Bulldozers
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I just wanted to pick the game communitie's collective brain and see what kind of good experiences gamers have had in initiating children to games. I have twins that are 20 months and am anticipating reliving some of the "old time" favs with them. For example, Rock em sockem robots, Don't Break the Ice, Ker Plunk, Old Maid (snicker), and others.

Last year as I was straining at the bit, I picked up a game on the advise of my near by game store owner at "The Game Escape". The one I picked up was Gulo Gulo. It looks promising, and other threads have endorsed it well. The games I own are mostly war games and some euro, not inclined toward kids, so I would like to begin aquiring some games they could have a blast with.

Thanks
btw Happy Halloween!!



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Chris Tannhauser
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San Diego
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Don't Break the Ice was a huge hit when my kids were little--very small children can 'play' it and none of the pieces are a choking hazard. Don't worry about enforcing the actual rules--it's more about turn-taking and simply whacking the hell out of it. But it's a start. Kerplunk was also a fave. Best of luck to you & happy gaming!
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Billy McBoatface
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At 20 months your kids *MAY* be ready for Go Away Monster. My younger daughter was playing that at 18 months. It's noncompetitive, so it's really more an activity than a game, but it teaches how to take turns and it teaches the idea of working towards a goal. Also, from there you can move on to Monkey Madness, which is very similar but is a "play to win" game.

Gulo Gulo is great, but wait at least a year before showing it to them!
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Scott A. Reed
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Snails Pace Race is also one that is frequently brought up for the very little. It's non-competetive (unless someone has a favorite colored snail), and teaches colors and turn-taking.
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Hammock Backpacker
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Don't listen to the naysayers. My kids could play Caylus at 3 and a half months. At 20 months, I'd say whip out Twilight Imperium III and make them play. Good times to be had by all!



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Jon W
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We started with peek-a-boo, I think, but it may have been coochie-coo. Either way, worked out decently for all involved.

Seriously, wait. There will be new games every year, I'm sure some of which will be brilliant. You'll know when your kids are ready.
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Robert M
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In stead of Ker Plunk, you could try Tumblin' Monkeys
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Guy Riessen
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20 months--playing with bits. If your twins aren't the type to put everything in their mouths, kids love playing with all sorts of game bits. our daughter loved, dumping the Ticket to Ride trains out of their baggies and sorting them, setting them up in long lines. Chicken Cha Cha Cha was a hit from 1 yo, with lots of play with the chickens, their tail feathers, and the very sturdy cardboard pieces. Clue: 50th Anniversary Edition edition was great for setting up the little figures on the board (watch those closely, because some like the knife, are a little dangerous), passing out cards, moving the pieces around to have "conversations." She also has liked lots of dice and the dice-tower.

If you're kids do tend to eat stuff--probably just stick to Chicken Cha Cha Cha, and take out the tail feathers--all the other pieces can stand up to severe abuse and still be fine.

Go Away Monster! wasn't particularly fun for her until she was 3, and then it was short lived, although she played by the rules. The problem being she didn't find the bits particularly fun prior to being able to play, and the "play" didn't hold her attention once she was old enough.

Cranium Cariboo was also great from around 3--it lasted a solid 2 month seeing regular play, then dropped off dramatically, and by 3.5 was no longer played or asked for. That said, during those initial couple of months (and remember that's a long time in "kid years"--it'd be like playing a game for 2 years to me), it was HUGELY successful. There *might* be a resurgence soon, for the "advanced" game, but I doubt it. She's moved on to the cooperative real games like Max and Harley.

For the very young, there will probably be little interaction, but they'll want you to be there while they play with the bits--perfect time for you to daydream about what the real, interactive gaming years will be like!
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Robin
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This may help:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/15046
and
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/6904

The first games that went over well with my boys played were:

Don't Break the Ice
Penguin Pile Up (Happy Feet version)
Go Away Monster
Hisss
Connect Four
Balancing Moon

Good Luck!
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Bobb Beauchamp
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I've got a two year old...on Friday! woo woo birthday!...and a 7 month old, but here's my thoughts.

Your kids will let you know, but not necesarily by asking. If all it took were to ask, I'd have been playing Descent with my son when he was 16 months old.

Just don't rush things. Let them get their hand-eye coordination and speech skills fully developed first. They've got a full plate of things to learn...mastering the I go You Go turn structure, or some bidding rules, can come later.

