Recommend
20 
 Thumb up
 Hide
45 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Gaming with Kids

Subject: Games with traitors: Are they child-appropriate? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: Children+Games [+] [View All]
Lawson
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My 7 year old daughter recently wrote a review of Battlestar Galactica. In the comments, there was an interesting question presented. I found it thought-provoking, and I'd love to hear about what others think. The post is below:

TheChin! wrote:
What an interesting subject, the two sides of the coin:

1) Playing BSG with children teaches them the skills that help them size up and detect unscrupulous people.

2) Playing BSG with children can sap some of the innocence of childhood by making them cynical about the intentions of people who otherwise would not be up to something.

Then the question for each child is, at what age is it appropriate to teach them these skills? Obviously we drill into our kids to stay away from strangers and other common urban survival skills, but to actually have an exercise in deceipt and deceipt detection is bit more subtle and eye-opening.


So, what do folks think? I'll post my thoughts in a bit.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When my nephew was 8, he could understand all the rules of Settlers of Catan. But he couldn't play a real game, because if you said, "Hey canon, why don't I give you this sheep and take all your ore...now you're closer to getting a settlement!", he'd always say, "Well, ok...here you go, Uncle Bill..." He just couldn't seem to wrap his head around the idea that what I say to him might not be in his best interest.

It's not strictly a traitor situation, but I see it as the same: One player lying to another, trying to convince the opponent (a child, in this case) that something is true in the game (you need sheep more than ore, or I'm not a cylon) when it might not be true.

My TAKE on this is that as soon as a child is able, on their own, to correctly handle being lied to (in the game of course!!!) by adults, and can lie right back, then it will do them no harm to play. It may even give them some good skills. But if the child wasn't yet able to examine possible lies, and create their own, then I wouldn't play these games with them - it's like playing Power Grid with somebody who can't yet add double digit numbers, it's bad for the game, and bad for their self-esteem.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabe Alvaro
United States
Berkeley
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
corross wrote:

TheChin! wrote:
2) Playing BSG with children can sap some of the innocence of childhood by making them cynical about the intentions of people who otherwise would not be up to something.


So, what do folks think? I'll post my thoughts in a bit.

Because it is "playing", I think there is a key difference. I'm not sure if it would "sap their innocence" or make them cynical, but it might confuse and frustrate the one who are not mature enough to tell the difference between "play" deceit and real deceit. Hell, this can confuse and frustrate some adults! But if they are mature enough, then I don't see a problem.

I guess the question then is how do you tell whether they are mature enough to handle it?

I think wmshub has the answer:
wmshub wrote:
as soon as a child is able, on their own, to correctly handle being lied to (in the game of course!!!) by adults, and can lie right back, then it will do them no harm to play
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Is Not Geddy Lee
United States
Sandy Hook
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think maturity is key. I teach high school and know some teens who would not be able to handle it well. Heck, I know some adults who have a hard time with it.

Knowing how to differentiate between in-game lying, where it is part of the game, and real life lying is obviously key. To be frank, I would not let my 7 year old watch BSG and I don't know the game, so not sure how important that is to the game. Both my daughter's are pretty good gamers. My 7 year old enjoys Ghost Chase and Ch√Ęteau Roquefort immensely and is always up for games with her folks and our friends. We have slowly introduced more complicated games over time and this has helped her understand how to think about her strategies for games.

So now that I rambled on without addressing your original question, perhaps I should!

Teaching children life skills should be dependent upon their emotional ability to handle the lesson being taught. Using games to teach a variety of skills is great and gives them a chance to practice certain things in a friendly environment. Just like reading or math, you have to practict it to be good at it. If you want a child to learn certain sets of skills, you need to teach them, practice them in monitored settings, observe them applying the skill and then know that they can do it without you. The bigger question is, do you want your child to lie so well that you can't tell it is a lie?
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawson
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My initial thoughts are that it isn't a problem for children to play a game with a traitor mechanic as long as they're able to separate "game deceit" from real-life deceit.

