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Alishah Novin
United States
Franklin
Tennessee
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I'm guessing many of you guys who are now parents have dealt with this problem, and though I'm not a parent myself, I'm a proud uncle of an adorable niece - a niece who has grown up watching us play Catan, Carcassonne, Trivial Pursuit, and more.

I'm thinking she's finally of the age where she may be able to grasp some basic rules and strategy to be able to play a *real* board game (ie, not your Snakes & Ladders, CandyLand, etc.), however there are a few key "requirements"

1) It needs to involve princesses, or even better - fairies. If that's impossible, then a girlish theme is key.

2) It needs to be engaging for both her and myself or her parents. I'm sure many of you have has this problem, and I'm hoping just as many of you have overcome it. The thing is, she's an only child and so she either has to watch us play games, or have us play her games only half-heartedly - which I can recall from my own experience, is not quite fun.

3) Here's the biggest requirement: I'd like it to be, in some degree, educational (that is, maybe some very simple arithmetic (ie, counting)) but can progressively get harder the more you get into it - that is, I'd like a game she can grow into and get better at, but one which also challenges her.

I know that she may be a little young for some of the games, and I'm sure many are quick to say their children/nieces/nephews are very smart - but I'm fairly confident that my little niece is one smart and tough cookie. She's got my brother's genes in her, and my brother was an exceptional "Bart Simpson" if you will, only smarter - that is, always getting into trouble, but finding craftier ways of doing things he'd get in trouble for while avoiding trouble.

Anyway... please don't forget: Fairies, Fun for All (but legitimately fun for all....) and finally increasingly challenging.

Thoughts?
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(ʇllıʍ)
United States
Spokane Valley
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No princesses or fairies, but fun for young and old with plenty of opportunities for counting: Cheeky Monkey.
 
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Albert Hernandez
United States
Greenville
SC
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I don't have any specific recommendations. I think the "fun for all" criteria will be hard to fill. However; you may want to think about push your luck type games. The concept is easy enough to grasp that my 2 yr old can play but also fun for adults.
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Schrodinger's Dog
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Medicine Hat
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That's a tall order... I know I've been reading alot lately about recommendations for kids around 4 YO, and found quite a few that my daughter likes... she also likes princesses and fairies right now. The only one i can think of offhand that's a popular suggestion has been Small World. I haven't tried it with my daughter yet, but it's on the agenda one night when her younger brother gets to bed early enough.

I've played Carcassonne with my daughter, and she's almost there, but still loses interest before the game is halfway over. I'm thinking Catan MIGHT work soon. I know she loved Dominion when we played it... and was actually the first person to beat me, mostly because she could only seem to remember money and witches, and, well, I wound up with all of the curse cards in my deck.

She also occasionally makes it through a whole game of BattleLore... maybe the medieval theme, I don't know... UNO's her favorite lately... well, and Candyland, now that we've finally broke down and bought it for her. Princesses are hard to find in most of my games, though...
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Rebekah B
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Sleeping Queens is excellent for a smart 4yo who loves princesses (or queens in this case), and isn't too painful for the parents. While I wouldn't choose it with adults, I've probably played 100+ games of it with my kids and I still don't cringe when they want to play it again. There's some simple math in it, too.

You might also look at duck! duck! SAFARI!, which is a collection of games for varying ages, so it grows with the child. It has very cute rubber duck components.
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Eurojuegos Buenos Aires
Argentina
Buenos Aires
Capital Federal
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I find hard to meet all your requirements, but there was a recent Session report about Diamant I think you may find interesting

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/590416/no-other-game-i-o...

This makes me think the "Fun for All (but legitimately fun for all....)" requirement could be met


Edit: maybe Château Roquefort ?
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Big Kat
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You could try Tumblin-Dice. Just go find a set of bright, sparkly pink dice for her.
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George
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Pennsylvania
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I second Cheeky Monkey as a good choice. You might also try Zooloretto but she may be a bit too young. My five year old has managed to play it once or twice though.
 
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Jay Sheely
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Hayward
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Cornerstone all the way.

Grognard, "This is a good game!"
5 year old niece, "Let's play again!"
Me, "Who wants to play Cornerstone?"

Check out Tom Vasel's video. This game is seriously good.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Corvallis
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The child will be engaging for the grownups if she's having fun with the game. We've had great times with my 3-year-old granddaughter playing Animal Upon Animal, Go Away Monster! and Gulo Gulo. She loves playing with the grownups. But even the casual gamers want something more after she goes to bed.

She has played a bit of Tumblin-Dice wth us too, and done remarkably well, but that only lasts for a game or two. Adults are wired differently, and if you want to play with very young children, you must meet them on their terms.
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Steve McIlhatton
New Zealand
Palmerston North
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Sphere wrote:
The child will be engaging for the grownups if she's having fun with the game. We've had great times with my 3-year-old granddaughter playing Animal Upon Animal, Go Away Monster! and Gulo Gulo. She loves playing with the grownups. But even the casual gamers want something more after she goes to bed.

She has played a bit of Tumblin-Dice wth us too, and done remarkably well, but that only lasts for a game or two. Adults are wired differently, and if you want to play with very young children, you must meet them on their terms.


