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?
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.
Ticket to ride is good balance to play with children and parents. Only from 8 though.
Give Scotland Yard a shot.
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.
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.
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.
Carcassonne is great with kids. Not too complicated, and they learn to divide their attention between long term and short term goals.
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.
Battleship is a ease to setup and play.
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.
The Game of Life could be good. Your kids should be able to follow what's going on in the game.
This game is very fun from 8 to 80 years old. It's like a domino game.
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.
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!
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.
Unfortunately, by daughter is only two, so I am still playing Snail's Pace Race with her.
Ludo is a race game that I played a lot in my early days. I missed it.
I loved Othello as a child. And still do.
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!
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 their 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.
I love Ubongo, even as an adult. Form tangram-like shapes, and collect shiny objects. What more do you want?
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.
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.
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.
Senku/Peg Solitaire is a good game to players of every age.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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).
Snakes and Ladders is a very interesting game if you want to play with children .