My answer depends somewhat on the context as well as the child's maturity level. I play Battlestar Galactica as a family-only game with my 9 year old and 7 year old. Within our family, there's an understanding that the game is all in fun. (For instance, we looooove trash-talking as long as it's good-humored, and that's a huge plus side of BSG for us. In fact, my daughter's initial comment about the game was, "I just love being able to say, 'Why'd you do that, skinjob?!?'" (Favorite trash-talk "I think you're a Cylon!" lines from my kids during Battlestar Galactica games so far include: "Hey, the music you hear in your head -- is it jazz?" and "So, do you always put butter on it when it comes out . . . ya toaster?!?")

At any rate, I'm comfortable with playing BSG within our family group, and I can imagine expanding that circle somewhat -- we're hoping to play with two friends of ours (a 10 year old and his mother), for instance. However, I can't imagine tossing my kids into the ring of a BSG game with adult strangers (or slight acquaintances). I don't think that would be fun for anybody.

A key thing, for me, is the ability to distinguish between "game choices" as opposed to "life choices". Lots of game choices wouldn't be appropriate as applied to real life -- for instance, from the moment that we realized the benefit of using allies as cannon fodder in Runebound (Second Edition), we started joking about it: "Hey, go for the blue. You have an ally, so you can just throw her under the bus!!"

In fact, I suspect that part of the appeal of BSG, and, really, lots of games (for my kids, and, really, for me) is the ability to do sort of anti-social things in a safe, inoffensive way. In real life, we do our best to be honest and to work with others productively. What's not to love about, say, getting to play the anti-hero for a change?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawson
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hseldon wrote:
To be frank, I would not let my 7 year old watch BSG and I don't know the game, so not sure how important that is to the game.


I agree on your assessment of the TV show -- I don't let my children watch BSG. I've watched it and told them the basics of the plot line in story form. I think that knowing the basics of the story is important in terms of enjoying the game . . . it's what makes the theme come to life.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil
Canada
Toronto
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think children deal with the idea of a "traitor" very early in life. If mom is in the washroom and doesn't bring the breast fast enough to satisfy baby's hunger, baby feels betrayed and freaks out. When mom returns, reconciliation occurs. Some child psychologists have pointed out that this reversal of bad and good mom (or dad) is also an internal drama that the child must deal with as he or she grows and becomes a person who can recognize that sometimes bad things (eg absent parent) happens to good people (eg baby), or good things happen to bad people (eg baby got fed even when feeling hatred for mom). Dramas and stories that have reversals between good and bad characters help people mature. BSG is an interesting game because it draws its energy from this psychological interplay that we are never really beyond. The fact that the traiter is "only part of the game" despite its internal psychological ressonance can even help junior (or senior!) realize that you can love someone even when they piss you off. Come to think of it, all games have this dynamic (watch how your friends react when they lose or win in exciting games); the traitor mechanic only brings it out a bit more (which is why BSG is so fun!).
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Peekaboo!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

All I wonder is how early in life did folks start lying to their children about mystical creatures like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

It sets them up for accepting so many deeper, darker lies later on.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawson
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MisterG wrote:
All I wonder is how early in life did folks start lying to their children about mystical creatures like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?




I've always been kind of ambivalent about the mythical Christian holiday creatures, so I didn't push them much and I was pretty wishy-washy when they came up. Apparently, without really meaning to, I created a situation where my (then) 4-5 year old son, on hearing a bit about the Easter bunny, looked alarmed and said something like:

"Wait. Wait. So there's this enormous rabbit, and he sneaks into our house and claims to be leaving us candy? How do you know he isn't really stealing from us?"
24 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Groves
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
wmshub wrote:
When my nephew was 8, he could understand all the rules of Settlers of Catan. But he couldn't play a real game, because if you said, "Hey canon, why don't I give you this sheep and take all your ore...now you're closer to getting a settlement!", he'd always say, "Well, ok...here you go, Uncle Bill..." He just couldn't seem to wrap his head around the idea that what I say to him might not be in his best interest.


My experience with my daughter is the same. Basically, you bring your kids up to be helpful and thoughtful - it's a bit hard for them to take onboard these concepts and then be told to behave completely differently when playing games. And then you have to tell them it is "fun" in games but not to do it in real life. I think it does require a slightly cynical nature, the realisation through experience that not everyone has your best interests in heart, to apply a cutthroat approach in gaming.

