Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 5 games I can't wait to play with my kids (when they're ready!)

Alright... so this is a family gaming site, I wanted to come back
around to the family aspect. One of the motivating factors for
starting the blog was that our 4 year old (now five year old) daughter
was starting to be able to play strategy games with us. We're so
excited that she shows interest in games like we do, and we feel that
this is the beginning a wonderful trend. So tonight, I'm going to talk
about the top 5 games that I can't wait to play with Katie and Jack...
when they're ready, of course!

1. Dungeons & Dragons
What can I say? I'm a geek at heart and love D&D and its various
incarnations (Pathfinder, Gamma World, d20 Modern, etc.), and I want
to share that at some point with my kids. Katie is already coming up
with imaginative narratives on her own, I can only imagine what that's
going to be like when she's a couple years older. I have a suspicion
she'll make a great dungeon master. Heck, at 15 months she was barely
talking, but used sign language to tell us there was a big orange
dirty monster friend sleeping under our house, while looking through
the crawlspace grating! That was weird. But the point is that she has
had an active imagination from early on. And Jack? Time will tell, but
I can totally see my mischevious little guy playing a rogue.

Player's Handbook, Version 3.5 (Dungeon & Dragons Roleplaying Game: Core Rules)  Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook 

2. Settlers of Catan
Okay, so Katie already plays this. But to tell the truth, I can't wait
until Jack is old enough and we all can play together. I'm not going
to go on about this one, but it gets #2.

The Settlers of Catan

Agricola is an amazing game, but can also be complex. For those of you
not familiar with Agricola, it is a farming game where each player is
managing their own farm. You build your farmhouse, plant and sow
crops, manage livestock... what you would expect if you were managing
your own family farm. It is rich in strategy and executes its theme
well.I imagine that Katie will be able to play the family version
(without minor improvements and occupations) in about a year; I see
reading as the biggest barrier at the moment. They'll both love the
animeeples and veggiemeeples, for sure!

Agricola Agricola: Farmers of the Moor Expansion

4. Magic
Angie and I tend to play Magic a lot. We've taken a break since she
has been student teaching, but (as I mentioned in my last post) it's
something we enjoy quite a bit. Both Jack and Katie have shown
interest in the cards, but as with Agricola, reading is far more a
barrier here. Both have a good deal of focus, so I think they will
both have the temperament for this soon. The reading and comprehension
of terms may put this several years down the road.

 Magic the Gathering Card Game Deck Builders Toolkit

5. Memoir '44
The only Days of Wonder to make the list ( I suspect if I did a top
ten, there'd be more), Memoir '44 is a World War II battle game. It
plays a lot quicker than other games in this genre (Axis & Allies, for
example, usually takes about 6 hours). It focuses on recreating
specific battles during this war. The base game only focuses on
Europe, but expansions add the Mediterranean and Pacific theatres and
corresponding troop types. Despite the genre, it is a simple game;
expect to play no more than 45 minutes per session. Already this game
is used in classrooms to teach history, and I believe that playing
this could be a great way to start discussions on history. As with the
previous entries, I see reading as the biggest barrier since you use
strategy cards to do everything.

Days of Wonder Memoir, 44'

So... yeah. I'm really excited about doing this with my kiddos. If you want to see another person excited to play games with his kids, check out Cool Factor 5. This was another of our blog challenge series. What games do you play with your kids? What games are you excited to play with your kids? Let us know!


  1. I have to agree that I'm looking forward to D&D with Theo. Although I will probably play a simpler system to start with. I've been telling him for over a year that as soon as he can count to twenty, we can play Savage Worlds, where the mechanic is more of "does this die roll beat this die roll". Of course I think the other barrier will be his tendency to "power game", i.e. want to have all the powers. He'll grow out of that, of course, and I'll pander to it a bit.

  2. Indeed! Savage Worlds does seem like a good starter system. And I think "power gaming" is just going to be a feature of roleplaying with kids. And yes, you do have to pander a it and let them do the neat heroic things. It'll be great!

  3. I think you guys could start playing "a version" of D&D with your kids very soon - at least with Katie - Angie was about Katie's age when i first started playing D&D with her - actually it was more story telling and I would just pretend like the dice and rule books had an impact on the story - and the character sheets were really - really basic and focused more on what their characters looked like (we would draw and color our characters - it took up about a 3rd of our gaming session - lol)and the cool gear they had was OTT but my secret agenda - was to practice my new dungeons designs and plot twists out on a live audience before I unleashed my latest masterpiece on my regular Saturday night grouping buddies - it worked out well because both Angie and her cousin Mike were both so imaginative and eager to do "grown up' things - and mike just had this embedded desire to thwart evil - from the start he was the "good guy" a natural born Paladin, Angie - well believe it our not she struggled between what was good for her personally and what was good for the masses - and good and evil wasn't so black and white to her - lol it was amazing to see these young minds work out these morality conundrums

  4. youe 5 yr old plays settlers of catan? Does she 'get' it u think?
    my 4.5 year old loves games but we're stuck with 'hey thats my gish', 'snap', and believe it or not 'tsuro'
    I'd love to play some of the bigger games with her, i'm just not sure she'd 'get' it. Or doesn't that matter?
    Any advice on knowing when your kids are ready for what?
    How to introduce them?