Take the 2-minute tour ×
Board & Card Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who like playing board games, designing board games or modifying the rules of existing board games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have two children aged 8 and 6 and they like to play board games. Some of the ones they have are for very young children and boring for an adult to play. Are there any suggestions for games that they will understand and I can enjoy?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Pat Ludwig Jan 8 '12 at 6:36

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
Should this kind of question be a community wiki? I don't think there is a single correct answer to the question. –  Simon Withers Oct 20 '10 at 13:54
2  
@Simon Withers: That's no longer possible. See Should the community wiki police be shut down? –  ire_and_curses Oct 20 '10 at 15:30
3  
I think this is a perfectly fine question, and really don't see what the problem is with requests for recommendations. –  Michiel de Mare Oct 20 '10 at 17:00
1  
Flagged for wiki conversion. See the meta article mentioned above. –  Jon Hadley Oct 21 '10 at 11:35
6  
I agree with Michiel - this is a perfectly good, specific question asking for good board games to play with two children (i.e. 2 to 4 players), aged 6 to 8 and interesting for adults as well (the emphasised parts are what makes it specific). Let's not go all wiki-happy while we're still in Beta and everybody's trying to build a) rep, and b) a body of Q&As. –  gkrogers Oct 21 '10 at 12:09

30 Answers 30

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Legendary Uno. Its card game. Description from BGG:

Players race to empty their hands and catch opposing players with cards left in theirs, which score points. In turns, players attempt to play a card by matching its color, number, or word to the topmost card on the discard pile. If unable to play, players draw a card from the draw pile, and if still unable to play, they pass their turn. Wild and special cards spice things up a bit.

share|improve this answer
7  
The original (simplest & cheapest) Uno is best. Avoid randomising silliness like the electronic gizmo. –  Mike Woodhouse Oct 21 '10 at 8:50
1  
Uno shouldn't be even remotely interesting for an adult: there's no strategy, no tactics, and when you have the option to do one thing or another, very rarely you can actually choose in any meaningful way (just luck). –  Lohoris Nov 2 '10 at 17:28
    
@Lo'oris, if there is no strategy or tactics then why some players wins more often than others? Personally I don't believe in luck :-) –  Pawka Jan 21 '11 at 13:36
1  
@Pawka: guess the moves what, "will he play the color or the number"? rofl, I can't believe I'm reading this. –  Lohoris Jan 23 '11 at 11:07
1  
@Lo'oris I'm not surprised that you can't find any tactics here :-D –  Pawka Jan 23 '11 at 11:26

Ticket to ride is good balance to play with children and parents. Only from 8 though.

share|improve this answer
5  
My 6 year old can play this game and actually requests to play it. –  anon77 Oct 20 '10 at 14:07

Give Scotland Yard a shot.

alt text

Scotland Yard a great game where one person is Mr. X, a fugitive from the law, and the other players team up as detectives. Mr. X takes various modes of public transportation to move stealthily around the city of London, and it's up to the detectives to figure out where he is and capture him.

This is a great game of deduction and logical thinking, plus it's tons of fun. It's fun for Mr. X, since there's something exciting about trying to escape from London's finest, and it's fun for the detectives since they get to work as a team to capture the slippery scofflaw.

This game won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award in 1983, and I think it is a game that has aged quite well.

share|improve this answer
    
My 10-year-old loves this game but its difficult for younger kids. We started playing this when my son was around 8 so it should work. –  anon77 Oct 26 '10 at 19:06
    
I loved this game when introduced to it as a teenager, and even as an adult it holds its own. This is a game with staying power. –  Simon Withers Oct 27 '10 at 17:32
    
I loved this game when I was a kid. I can't remember how old I was, though. –  Lohoris Nov 2 '10 at 17:25

Mastermind - It's only playable by two people at a time (and one of them will have to be you), but my mom got it for me when I was about 7 or 8 and I loved it.

In fact, I still have it and even broke it out again the other night. It's challenging, educational, and it's a game that makes kids think, but can be just as rewarding for adults.

share|improve this answer
1  
I grew up playing this game, I don't know where it is now, though. Great game which can be played with pen and paper if you don't have it (or in a travel situation). –  fabikw Jan 17 '11 at 2:05

Blokus. My 6 and 10 year old equally love this game of fitting pieces on the board. As a parent I find its even more challenging to work with the stuff my 6 year old does and extend the game.

