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Subject: Best games for game-loving dad to play with 7 year old son? rss

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Mark Turner
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I am really keen to find a game that hits that sweet spot between playable for a 6.5 year old, and enjoyable for me (in the sense that there is challenge for me, and we are genuinely playing together).

My son is currently into Gubs, but it doesn't hit the spot for me... too random. Games we also play include Dweebies, Kids of Carcassone, and - surprisingly, perhaps - Betrayal. He enjoys Forbidden Island, but I have found I have to help him along a bit.

Nothing hits that magic spot however - of equal engagement and enjoyment for both of us... Maybe I am asking for the impossible, given that he is only 6 and a half.

He sees games like Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, Pandemic, and is clearly attracted, but would struggle. I tried to get him into Summoner Wars, but he found it too tough.

Any suggestions much appreciated!
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Peter Brahan
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I'm in the same situation (9 year old son and 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son). Forbidden Island works great. We also play zooloretto as well (these are with my 7 year old when she was 6). Kids of carcassonne works great with my 5 year old.

Hope this helps!
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Liam
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I suspect he's at that difficult stage where his tastes are out of sync with his cognitive ability - the good news is that this will naturally sort it's self out and trying to play games that are slightly out of his reach will only add to his development.

Simple
The Magic Labyrinth

Worth a look
The Downfall of Pompeii might be worth a look
Carcassonne is worth a look - drop all but the simple rules
Castle Panic coop

A reach but perhaps doable due to their theme:
Memoir '44 This would be my big recommendation.
Small World

PS:
Oregon - simple but he has to figure out how to use a grid. This is a conceptual gift that will put him well in advance of his peers.

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Kent Reuber
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I notice that you rate Small World highly. I wonder if you could make Small World work? The conquering mechanics are pretty easy; the tricky thing would be the racial special powers. Maybe if you removed all of the tricky special abilities (dragon, forts, etc.).

Memoir '44 might work. There are special rules included "for Young Generals" where you remove the wordy tactics cards from the deck and just play with the "order N units" sector cards. I would think most boys would enjoy moving the plastic tanks and infantry around.
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Ticket to ride is very kid friendly. My 6 year old plays it and really enjoys it. Also keep an eye out for Plaid Hats "Mice and Mystics" it has my attention.
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Mark Turner
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Grumsh wrote:
Ticket to ride is very kid friendly. My 6 year old plays it and really enjoys it. Also keep an eye out for Plaid Hats "Mice and Mystics" it has my attention.


Yes, I spotted Mice and Mystics today and it looked very appealing.

Ticket to Ride for a 6 year old? Interesting... maybe I'll try it out. I have Nordic Countries (essentially for 2 player games between me and my wife, who is half Norwegian - so what better?) so perhaps he might find some of the rules too tricky?

Seems the basic TTR would be a better bet, given the simplicity of the rules. (I kind of wish TTR had those same simple rules, for ease of teaching...)
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John Choong
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Does your sons likes abstract games? If yes, here are a few which I would recommend you and your son to check it out. Good for two players games.

- Hive
- Through the Desert

Other games which is fun, easy to learn and colourful games are:
- Takenoko
- Maori
- Jaipur (which is a card game for two)

Also, Would recommend you to try Mason (which is a 2006 game) and Stone Age.

Hope that helps.

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Greg Taylor
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MrMT wrote:
Grumsh wrote:
Ticket to ride is very kid friendly. My 6 year old plays it and really enjoys it. Also keep an eye out for Plaid Hats "Mice and Mystics" it has my attention.


Yes, I spotted Mice and Mystics today and it looked very appealing.

Ticket to Ride for a 6 year old? Interesting... maybe I'll try it out. I have Nordic Countries (essentially for 2 player games between me and my wife, who is half Norwegian - so what better?) so perhaps he might find some of the rules too tricky?

