Brian Fiore
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Given that a lot of Recommended Ages are skewed by CPSC (Child Safety Testing Rules), what other factors do you use the most to determine what is age appropriate in terms of complexity and mechanisms (not theme). Do you rely on reviewers/previewers, how to play videos, play time, other factors?



 
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Brad Miller
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Theme and subject matter would be far more important to me. Mechanics never presented problems for my kids.

Admittedly, there are games with lots of fiddly exception-type rules that I might not go for with young kids, but, you can judge your kids abilities better than a publisher.

And quit slagging on CPSC. One child who doesn't choke to death is more important than an accurate age recommendation...
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Nathanael Robinson
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Taxbane wrote:
Given that a lot of Recommended Ages are skewed by CPSC (Child Safety Testing Rules), what other factors do you use the most to determine what is age appropriate in terms of complexity and mechanisms (not theme). Do you rely on reviewers/previewers, how to play videos, play time, other factors?




Theme is not negligible when figuring out whether a game is too complex for your child. A theme that appeals to a child serves as motivation to learn and master the game. I give the example that my son was playing Tide of Iron (which BGG users weigh as 3.50) when he was eight years old because of the strength of the theme and the visual presentation. Perhaps a more significant factor is play time or the number of different types of components. A game that is too long or which provides too many choices (cards, chits, etc.) may become overwhelming.

Separately, I think that game choices need to be made with some understanding of a child's cognitive abilities and generally how they organize their time. Now that my son is 12 and many of his evenings are filled up with extracurriculars, I find that the medium weight games, the sort of hour long affairs that we used to play during the week, are being ignored, and he prefers longer games on the weekend that are more like a project to play.
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Peter Schott
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Roanoke
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I look at a variety of things. The kid's interest, ease of handling bits, time, depth, whether they can grasp the basics, etc. Some reviewers do reviews with kids in mind, but Youtube's changes recently may reduce the ones featuring kids. (not necessarily bad changes, but I think that discouraged Dan and Nora from continuing their segment)

HABA makes good games for kids with ages that are pretty close to normal target age ranges. But it depends. Let them join in with open hands and such and guidance and they will likely want to play. Theme does factor in a little for me there because if the art isn't kid friendly, I'll pass on that until they're older. Or if I have to explain terms to them that they aren't really ready for. Rare, but that does come up.

I hear you on the CPSC ratings, though. I remember smaller companies folding because they couldn't afford the testing when that was released so companies just put the minimum age and move on. Yes, Child safety is important so I see the point behind it, but wonder if it could have been less heavy handed for smaller toy makers to be able to stay in business somehow while still keeping safety standards. And it does lead to artificial age inflation for some things when the businesses really can't afford that testing and stay in business. (not just trying to save a buck - that's different)
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Chris Stanton
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Playtime is a major factor for my children.

My 3 year old doesn't really get games that do the same thing on multiple rounds, particularly if there's scoring done- Scoring must mean it's the end of the game (Sushi Go! was particularly notable for this)

My 6 year old is okay with games up to 30 minutes-ish. Much more than that & she finds it too long


I tend to ignore manufacturer's age recommendations as I am aware of the (necessary) testing issue.
I find the community recommended age much closer to how things are - given children brought up n a game-playing household (Manufacturer's might be a better guide for those completely new to the hobby)
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jos horst
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Quote:

Theme is not non-negligible when figuring out whether a game is too complex for your child.
I think you probably got confused here yourself.
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Nathanael Robinson
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hojoh wrote:
Quote:

Theme is not non-negligible when figuring out whether a game is too complex for your child.
I think you probably got confused here yourself.

Here's proof I need to stop responding to things when I am on my phone.
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Sarah
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Taxbane wrote:
Given that a lot of Recommended Ages are skewed by CPSC (Child Safety Testing Rules), what other factors do you use the most to determine what is age appropriate in terms of complexity and mechanisms (not theme). Do you rely on reviewers/previewers, how to play videos, play time, other factors?





I always watch the play through videos - to check if not too much but moreso to see whether it's a game she'll actually like as she prefers competitive/interactive games. Not really fussed about theme unless it's really hardcore 18+ type stuff or whatnot and never bother looking at the age on the box as often irrelevant. Length is not an issue either but might discount anything reaching towards 3 hours
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Anitra Smith
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As a reviewer, I always try to address if the age recommendation on the box matches our experience. There's a lot wrapped up in that: ability to follow complex instructions, reading level, knowledge of the world, ability to look ahead (for scoring or for optimal moves), etc.

I mean, my 4 year old can play Go Nuts for Donuts (recommended 8+), but has a tough time with Pyramid of Pengqueen (also 8+). Why is that? Neither requires him to read - but the combination of needing to wait his turn in Pengqueen, and the temptation to reveal what should be kept secret, just proves to be a little too much for him.

My 8 year old does really well with strategic games - often rated 10+ or 12+ - as long as they don't make him change plans too rapidly (ie. be completely blocked off from that plan by another player). My 10 year old can play those if we ask her to, but usually prefers lighter games.

And don't completely discount theme! We tried Chronicles of Crime as a couple, and really enjoyed it, but the 12+ recommendation is there because of the theme. It would be playable much younger, but only if you're OK with your kids investigating murders, kidnapping, fraud, and drug rings.
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Nate Straight

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Immediacy/concreteness of goals and clarity of look-ahead.
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