Blokus encourages creative thinking and has received a Mensa award for promoting healthy brain activity. The goal of this game is for players to fit all of their pieces onto the board. When placing a piece it may not lie adjacent to the player's other pieces, but must be placed touching at least one corner of their pieces already on the board. The player who gets rid of all of their tiles first is the winner and strategic thinking helps as you block moves from your opponent. Blokus sometimes comes to an end because there are no more possible moves.

Four players make this abstract game especially fast and exciting; however, it can be just as fun for two or three players. Blokus has come up with a number of different ways to play the game to make it more thrilling when playing with less than four players. Draft Blokus allows a player to use more than one color and Reverse Blokus reverses the entire game so that the person who places the least amount of tiles on the board is the winner. It can even be played in a solitaire version when one player attempts to place all of their pieces in a single sitting. A game of Blokus typically lasts a 30 minutes. As a practical feature, raised edges on the board help keep the tiles in place and allow convenient clean-up. This game includes 84 pieces in four vibrant colors, an instruction guide, and one gameboard with 400 squares.

share|improve this answer

Carcassonne is great with kids. Not too complicated, and they learn to divide their attention between long term and short term goals.

share|improve this answer
    
My 8 year old enjoys the map building components of Carc more than the game play. That said, she really, really enjoys the map building, which means we can have fun with less competitive challenges. –  Simon Withers Oct 29 '10 at 3:18
    
I agree; however, I recommend the use of the green box edition of the game (Hunters and Gatherers): the scoring systems are more straightforward; the tile art is more compelling; there's less in the way of rampant expansionism going on in the game, so it's generally cheaper (although you're not forced to get expansions for the blue box edition, either). –  Viktor Haag May 3 '11 at 21:16

I would recommend Creationary. Especially if the kids already enjoy LEGOs. The game works very similar to Pictionary, but instead of drawing an image for others to guess, you build it with LEGO pieces. The rules allow for a lot of flexibility and also promote the use of other LEGOs to be used to build your creations. It's very fun for adults, but I can imagine that children of 6 and 8 would also enjoy it.

share|improve this answer

My 8 year old daughter has really enjoyed playing the Fluxx games.

share|improve this answer
1  
We play Fluxx, its great fun. –  Toby Allen Oct 26 '10 at 16:37
1  
I tricked my neighbor's son (in kindergarden) into doing more reading by bringing over Zombie Fluxx. Now we just have to teach him better strategy, and to stop playing 'Hand Limit 0' when he was the one holding onto all of the 'Play (number)' cards. –  Joe Mar 7 '11 at 22:48

Battleship is a ease to setup and play.

share|improve this answer
2  
Yet another game which is completely luck-based apart from a few unintresting mandatory moves. –  Lohoris Nov 2 '10 at 17:30

Tsuro is simple and easy to follow. It also plays fairly quickly and requires very minimal setup. The game can play anywhere from 2-8 people, useful if you need a game to play with a group of kids. While the suggested age is 8 and up, the users on BoardGameGeek have suggested it for 6 and up.

share|improve this answer

The Game of Life could be good. Your kids should be able to follow what's going on in the game.

share|improve this answer
6  
We have banned the Game of Life in our home. It's awful. You practically cut your own throat by going to college, you want as many kids as you can possibly get, etc.. Its chock full of outdated ideas and mores. It's possible that it could have gotten a pass on those problems if it had been any fun though. –  gomad Oct 20 '10 at 16:13
7  
It's not any fun whatsoever for adults, but I enjoyed it as a child. –  Michiel de Mare Oct 20 '10 at 16:56
    
That's true. I guess I only ever played it as a child. –  kchau Oct 20 '10 at 23:06
4  
When I see "Game of Life" I assume people are talking about Conway's version: sixfoottallrabbit.co.uk/gameoflife –  TRiG Oct 27 '10 at 23:11
    
@TRiG, I know what you mean. In this instance (and based on user comments), maybe it would be more enjoyable to code that than play this version. :-P –  kchau Oct 27 '10 at 23:52

Waterworks

This game is very fun from 8 to 80 years old. It's like a domino game.

share|improve this answer

Set should be a challenging game for all of you.