+1 for above recommendations...
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Rob Bartel
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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I hate to simply recommend my own game (well that's not entirely true whistle ) but Two by Two may fit the bill.



otiose321 wrote:
1) It needs to involve princesses, or even better - fairies. If that's impossible, then a girlish theme is key.

No princesses but unicorns play an important role. mb mb

otiose321 wrote:
2) It needs to be engaging for both her and myself or her parents.

That's been the primary feedback about the game so far (and was an important design goal for me). Check out this review by Geoff Hall for more info: Best new family game of 2010?

otiose321 wrote:
3) I'd like it to be, in some degree, educational (that is, maybe some very simple arithmetic (ie, counting)) but can progressively get harder the more you get into it - that is, I'd like a game she can grow into and get better at, but one which also challenges her.

On the educational front, there's simple matching and counting in the basic rules and some simple division in the advanced rules. If the Noah's Ark theme's relevant to you, it can be educational on that front as well. Most importantly, I think it teaches about decision-making and consequence, particularly around the question of where to place one's water tokens (maximizing your points vs. maximizing your access to animals).

I won't claim that it's an epic strategy game but it's a solid filler that scales well to those playing it and includes both basic rules (intended facilitate playing with young children) and advanced rules that reward more cut-throat strategic play amongst adults. The age rating on the box says 8+ but a 5-year-old could easily participate within a family context.

Whatever game you decide on, I wish you and your brother all the best in raising a feisty new gamer. meeple
 
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Rzberry Mom
United States
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Maybe Rat-a-Tat-Cat? No princesses but there are cute cats. My kiddo LOVED that game when she was 4, and I could actually stand to play it with her. And then when I couldn't stand playing it anymore, she played for hours against her stuffed cat.

I also liked playing Labyrinth with her at that age. Not the little kid version, but the regular version--they can get it at that age, and sometimes she'd kick my butt. There's even a princess!

She could do Carcassonne at that age, as long as we left out the farmers.
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Kevin B. Smith
United States
Mercer Island
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Perhaps a cooperative game, like Fairy Tale in my Pocket, or one of the many games from Family Pastimes, who have been publishing cooperative games for almost 30 years (mostly aimed at children of a variety of ages).

I can't imagine that you would find a game that a young child and adults would enjoy equally, but hopefully you can find some that are fun for one side and bearable for the other. Having played Sleeping Queens one evening, I can vouch for it being "not painful".
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Laura Lawson
United States
Cincinnati
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No princesses, but Hey, That's My Fish! has cute penguins. It uses simple arithmatic, is fun for all ages, and can range from casual play to cutthroat strategy.
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Jose Dias
Portugal
Porto
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If you play Catan in the family, I think that she will love The Kids of Catan.

Other options that worked very well with my kid in that age was:

- The Piggyback Brigade - it has little pigs. Ok not fairies but they are cute.

- Spooky Stairs - cute ghosts.

- Dinosaur Dice - this one is more "boyish". But did I tell you that the dinosaurs are cute

All this games involve counting dices.
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Michael J
United States
Folsom
California
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When my son was 4, he enjoyed playing Pandemic with us as well as Ticket To Ride. For Pandemic, we let him play the Medic each game, and it was pretty easy for him to figure out what to do. Being a cooperative game, it was fun to work with him instead of against him.

For Ticket To Ride, I generally would give my son 1 ticket at a time, and point to the cities he needed to connect to complete it. He had fun planning his own route and drawing the cards. Everyone else played like normal. Everyone has equal knowledge about the child's routes, so they can draw and keep tickets fairly.

Of course, no fairies in either, but they are playable by the 4 year old, and everyone can have fun!
 
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Doug Mazur

Pacifica
California
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no princesses or fairies, and I am not going to be sexist enough to guess what a girl themed game might be, however my son played Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix with us when he was 4, with almost no help at all. The game is intuitive, movement is card driven with colors and numbers up to 10. The strategy is intuitive (it's a racing game). And because the adults will spend time trying to screw each other, it is not uncommon for the little ones to win or do very well, without any help at all. Very rewarding for them, fun for the whole family (plays up to six players)
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B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
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My First Carcassonne might fit the bill.

I'm giving it to my 4 year old niece this Christmas.
 
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P H
United States
Canton
Georgia
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Max was one of my sons favorite games around that age. I must admit I enjoyed it quit a bit myself.
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peakhope wrote:
Perhaps a cooperative game, like Fairy Tale in my Pocket, or one of the many games from Family Pastimes, who have been publishing cooperative games for almost 30 years (mostly aimed at children of a variety of ages).


Perhaps even Princess.

 
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D S
United States
Maryland
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Reinar Knizia's Flea Circus is a family-friendly card game. No reading, except numbers that don't go higher than 4, and it has adorable little dogs and cats for scorekeeping.
 
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Aaron Potter
United States
Riverside
California
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toh! wrote:

Perhaps even Princess.


I'm sorry, but 'Princess' is an absolutely miserable waste of time. It's barely a game. Even Pretty Pretty Princess is superior.

My rec: Enchanted Forest. Engaging theme, nice art, tricky enough that my kids can beat me at it but not so random that I mind playing it with them, and educational (classic kids' literature) to boot.

Widely available, excellent, durable parts.

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