Woo… we’ve reached the point where event registration is open for GenCon. Let’s talk a little about how the process went with getting registered for events. There are two big things to note that we did, since there were two of us, when when we […]
Tag: Ice Cool
Now, this topic is going to be a bit trickier for me than a lot of other games. I have a kid, but at 2 weeks old, they aren’t playing any board games yet. But that will be something that will be gotten over time.
Let’s talk a little bit about what I would look for in a kids game. I think that a lot of people are used to pretty boring kids games. Games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders has no real strategy to them, and they are boring for the adults to play. I personally think board games for kids should challenge them some. They don’t need to be too hard or too confusing, but a game that challenges a kid to develop reasoning and planning skills are going to be a good thing. I also think that it is fine for parents to beat kids at games. It doesn’t mean that you have to go all out or always beat them, but learning to lose gracefully is something that a lot of adults could stand to learn, so it’s good to teach kids that as well.
But what are some good kids games?
Stuffed Fables came up on the story game, and it has an amazing story of stuffed animals protecting a little girl while she sleeps. The downside to this game and the thing that you should be aware of is that there are some small pieces and little fiddly bits in the game. However, the game is cooperative, so the information of what is going on is known to everyone and you can work together as a team. The story should keep kids engaged.
Mice and Mystics
From the same designer and the predecessor to Stuffed Fables, Mice and Mystics is for a slightly older group of kids, but has a very Redwall feel towards it. Another cooperative game, it’s going to be one that you can probably play with a younger age, though they’ll mainly be rolling dice and making fewer decisions.
I’m not sure in the ability to get this game still as I got it as a kickstarter, but Lift Off! is a fun game where you are playing cards and moving around tons of adorable meeples to try and get your guys off of the planet first before the planet blows up. However, each way off the planet can only hold so many guys and only launches at certain points in time. It’s a fun game that offers enough decisions to keep everyone engaged, but not so many that it would be confusing to kids.
Now, this is just a category, and I haven’t even played their games, but Haba is a game company that really focuses on making kids games. Their two most famous, Rhino Hero and Rhino Hero Super Battle. They are both tower building dexterity games where you are trying to get a hero to the top, but in Rhino Hero Super Battle, each person has their own hero and they fight along their way to the top. Any dexterity game is going to be nice, because kids are often more dexterous than the adults.
Another dexterity game, and the last dexterity game for this list, Ice Cool is about a Penguin High School, but would play really well with young kids and is a ton of fun for adults as well. And now with Ice Cool 2, you can play up to 8 players, instead of just 4. In this game, you are flicking penguins around trying to collect fist or race around the board. It’s a ton of fun, and it’s fun for the adults to try a crazy shot and hope it works, but sometimes you just flick the penguin as hard as possible and you bounce through a couple of doors, and other times, you bounce off a wall and end up back where you started.
Final game on the list, Titan Race does have a few small pieces, but you don’t need to use them, you can just do a grand prix style. In the game you are playing cards, once in a while that you might have to help kids with, but the big thing you are doing is drafting dice and moving as the dice show. You could easily simplify this game so that you don’t use the cards and it’s all about drafting dice and not pushing other characters forward. The minis are fun in this game, and kids will definitely like them and the artwork of this game.
Now, that’s a solid selection of kids games. There are more, some on the Intro Games list, that could work for kids as well. There are also games like Catan Junior or My Little Scythe that are simplified or tweaked versions of bigger games that would work well with kids as well. And judge with your own kid what games will work for them and which ones won’t. If you checkout the YouTube channel Watch It Played, you can watch the host play fairly complicated games with his son, and the games might seem like they are going to be too challenging for him, but it completely depends on the kid. The Dice Tower also has some really fun reviews by Dan and Cora in the Board Game Breakfast where they look at games for 4-6 year olds (they’ve been doing it while Cora was 4 and now she’s 6). So that’s another great resource.
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Now, This is meant as more of a play on the new game that came out called My Little Scythe. To see if you want to continue reading this, this is not about small games, though I’ll probably do a post on that soon now that I’m writing about it, it’s going to be about the nerdy things that I’m looking forward to when the kid has been born and is able to start playing board games, etc.
The first thing that I think of is reading books to our kid and getting them into those worlds are make-believe and encouraging their creativity. For me growing up, my parents read to us kids a lot of books, and I’m excited to start doing that with a kid as well. And this is something that you can do even before they really truly understand it, but will be more fun when they do. The Swallows and Amazons series is the big one that I’m excited to read to them, it’s the one that I remember most fondly from my childhood. And there are plenty of other series, Harry Potter is one of the series that I want to read as well, something that my parents couldn’t have done for me because of how old I am. But I remember them reading Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Chronicles of Narnia as well. I have to imagine with how much Kristen and I read that it’ll rub off on the kid, but it’s something that we really want to encourage.
Then there are RPG’s. I actually think that most kids should play RPG’s. One, it’s a good form of play that they can do and really stretch imaginations. It’s also a good outlet for creativity, and is in some ways what kids are doing when they play make-believe. The other thing is that it puts yourself in a situation that you aren’t used to, it’s outside of the norms of social interaction and can be a good way to tease out those social interactions. As you can see, focusing in on that creativity is something that important in my mind for the development of a child, which I don’t think should be surprising.
I’m also really excited for teaching board games. I’m probably going to have to get a few simpler board games like My Little Scythe or My First Carcassone to start with, and actually on Board Game Breakfast from The Dice Tower, there’s a segment on games for younger kids that I’ll probably mind for information as well. But games like Ice Cool are already on my shelf that a kid is going to be able to play. Then as they get older I can introduce games like Tsuro and Splendor that are simple but have more strategy to them. This is there I’m looking to start developing the logical side of our child.
I also want to teach them Magic the Gathering or Star Wars: Destiny or whatever the newest CCG (collectible card game) is. The reason for that is that I really want to teach the deck building and the logic that goes into those things. It means that right now I can’t totally fall of the Magic bandwagon even though I don’t get to play much. But deck building in those games is very much logic and very much finding the fun combinations that you can play. Plus, if they get into Magic or any CCG, they don’t have money to spend on anything else, as the joke goes. However, these deck builders are clearly further down the line, as they are very logical, but I want to introduce them for that reason, to help build that logic and reasoning skill that you can get in both CCG’s and board games.
Now, there are a ton more things that I’m excited to introduce at the right times. The first time that they see the Lord of the Rings movies or the original Star Wars movies. Taking them to Universal Studios when they are old enough to appreciate Harry Potter world. And it’ll be interesting to see what nerdy things that they’ll get into that will be coming out for them. What will be there Harry Potter or Hunger Games?
What nerdy things are you excited to introduce a child to? Is there some particular area that you’re really excited for?
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