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Subject: Recommendations for 4-year-old who hates "kids" games rss

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Arlyn Janssen
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So I have a ton of HABA/Peaceable Kingdom/Blue Orange/Ravensburger kids' games. My son is now 9, but he loved them when he was younger and I've kept them around for my daughter who is now almost 5. She's played most of them, but the problem is ... she hates them. I don't know what the hangup is, sometimes she is able to articulate why she doesn't like a particular game, but as a category, she just usually flat out refuses to play.

She also doesn't like cooperative games ... she wants to be declared the winner ... or feign indignation (which is hilarious) at the victor if it's not her.

What she does like, though, are "grown up" games. Anything not on the kids shelves (which has had me recategorizing a bit just to see if there's something psychological going on there). So far Rise of Augustus, The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet, 6 nimmt!, maybe a few others. What works really well if there is one action on her turn and it's often repeated. Augustus, you just place a dude, take a new card when it's full. Little Prince you just take a tile. I don't have a lot of other games like that I can think of, so I wonder if there are any recommendations here? Also, a bonus with the games above, if the 3 of us (my wife, son and I) ignore her, she can sometimes win ... so games that allow somewhat directable interaction perhaps? And another key factor is either open information (As in the case of Augustus or Little Prince) or where the information doesn't matter (6 nimmt).

Any ideas?
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Mary T.
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Maybe one of the Carcassonnes. Over Hill and Dale is a nice one. Also, Zooloretto Junior, which, I suppose, may be a problem because it says "Junior" on it, but it used to just be called "Zooloretto Mini".
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Thomas Decru
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Perhaps Carcassonne or My First Carcassonne? Quite repetitive game: lay a tile every turn and put a meeple if you want to. Not sure if the original is great for a five year old. Matching road tiles to road tiles etc. should not be a problem I'm guessing, but I would definitely remove the farmers. The three of you can easily ignore her strategy and try and block/conquer each other.
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Jaleen Hu
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I was going to suggest Rise of Augustus, which sounds like you have. I would have gone for coop games too to be able to play at higher difficulty without worries that he won't be able to read cards.

So thinking through our competitive games, this is what I would suggest that would be playable by a 4 year old, maybe still with a little help

Dragonwood
Labyrinth
Tsuro of the Seas
Rumble in the House
Lanterns
Kingdomino
The Climbers
Sushi Go
Blokus
King of Tokyo

Magic Labyrinth - this can be a challenge from a memory standpoint
Super Vampire - though this requires some dexterity so it depends on how much control he has
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James
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I'd advise against My First games - they'll play a couple of times then want to expand to the full version. Instead get the full game and remove some rules for the first few plays.

For example Carcassonne, just play without the Farmer til they're ready.
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Laszlo Molnar
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I guess she has problems with kiddish-looking games while her brother plays 'grown-up' games. So probably games aimed at 5-6-year-olds also work if they look grown-up enough...
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P.D. Magnus
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Through the Desert has very simple turns, and it is easy to make a legal play. She probably won't be able to do well, but she'd be able to play.

It's also worth noting that I've played a lot of Animal Upon Animal with adult gamers. This 'gamer variant' makes a huge difference: When rolling a 'crocodile', you must rotate the crocodile 90 degrees instead of placing an animal. You may use two hands for rotating the crocodile.
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Eric Etkin
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Spamz wrote:
Perhaps Carcassonne or My First Carcassonne? Quite repetitive game: lay a tile every turn and put a meeple if you want to. Not sure if the original is great for a five year old. Matching road tiles to road tiles etc. should not be a problem I'm guessing, but I would definitely remove the farmers. The three of you can easily ignore her strategy and try and block/conquer each other.

My First Carcassonne is great. Colorful, inviting, and it provides basics leading into the adult version. I've had great success with this one with my semi-game adverse daughter and always recommend it. You can also easily play it co-op, in that the goal is simply to place all the meeples.
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David Sellars
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I have a similar issue with my recently 5 year old daughter who seems to have outgrown the "kiddies" games

Go Nuts for Donuts imho is better at this age than Sushi Go but they both get used. +1 for Kingdomino - we play this a lot at the moment!

Also, perhaps Hive?

I'm thinking of starting her on Ticket to Ride and Catan although she may need a more patience to see through a complete game perhaps.

Good luck... 5 seems to be an awkward age until they get better at reading the list of games seems a little restricted.
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Billy McBoatface
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If you're willing to get creative with the rules you can make pretty much any game appropriate for a 4+ year old. Here's a session report of Railroad Tycoon (Railways of the World) vs. my 5 year old daughter.
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April W
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Definitely thinking of Carcassonne. I haven't tried my first Carc, but that's probably good too.

Sushi Go! would also be a nice fit. My 3 1/2 year old is almost able to grasp the concept, but doesn't quite play with all the rules yet.

Also Santorini is one my 6-year-old niece enjoyed (without the ability cards) along with her older brothers.
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Arlyn Janssen
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mevitale wrote:
Maybe one of the Carcassonnes. Over Hill and Dale is a nice one. Also, Zooloretto Junior, which, I suppose, may be a problem because it says "Junior" on it, but it used to just be called "Zooloretto Mini".

