New to your kids - New Lease of Life - Gaming with your kids in January 2014
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Was one of your New Year Resolutions to play more games with your kids, and play a new one each month to ensure your participation in this list? I hope so!

Looking back over the last month, which are the best games you've newly introduced to your kid(s), and why? Please pick an entry even if it's the same as someone else's because it's more fun that way. Or are there some which have enjoyed a new lease of life and have suddenly become popular again?

It would probably be helpful if you say what ages the children you played with are, and how much they enjoyed it as well as how much you enjoyed it.

Please, add you own entries - one per child might make sense if they are of different ages and abilities. And if you play with kids that aren't yours - nieces, nephews or friends' kids, include those!

Just like the idea of this series of monthly lists, I've also nicked the idea of an announcement thread from Grimwold (Thanks Andy!). If you'd like to be alerted to the existence of the new list when it appears, subscribe to this subscription thread..
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1. Board Game: Aquaretto [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1158] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Board Game: Aquaretto
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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This one just sneaked in over the line: it arrived, courtesy of the European Maths trade, on January 31st and Rebecca (8) wanted to play it immediately. She really liked the picture of the dolphin on the front, and the theme of constructing a zoo with lots of water animals appealed to her.

She picked up the rules very quickly (I hadn't played this, though I had played Zooloretto and Coloretto, so was familiar with the basic idea), and our two player game went quite quickly. It was good fun, and the 2 player game is quite forgiving, so neither of use ended up with any spare animals, and we didn't feel under any pressure during the game - a positive thing, especially the first time. Rebecca managed to beat me by a couple of points, something she was very pleased about and was at pains to tell everyone else! We've since played it again, so this one's a stayer. The cute graphics really help - she is especially fond of the baby dolphins, but the game is solid too, and fun for adults.

I also tried out Jailbreak, a fun two player card game, but she wasn't all that impressed. The strategy was perhaps a bit difficult for her to grasp. I doubt this will be asked for again. You can't win them all, and there is no shortage of games she loves - especially Love Letter, which she asks to play every day, occasionally instead of a bedtime story!
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2. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:535]
Board Game: Kingdom Builder
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Having taught ourselves this last month I introduced this to Matthew (12). He got the rules very quickly, even the potentially tricky one about forced placement. We played the first game with the easiest to use boards and VP cards. Once we finished he was very interested to see the other possibilities. We've since played a number of times, and he really enjoys this game. It's a reasonably straightforward game in terms of the rules, but plays differently each time. A game I'm very happy to play with him!
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3. Board Game: Quelf [Average Rating:5.28 Overall Rank:19416]
Board Game: Quelf
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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I acquired this in the Rummage-O-Rama giveaway, so thought we should give it a go. It's a fairly manic party game involving forfeits, some trivia and some silliness. We played it with all five of us (2 parents plus Rebecca, Matthew and Daniel (14). Some bits were a bit hard for Rebecca, so we let her off some negatives. There were certainly some fun bits, but also some ho-hum aspects for all of us. It ends reasonably swiftly, and everyone is in contention, so it was ok, though I can't totally recommend it, especially with younger ones.
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:176] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Carcassonne
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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This went over very well at the games club I run for P6 (10 year olds) at the local primary school. It shows how well they have come on over the last few months that they took to it very well, and really enjoyed it, requesting it to be brought the next week.

I also tried out The Great Dalmuti, which went over quite well though some of them had some difficulty working out what they could or couldn't do. They may not have been concentrating as well as they might have on that occasion.
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5. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:877]
Board Game: Loopin' Louie
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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An older game (1992) that we played in the Cancon games library. My three and a half year old really enjoyed this one as did I. The fun in trying to knock down the other player’s chicken tokens while protecting your own is immense and one that seems to have a fair bit of replayability.

The game looks great and plays really well and I can certainly see why this is a hit with the youngster (as well as young at heart oldsters too). I will consider this one for purchase if I see it at the right price - it would make a fine birthday or Christmas present for either of the little fish.

