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Subject: Top 10 Family Games List rss

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Jeff
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So I had a lot of fun (and learned a lot) from my thread about top strategy games list, so I thought I'd throw out something similar for top family games. I looked over the main rankings here in BGG but it didn't seem to totally fit the bill (for example I don't really see Pandemic being a big hit with 7 year olds).

My family consists of me, my wife, 7 yr old daughter and 11 year old son. I'm hoping to make a list that can appeal to all of us to some degree. I'd like games that my 7 year old can pick up without too much trouble but yet can keep my wife and I interested as well.

So here's my stab at the list. Some of these I have played (Carcassonne and Flash Point) but most I have not played. I think the ones I'm going to order next (unless I'm persuaded differently here) are Small World and Quarriors. So here it goes:

1) Carcassonne
2) Flash Point: Fire Rescue - You could also substitute Forbidden Island for your co-op game of choice but I went with Flash Point becasue I felt it offered more replay value as my family got older.
3) Small World
4) Unnamed Object
5) Quarriors!
6) Survive: Escape from Atlantis! - This one seems a bit hard to find these days, so not sure if I should include it.
7) Ticket to Ride
8) King of Tokyo
9) Bohnanza
10) Zooloretto

I know there are a ton of choices that could go on here, but hopefully this list included games that would be fun for everyone, fairly easy to pick up and offers a variety of game mechanics.

So how did I do? Are there any glaring omissions?
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Witek W
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Ticket to Ride and Small World are great choices.

Pandemic can work with 7 year old - my friend uses my copy to play with his daughter. After explaining what is a pandemy the game was a blast.

I would also recommend Hey, That's My Fish! - great game to play with children
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Joel
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I have a few younger children but I would also say +1 to Hey, That's My Fish!

Secondly, a game that is quick and fun for all ages (my parents will play this with the grandchildren also) is Tsuro. I love the quickness and replay ability.
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Tom Scutt
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I would be cautious with Small World and Quarriors - I think even a bright 7 year might struggle to enjoy these.

My kids have enjoyed Incan Gold, Bohnanza and Ticket to Ride since they were that age, and we still enjoy them now.

For something a bit different, how about Dixit - this works really well with mixed groups of adults and children. TransAmerica is another game which has stood the test of time in our family, and Ingenious also works really well with kids as young as 7 (if you give them a few points head start!)
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Alex C
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I recently gave a 9 year old a copy of Hey, That's My Fish!, and it went over really well. The rules are as easy as they come. He also has Forbidden Island which works great because his parents can help him along.
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Jody Ludwick
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Do try and find a copy of Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, you will not be sorry. Also please consider The Downfall of Pompeii, our all-time family fav.
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Jeff
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Thanks for the feedback so far.

I was wondering what the lower age cut off would be for Small World and Quarriors. They might fall into the same category as Dominion. My daughter understands the rules but doesn't quite understand the nuances of the various decisions. Maybe I'll put off those purchases until later.

I haven't read much previously about Downfall of Pompeii, but that does look interesting.
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Ken Newell
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+1 for The Downfall of Pompeii My now 7 yr old has loved that one for awhile.

I also would look at Wildlife Safari there is a great review by
Enders Game on that one and it is a pretty popular game with my family.

Small World has been too much for my girls, so I wouldn't recommend it as a family game. But Flashpoint was a big hit with both girls.

of course I have found Unnamed Object to be a nice game with large groups of varying ages - making it a staple for family get togethers.
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Bryan Thunkd
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In my opinion Quarriors offers very little interesting gameplay. There are very few choices to be made, and those that are needed tend to be terribly obvious. If you are looking for a game that isn't hard and has the excitement associated with dice rolling games then it might be a good fit, especially for a younger child, but I don't particularly find the game fun.

