Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
46 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Gaming with Kids

Subject: Cooperative Gaming for Kids rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ethan Fisher
Japan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey everyone. I am looking for some recommendations in the area of Cooperative board games for kids.

I have 3 sons who love to play board games. The two oldest can handle almost anything while the youngest is 3 and can only sit for about 15 min before being done.

So this request doesnt really have to include games for a 3-year-old (but bonus points if it does).

The older two are 8 and 6.

My son who is 8 can handle just about any game. Complexity is actually intriguing to him. While he likes some games more than others, he can handle any game we have. He really likes Memoir '44 and Seasons.

My second son can also handle just about any game, but has trouble with games that require a lot of reading. For this reason, games with lots of symbols work well for him. He loves 7 Wonders and Dice Forge (and usually wins both!!! ).

While my sons can play a variety of games, they often have trouble getting along (both in games and out).

For this reason I have become more and more interested in cooperative games. I want to teach my children to work together and enjoy the interaction with one another so that success comes from working together rather than dominating each other. I think games can do that, I just need some help finding the right ones.

Here are the cooperative games that we have and some thoughts about them. Then I would really appreciate your recommendations. Thanks!

Pandemic: My wife and I like this game a lot. But my sons are not big fans. Maybe the theme is uninteresting to them or the way one person sometimes tries to control a game. Whatever the reason, neither of them ever want to pull this one out.

Gloomhaven: I like this game a lot, and tried it with my 8 year-old. He liked it and wants to play it more but I think some of the themes are too dark for my kiddos. Demons and blood crazed cultists are not the kind of stuff I want to send my elementary-schoolers to bed with every night. Some day I will probably play this game with them.

The 7th Continent: I actually found this game when I was looking for a good coop for my family. The idea of doing a cooperative, choose your own path, survival adventure seemed fun (and it is). But, like the above game, some of the themes are just too dark for my sons. Bloody limbs and dead bodies are not the kind of gaming experience (or images) I want to fill my kids with. Again, someday I am sure we will enjoy this one together.

Spirit Island: I am interested in this game (we dont have it) but the requirement for reading ones own cards and skills means that it is not a good fit for my 6 year-old at this time. Also, some of the spirits do look a little creepy but I cant get a good feel for the game from the pictures I have seen. Let me know if you have some feedback on this game and kids.

If you know some good cooperative games for kids or cooperative games for adults (with benign themes) I would love your input.

Requirements:
Friendly Benign theme.
Symbols or minimal reading requirement (not including rules)
Difficulty level isn't really an issue.
Actually a fun game

(My sister in law, knowing we like games, got my boys some Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons Game and other games like this for kids. My 3 year-old likes them, but they don't do much for the rest of us. ^_~)

Thanks!





1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Leder
United States
Plainfield
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi there!

I have a 4 year old daughter who is desperately in love with HABA games and she requests to play their coop game Unicorn Glitterluck: A Party for Rosalie.

But if you’re looking for cooperative games for everyone in your family, I’d recommend Flash Point: Fire Rescue (great firefighter action!) and Mole Rats in Space (a wonderful family coop by Coop King Matt Leacock).
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
Wyoming
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here are some to check out:
Forbidden Island
The Mind
The Secret Door
Stack Up! (dexterity game that different players can play at different difficulty levels during the same game)
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
KB Shimmyo
United States
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Magic Maze - real-time with time limit
5-Minute Dungeon - real-time with time limit, still possible for dictatorial alpha player phenomenon (I've seen it)

Ghost Stories is very symbol-driven. Not as rich as the games you've listed, but maybe worth a try? You can handicap the difficulty by starting with more tokens (either qi or spell ingredients).


Could do team-based things like Codenames or Captain Sonar and have them on the same team, but then losing could result in one blaming the other for not doing the right thing.

Forbidden Desert can be fun, but it's in the same bucket as Pandemic as being extremely susceptible to any existing alpha-player tendencies.

Edit: +1 The Mind
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Glasgow
United States
Wadsworth
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nathanael Robinson
United States
Cary
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
IMO, a kid who is 8 or in 3rd grade is ready for light games, rather than games for young kids. There are still games that an 8 year old can play with younger siblings, but your son may be in the process of distinguishing himself from younger kids, and in school, his intellectual development is probably accelerating. Something like Flash Point Fire Rescue or the Forbidden Island games may bring all your children together, but you will want to think separately about how to appeal to your oldest.