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6. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:711]
Board Game: Attika
Colls
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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The other day, my 6-year-old asked me my favorite game. I told her that I don't have a favorite, but that I like Attika very much. My 9-year-old immediately asked me to teach her, so we played two games of this the next day. The first game we played to give her a feel for the game: unsurprisingly, I won by connecting the two temples. She won the second game. I'm glad she enjoyed it - it's definitely a keeper for me and my husband.
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7. Board Game: Parade [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:786]
Board Game: Parade
Colls
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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My 9-year-old and I played this: I ended up taking a lot of risks that paid off at the end of the game for the victory. It really seemed at certain points that she might win though; its scoring is similar to Baker's Dozen, a game at which she is very competitive.
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8. Board Game: Yōkaï no Mori [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Board Game: Yōkaï no Mori
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Miska is 5 years & 5 months old.

Yōkaï no Mori (7x)
This one was a surprising win - I didn't even expect him to play this one with me! Shogi, this Japanese Chess variation is probably even more complex than Chess – more figure types, more promotions and a board that is probably crowded from the beginning to the end, as captured pieces are returned to the board as part of the capturer’s army. I would probably not want to try it ever – but here comes Yokai no mori that incorporates two simplified shogi variants, published in a European edition, adding lovely graphic design by Naidae (Seasons) and here I am, suddenly playing Shogi-based abstracts with Miska who is a lot more interested in learning and playing this game than e.g. Chess with its classic pieces.
The games included in Yokai no Mori are:
Let’s Catch the Lion – Played on a 3x4 board, the rules say (is it a translation mistake or some strange Japanese wording?) this game was developed “for children and girls”… But wow, I think this is excellent, even when played against adults (not professional Shogi players of course). Small board, a few pieces and an interesting gameplay, this feels like an extremely well-designed hot Japanese minigame for me.
From gallery of lacxox

• and Goro-Goro Dōbutsu Shōgi – played on a 5x6 square board, this is a development based on the previous one, adding (also taking away) some rules to take players closer to playing real Shogi. Miska was curious, we played it twice but now it was rather easy for me to win against him.
From gallery of lacxox


Nacht der Magier (3x)
A children's game that gets better the more you play. It’s a bit more tactical when played in light, but more fun with the kids when played in the dark – the pieces are glowing. Miska hasn't got the hang of it yet - we only played it in one evening, three times - but he will soon I guess.
Board Game: Nacht der Magier


Trap the Cap (1x)
My wife had fond memories about this game from the ’90s. Now we played it with her, Miska and our 3 and a half-year-old daughter Borcsa. Well… It’s a Pachisi-like game with about the same (or maybe even a bit higher) luck level (here you have to catch other figures – caps – and take them home so they are out of the game; if you catch a cap that has already caught your cap, you can save your caps by taking them home). It’s moderately fun for what it is, except it’s almost a pure luck game made worse with player elimination (last man standing is the winner...). I rated it low, even though maybe I would have enjoyed it as well 20 years ago. Well, actually not even my kids were that amazed.

And Some Generic Car Race Game From The Box Trap The Cap Was In (1x) – no decision at all, and it lasts at least 30 minutes. My daughter even gave up during game; we played it with Miska to the end but did not have fun.
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9. Board Game: Batt'l Kha'os [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:4085]
Board Game: Batt'l Kha'os
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Littleton
Colorado
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Batt'l Kha'os is a streamlined two-player tile-laying game themed around a war between orcs and humans. My 8-year-old daughter and I have had a couple of plays so far, each well under 30 minutes. She hasn't beaten me yet, but she improved a lot in the second game. We haven't yet begun to play with any of the "advanced" or variant rules; I can see there's a good deal of fun to be had here.

iota was also new to both of us, and it perfectly synthesizes the mechanisms of SET and Qwirkle, while to my mind being more entertaining than either of those. My daughter seems to prefer Qwirkle, though.
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10. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1018]
Board Game: Cockroach Poker
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Cockroach Poker (in English: "Cockroach Poker") is a simple bluffing game. We played it using four different vegetable cards from its sister game Cockroach Salad and four different vegetable cards from its other sister Kakerlakensuppe.

