Kevin Calongne
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Keller
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Fellow Geeks,

I have a 12 yr old nephew with some learning & paying attention disabilities. He's a smart kid, honor roll and the like but like most kids his age TV is his best friend and video games is his crack. I'd like to break him of those habits and give him a little more social interaction.

I've tried Ticket to Ride and it for some reason did not interest him in the least- his 10 yr old sister somehow wiped the floor with us. Carcassonne was complete failure in a 6 player game. I've also tried giftTRAP - who doesn't love giftTRAP? He was more interested with giving us awful gifts... it was pretty funny though. Dominion, to my complete surprise, we actually had success with. The combos didn't phase at all and he did very well finishing the game with a ton of treasure. Unfortunately we constantly had to coax him into trading treasure for victory points. Dominion is still a work in progress, I'm hopeful.

Have you had a situation like mine? How did you handle it, which games did you have success with? I'm open to all suggestions and appreciate everyone of them.
Thanks!
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Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
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Have you tried Magic: The Gathering? It has a somewhat deserved reputation as a card-shaped black hole in your wallet, but if you buy a few starters and precon decks you can have a lot of fun with it for a very reasonable price. Since he gets the combos, etc., in Dominion, he might really like Magic.
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Matt W
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I have an eleven year old that fits the same profile. Very bright when he can be pulled away from whatever electronic screen has his attention.

We've had fun with Descent and Heroquest. Anything that "feels" like a video game tends to pull him in. He'll also play Carcassonne, Pandemic, and the like, but he gets to fidgeting and his Mom reminds him to sit still.

Oddly enough, he is also a huge fan of Arkham Horror. It really excites him, however, which doesn't help with the sitting still business. It's a trade off I'm fine with.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Carcassone isn't too hot with 6 no matter what the profile of the players. Maybe try again with 2-3 sometime?
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Scott Hinze
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Fort Worth
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How about:
- Neuroshima Hex! (I guess kinda like Carcassonne, but much more video game-like. A modern, smart kid should dig it.)
- Small World (wonderful engine & theme - 10 should be cool with it)
- The Settlers of Catan (victory points & indirect goals + novice gamer crack w/ lots of social interaction)
- Incan Gold (simple rules, press-your-luck gameplay somewhat parallel to Dominion's Treasure/Victory risk taking?)
- Battlestar Galactica (uber-interactive... but may be too complex/hard for 10)
- Chess? (not really super for de social skills)

Keep us updated.

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I always suggest Chicken Cha Cha Cha as an excellent kids game that adults can enjoy as well. I played it just a few weeks ago with a friend and his son (who's autistic) and his son liked it a lot.

Brian
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Jason Ober
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Have you tried Memoir '44? The game play is very quick with little down time, is easy to grasp, has great reference cards, and the board and miniatures really command attention.
 
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Interesting question, but you mention two very different things: learning disabilities and paying attention. If he is on honor role, I would say that he has learned the skills to work through things so that he disabilities are really just differences now, so that is great! Forget about that.

With the paying attention, you just need to have a theme he likes? People don't pay attention to things that are boring. I would also suggest something which the child can be successful or within his grasp. No one likes to spend their fun time with a task that is frustrating. If you are trying to work up to a game that you really want to play with him, start out with an easier version, once that is understood, go to the next level.

Some other suggestions: take the chair away and let him stand at the table. It is fine if he fidgets. Maybe get one of those big balls he can sit on to rock or bounce gently to help him stay focused.

Possibly give him something he can work in his hands? Like koosh ball. It might not help at all though, for some kids it does.

I wonder about more card oriented games...visual like a video game? No sounds, but.

Someone mentioned games with interaction, that is going to replace the flash of the video games probably. I am really interested in trying this game out...big table, no chairs, make your own board, run around and find your toys to use, etc http://www.geekdo.com/boardgame/3700

I will keep thinking on this as it is a good question. I have had to deal with a child with a processing issue. Certain games that require visual processing and speed, his sister always wins, other games that don't require that, he wins as much as anyone. So, getting good suggestions is important and to keep trying things out too! Maybe rules of certain games need to be changed for the child to enjoy it more!

I also know one thing with the brain, if you work something that is an area of weakness, your brain will get better at it. Maybe not to the point you want, but, better. It seems like the whole point of games is to have a fun, social time working the brain!
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