If he does like Gloomhaven, perhaps find out why. Fantasy seems to be big with children's literature, and maybe that's why he wants to play it. There are other cooperative fantasy board games that might satisfy him, like the D&D board games put out by Wizkids (e.g. Wrath of Ashardalon or Temple of Elemental Evil). Or you might try introducing him to RPGs, allowing you to tailor the experience to his level.

Best of luck.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Young
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My kids ages 7 and 9 and I really liked
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Hanabi
Zombie Kidz Evolution
5-Minute Marvel, they liked this one, I didnt

I really don’t like Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert. My kids thought it was ok, but never asked to play it a second time. Just so boring.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue is better, we played it more, but I just don’t like Pandemic-type mechanics

I’m excited to try:
The Reckoners
Heroes of Terrinoth
The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth
Chronicles of Crime: Welcome to Redview
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
flag msg tools
You may want to look at trying Galaxy Defenders for your kids.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Taylor
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
My 8 year old and 6 year old really like Castle Panic
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brant Shepherd
United States
Tennessee
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I’d recommend Forbidden Desert for a good coop that has some neat mechanisms.

I LOVE Stuffed Fables and would highly recommend that as a dungeon crawl. No DM needed.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Kansiewicz
United States
Bellevue
Nebraska
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Forbidden Island +1
Hotshots
Hanabi +1
Forbidden Desert +1
Star Trek Panic
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Klitz
United States
California
flag msg tools
Cooperative storytelling game The Siblings Trouble is fun and the kids get to use their imaginations.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Garmon
United States
Panama City
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TomTaylorMLIS wrote:
My 8 year old and 6 year old really like Castle Panic

Came here to say the same. My 7 and 8 year olds love it. For co-op, they also enjoy Forbidden Island.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ethan Fisher
Japan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow! So many great idea. I had never heard of half of these games!

MantaScorp wrote:
But if you’re looking for cooperative games for everyone in your family, I’d recommend Flash Point: Fire Rescue (great firefighter action!) and Mole Rats in Space (a wonderful family coop by Coop King Matt Leacock).

Oh yeah! Forgot about that game. I saw that one not too long ago and wanted to give it a try. I am not sure if they will dig the theme but if the game play is enjoyable enough, it may not matter.

I have never heard of Mole Rats in Space and though the name kinda turns me off (sorry...) the game description actually seems pretty on target. Maybe I will have to give this one a try too.

GeoffreyB wrote:
You may want to look at trying Galaxy Defenders for your kids.

Actually, this looks exactly like something my 8 year old would be into. It looks like it requires a bit of reading so my 6 year old would have some trouble. But if he is interested he will probably just memorize most of what he can.

TomTaylorMLIS wrote:
My 8 year old and 6 year old really like Castle Panic

This game looks perfect. Though the cards have words, they also have pictures and are off a simple enough variety that my 6 year old could just memorize what they do.

You gave me so many other cool games to check out too. THANKS everyone!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ethan Fisher
Japan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bad Thoughts wrote:
IMO, a kid who is 8 or in 3rd grade is ready for light games, rather than games for young kids. There are still games that an 8 year old can play with younger siblings, but your son may be in the process of distinguishing himself from younger kids, and in school, his intellectual development is probably accelerating. Something like Flash Point Fire Rescue or the Forbidden Island games may bring all your children together, but you will want to think separately about how to appeal to your oldest.

If he does like Gloomhaven, perhaps find out why. Fantasy seems to be big with children's literature, and maybe that's why he wants to play it. There are other cooperative fantasy board games that might satisfy him, like the D&D board games put out by Wizkids (e.g. Wrath of Ashardalon or Temple of Elemental Evil). Or you might try introducing him to RPGs, allowing you to tailor the experience to his level.

Best of luck.

Thanks Nathanael. You are right on target. I spend a lot of time thanking about my Boys and how to connect with / help them.