Game-play is simple: you give a card face-down to another player and say what it is; they can say "true" or "false" depending on whether or not they believe you. They keep the card face up if they're wrong, but you keep the card face up if they're right. They can also choose not to try calling your bluff and give it to another player. First player to get four of the same card face up in front of them is the loser.

It's a simple game that proves to be far more fun than one might think, especially if you enjoy bluffing games! I played it with several groups of children ages 9-15, and they all enjoyed it; as did some of the adults who played it.

Board Game: Cockroach Poker
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11. Board Game: Kakerlakensuppe [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:4483] [Average Rating:6.15 Unranked]
Board Game: Kakerlakensuppe
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We recently acquired both Cockroach Salad (2007) and Kakerlakensuppe (2008), and they've almost identical in terms of gameplay.

Board Game: Cockroach Salad
Board Game: Kakerlakensuppe


In the "soup" version, players are working together to make a vegetable soup. In turns you flip a card and quickly name the vegetable (there are four different types in the game), but if it matches the previous one you must say one of the other three types. If it matches what the previous person said, you must say one of the other two remaining types. If a "taboo vegetable" card comes up, you must slurp, and from then on that vegetable may not be said; instead you make a slurp noise when that card comes up, while an immediately successive one requires you to say "Mmmm" instead. If you make a mistake or take too long, you get all the cards you've played.

The "salad" version is identical, but features four different vegetables, and instead of requiring players to slurp/mmmm when the "taboo" card comes up, you are just forbidden from saying that vegetable. I'm not sure which one I prefer - I think maybe the "soup" version is slightly funnier than the "salad" version.

We played this with children aged 9-16, and they all loved it. It might be a bit challenging for children younger than that, because it requires quick on-the-spot thinking, but it is very fun to play, especially when mistakes are made - laugh out loud moments happen! Adults loved this too, and it would work well for adults as a party game.

Board Game: Kakerlakensuppe
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12. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:537]
Board Game: Coloretto
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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d10-7 9x Coloretto - I played this with my older kids when they were younger than my younger one is now. I had since gotten rid of and only recently re-acquired it when my older daughter asked about it. Well, after 5+ years, it was a hit with all of them. 15 minutes per play means it's reasonable to get in multiple plays after homework, dinner, and relaxing and before bedtime. What's more, it's giving me a chance to work with my youngest on her sportsmanship and self-image. Hopefully enough games of this will help her to ease up on herself and simultaneously learn perseverance.

d10-7 4x Pompeji - Prior to reintroducing Coloretto, I played Pompeji four times with my son (one play was also with my younger daughter). This has a lot of the same feeling as Coloretto. Often the best play is the one that helps your opponents the least. It's an opportunistic game where you need to make the most out of what you're dealt. Finding the best play takes time and patience and there are enough little wrinkles added to keep this interesting for a lot of plays. Both J & C were close in all but one of the games and I hope to get this back into rotation soon.

d10-7 2x Cyclades - Two plays with my son on the same weekend. They were great plays. While the first one was never really in doubt, my son was engaged the whole time. The second play started as a runaway, but he turned it around and for a while looked like he was going to win. I got a couple of lucky dice rolls at the end and pulled it out. I hope to get this played more whenever the opportunity presents itself.

d10-7 1x Acquire - Probably the worst of the new plays, but still a very good one. It was a 3-player with my gf and my son and he did much better than expected (and got a solid second behind my gf). I liked it and would happily play it again but won't be pushing it, at least not until my youngest is old enough to play. It feels like more a family game than a particularly competitive game. That said, I still look forward to playing it more.
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13. Board Game: Birds, Bugs and Beans [Average Rating:5.51 Overall Rank:15967]
Board Game: Birds, Bugs and Beans
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This has been the biggest new hit for my youngest, who turned 4 this month. He's also still keen on Where in the Wild?, which has been our most played game together this month. Birds, Bugs and Beans has the bonus of working for the whole family - and my son also introduced it to grandparents when they were over for his birthday. It's easy enough that he can play competitively, now he's had some practice. Although he still doesn't tend to win unless you play nice, he doesn't make it easy for you!!

