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Subject: "Real" games that little kids can play rss

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Perry Fergin
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I've got kids with a wide range of ages. My older ones can play "real" games, like Small World. My 3- and 5-year-olds can't. They could probably play Candy Land, but my older kids, (and me,) wouldn't enjoy it much.

Are there any games younger kids can participate in even without understanding the dynamics of the game? I'm looking for something my older kids will enjoy and be able to play strategically, while the younger kids can feel like they're playing with the big kids.

For example, my younger kids can play Sushi Go! even without understanding the game; they understand the "pick a card, pass the deck" pretty well. They lose, but I can have a strategic game with my older kids while the younger ones still feel part of the game.

I recently tried Martian Dice with limited success.

Any other ideas?

Thanks!
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Nestor Ivanor
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Hmmmm. Dexterity games might work best. They aren't the most strategic but at least they are fun. Try The Magic Labyrinth or Ice Cool some other more strategic games you can take a look at are Sleeping Queens and Kingdomino.
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Dave VanderArk
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My four (almost five) year old played Frank's Zoo with us. That's a climbing game, with cute animals on the cards. The higher up the food chain, the more powerful the animal on the card. She understood the game well enough to card count the elephants.

Fast forward 12 years, and she picked up Tichu in a heartbeat. That's a climbing game, and it's pretty complex.

She's now 21 and routinely kicks my butt at Tichu. And other games. Plus she drinks my beer without asking. My advice is not to teach them any games, so you don't run out of beer.
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Jerold Wallis

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Though I've not tried it with a young child, what about
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/130176/tales-games-hare-...
The Hare & the Tortoise

It is very light, weight 1.4/5, yet ranked at about 100 in family games. But it is listed as age 7 and over.

Young children could still root for their animals, even if they did not get the (minor)strategy component.

JW
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Angeline B.
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The age difference is tough, it's crazy how much kids change in just a few years!

I second The Magic Labyrinth, Sleeping Queens, and Kingdomino.

Take a look at Battle Sheep, they probably won't win but the older children can be strategic. Also try Ticket to Ride, I love the Original but I have heard great things about Ticket to Ride: First Journey (U.S.). If anything why don't you offer to have them "help" you or the other children play and you can walk them through your decisons to get that thought process rolling. Good luck! meeple
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Walt
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Unnamed Object (2-8p) Nicely, one player can act essentially as gamemaster so younger players only have to decide whether to push their luck or not.

For a little older, For Sale (3-6p) has a similar property, so most players just decide whether to stay in the auction (or what to bid in the second auction).

In either case, all the scoring awards can easily be done by the gamemaster so the players can concentrate on the game. (The GM can play, too, in both cases.)
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Mark Edwards
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Maybe look into

Viva Topo!

Loopin' Louie

Hey Froggy!


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J. Gibson
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I have had success with a 4-yr-old playing forbidden island (and zombie dice, if you don't mind the theme).
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Amy Ash
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Some games that worked well for my boys at 3 and 5:

Dungeon!
Get Bit
Carcassonne (usually without farmers, and they loved it with the Princess and Dragon expansion)

I think we started playing Castle Panic and Citadels around 4 and 6. Champions of Midgard and Star Realms worked soon after.
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Henry Richards
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UNO
Carcassonne (House rules for the meeples)
Outfoxed! is a kids game but fine for adults so worth a try
Animal Upon Animal a lot of people recommend but our kids can't balance well yet.
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Henry Richards
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Bugs in the Kitchen is a kids game but my wife and I will play 1 vs 1 against each other while its out so it can be fun.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Sequence
Sorry!
Monopoly
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Paul Evans
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Also - don't underestimate kids.

In my experience attention span is the main barrier to entry (rather then comprehension). A 5 year old can definitely play rich deep games if you are willing to play at their speed - explaining option, letting them make decisions, and stopping when it gets too much.