I'd recommend Incan gold. My seven year old and ten year old both really enjoyed it, as did I. Bohnanza is also a hit at our house. And I'd add Coloretto to the list, similar to Zooloretto, a lot of fun.
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Dave VanderArk
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I'm not sure if Around the World in 80 Days is easy to find or not, but it's a fantastic family game. If your 7 year old can figure out the bid values and the timing issues in Small World she or he can certainly understand the decision process in Around the World. As a bonus, it plays with up to six players, so when your kids have friends over you have a six-player option.

Just checked, there's a copy in the BGG marketplace for $15. At that price I'd say it's an absolute must have.

Other good family games:
Excape (dice racing game with fun decisions)
Frank's Zoo (my youngest understood the strategy in this one so well that she was card counting at age 4)
Catan (your 7 year old may need to be 9 before it really clicks)
By Golly! (Memory with an evil twist, fun for older kids too)
Elfenland (your 7 year old might need help from a parent for the first couple games, but it's simple to understand, she or he could fly solo after that. Another that plays to six players)
Keltis
Qwirkle

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Mike Fox
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I haven't played all those games, but the list looks good. If there's a MUST HAVE that's missing IMHO, it's Pandemic. It's a GREAT family game.
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Darren M
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You have a solid list.

Mine would likely be something like this:

Dominion
7 Wonders
Stone Age
Pandemic
Small World
Ticket to Ride: Europe
The Settlers of Catan
Carcassonne
Crokinole
Ingenious
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Just to throw out a few more.

My kids favorite game is probably Dawn Under.
After that, they really enjoy Kinder Bunnies.
Forbidden Island is fun for them too.

My daughter (8) really likes Enchanted Forest, my son (11) Ascension & Last Night on Earth (loves it; probably because of the theme. He doesn't get to see anything over PG for movies. Well, okay PG13 superhero movies).

We have worked on Queen's Necklace, Defenders of the Realm, and Kaazam, but they were mostly rules learning sessions.

Ah, my son also likes Numbers League, which I just got him for the Ipad, and think I prefer it there?

Ah, and both enjoy Heroscape, with no rules hehehe.
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Rob Steward
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Our kids are 13, 10 and 8. Here are some of our favorites:

Puerto Rico - How or why this works so well, I'm not sure.
Genoa - Family argument night. Everyone gets really into it.
Santiago - Bidding and bribing.
Hacienda - Room for some real thinking in this one.
The Resistance - Unlike Werewolf, this one's good with 5 players.
Carson City - The 8-year-old struggles a bit, but loves this.
Hoity Toity - Good silly fun.
Shadows over Camelot - This co-op avoids (mostly) having one player dominate.
Maori - A mellow island-building game.
Aladdin's Dragons - Just played today. Went over very well.
Bootleggers - We role-play this one to the hilt.
Jungle Speed - "It's so stupid! Let's play again!"
Eketorp - Fightin' Vikings eurogame for kids.





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Jeff
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Wow there has been some great feedback here - thanks a bunch!

I guess the main goal of this list would be to find games that my 7 yr old could grasp now but that we would also still want to play as she got older.

I think I'll take Quarriors! off the list. It looks like Small World might be a bit much as well (although I personally was looking forward to that one ).

A couple of questions that come to mind: How similar in gameplay are Survive: Escape from Atlantis! and The Downfall of Pompeii? From reading about them they seem a bit similar.

Also no one has really commented on King of Tokyo or Zooloretto: The Petting Zoo. Do they fit the bill of fun for my 7 year old and fun later as well?

Ingenious looks interesting and might be one I want to get.

Heroscape also looks interesting. Is Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie the 1st one to get? Also it looks like the manufacturer may no longer be supporting it. How is that going to affect the game's future?

There are also some other great suggestions as well. I definitely want to get Puerto Rico, Catan and Stone Age but thought they might be a bit much for the 7 year old.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions!
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Darren Witt
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Nice list with several i like and several i am thinking of.