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14. Board Game: Meander [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:9826]
Board Game: Meander
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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My husband and I played a game of this earlier this month, and left it out on the table. The next day when the children came to the games room for a game they saw it, and asked to play, then enjoyed it so much they wanted to play again! Then my son, 6, was off school last week and asked if we could play it again then - he seems quite taken with this one!
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15. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:63]
Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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My daughter, 8, has just decided that all board games are fun, and she wants to learn to play more properly. She joined in a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill one weekend, another of Ave Caesar at our Friday night games one week, and then before school started asked me to play Lords of Waterdeep with her, one she'd seen over the Christmas period. I also played Qwixx and Cat-opoly with her this month. Huge number of new games! I'm hoping this trend continues!
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16. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:167] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
Kirk Groeneweg
United States
Clear Lake
Iowa
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January was a great month for introducing new games to the kids! It's been cold and we haven't gotten out of the house much.

Board Game: Pente

I like to play Pente with my mother. While visiting my parents for the week of New Years, my son was watching us play and wanted to learn. I helped him during his first game against Grandma, then he was off on his own. He really enjoyed it!

Board Game: D-Day Dice

I got D-Day Dice to keep on the side as a solo game. Something to play when the rest of the family is all gamed out and I'm bored. Well, my son saw me playing and wanted to try it. Another one he enjoyed and will probably ask to play along with me from time to time.

Board Game: Pandemic

My wife and I have been enjoying trying to save the world playing Pandemic. We talked my son into playing once. I don't know if it was really his cup of tea. He hasn't playing with us a second time. I can hope he'll come around.

Board Game: Ticket to Ride

I finally got a copy of Ticket to Ride and we've all been enjoying it. Both kids will play if Grandpa or Grandma is playing, but not so much when it's Mom and Dad. Hmm????

Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

I picked up a couple copies of Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game when they were on clearance at Target. I've been hesitant to pick up miniatures games. They seem like a money sink and all the fiddly bits... but! My son has now proclaimed this as his "favorite game"!!!! I think he just likes blowing the Tie Fighters out of the sky. Since playing this, he's re-watched all the movies.

Board Game: Can't Stop

I found Can't Stop at the thrift store and couldn't wait to play it. The whole family has played it on yucata.de, but it was finally time to play it in person. The kids enjoyed it, my son more than my daughter tho.

Board Game: 500

My Father-in-Law mentioned playing 500 at the nursing home with his mother and some other ladies. My son was anxious to learn it then. So, we got another willing victim player and played a few games. Took him a little bit to get the card order down, but he had a lot of fun. Probably because he was on the winning team every time!

January was full of new games for us.
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17. Board Game: Queen's Necklace [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2151]
Board Game: Queen's Necklace
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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My older daughter (7) wanted to play along when we tried it. It was not the best gaming night, really, but she joined nevertheless. She lost interest while we played, so skipped a few turns. Later she re-joined. What she had was plenty of rings and a handful of diamonds, which happened to be enough to easily win the game. Strange experience. She didn't even like the game much, either.
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18. Board Game: Carcassonne Junior [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1430]
Board Game: My First Carcassonne
Philip O'Brien
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
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Played a friends copy of this over a year ago with my now 5 year old and wasn't that impressed. My son has been using a regular Carcassonne set as a kind of puzzle since he was 3 and I didn't think this added anything.