You lay out a number of cards with figures on them. The cards differ in the number, shape, color and shading of the figures on it. All players play concurrently trying to locate three cards where each attribute is either the same on all cards or different on all cards. The player who locates (and takes) the most sets wins.

share|improve this answer
    
This is a great one. My sister had her kids play this when she was teaching 3rd grade, and it is fun and challenging for adults as well. –  Null Set Mar 4 '11 at 19:57

Some of my (7yo) son's and my favorites:

  • Go : A 2-player strategy game with a built-in handicapping system. Within the first week or so, my little guy was able to hold his own with the greatest handicap applied to him, so it kept things fun for both of us.

  • Rummy : A traditional card game played with a single deck. While not intensive strategy-wise, there is enough there to keep it fun even for adults. I may be biased: I grew up playing rummy with my brother and grandmother. :)

  • Chinese Checkers : Everybody loves checkers, right?

  • Dominoes : Like rummy, dominoes employs a balance of luck and strategy that gives everyone a chance to win (and a chance to lose) regardless of age.

  • Mancala : Though only for two players, this is a fun strategy game that is simple to learn.

  • Scrabble : In our house, younger players may play on a team with an older player, or get a limited number of poker chips or other counters at the beginning of each game which may later be traded for peeks at the dictionary for help choosing a word.

  • Clue : Some strategy involved, and some luck. Great for teaching deductive reasoning.

  • Operation : Being grown-up doesn't make your hands any steadier!

share|improve this answer
    
Strategy? In Dominoes? Where, lol? –  Lohoris Nov 3 '10 at 10:15
1  
@Lo'oris: Sure there's strategy. Limit your opponent's ability to place pieces by creating dead ends (segments too close to other segments to place anything on), and (if you are playing a variant that limits how many times a side can be played on) try to block in double-anything pieces so that other players cannot fork and increase the number of ends to play on. –  HedgeMage Nov 3 '10 at 14:24
    
+1 for the Go reference alone - I love the fact that it has a built in handicap. I have a friend who has taught both of his kids to play Go. –  aperkins Mar 5 '11 at 18:19
    
Do you play 19x19 with him or 9x9 or another dimension? –  StuperUser Jul 8 '11 at 12:25
    
@StuperUser We play 19x19. –  HedgeMage Jul 9 '11 at 3:02

My personal favourite is Zooloretto. As you would expect from Rio Grande Games, it has a great board, good pieces and good gameplay. It is also very easy to learn, and because it is based on a Zoo, it keeps the interest of the kids.

I have known kids of 7 and 8 playing this game, and in a few years time being introduced to the more adult games such as Agricola and Puerto Rico etc. It is easy enough for them to understand, but has enough variety to make it strategic enough for adults to play and enjoy.

According to boardgamegeek, its users recommend it for ages 6 and up, although the manufacturer says 8 and up. Most of the other games in the Family Rank are generally for kids of 8 and upwards.

Unfortunately, by daughter is only two, so I am still playing Snail's Pace Race with her.

share|improve this answer

Ludo is a race game that I played a lot in my early days. I missed it.

share|improve this answer

I loved Othello as a child. And still do.

share|improve this answer

I liked to play Concentration with my parents when I was a kid. It's entertaining and doesn't have complicated rules -- you just need to use your memory!

share|improve this answer

Here are four games that I would recommend for families:

For the 6 and under group:

  • Piggyback Brigade (Russelbande)
    • Circus pigs that race through the fields on there days off.
    • Easy to play, different every time and everyone can win (I mean, more than one person can win)
  • Chuck-it Chicken (Kiki Ricky)
    • A rooster is taking over the hen house, and it's up to you to stop him.
    • Basically a dice rolling game, get to the top first to win.

For the older than 6 group, we play:

  • The Adventurers
    • Indiana Jones-style temple exploration.
    • Pretty fun, complete with rolling boulder. Often the winner is the only one who makes it out alive. Often, there is no winner.... :)
  • Robo Rally
    • Robot race in an ever changing factory.
    • A fun game, but this can run long.