I think you'll know when they are ready for a given game. Once they show the ability to follow rules, to remember rules, start to have the patience and attention spans needed for a game, you'll be able to get into your collection with them. Before that, just enjoy the time you have with them to watch them develop their skills with the toy/games that are out for younger kids. Right now, my son loves playing trains and lego/duplos. I set up the track or build something, he plays with it for a while, then it's time to "kuh-leen up." Which is something of a game to him, too. And while it's frustrating to me when that game starts before I've completed my latest, multi-level train track configuration, I just remind myself that there are lots of worse habits to fall into than to not clean up your toys when finished playing.
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SeeKay
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i have a two year old. cant figure out the whole pants pooping thing but manages to DOMINATE at gulo gulo. those little ninja hands are an unfair advantage. he even likes the wolverine at the zoo the best, because of the scientific name Gulo gulo.
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George Kinney
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Don't make the mistake of shunning all the little kid's games on the shelves at bigbox stores. 'Memory' is a great beginner game, easily scalable for littler ones. 'Ants in the Pants' and 'Don't break the ice' are decent early dexterity games. And 'Cootie' and 'Candyland' are simple ones to introduce turn-taking, rules, sportsmanship, etc. Which at 20 months old are good goals.

I'd suggest you head over to http://www.kidgameratings.com/ for more kid-oriented opinions.

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A Maracle
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At the risk of sounding incredible stupid, I'll chip in with a strange suggestion: Try this do it yourself game.

My three year old (Princess S) made up a game last month that would be great for two year olds.

Princess S Star Dice Game

You will need a cube of some sort marked in the following way (we used a squish Pooh block):

1 face is "Lose 1 star"
1 face is "Gain 2 stars"
2 face are "Gain 1 star"
2 faces are "Blank" (Nothing happens)

You will also need 3 "Stars" (Cookies, buttons, old boxes).

The Rules

A player rolls the cube on their turn and takes the approrpaite action. First one to 3 Stars wins!

Not as complicated as Caylus or Twilight Imperium, but its cheap.
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Bulldozers
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Thanks much for the many replies and insightful suggestions!
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Bert Dreifuss
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Mr. Dozers,
My daughter started playing Snails Pace Race at about 2.5 years. She now plays that plus Crossbows and Catapults (this is one of her favorites), Hi-Ho Cherry O, CandyLand, Chutes & Ladders, etc.

She also plays Ingenious - Travel Edition with me, but we do not keep score. I just emphasize making some sort of match. She makes a colored match about 9 times out of 10.

I say start them early so that they get the concept of taking turns and obeying instructions. And since you're spending time with them (which they crave) around a game, they will want to play more as they get older. It's a win-win all around!

My only other advice is to have lots of patience with them. If they feel rushed or are yelled at while playing the game, they'll likely have a negative association with gaming and want to do it less.

Have fun with those kiddies!
--Bert
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J. Green
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I have a 2.5 year old son; he's pretty good with spatial awareness and has very good manual dexterity and decent hand-eye coordination. Right now he's really into stacking blocks, mostly vertically to his parents' surprise (think Villa Palletti without the boards in between). He's also counting to 20 and can count to 10 in Spanish (we're not sure where he picked it up).

Recently my wife picked up what is now his favorite "game" of Perfection, and he can identify and place most of the pieces into the proper holes by looking at the shapes. We just broke out a new copy of "Candyland," which we use with his Perfection game mainly to teach him the concepts of:

a) Taking turns
b) Playing a game to completion (still working on this)
c) Turning over one card at a time
d) Moving a piece along a track in a certain direction to the correct space (very complicated conceptually for a 2-y.o.)
e) Handling the pieces carefully
f) Not "playing with" the playing pieces but playing the game itself
g) Packing up all the pieces and game components into the box and putting it all away

We're not even concerned about winning, losing, or completing a game, since at this age he's still learning to identify colors, shapes and quantities, much less letters and numbers.

I also have a copy of Reiner Knizia's Monkey Madness that we might save until Christmas. I think mainly at very young ages, it's probably more important for kids to be involved in free play, rather than actually playing a game according to a set of rules. But games like the ones I mentioned are good for teaching the basic skills you need to play a structured game, and so when he finally "gets" gaming as an activity, he'll already be able to handle those basics so you can concentrate on teaching things like good sportsmanship and winning and losing gracefully.
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Karl Deckard
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My little girl, Leeloo, is 14 months old and almost every night, she chooses a game from the bookcase, opens it up, and sorts through it with daddy. She says "giddyup" when she sees a picture of a horse, she holds the bits baggie up to me and says "Puh" repeatedly (which means open), and she thumbs through every card and bit, scattering them all over the library rug. For a boardgaming dad, it is possibly the all-time best thing in the world eVAR.

What I find particularly fascinating, is that she has preferences. For some reason, her favorite games is an old West End Games title called Soldiers. She wants to look at that every time she goes into the game room. It's a blue cover, and that is her favorite color, but I have plenty of other games that are that color. She also likes dancing to heavy metal music, but not all heavy metal music. Fascinating.
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Old & Chaotic Evil Bob
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my 4 year old granddaughter likes to play with (vs play)
Blokus and Carcassonne

neither is played for scoring
I find the interest she has to play games very high

for Blokus it's placing the pieces on the board
and waiting for her next turn

for Carcassonne it's taking the tiles from the bag on her turn and
placing them correctly --- something she does very well

this is a rewarding experience for both the adult and child






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