We play boardgames every week. We play with adults and we play with kids. If you never tried modern boardgames, Christmas is perfect time to change this – forget about snakes and ladders, ludo and monopoly 😉 Below are some of our (tested on kids) recommendations for families that want to start their boardgaming adventure.
Remember Scrabble? Qwirkle has similar concept but there are no letters, just 6 different shapes and colours. Some people call it ‘Scrabble for illiterates’ and this is why it is perfect to play with younger kids. But it’s not just silly game and you will need to put some effort to beat those smart kids. Game has very simple rules that can be explained in 5 minutes and play time is around 30 minutes. Game components are simple (just big wooden tiles) but great quality. Qwirkle can be played by 5 year old kids (with a little help) and it is great introduction to more complex games.
Super Tooth is game we played at UK Game Expo and our kids wanted to buy it straight away. It is just simple matching sets game where you try to get as many of one type of dinosaurs in your hand and than exchange those sets for super tooth tokens – first player to get 3, wins the game. We have herbivorous dinosaurs which we need to collect and carnivorous dinosaurs which we will need to feed, there are also some good and bad events that can change gameplay a little bit. Cartoony graphics on cards, easy rules and 15 minutes play time makes it fantastic family friendly game. 5 year old can easily play this game without any help (adult only to take care of event cards).
Catan is modern boardgame classic. If you played Monopoly you should try it – it has all the good things from it and none of bad ones. I strongly recommend to check Catan Junior if you want to play with younger kids (I personally prefer this version over full Catan version).
It is simple resource management game where you race to build pirates hideouts and ships. First to build 7 hideouts is the winner. Each player starts with two pirate hideouts, and you can use the resources you acquire to build ships, hideouts or get help from Coco the Parrot. By building ships, you can expand your network; the more hideouts you build, the more resources you may receive.
You can trade resources with marketplace or in advanced version (which I recommend after few plays) with other players – there is nothing better to see 5 and 7 year old kids discussing trade of sheep for wood!!! Game looks fantastic and board is double sided with one side for 2 players games and other for 3 to 4. Playing time is around 30-40 minutes.
Magic Labyrinth was one of the most played games on events we were in this year. This game looks great and you want to play it before you even know the rules ;). The idea is simple: you play as a magician that wants to find his lost item (just one at a time). You roll a die and move your pawn towards the item but catch is that there is a maze below a board that you do not see! There is magnetic ball attached to magician pawn that drops if you hit the wall which means you are going back to your start position.
It is than a race to get 5 items and win the game (believe me no adult can remember more than 3 moves). Maze can be changed from easy version (less walls) to an extreme difficulty (all 25 walls). You can control game time by changing number of items to collect (and maze difficulty) but it should be around 25-35 minutes with standard set up. Rules are so easy that you can explain everything in less than 2 minutes and I have played this game at last Knavecon with kids younger than 5.
After you finish with Magic Labyrinth you should definitely play Dixit with your kids. It’s a storytelling, voting and mind reading game ;). One player each round is story teller, chooses one card out of six and say a sentence or just one word that in some way describe what is on card. Other players also choose one card from their hand and secretly adds those to storyteller card. All cards are shuffled and revealed, players then vote which card was storyteller card. Easy. If it was very obvious and all players voted for correct card, storyteller gets 0 points. Same if it was too difficult and no one voted for his card. Otherwise the storyteller and whoever found the correct answer score 3. Players score 1 point for every vote for their own card. Game ends when one of players get 30 points or there are no more cards in deck.
Dixit is one of the best party games we have ever played and is even more hilarious when played with kids. Cards are very big and easy to handle, pictures on them are weird which is perfect for this game. There are several expansions for it if you will ever feel that you need more strange looking cards 😉 Highly recommend as family entertainment.
To be continued…