My 8 year old son has always enjoyed playing our families 12+ games much more than those tailored toward younger kids. He really likes table top style games. We play Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game together and he really enjoys building a his own scenario in Memoir '44 and having me play through it with him. What he likes most is to make things and see other people play them. We love to make up games together and try to work out the rules so they are balanced and fun for everyone.

The modular board is actually one of the things he likes the most about Gloomhaven.

Recently he has taken to RPG maker and is determined to make his own RPG (I know, 8 right!?).

While I try to encourage (and I think it is good for his personality) to have some alone time doing stuff that helps him relax, he is EXTREMELY competitive. He hates losing and has been a pretty poor sport on a number of occasions. He even earned a 3 month board game ban after ranting (unjustly) for an hour after losing a game of Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure to his little brother.

He has been getting better about this, but often simply decides not to play with the rest of us, sets up his own game, and plays himself... and is very proud of winning... >_<

I want him to be able to find the joy of playing with other people. If he feels an overly competitive need to win, perhaps this could be focused into SUPPORTING his teammates to win rather than dominating them (or the dummy player he has been playing with recently)...

I have been a long-time (since 5th grade I think) fan of RPG's, especially in a group environment (D&D, Pathfinder and whatnot) and even MMO's for a number of years. Those are also good (with the right group), but a little above his siblings. I have made some simple story role-plays that we have done after story time in the evenings (usually related to real life events and stuff the kids are dealing with but with some super-powered fun (we made our own super powers) mixed in. But the little bros usually get pretty zany and they sometimes turn on each other...

Anyway. We live in Japan, and board games aren't a big thing in our area. So any gaming group is really just our family. ^_~

Thanks for your thoughts!


2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Williams
United States
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Agree with Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert, and Flashpoint.

I'd also recommend Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.

Happy playing!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Reiji Kobayashi
Japan
flag msg tools
I would say Forbidden Island is fairly close to Pandemic, so depending on what your kids don't like about the latter, the former may be a turn-off as well.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Olmsted Township
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If I may, I’d like to offer a different perspective. Co-op games do sound like a good option for your two boys to build comradery. Not that you weren’t planning to do this, but they also need to learn how to resolve conflict amicably as well. My point is I wouldn’t entirely insulate them from competitive games as they may offer learning opportunities as to how to resolve conflict more amicably. The competitive games may be less fun in the end, but they do offer a parent a teaching opportunity for conflict resolution. I’d just be sure to go into any competitive game with a plan to handle friction between your boys that teaches how to be a “good sport” win or lose. Both cooperation and conflict resolution are two life skills we parents can teach and instill in our kids.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kirk Roberts
United States
Jonesborough (will trade by mail)
TN
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Izaan wrote:
While I try to encourage (and I think it is good for his personality) to have some alone time doing stuff that helps him relax, he is EXTREMELY competitive. He hates losing and has been a pretty poor sport on a number of occasions. He even earned a 3 month board game ban after ranting (unjustly) for an hour after losing a game of Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure to his little brother.

He has been getting better about this, but often simply decides not to play with the rest of us, sets up his own game, and plays himself... and is very proud of winning... >_<

I want him to be able to find the joy of playing with other people. If he feels an overly competitive need to win, perhaps this could be focused into SUPPORTING his teammates to win rather than dominating them (or the dummy player he has been playing with recently)...
You probably already know this, but I'll put it out there anyway: when someone really, really, really wants to win and considers themself "good at games" that usually translates into them trying to "quarterback" or "alpha game" co-operative games. I think of it as when someone's desire to win overcomes their desire to let everyone take their own turn. So that will be something to look out for.

And in that light I highly recommend you prioritize cooperative games that help to mitigate the alpha-player issue. These are games that really can't be played solo. (And, sidebar, if you end up getting games that CAN be played solo you might want to ban solo play because if someone has experience controlling more than one player on their own that will transfer into wanting to control more than one player when another human is actually trying to control that player... i.e. alpha-gaming.)