Seems the basic TTR would be a better bet, given the simplicity of the rules. (I kind of wish TTR had those same simple rules, for ease of teaching...)


Basic TTR is certainly a better starting point. It only has a few rules and they're easy to understand and execute.

For other recommendations, it would be good to know what your child is interested in. Some dexterity games like Crokinole, PitchCar, Sorry! Sliders might go over really well for some kids, where others in the 7-8 range like Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie (though 7 is certainly on the young side for that one, and it's out of print).
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Matt Brown
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Rockhopper01 wrote:
Hey, That's My Fish! - my kids love it, and has much more strategy than it seems at first, so adults enjoy it as well.


+1.
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Kallel 00
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I can't pinpoint exactly when, but I know I played a LOT of the original Talisman when I was a kid (with my brother, who was 2 years younger than me).

This is pretty much the game that really got me into board gaming as a kid (I'm 36 now).


There's lovers and haters of Talisman, but imo it remains one of the best games with a classic "RPGish" goal of building up a character till you're strong enough for the end. The PvP element of the game can easily be removed to teach younger players.
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J.A.H. van de Laak
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I have a 7 year old daughter, games that we BOTH like to play are:

Cave Troll

(who can collect the most coins/treasures by occupying certain dungeons with their heroes. Fantastic looking map, and nice little figurines. Lots of interesting decisions. Great for young and old. Affordable too.)




Dragonheart

(beautiful board and cards, very easy to play and also lots of tough decisions to make. High luck factor, but strategy is needed. Again, great for young and old. Plays quickly, like less than 10 minutes)








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Greg Wajda
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PitchCar
Quarriors!
Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot
Zooloretto
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Jerry Wilkinson
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My girls really liked Unnamed Object when a friend brought his copy over. They were 8 and 7 when we first played.

Also I suggest Pyramid (German edition is called Fluch der Mumie).
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Lucas Gerlach
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I've got a 7-year-old son who seeks out the same types of games your son does. Games we love to play together include...

Perfect level of difficulty:
Forbidden Island (perfect for my whole family including my 5-year-old but excluding my 2-year-old)
Carcassonne (We usually "play nice" with this game.)
Cartagena (simple mechanics, best with more than two)
Geistesblitz (excellent quick-thinking dexterity game)
Pack & Stack (fun theme, exercises estimation, addition, subtraction, and spatial skills)
Small World (He beat me the first time we played together.)
The Thief of Baghdad (simple but offers some good strategic options)
Pirate Fluxx (Much better than the original)
Toc Toc Woodman (fun dexterity game... He usually beats me.)
Uno (a classic that we often play with our whole family... great for helping kids be okay with the "take-that" aspect of gaming)
Zooloretto (I'm not a fan, but my kids love the theme, understand the mechanics, and are learning strategies.)

Almost Perfect
Alien Frontiers (I was surprised at how quickly he picked up on this. We both like the game, but haven't gotten in a full game together because of sisters waking up from naps.)
Finca (Fun and fairly simple game. Great theme and artwork)
Galaxy Trucker (We rarely play through all three rounds.)
Ticket to Ride (One of our favorites to play together.)
Tobago (A great theme (hunting for treasure) and fairly simple. There are some aspects of mechanics that I assist with, but he's fairly independent with this.)

Playable, but...
Asteroyds (With adaptations. However, it is so easy to adapt this game. My son needs a bit of guidance, but it's fun!)
Ascending Empires (My son often wants to play this, but it gets a little long. Also, he sometimes gets pretty upset if anyone goes after his ships or planets.)

The biggest struggle we face when playing games together is when our games go long... and they always take a more time than usual when playing with kids. We do, however, have great fun. I've recently really been trying to focus on fun family games rather than just games I like. Games that I really recommend as "hitting that sweet spot" are marked with a star.