Also:

Hey that’s my fish = a hearty yes! Can be (is) incredibly cutthroat, but cute penguins and just take the edge off of your game and all will have fun. Or concentrate on destroying your partner as i do, and the kids will probably rake in the fish.

Spot it! and Ghost Blitz are very popular with us. My 8 yo son has surpassed me at the latter and i am fairly awesome at it. Yes, arrogant, but i am fairly awesome at very, very few games. Really only that one. Our then-3-year old daughter could be pretty competitive with Spot It (she could point frantically at the match, but not blurt out the word quickly. That was her handicap in the game).

Carcassone = another yes. We play it semi-cooperatively, led by our son who likes to help people finish things off.
We have Diamant(Incan Gold) and they both love it too.
Also may want to try:
Tsuro

Dixit – i agree, and my 8yo son is remarkably good at it (though i make a game of trying to give him points to boost the confidence a bit. Don’t need to that much tho).

Ingenious = another yes. Son likes the abstracts. See also HIVE which i apparently suck at, since my son can routinely beat me at this. (not sure if he is a budding genius, or i am just getting slow...)

You must also try/get:
UNO– yes, really. It is not thinky, but kids LOVE it.
Duck Duck Bruce = great push your luck fun for all with awesome art. If they love Incan Gold, this is similar but different.
Dweebies
Animal Upon Animal
Archaeology: The Card Game

Ok. Relatives just arrived from out of town. See my collection if you are interested in my comments. Sorry. Gotta go!
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Randy Cox
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I agree that Pandemic is not a family game when you include 7-year-olds (and, of course, seven-year-olds should be included in that definition).

We have success with Blokus, SET, and Can't Stop, among others. I just don't really see Carcassonne or Small World or King of Tokyo or Bohnanza (hard to hold cards in funny way, among other things). But that's the wonderful thing ... all families are different.
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Mike Chan
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I have a one 6 year old son that I play with and Small World has been getting a lot of play (got the Be Not Afraid / Cursed/ Great Dames expansions soon afterwards). His favorite is Forbidden Island (we also got the print n play artscow fan expansion which increased its replay value). Will be getting Flash Point next - we like Defenders of the Realm but Pandemic didn't seem to go well for both of us. King of Toyko is on our radar too. Zooloretto and For Sale were games that my wife joins in playing. Neuroshima Hex is also a fav for my son but now we prefer playing the Ipad version.
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Bryan Thunkd
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autiger90 wrote:
Also no one has really commented on King of Tokyo or Zooloretto: The Petting Zoo. Do they fit the bill of fun for my 7 year old and fun later as well?


My ten year old liked zooloretto, and really started getting into convincing people where they should place animals and which truck to take. A seven year old might need a little help at first. King of Tokyo is definitely a family friendly. A fairly light dice rolling game.

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Judy Krauss
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Here are some good ones when there are younger children, both because they are fun and because they don't need reading ability to play, but I don't know if they are still easily available:

Cosmic Wimpout
Octiles
Chinese Checkers
Tyranno Ex
Race Through Space


and maybe
Medici
River Dragons
Pente


Forbidden Island and Secrets of the Deep are also good, but there is some card text.
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Brown Fox
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Most people shy away from plain old Dominoes. But if you have at least four people playing, I highly recommend giving a few games of Mexican Train a try. My recommendation is to buy a quality set of double 18 dominoes. You'll mostly use the standard double 6 (double 9's for Mexican Train), but having a ton of dominoes is great fun for kids.

I don't like Uno card games, but for travel/camping, we've had great fun with Uno Dice. It's not so much that Uno Dice are better than the cards. It's that the rounds tend not to last as long, which for kids with a short attention span is great.

I heard someone mention Cosmic Wimpout. I agree! The push your luck style of dice games are a big hit with my kids. However, I highly recommend teaching the classic. Don't bother with Cosmic Wimpout or Farkle. Google the rules for Greedy or 10,000 and use those scoring methods. A much better way to play that game. Zilch rules being a must

In the same vein as Cosmic Wimpout is Zombie Dice. The style of game is the same. But the dice are weighted offering a slight twist on strategies. I've not played Zombie Dice yet, but definitely on my radar once my kids get a little older.