Unfortunately, many/most of the games listed so far — while excellent in many ways — are susceptible to alpha-gaming because all the information is open and it can easily become a "focus group" exercise where one person can dominate every player's turn. You might want to check out this geeklist: Co-ops that are IMPOSSIBLE to play solo

Also, counter-point regarding Pandemic / Forbidden Island / Forbidden Desert ... I find the theme and modular/dynamic "tile board" of Island / Desert to be fascinating while I would actively avoid Pandemic because of the theme and static board. You never know what will strike someone's fancy.

In addition to a game like Stuffed Fables you may also want to consider "one vs. many" games, especially since that opens up some "dungeon crawl" type games like Descent and Catacombs that may hold appeal.

Good luck. I am jealous that your kids are interested in board games! (nature or nurture, mine actively avoid them)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alexandre Santos
Belgium
Brussels
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Whoowasit? is a game that worked well for the age spread you are dealing with. It's a deduction game + memory, where the ghost chases the players. The youngest won't contribute a lot to the resolution, but can be considered like an additional handicap

The only caveat is if the kids are afraid of ghosts, which happened despite the cute appearance.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh
United States
flag msg tools
CHA was my dump stat
badge
Snob of the People
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I absolutely worship Spirit Island, and it is hands down my single favorite game from the last few years.

It is not appropriate for children.

I suspect that different families would vary widely about the appropriateness of the theme. It is inherently about vengeful spirits. While there is nothing gory or overtly demonic, the theme tends towards horror.

The reason it’s not appropriate is that is a very heavy game. I think there’s the assumption that cops are going to be somewhat light, but Spirit Island is a complicated game with a lot of complex interlocking mechanisms. There is also a lot of in-game text, often requiring complex logic to decode. The if-then chains required to play this game can be daunting.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
You said they don't enjoy Pandemic, but what about Pandemic Legacy: Season 1? I didn't love Pandemic, but playing a legacy game is so much fun. And while yes sometimes one person can seem to dominate in telling people what to do, I feel like that can also be mitigated by making sure that everyone agrees or their voices are heard before making a final decision (at least for when things are more critical). It's really fun to work together and record your games, open boxes and get exciting things, reveal stickers and new rules etc.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kirk Roberts
United States
Jonesborough (will trade by mail)
TN
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Octopusmountain wrote:
It's really fun to work together and record your games, open boxes and get exciting things, reveal stickers and new rules etc.
The aforementioned Zombie Kidz Evolution is really great at exactly this and is far cheaper, far simpler, and far less of a time investment (all for better or worse).

Edit: it's also far smaller. And I should mention that while it is appropriate for younger kids the puzzley aspect of it was catnip to adults when I took it on an extended family vacation recently. And individual games are SHORT. It's worth checking out, at least.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ethan Fisher
Japan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MrMzchf wrote:
If I may, I’d like to offer a different perspective. Co-op games do sound like a good option for your two boys to build comradery. Not that you weren’t planning to do this, but they also need to learn how to resolve conflict amicably as well. My point is I wouldn’t entirely insulate them from competitive games as they may offer learning opportunities as to how to resolve conflict more amicably. The competitive games may be less fun in the end, but they do offer a parent a teaching opportunity for conflict resolution. I’d just be sure to go into any competitive game with a plan to handle friction between your boys that teaches how to be a “good sport” win or lose. Both cooperation and conflict resolution are two life skills we parents can teach and instill in our kids.

Yeah. I completely agree. If I want them to be able to swim, they will have to get into the water.

I have found that (and I know this isn’t something new) my children more often adopt from me what they see and hear me DOING rather than what I tell them.

For this reason I always try to consciously model for them a good and encouraging attitude in all situations. Getting excited when anyone gets a good roll or congratulating someone for a good play.

Recently, when we finish a game (win or lose) we give feed back to each other. “Wow, that was a lot stronger than I thought it would be.” “I think you won the game right here, when you decided to do this.” “What would you do differently next time?”

Around the game table and in life, our family’s rule is that, “People are more important than the game.”

My hope is that we can use games to grow closer to each other, make new friends, learn more about ourselves, and nurture many of the skills they will benefit from for their whole lives (such as cooperation and conflict resolution).
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Somerton
Australia
North Ryde - Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
badge
I don't play to win - I play for enjoyment and social interaction.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zombie Kidz Evolution - definitely. Quick, addictive and with legacy elements that make the game a compulsion.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   |