However now his kids are too old for it, about 6 and 8 I think, I got it cheap and have been playing it with my son. As far as tile laying goes there isn't much too it, however there is a little strategy in trying to close roads with your meeples on them and deny that to other.
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19. Board Game: Château Roquefort [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1392]
Board Game: Château Roquefort
Philip O'Brien
Australia
Melbourne
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Microbadge: Parent of Three Boys and One GirlMicrobadge: Power Grid fanMicrobadge: Tinners' Trail fanMicrobadge: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar fanMicrobadge: Tigris & Euphrates fan
Played this with a friends 8 year old daughter along with 2 other games, Council of Verona and Ghooost. This was the only one she didn't need assistance from dad to play, she seemed to enjoy them all though.
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20. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:465]
Board Game: Alhambra
Philip O'Brien
Australia
Melbourne
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Played with an 11 year old and his father. Both have played this regularly but I have taught this so many times to newbies, it is my go to introductory game. Our club has its own copy.
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21. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:52]
Board Game: 7 Wonders
Philip O'Brien
Australia
Melbourne
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Played this at CANCON with an 10 year old and her father. Their 7 year old can apparently also play, but had had a long day of gaming so sat this one out.
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22. Board Game: Triassic Terror [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2339]
Board Game: Triassic Terror
Philip O'Brien
Australia
Melbourne
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Peter Hawes the games designer who is from Brisbane was at CANCON demoing both this and Francis Drake. Played 2 games and saw a lot of kids playing this over the weekend. Seemed like a good area control game for older kids, hard to resist the dinosaurs that come with the game.
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23. Board Game: The New Yorker: Cartoon Caption Game [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:12932]
Board Game: The New Yorker: Cartoon Caption Game
Mike Smith-Stoe
United States
Maple Valley
Washington
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I'm trying to get more of our unplayed games to the table this year. Hopefully that will mean more posts to this great geeklist.

This one was going to head straight back to the thrift store. But my son, who's been enjoying drawing and studying comics recently, wanted to try it out first.

It's enjoyable enough, though it really doesn't work as a family game since it's way too easy to guess who wrote which captions. We've played it a few times now. We'll probably only keep it until we get through all of the cards in the box.

I'm glad he rescued it if for no other reason than the laughs my wife and I shared over her caption for this:

Board Game: The New Yorker: Cartoon Caption Game

"Don't judge me Tina."
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24. Board Game: Ramses Pyramid [Average Rating:5.03 Overall Rank:19327]
Board Game: Ramses Pyramid
Mike Smith-Stoe
United States
Maple Valley
Washington
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This one had been sitting on our shelves for a while. ... So many LEGO, so little time.

My son and I played it once and had fun with it. I was pleasantly surprised by this game. Rotating the pyramid to ascend or block your opponent's ascension has a rewarding feeling and provides a nice light tension.

I'm not sure why this one is rated quite as low as it is. For a child's race game it has a nice balancing mechanic that the player who is rolling lower numbers early will likely have more flexibility of movement when ascending the pyramid. Plus it's one of the more satisfying LEGO builds in their game series.
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25. Board Game: The Game of Life: A Jedi's Path [Average Rating:5.33 Overall Rank:18984]
Board Game: The Game of Life: A Jedi's Path
Mike Smith-Stoe
United States
Maple Valley
Washington
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This is another thrift store find that's been sitting on our children's game shelf for a long time.

My son liked it enough that he wanted to keep it. I liked it better than The Game of Life. But that isn't necessarily saying much. I at least give the game credit for having some choices and interaction throughout the game.

I definitely give the game credit for it's more satisfying ending of a potential battle between some of the players than the ending of the original game where if you know you don't have as much money as the leading player your only hope is to risk it all on the lottery. There's something too Orwellian about that ending for me.

I should add that the spinner suuuuuuuuucks. We figured out at the end of the game, too late, that if some of the force tiles are placed under the spinner floor it's raised enough that it doesn't catch on the side of the spinner well.

I rated this game a 4.5. My son would rate it higher. We would both rate the unmodified spinner a 1.
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