BSG is a bit different though as it is a case of taking sides. Children take glee in sending someone home in ludo or making someone pickup cards in Uno as it is clear this is the objective in winning. In BSG, your objectives are clear depending on whether you are cylon or human. I think your main problem with BSG and kids is getting them to hide the side they are on and subtley affecting the game without letting the cat out of the bag.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawson
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sevorges wrote:
My experience with my daughter is the same. Basically, you bring your kids up to be helpful and thoughtful - it's a bit hard for them to take onboard these concepts and then be told to behave completely differently when playing games. And then you have to tell them it is "fun" in games but not to do it in real life. I think it does require a slightly cynical nature, the realisation through experience that not everyone has your best interests in heart, to apply a cutthroat approach in gaming.


I agree with this, with the primary exception that I wouldn't call the recognition that others are (like one is) self-interested in gaming to be "cynical". For my family, I find this recognition to be part of the learning experience.

As it happens, the Battlestar Galactica game has been helpful to my family in that it has helped to illustrate the two sides of the competitive coin. After all, you can be pining away after loss of resources in the first half, and then -- BAM! -- you're thrilled that fuel is so low after you awake as a Cylon after the sleeper phase. As a practical, life-skills matter, this has been helpful to my family: at least for the first half of the game (unless you're a frakkin' skinjob from the get-go), you should consider events from the human and the Cylon points of view.

I think that children (and adults) are naturally self-focused (with the adults growing, perhaps, in wisdom and moderation), and I think that becoming aware of others' contrary motivations is important and, necessarily, takes some time.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Ham
United States
The Colony
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
HONK HONK
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's good to train kids to have a bullshit filter at an early age.
9 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Nellis
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
corross wrote:
How do you know he isn't really stealing from us?"


Encourage your child to be a lawyer!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
michael confoy
United States
ASHBURN
VA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My kids want to know why there is no sex in the game like in the show. The wonders of a seven year old.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darren Hron
United States
Huntingdon
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
I love Games
badge
I like playing games
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MisterG wrote:

All I wonder is how early in life did folks start lying to their children about mystical creatures like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

surpriseSanta Clause and the Easter bunny are mystical?surprise
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Badger
England
London
Enfield
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sasquatchdjh wrote:
surpriseSanta Clause and the Easter bunny are mystical?surprise


Santa Claus is the Easter Bunny
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcus Lau
Malaysia
Petaling jaya
Selangor
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think it's a bad idea to play games like Battlestar Galactica with children.

As a parent myself, I feel very strongly against games like these. It teaches children that it is ok to be bad as long as you get what you want in the end.

I would recommend playing games like Agricola and Settlers of Catan with children. Something with a non-violent theme.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
London
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sasquatchdjh wrote:
MisterG wrote:

All I wonder is how early in life did folks start lying to their children about mystical creatures like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

surpriseSanta Clause and the Easter bunny are mystical?surprise


Mystical: having an air of mystery about them. They probably qualify for that, I mean how does one man get down so many chimneys at the same time?

A more interesting adjective would be "mythical".

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Agent J
United States
Coldwater
Michigan
flag msg tools
He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
badge
He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The easter bunny comes in, leaves candy, and takes the appropriate amount to cover it from your bank account.

Kinda like Santa Claus. If Santa got him that $400 game system, where'd all my money go?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim McMahon
United States
West Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Lookee what he can do! He wants a job!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
friedricetheman wrote:
I think it's a bad idea to play games like Battlestar Galactica with children.

As a parent myself, I feel very strongly against games like these. It teaches children that it is ok to be bad as long as you get what you want in the end.

Then I would think that one would need to also teach them that it is only OK to do that in a game, and not in real life.

Jim

Edit: spelling
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Roach
United Kingdom
Ellesmere Port
Cheshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No they are not appropriate because kids are rubbish at them. Ever tried playing Saboteur with kids?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seriously, turn off Facebook. You'll be happier.
United States
Riva
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb

    Don't any of you people watch the cartoons on Saturday morning?

             Sag.