We haven't loved Carcassonne as a family ... I had it for a couple years and ended up selling it. But I did find Over Hill and Dale cute and pleasant enough. It's a great suggestion and fits my criteria perfectly, so maybe ,...

jellojt38 wrote:
I was going to suggest Rise of Augustus, which sounds like you have. I would have gone for coop games too to be able to play at higher difficulty without worries that he won't be able to read cards.

So thinking through our competitive games, this is what I would suggest that would be playable by a 4 year old, maybe still with a little help

Dragonwood
Labyrinth
Tsuro of the Seas
Rumble in the House
Lanterns
Kingdomino
The Climbers
Sushi Go
Blokus
King of Tokyo

Magic Labyrinth - this can be a challenge from a memory standpoint
Super Vampire - though this requires some dexterity so it depends on how much control he has

We've played Magic Labyrinth, which I've had on the kids shelf and is one I'm trying to "creatively" shift so she doesn't have that association. She's legitimately good at that game. Tsuro is one I could have mentioned above as she happily plays that and thinks it's hilarious when she kamikazes into another player. I wouldn't have thought about Sushi Go!, but we could definitely try that one tonight. I'll look into the other suggestions, for sure!

pmagnus wrote:
Through the Desert has very simple turns, and it is easy to make a legal play. She probably won't be able to do well, but she'd be able to play.

It's also worth noting that I've played a lot of Animal Upon Animal with adult gamers. This 'gamer variant' makes a huge difference: When rolling a 'crocodile', you must rotate the crocodile 90 degrees instead of placing an animal. You may use two hands for rotating the crocodile.

Through the Desert would have never crossed my mind, but I've had it on my radar anyway. I think I'll like it, even if it doesn't work for her.

We've played Animal Upon Animal a lot. A lot, a lot. Then she just decided that she's done with the square yellow box.
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J Ginsbu
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My younger daughter just turned 6 and her favorite game is Patchwork. She also really likes Love Letter, Circus Flohcati, Santorini, and Dr. Eureka.
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Andy Leighton
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Pick Picknic might work for that age.
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Virginia P.
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Maybe Ticket to Ride: First Journey (U.S.), even if you have to simplify the gameplay a little bit?
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Geoffrey Burrell
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You may want to try a game like Sequence.
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Keith Kansiewicz
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I would definitely look into Tile Placement games. Tsuro, Metro, Carcassonne, and Castles of Caladale come to mind.
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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Kingdomino
Hey, That's My Fish!
Go Nuts for Donuts
Bakong
Blokus
Marrakech
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Göran
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Our daughter is turning 5 the next week. You already got loads of advice and I want to second some and bring in a new or two.

Carcassonne is a great tip. We have played it successful with the exclusion of farmers the last year or so.

Patchwork our daughter recently won her first gsme in (with the standard rules but non offensive gaming from my partners part).

Cottage Garden, though its tougher than Patchwork it would accompany the sibling and full family. Rulebook have handicap rules for kids.

Mice n mystic. Requires assistance but since its coop and telling a story we have had fun with it. Though I realise you didn't want co-op...

Sushi Go and Tsuro are tips I would believe in. We are discussing getting KingDomino as a birthday gift.
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Paula T
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My daughter is 5.5 and at the moment she says her favourite game is Survive: Escape from Atlantis! - I think she is excited by the story. However, we play it quite cooperatively which is a little boring for me!

Amongst her favourites are Patchwork, Labyrinth and Leo though that's a co-op and art is a bit childish. She'll play Sushi Go! but her strategy is based on what she likes eating! Instead of Patchwork you could try Bärenpark as the whole family could play.

My next games to try with my daughter are Santorini and Ticket to Ride: First Journey (U.S.).

Games that so far have been a miss are Hive and Carcassonne. But children are very different.
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Andrew S.
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Tsuro
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Sarah
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Hi there

My daughter was the same and little prince is still one of our favs. Obviously some of them she couldn't play optimally for a while but she was unaware of this as more hidden depth lol.

Other included:
Carcassonne over hill and dale - more intuitive for kids.
incan gold/diamant
crossing
Tales and games the tortoise and the hare (others in this series too)
survive escape from atlantis - intuitive actions and components
birds of a feather
escape from the hidden castle (about to be reprinted but I had got the german 2015 edition and downloaded english rules here).
loony quest
terror in meeple city

Most of these are enjoyed by her even now at 7 and older kids and adults so I'm sure they'd work fine.

Other games both her and my neice liked even though more children's were
Spinderella (great novelty factor)
The enchanted tower
ravensburger labyrinth
rhino hero
pictureka (more fun than spot it/dobble imo)

If your one is closer to five - she liked these not long after turning five but didn't have them beforehand:
beasty bar
Karuba - pretty sure this would have been fine earlier
dead mans draw (captain carcass version)
river dragons
Get bit
king of tokyo - worked but didn't like as doesn't like dice much lol!

Her favourite after this was downfall of pompeii which looks very adult but need patience for the first half!

we kind of like it but rarely comes out but if want something more euroey and intuitive, mine could play garden dice at 5 - just mostly buying a seed, planting it, watering it and harvesting??