Recommendations:

3-yo
- carcassonne, without scoring
- any memory game

5-yo
- carcassonne
- ticket-to-ride
- catan junior
- ra
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Amy Ash
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I forgot to mention that Dixit is also a game that works well with the younger ones (they just need to pick a card). It's been fun to watch my boys get more subtle and sophisticated with their clues as they grow older.
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S P
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Lots of good suggestions so far. Animals on Board has gone over well with my kids (4 and 6) as well because they like collecting the sets of animals. The rules are very simple and it plays pretty quickly too.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Hey, That's My Fish! worked well for my 4-year old.
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Stephen Caviness
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I have both 4 and 7 year old girls. The 7 year old plays and enjoys Carcasonne, Forbidden Island (with a little help), Ticket to ride, Qwirkle, Sushi Go, Builders Antiquity, Monopoly Deal, Dixit, and Wits and Wagers (Family Edition). I would count all of these as "real" games. She also enjoys playing things like Candy Land, Bellz, Pretty Princess, and whatnot, but I won't count those

Her favorites BY FAR are Wits and Wagers and Dixit, with Dixit probably being #1. Our 4 year old likes being part of these games too. She does a decent job playing Dixit. Sometimes her clues are pretty obvious and her votes are random, but she does okay for the most part. In Wits and Wagers we let her write some random numbers (she can write up to 10) on the card and put out some random votes. 99% of the time her answer and votes don't make any sense, but she's having fun and it doesn't usually interfere with the rest of us.
Qwirkle, we just give her a few of the blocks to play with and she's usually content.
All of the card based games she's content to have her own set of cards to play with which usually consists of sorting them into piles off to the side.
Ticket to Ride she loves to place our trains down for us. We hand her the correct amount and tell her where they go and she does great.

These are only some of the things I can think of right now. Hope it gives you some ideas.
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Jason Winter
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Catan dice game, is great.
Poo the card game, is a fun one too.
Maybe Skyline.
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Ryan Witt
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Gulo Gulo is the game we had the most fun with when my children were younger. Simple to understand and children do well with small fingers.
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Jessica Eccles
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My 7 year old and I have enjoyed playing fabled fruit while the younger two "play" too.
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Virginia M.P.
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How about Camel Up?
It's recommended for ages 8 and up, but there's a great video of David Minken's (Connect More) very young kids playing.
https://boardgamegeek.com/video/56427/camel/table-top-view-3...
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Ian Bennetts
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I introduced my young nephews to Carcassonne (without farmers) and Forbidden Island.

Both went down well but the older child still saw Forbidden Island as a competitive game and chose to acquire treasures rather than shore up tiles ... we lost.

The younger child then asked for a copy of Carcassonne for his 6th birthday.
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Bingo Longholes

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I am not 100% sure what you mean by real games. I assume you mean the ones that allow to make decisions. We avoid dexterity games, because the older kid will always win.

Here is a list of games that my 5 year old loves and has played since she was 3. We've played many more but these stick out because of repeated plays and fun factor with kids.

Little Orchard Co-operative game of memory.

Three Little Pigs Build houses made of brick, wood, straw, with Yahtzee style dice.

Outfoxed Co-operative deduction game.

Loopin' Louie Just can't go wrong with Louie.

Dominoes Many different iterations. We received Little Prince Dominoes as a gift, which are over-sized cardboard tiles and feature images instead of pips.

The Enchanted Tower All against one. Kind of tricky at first.




Games she plays now with 8 year old:

Fuji Flush Trying to replace Uno with this. It's really fun.

Meow A bluffing game.

Roll For It Dice management. Rolling dice is fun!

Lion Guard Balancing short term and long term goals.

The Heroes of Kaskaria Balancing collections for maximum pay out. Still working on this one.

Dino Race Cute, and sometimes mean, racing game.
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mister lee
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Leo
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lampeter
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I wrote a ton, but then my 3 year old deleted it; go figure. Here's the abbreviated version:

Tsuro: even the 3 year old can handle this

Forbidden Island: easy to make easier for 5 year old (increase hand size, set difficulty lower than novice), 3 year old participates by matching cards to tiles and flipping tiles, usually wanders off halfway through, but I just pick up her turn

Yardmaster Express: like UNO with a bit of drafting

Carcassonne: sans farmers

Sequence: kind of fun to play in teams, me & younger kid vs. Oldest kid and younger kid

Amber Route: this is pretty, involves fighting monsters or fleeing peril (dice!) And is easy to walk a kid through their turns and present them with simple choices. Also, the track is made of puzzle-type pieces, and you can make it nice and short.

Baker's Dozen is an older version of Poison with a doughnut theme! Doughnut shaped cards! The 5 year old needs some help with the math; the 3 year old just plays a card, and I resolve it
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