here. Bonaparte at Marengo, I think, would not. WWII in general is probably the best bet, with the middle ages after that. I could see certain members of my old group getting into ASL (Starter Kits at least), had we had someone to teach it to us.
 
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Arden Nelson Jr.
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I'm not a teen but I am a teacher and help run game groups with teenagers. I'll echo many of the games mentioned initially and in replies. I would add / confirm the following based on my experience:

Shadows Over Camelot, Memoir '44, Pirates Cove, Bohnanza, Citadels, Commands & Colors: Ancients, Mamma Mia! and Bang! have all been hits with the groups I work with. I would also say: Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and 10 Days in Africa. We have not played yet though some are eager to learn and try: Twilight Struggle, El Grande, Tigris and Euphrates, War of the Ring.
 
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marc lecours
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I run a high school game club and we play 2 types of games. Longer games on tuesday after school and short games (30 minutes or less)at lunch hours. The group has played about 60 different games over the last two years.

The most popular short games:
1. "du Balai" has been played the most. It is particularly popular with the girls but the boys like it too.
2. Hive
3. shocking roulette
4. Villa Paletti
5. Can't stop

Popular medium long games include:
1. Bang
2. Intrigue
3. Bohnanza
4. Magic the gathering

The most popular long games include the following(each has had their moment in the sun):

1. Shadows over Camelot
2. Twilight imperium 3
3. Diplomacy
4. Roborally
5. Mao
6. Fury of Dracula (which is presently the most popular long game)



 
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Bill
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In regards to games and teens, one thing to consider is whether you're looking to play with a group of teenagers or an individual teenager or two. Many teenagers (including my neice and nephew) would willingly sit in on fairly dry Eurogames or abstracts and have a good time. In a group, however, they would generally prefer something with more confrontation, trash talking etc. A game like Pitchcar or Crokinole is a blast to play with them. I have also had fun with Bang, Guillotine and I'm the Boss with students in classes that I teach. That's not to say that they wouldn't enjoy Alhambra, Puerto Rico or other games but it's probably not the best niche game for most teenagers.
 
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Mike Miller
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Twister. Definitely Twister.
 
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Tom Hancock
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Crokinole! Easy rules plus oddball enough not to seem too geeky.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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Shellhead wrote:
Twister. Definitely Twister.


When I walked into an 8th grade classroom carrying a copy of MapTangle (a cooperative Twister game -- i.e. everyone on the map can hold each other to prevent anyone from falling) earlier this year, one of the history teachers said "I must have that for my homeroom." Yeah, I thought, let's just retitle it "Kama Sutra."

Great thread! I've been thinking about trying to start an all-school game night. My daughter's school is split between two campuses -- the lower and middle schools are together and the high school is separate --without much interaction between them. I thought games might be a fun way to bridge the gap, but I haven't had a clear sense of what (if anything) would draw the HS'ers in and work well for mixed-age groups.
 
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Philip Thomas
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While I am not a teenager now, I once was (amazing isn't it?) and I ran a board games club which was entirely attended by fellow teenagers. Popular games were: Magic the Gathering: D&D: Warhammer 40,000, Princes of Florence, Samurai Swords, Settlers, Diplomacy...

Civilisation and Hispania both flopped. I should add that it was the same people playing most of this stuff, although the serious Magic players rarely tried anything else.

This was all before 2002.
 
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Any other games that have been especially successful with teenage girls? Maybe just the standard "gateway games"? Although I'm sure some would enjoy all the "boy" games here too...
 
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