Tsuro could work but she finds it boring - maybe a similar newer one called slide blast will have a more appealing theme? I keep meaning to try indigo as would suit us much better and it's got gems!

Castles of caladale and kingdomino would likely work also as mentioned.

I didn't get it until she was older but she should be able to play along to dream home possibly???

pyramid of pengqueen is due to be released very soon might be okay as all against one.

Good luck finding the right games
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Arlyn Janssen
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SaggyUK wrote:
Hi there

My daughter was the same and little prince is still one of our favs. Obviously some of them she couldn't play optimally for a while but she was unaware of this as more hidden depth lol.

Other included:
Carcassonne over hill and dale - more intuitive for kids.
incan gold/diamant
crossing
Tales and games the tortoise and the hare (others in this series too)
survive escape from atlantis - intuitive actions and components
birds of a feather
escape from the hidden castle (about to be reprinted but I had got the german 2015 edition and downloaded english rules here).
loony quest
terror in meeple city

Most of these are enjoyed by her even now at 7 and older kids and adults so I'm sure they'd work fine.

Other games both her and my neice liked even though more children's were
Spinderella (great novelty factor)
The enchanted tower
ravensburger labyrinth
rhino hero
pictureka (more fun than spot it/dobble imo)

If your one is closer to five - she liked these not long after turning five but didn't have them beforehand:
beasty bar
Karuba - pretty sure this would have been fine earlier
dead mans draw (captain carcass version)
river dragons
Get bit
king of tokyo - worked but didn't like as doesn't like dice much lol!

Her favourite after this was downfall of pompeii which looks very adult but need patience for the first half!

we kind of like it but rarely comes out but if want something more euroey and intuitive, mine could play garden dice at 5 - just mostly buying a seed, planting it, watering it and harvesting??

Tsuro could work but she finds it boring - maybe a similar newer one called slide blast will have a more appealing theme? I keep meaning to try indigo as would suit us much better and it's got gems!

Castles of caladale and kingdomino would likely work also as mentioned.

I didn't get it until she was older but she should be able to play along to dream home possibly???

pyramid of pengqueen is due to be released very soon might be okay as all against one.

Good luck finding the right games

Carcassonne: Over Hill and Dale. This has been recommended specifically enough times that I intend to try it. Luckily I have a friend who owns a copy, so I can borrow it for a bit, I'm sure.

Diamant. I already have this on my list. I'm particularly attracted to the new Iello version.

Tales and Games. I've bought some of these as gifts for my nieces and nephews! I might still have one or two in the garage (I occasionally pick one up for my "gift pile" if I ever find them on clearance).

Escape from the Hidden Castle. We have the Midnight Party version, but we already play this quite a bit. She loves it and it's a great example of what I'm looking for.

Crossing. I like the idea of a bluffing game ... because it's hard to guess what chaos a 4-year-old will introduce! This also looks small and, possibly, cheap?

Spinderella. She used to like this, but is sadly among those she is "too big for now". Ditto Rhino Hero and every HABA game.

We already have Karuba, Beasty Bar and King of Tokyo. I had thought of Karuba (but my brother-in-law has it in another state at the moment), but not the others. It's been fun to get some suggestions of games that we already have that I just wouldn't have thought of (Sushi Go! was another further up).
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Sarah
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The tortoise and the hare is definitely the best of the tales and games series and we love this game as do many adults. The others I would say are more children than family style. She couldn't play with strategy but she thought she could play as basically playing animal cards to move an animal - she learnt the strategy the more she played so all good

I would highly recommend this game and birds of a feather and survive as we still play all these years later and will for some time!

Yeah my niece loves spinderella but yes, my daughter not so much.

In king of tokyo, It's not difficult to just say what the cards are as they come out.

With Beasty bar, i used imagery of the animals to try and explain to her what they do - so the hippo for example, I said she bounces everyone out of the way with her stomach! She soon caught on to the not so obvious ones.

For a game similar-ish to midnight party, you could try Fearsome Floors as this has replaced midnight party for us now - I'm sure this could work?

Edit - crossing is a lot of fun and she can't resist anything with jewels lol! Doesn't come out quite so often as others but enough. Another simple bluffing game might be cockroach poker but crossing was definitely more easily understood as more physical?
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Sarah
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Oh and Room 25 was a kind of adult version of labyrinth she started to play at some point when she was five. You pre-select two basic movement actions then play them out and you're basically trying to find the exit through a load of dangerous tiles with poison rooms etc which move around like labyrinth. If you know the rules well enough and guide her through it, it might be easy for her to play along. When I play with three, I play one or two characters against my mum and daughter who play one each in a team and we didn't play with the unique character powers (although I think this is part of the expansion. 9 yr old should like it too. You can play hidden traitor (would have been too much) or fully co-op too. Depends on how you feel about the content but nothing too bad and you don't have to read out the intro as to why the characters are in there in the first place. Just say horrible place you have to escape?

You need the Room 25: Season 2 to make it a much better game for adults and to add a lot more fun but the basic will do for your purposes.
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