For people with young kids (ie: 5yr), I highly recommend buying Toss Up. Very similar to Cosmic Wimpout and Zombie Dice, but the dice are plain color weighted. 3 sides Green, 2 sides Yellow, 1 side Red. There's 10 dice in total. It's just another press your luck game, except scoring in Toss Up is by far the easiest. Throw the dice and count the green ones. One point each. You loose nothing in game play. Same game, just easier to score. Plus the dice, being so generic, can be used for other games using generic battle mechanics (ie: Heroscape). Bang for the buck, Toss Up is by far the best deal. I think I picked up my copy for $3 at Walmart. Not on sale! That's the regular price.

I love pushing classic games. Seems most people over look them. My kids love playing Rummy. A fantastic version of Rummy is Rummikub. It's basically Rummy, but played with tiles. What makes Rummikub much more fun for my kids is that everyone plays off the same set of tiles in the middle of the table. They love that! Unlike Rummy, you can move tiles from one set to another after they've been laid out. The latter part of the game becomes a bit of a brain teaser as you plot how you're trying to go out. Great game, and being washable tiles with.....um....messy kids...it's highly recommended.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Jude wrote:
and maybe
Medici


I think this is a little advanced for a seven year old. They can play, but the nuances of valuing different bundles and competitively deciding when to add items to the auction or not is something that they miss. If you are playing with older children or adults, the seven year old is going to lose.

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Liam
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Ticket to Ride: Europe (less cutthroat than TTR.)
Carcassonne
Catan (help them understand starting locations. A game that keeps giving IMO)
Pandemic or Forbidden Island (Basically the same game but Pandemic offers more options/confusion.)
Oregon
Kingsburg
(Great game: simple options deep strategy)
The Downfall of Pompeii
Alhambra
Dixit
Small World or Castle Panic(no tears coop option that uses a fantasy theme)

11. Filler For Sale

PS:

I find Survive to be way too nasty a game. Pompeii is a similar game but offers a more positive experience to all (no tears before bedtime.)

We found Zooloretto a snooze.
Quarriers is very random.
but all the games your mentioned are worth owning.
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Brian Lyons
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Heroscape is fun and yes if you were to get 1 set I would pick ROTV set as it has the most of all set's to start off with. My daughter who just turned 8 never really liked to play it that much,But she did like to build the terrain pieces,Now my son on the other hand loves to play but he doesn't like to build. But be warned if you do get into Heroscape it is out of print and Prices seem to get higher and higher by the day. Now not everything is crazy priced but some stuff is,Just depends on how much you get into it.

For just another board game I would recommend The Adventureres It's pretty fun and easy to understand,it basically a press your luck type game you want to see how much treasure you can get out of the temple alive with. You take treasure,buy rolling the correct numbers near the treasure,it also has a memory game mechanic on the one area where you have to remember which symbol is bad,the bad tiles are like holes in the floor etc. and trying to get across river,bad floor stealing treasure trying to get out while the giant boulder chases you.
Fun game I only wished the it was a tile building game where you can change the layout from time to time.
Escape from atlantis is another good family game here,but yes if anyone gets there feeling hurt easy I would avoid this game. I had everywhere from tears from kids to angry adults while playing this game,lol
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Mark Czerwinski
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My son and I played Survive with our gaming group this weekend. I hadn't heard of it before and it was a blast. He is 7 and liked it a lot. I think it would be best for kids that aren't super competitive because in our game I think there were only 7 survivors. He really liked being able to decide where the sharks, whales and sea monsters went.

Another one he loved was Pitchcar. That one got a lot of animated expressions and whoops and hollers out of him. It might be considered a bit of a chore setting up though (not too bad) and you will need a decent amount of space to play.
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