(Edited in order to provide more specific recommendations.)
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James Best
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I recently acquired King of Tokyo and my 8 year old girl had no trouble picking it up and we all love to play it. Simple enough to teach/learn and what kid doesn't like giant monsters?
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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MrMT wrote:
Grumsh wrote:
Ticket to ride is very kid friendly. My 6 year old plays it and really enjoys it. Also keep an eye out for Plaid Hats "Mice and Mystics" it has my attention.


Yes, I spotted Mice and Mystics today and it looked very appealing.

Ticket to Ride for a 6 year old? Interesting... maybe I'll try it out. I have Nordic Countries (essentially for 2 player games between me and my wife, who is half Norwegian - so what better?) so perhaps he might find some of the rules too tricky?

Seems the basic TTR would be a better bet, given the simplicity of the rules. (I kind of wish TTR had those same simple rules, for ease of teaching...)


Sorry yes basic vanilla Ticket To Ride. It has basic set collection rules with the cards and kids really love trains.

Also if your son doesn't mind abstracts check out Quirridor I reviewed ages ago but my 6 year old loves that game too.
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Sharon Khan
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I've had success with my children and Dominion, but the real hit has been King of Tokyo.
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Mark Turner
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sa266 wrote:

I've had success with my children and Dominion, but the real hit has been King of Tokyo.


yep.. am looking forward to it being reprinted!
 
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Agent J
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Zendo. I play it with my kids' legos. We take turns being the master, and he does just fine coming up with simple rules. Right now we're at 3-colors, max 10-lego koans, but all shapes that we own that aren't unique are valid... I love watching him when he comes up with a hypothesis, tests it, and gets blown away by it being wrong.
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Mark Turner
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On one recommendation here I bought Drizzt and my son loves it. Dad found it pretty fun too.

Took a while to sort the rules in my head, but very good imaginative fun.
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Matthew Sterling
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I have 4 kids ranging in age from 6 years old to 15.
One game they all enjoy is God Dice. Track it down and buy it. It is a VERY fun game.
Just make sure to let them play as a hero!

Spot It can also be a fun game.

Really though, just get games with themes that appeal to your child and it will go well.

Do not be afraid to start teaching more complex game at a young age either.
My 13 year old started playing Magic the Gathering at age 7.
Now he is a force to be reckoned with!

Have fun. Remember it is all about them having fun spending time with their Dad!
 
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Matthew Sterling
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Almost forgot,
Gubs is a great game;but... it can be very brutal if played seriously.
It is one of those games that like Epic or Omen that can be very frustrating for a younger player.
Just a heads up.

Oh yeah,
If you do not own Gubs or Omen or any Epic- I would get them.
Gubs is a great little game.
Omen is brutal as can be yet still very fun.
Epic is for those times you just want some hardcore tcg action.
I am not kidding about Epic. It is just that hardcore...and fun!devil
In fact our gaming group does not even play constructed Epic, only packwar.
You can sort your collection into bags just like boosters and play packwar over and over again!
 
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Mark Turner
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Mattimao wrote:
Almost forgot,
Gubs is a great game;but... it can be very brutal if played seriously.
It is one of those games that like Epic or Omen that can be very frustrating for a younger player.
Just a heads up.

Oh yeah,
If you do not own Gubs or Omen or any Epic- I would get them.
Gubs is a great little game.:D
Omen is brutal as can be yet still very fun.:p
Epic is for those times you just want some hardcore tcg action.
I am not kidding about Epic. It is just that hardcore...and fun!:devil:
In fact our gaming group does not even play constructed Epic, only packwar.
You can sort your collection into bags just like boosters and play packwar over and over again!


Yes, I have Gubs, and my son likes it - but it feels a little too random to me. There is limited strategy - mostly its pretty obvious what you should be doing, I think.

And then along comes a brutal 'you lose everything in play' type card - and unless you have the counter, there is little you can do about it. This can be pretty devastating for a 6 year old!

Still, despite constant set-backs, he is still into the game.

PS What Epic? There are a lot of games with Epic in the title!
 
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