Edit: My son's 4th Birthday was last weekend and we got:

  • The Ladybug Game
    • Lost Ladybugs have to travel home, meeting mantis and ants on the way.
    • Great game for kids. Fun, no reading needed.
    • Simple to learn, easy to go from first to last then first place again.
    • Designed by a young girl.
share|improve this answer
    
I finally got to play Robo Rally a couple of weeks ago - absolutely +1 for kids! The game will keep the adults engaged but there's enough chaos happening in the factory (moving conveyors, lasers, holes in the floor, being pushed by other robots...) that less-than-optimal moves are pretty much assured for everyone, which means that kids have some slack in their decision-making. –  gomad Jul 8 '11 at 16:05

I love Ubongo, even as an adult. Form tangram-like shapes, and collect shiny objects. What more do you want?

share|improve this answer

We used to play Shadows Over Camelot with my son and his friends when he was younger. The cooperative nature of the game meant that giving advice was OK and that the kids weren't pitted against adults.

We established a few house rules for kid games that allowed easier victories - the one I remember off the top of my head was that the first quest completed just disappeared instead of remaining on the table, flipped over, causing catapults or Saxons to appear.

I'll bet several of the current generation of cooperative games could be played this way with bright kids.

share|improve this answer

I have to admit I have not yet tried it but I have two children aged 6 at home and I just bought a copy of The Alley Cats on ebay hoping it will be the game we can play with them.

share|improve this answer

Senku/Peg Solitaire is a good game to players of every age.

share|improve this answer

My kids are now sixteen and eight. They have been raised, steeped in board games. The first "real" game that my son was able to play with adults was Atilla. And the first one my daughter got was Settlers. In both cases, they were in that same 6-8 age-range that you're talking about. Those might be good ones to try for you.

share|improve this answer

Assuming you have a fourth player I can recommend Dog as an awesome family game.

Similar to Pachisi but you play in teams of 2 and instead of throwing dice you play cards. This adds teamplay and a lot of strategy to the game. One of our favorite games at home and among friends.

share|improve this answer

Just saw a commercial for a game called Hedbanz on TV, looked like it could be fun. It's more of a card/party game. The gameplay is kind of like 20 Questions.

share|improve this answer

Elkfest
Might be hard to come by and it's only two players but it's fun and it's fast. The purpose is to the help a wooden moose/elk to cross a river. You do this by flicking a wooden stepping stone close to where the elk is standing.

share|improve this answer

Attempting to pick a "fun" game is fairly subjective, but I think a good answer is a game that has fairly simple mechanics along with a depth of strategy. Also, when trying to play against your kids, you can assume that you would always do better given the same amount of time to think and strategize. Also, I would interpret "fun" as "not having to dumb down your play too much to give your kid a chance to win."

The best types of games for kids and adults are ones where there is more than one differing role to play in the game. The adult can pick the role that has to do more with moderating the game.

2 games in this list fit that criteria.

Scotland Yard:

There is a Mr. X and everyone else. The adult can play Mr. X while the kids work together to catch him. It's possible to make sub-optimal moves fairly easily to give the kids a chance.

Mastermind:

One person attempts to discover a code, the other creates it. It makes sense for the adult to pick codes based on the child level of understanding to make it easier or harder.

These games allow for a child not to have to compare their skill directly against yours. For instance "solving" a single mastermind code says nothing about who is better at solving. Running away in Scotland Yard is a different skill set that can't be compared directly with catching Mr. X.

"Fixing Games":

If the game is such that everyone has the same goals, you can attempt to "meta" game somewhat. For instance in Monopoly you could refuse to build improvements and attempt trades to even the others' chances. Or in Risk you could purposely hole up in a single location and become a large army to beat as last challenge for the other players. In this case, the "fun" is in attempting to keep a game balanced or just becoming a self enforced game mechanic the others have to overcome. You're moving the game into an area where you have different goals than the kids.

Games of luck like Uno can be fun for them since you can't always beat them even if you try. (But then there is really nothing redeeming in making people play a game with out real decisions where you can't improve over time. Nobody learns anything. Unless you really just need to waste time.)

share|improve this answer

Wandering a bit away from "board game", you could try Zombie Dice from Steve Jackson Games. Fun for the grownups, teaches counting and decision making (do I roll again? Am I winning?), and just random enough that you won't have to cheat to let the kids win. (My four-year-old is either way better or way luckier at this game than I am, for instance).

share|improve this answer

Snakes and Ladders is a very interesting game if you want to play with children .

share|improve this answer
    
It's a random, frustrating game if you ask me. –  LittleBobbyTables Jul 31 '11 at 21:03
    
Its the most simplest and straight forward game that you can play w/o a strategy. –  Sairam Jul 31 '11 at 21:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.