Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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My older daughter has been gaming since she was 3. She has always had a weirdly long attention span for her age, and she loves learning how things work, so between the two she has always like to play the "adult" games I own. Usually she couldn't play a competitive game, but could figure out the rules so we would play against each other anyway and have a good time.

A year ago, when she was 6, we tried to play Settlers (her, my wife, and I). She could get the rules, but just couldn't plan ahead to figure out a path to victory. For example, figuring out where to put a road *THIS* turn so she could build a few turns later was hard; figuring out which resources to trade for, so that later on she'd be likely to get something good, was even harder. This kind of weakness was common for her; she did best in games that had frequent clear signposts that she was making good moves. It made her frustrated.

Three weeks ago we tried Settlers again, and this time she really got the game. With very few hints from my wife or I she was suddenly capable of putting together long term plans! Not only that, but it seemed easy for her - OK, she needed another settlement, so she needed a road, so she would start trying to trade for bricks. In fact, she won the game! Last night we tried again...and she won again! This time with even fewer hints, and she made some moves that genuinely surprised me. At the very end I thought she should be trying to build another city, and couldn't figure out why in her past couple turns she wasn't trying to get rocks. Suddenly she plunked down 3 roads in a single turn, took the longest road award, and got her ten points!

The only help I remember giving her was that she had lots of wheat coming in, and I pointed out that she could try to get her next settlement on the wheat port to make that wheat even more useful. Also, my wife and I didn't try too hard to coerce her into making deals that were clearly bad for her; I suspect that with some effort on my part she could consider a ridiculous offer to be "advice" and take it, so I would only offer her trades that *might* be good for her, and if she said no I wouldn't try to argue. Otherwise, I think she was on her own the whole time.

So if you have kids, keep trying these harder games! It's amazing how fast kids pick up new abilities; now I'm wondering what other games she's ready for. Maybe at last I can have a good Tigris & Euphrates opponent in the house...oh, that would be fun. (I'd try Power Grid, but when you have trouble adding up numbers over 100, that would be too big a handicap! Maybe next year...)
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Goran M
Croatia
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Nice conclusions indeed. I'll have them on my mind for one point in the future ;)
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