8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Peekaboo!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Philip Thomas wrote:
sasquatchdjh wrote:
MisterG wrote:

All I wonder is how early in life did folks start lying to their children about mystical creatures like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

surpriseSanta Clause and the Easter bunny are mystical?surprise


Mystical: having an air of mystery about them. They probably qualify for that, I mean how does one man get down so many chimneys at the same time?

A more interesting adjective would be "mythical".


I considered that one, but rejected it as too self-important. Also, myths tend to have some basis in reality, which neither Santa Claus nor the Easter Bunny can claim.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawson
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
friedricetheman wrote:
I think it's a bad idea to play games like Battlestar Galactica with children.

As a parent myself, I feel very strongly against games like these. It teaches children that it is ok to be bad as long as you get what you want in the end.

I would recommend playing games like Agricola and Settlers of Catan with children. Something with a non-violent theme.


You seem to find the theme of Battlestar Galactica inappropriate, and I fully respect that.

There are games that I wouldn't play with my children because of the theme. The Red Dragon Inn comes to mind, as does Pimp: The Backhanding.

I don't share your assessment of BSG, and I also think that the lesson that you want to avoid (taking away from others to benefit yourself, in essence) is a core part of most competitive games, including Agricola and Settlers.

In Settlers, after all, you can send a "thief" to take action against your opponents. In Agricola, your best move might well be to snatch that stone out from under the nose of your desperately-stone-needing competitor.

In many other games, it's much more blatant. I enjoy Neuroshima Hex! and play it with my 9 year old -- there, we are "shooting" one another. It's a battle game. At its heart, Battlestar Galactica is also a battling game -- the difference is that the sides might be a team rather than an individual. The Cylons are attacking the humans, sure, but, then again, the humans are doing their best to attack the Cylons. It's a war -- that's how wars go. I think it's entirely legitimate not to want to play war-type games. If, though, you are thinking that it's obviously "good" to play humans and "evil" to play Cylons, then I respectfully disagree. If you are a Cylon, you are a spy for your side -- what you are doing is, in its own way, honorable.

For me, the core of a competitive game is that you are advancing your own interests, which often includes trying to take your competitor down. This itself is a bit of distortion of real-life expectations, in which people are expected to keep their ruthlessness at least a bit in check.

I think that it's understandable to avoid competitive games for families who prefer that. Personally, I've been a huge fan of many Family Pastimes cooperative games like Max and Caves & Claws, and my family has gotten a lot of fun and use out of current cooperative games like Pandemic and Red November.

One reason why Battlestar Galactica plays so well in our house, I think, is because we experience it as a twist on cooperative gaming -- with the three of us, it's a team of two against a single one. There's also a "What goes around, comes around" feel -- today, you might be (or think you are) a human. Tomorrow, you might be a Cylon. Victory and defeat are upended depending on your perspective. I'm no relativist, over all, but I really like this . . . I think kids need more ability to consider different perspectives, to see things through different lenses.
5 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
alan beaumont
United Kingdom
LONDON
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
corross wrote:
My 7 year old daughter recently wrote a review of Battlestar Galactica. In the comments, there was an interesting question presented. I found it thought-provoking, and I'd love to hear about what others think.
TheChin! wrote:
What an interesting subject, the two sides of the coin:

1) Playing BSG with children teaches them the skills that help them size up and detect unscrupulous people.

2) Playing BSG with children can sap some of the innocence of childhood by making them cynical about the intentions of people who otherwise would not be up to something.

Then the question for each child is, at what age is it appropriate to teach them these skills? Obviously we drill into our kids to stay away from strangers and other common urban survival skills, but to actually have an exercise in deceipt and deceipt detection is bit more subtle and eye-opening.


By 7 some children may tell simple lies to get what they want. By 9 they are getting more cunning. This is not so obvious within the family because the child will understand that a lie has time as an enemy and it is less sensible to tell it.
A child will not really comprehend that a game is not quite 'real'. If they gift all their stuff to Uncle Bob (Uncle Bob?) there may be cookies later. Also if their kid brother insists on attacking that army they might be getting a pounding later. (And if he starts crowing you can count on it)
Cynical? Not really, but I'm a product of 15 years working with urban kids ages 4-11. The people I really worry about still cheat at games post age 15.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.