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Subject: First Game With My Son rss

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Matthew McFarland
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Massachusetts
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My son, who is six and prior to this has played few games of any real depth (his go to's are, or were rather, Uno and Candy Land, occasionaly Connect Four) has a new favorite game, and he's not half bad at it.

I bought King of Tokyo (and Power Up!) because it seemed like a great light time filler game, complete with fun overpowered cards, awesome randomness and general merriment. But mostly it was to play with my wife and maybe possibly other friends (Alas, I've not been able to have any real game nights yet), with an eye toward my son dabbling in it and pretty much just rolling the dice araound. I, like many adults I think, underestimate kids' ability to comprehend complex situations and develope strategies. Not that King of Tokyo is hugely deep, but it's complex enough to have some modicum of strategy in what to do and how to roll.

We played two games back to back, and I had use all my parental power to get my son into a bath and then bed, with him begging all the way to play more, more, more--and he didn't even win! I have a thing about letting him win (at least without a fight). Thing is, he picked it up so fast he almost won both games easily. He decided to go for points and managed to roll five threes on his first two rounds, before I went into Tokyo. I ended up winning on points, but we were neck and neck and the only reason I did was he didn't grasp--or I didn't explain well--trying to kick me out of Tokyo. To be honest with two players it's not as obvious. He kept going for points and energy to buy cards but I edged him out in the end.

The second game started out more evenly, with him taking Tokyo first. I laughed when I told him he should try healing and he reminded me he couldn't because he was in Tokyo. When he got down to two hearts I realized I hadn't explained yielding very well and he got out as soon as he could. He had managed to buy Big Brain (one extra reroll) and when Ultimate Destruction (gain nine points when you shoot the moon) came up he was insistent that he get it, like any good gambler. At ten points he would have been 1 point away from victory and he knew it. Amazingly he went on to almost get it three turns in a row only missing it by one die. Meanwhile I climbed back up but started playing a little softball just to see if he could do it and get a crazy win. Eventually, after two more almost wins for him, I had to end it by taking his last couple hit points. He was so focused on getting that run that he pretty much left me alone, but I can't say I would have done any different; with an extra reroll why wouldn't you? Even then he loved it and I had to drag him away from the table.

I had surprisingly little input on what he should reroll, only mentioning a couple suggestions when he got tunnel vision. He's informed me that we're playing ten times tomorrow when he gets home from school, so I think it was a success; we both have a favorite new game and all that's left is dragging my wife into it as well. ninja
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Walter Kolinski
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awesome to hear, thanks for sharing
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I have a few observations about children and gaming:

First, the ability to learn a game is highly correlated with how interested you are in it and therefore with your ability to focus your attention on it. The reason children often find it hard to learn complex games is that they don't tend to pay attention to a single thing for a long time (it certainly isn't because they aren't intelligent.) When a game captures a child's attention, it's often not that hard to learn.

Second, many games require balancing one approach (e.g., going for fame) against another (e.g., killing your opponents.) This is a good feature. Children often learn the tactics of pursuing the approach fairly easily, but don't learn the balancing skill until later. Thus, it's typical to see a child pursuing a single approach monomanically even when it's obvious that a different strategy would be better.
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Chris G
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I've been playing this game with my 5 1/2 yr old daughter and much like you her previous gaming has been Candyland, Snakes & Ladders and Kids of Carcassonne as well as Lego Heroica. Lego Heroica I enjoy playing with her because there's options and you can affect your opponent. However it's still a kids game and kind of shallow. King of Tokyo is the first game I've found that I really enjoy and she can play too, fortunately she also really likes it. The simple Yahtzee nature was easy for her to grasp and she generally gets how the cards work.

What's nice to see is that she actually contemplates her choices and thinks ahead a little bit based on what other people are doing. Lego Heroica requires a bit of this as well, but not as many times through the game. She's played in some multi-player games as well and does well. Her typical strategy is to kill everyone. But she manages her health and energy and VP's also. She's honestly one a few games, one a couple more because I didn't go for the kill or nudged her a few times. She's certainly lost her share, but they've never really been blow-outs once she learned the game.

Overall much like your experience with your son it's been an awesome experience so far.
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Matthew McFarland
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@Eric Yeah, I can see him waivering with some games just not holding his interest. He's a smart kid, and with KoT capturing and keeping his attention he warmed upt o it right away. That attention span can be killer with kids!

@Chris I'm glad this happens with other people! I just know the more we play the more he'll pick up on certain tactics and become more aware of what players are doing. I'm excited for how this can translate to many other things.
 
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Scott Aikens
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Please update this thread with the results of today's games. If you play ten games, I'll bet he wins at least a few of them.
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Shawn Baldwin
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Daytona
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Come and get them if you dare!
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To Do List: 1. Eat 2. Workout 3. Be Amazing
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Great session. Read this again in a couple of years and it will bring back all kinds of great memories!
 
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Jeff Fike
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My 9 and 7 year old sons love this game. Power up is coming from Santa this Christmas and I've had to resist pulling it out many times as I enjoy the game as well!

I believe that children can do anything, they are only limited by what we adults limit them to. But they do have to have interest. My 9 year old, (when he was 7) had more attention to boardgames than my now 7 year old...but people are different and have different interests.

I can say, that at 7 years old (or even a few years younger), you can safely graduate from Candyland. Some games my boys enjoy which I feel any adult would also enjoy:

The Adventurers; Temple of Horus (Fantasy Flight Games)

Walk the Dog (A SimplyFun company game)

Settlers of Catan

Shadows over Camelot (Days of Wonder)

Ticket to Ride (Days of Wonder)

Small World (Days of Wonder)

Lord of the Rings LCG (Fantasy Flight Games and ONLY if you build the decks for them)

Defenders of the Realm (EAGLE Games)

Sewer Pirats (spelled correctly and also Fantasy Flight games)

There are quite a few others but the common theme is co-op games are good for kids and if you don't go co-op, then the game mechanics are simple yet fun and the strategy is straighforward.

Candyland is in my rear-view mirror and I need not mention the finger I pointed towards it as I drove by!
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Greg Parkinson
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I completely agree, I spent the last three days in the hospital with my 6 year old son (who was undergoing surgery - it went great btw) and picked up KoT specifically to while away the long hours sitting in a hospital bed.

He loved it, we were able to play on his little meal table (thanks to the small form factor) until he was mobile and then we went for a walk to a room with some larger tables, he made his own decisions and actually beat me the first game with a ridiculous roll of claws while I was trying to sit in Tokyo and amass stars (5 claws!!! in a single roll!?!). My wife also played a loved it, we played ourselves while the boy was playing with some magnetic building blocks they had there. So overall it was a huge success!
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Matthew McFarland
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Update: Okay so, of course we didn't play as many games as he wanted, but we have gotten a few games in. He's playing better but still being goofy sometimes--and he LOVES buying cards so he'll go after energy a lot. However in the last game we got Mommy to play with us.

We had to drag her into it at first as she didn't seem to be too keen on playing. As time went on, though, I saw her get more and more into it, to the point where she almost won and I didn't even notice! She developed a short term strategy at the end to weasel some points, and then grabbed Herbivore. She would have won the next turn but the dice were unkind and she inadvertently attacked, ending the game with 19 points.

The moral is, it was great fun to see someone go from reluctant player to getting that glint in her eye and trying to sneak in a last minute victory.
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Daniel Auer
Germany
Landshut
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I share your opinion, it´s simply awesome and funny!
 
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