New to your kids - New Lease of Life - Gaming with your kids in January 2016
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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One twelth of the year has already come and gone. What have you been playing with your kids?

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. 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: Wyatt Earp [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1061]
Board Game: Wyatt Earp
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Rebecca (10) wanted to learn some more traditional card games, and I remembered we had this rummy variant. After working out how to play, our tactics weren't up to much until the end of the first round. Then we all seemed to get it, including Rebecca, who managed to come from behind to win a good victory. Verdict: a fun (if slightly confusing) version of a standard card game.

We also showed her No Thanks! - to my surprise as I thought she would have played it already, an excellent game that went down well, and High Five!, an interesting combination of tile-laying and poker.
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2. Board Game: Pick Picknic [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1756]
Board Game: Pick Picknic
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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The school games club was in full swing again last month, with numerous games being tried out amongst the 9 and 10 year olds.

All went down well, with much laughter, especially Pick Picknic, but The Great Dalmuti, The Bucket King and Zeus on the Loose (to a lesser extent) were also enjoyed.
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3. Board Game: Fire Ants! [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Fire Ants!
Chris McDermott
United Kingdom
Belfast
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This was a Kickstarter I backed last year which arrived at the end of December. It was from a first time creator but it was quite cheap so I decided to take a chance on it

It's a decent game for kids, you need to build up enough ants in your hand of certain types (wood, metal and water) and there is also ant magic (wild) to put out differing sizes of fires. At the end of the game you total up the points of the fires to find the winner. It wouldn't be for older gamers unless there was trick cards but for kids it's fine. Good quality cards too, better than I'd been expecting.
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4. Board Game: Boggle [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:2271]
Board Game: Boggle
Chris McDermott
United Kingdom
Belfast
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An old one this but one I'd never played before. I picked it up in a charity shop before Christmas as I thought it might be good for my eldest to help him with his spelling. Only had a few games so far but he seemed to like it, and even got a few words I missed!
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5. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:303]
Board Game: King of Tokyo
Steve
United States
Virginia
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My kids are 9-7-5-3-1, so I can't play anything with all of them, but King of Tokyo is a good game for the 9-7-5 year olds. Even if they focus more on cool upgrades for their monsters then VPs, they still have a blast. And you have to be very careful your monster doesn't get killed playing with them.arrrh
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:176] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Carcassonne
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Littleton
Colorado
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I lucked into a fine copy of Carcassonne for $1 at a local thrift shop, and it was new to me and my daughter (age 10). We've played it several times, and she likes it a lot, although she has yet to beat me. Here's the end of our first game:

From gallery of Carthoris

(I'm yellow; she's blue.)

More recently, I got the Tower expansion, and we tried a game with that. In the early going, it looked like this:

From gallery of Carthoris

She had the lead to start, but I gradually overtook her, and in the end, I was the one who scored the 36-point field by outnumbering her in farmers there. She really likes the Tower tile holder, but I think she was not very pleased with the more combative dynamic that comes out of the build-and-capture mechanism.
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7. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1013] [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Ubongo
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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With Miska (7 years old). As the tetris puzzles included come in two different levels, it was rather easy to make it challenging for both of us. Of the 9 rounds he won 6 times and that was enough for him to win (by a very little, because of the second tie-breaker).
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8. Board Game: Takenoko: Chibis [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Takenoko: Chibis
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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The theme is so kid-friendly (especially with mama panda and baby pandas) that the kids wanted to play it despite the complexity (I had already played Takenoko with Miska, 7 years old, before). Now we played a 2-player game in two teams: my wife played together with Miska and my daughter Borcsa (5 and a half) played together with me. They rather enjoyed the game this way, even though it was still a bit too long for Borcsa so she left for the last ten minutes.
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9. Board Game: Family Bingo [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Family Bingo
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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This time Miska (7) played in one team with me against my wife. It was the right thing to do as he would not have had a chance to win against us. Still this family party game offers several different kinds of taks for the players so he could actively take part in the fun. He liked the experience pretty much.
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10. Board Game: Mysterium [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:236]
Board Game: Mysterium
Mr. Blue
United States
Orange County
California
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We got this one for Christmas, but did not get around to playing it until last week. Four of us played: me, my wife, and my 9 and 11 year old daughters. I was hoping they would like it (the wife had some big reservations), but it turned out to be a big hit, and both my girls wanted to play the ghost after the first play (where I was the ghost). We played 3 games back-to-back. Great game.
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11. Board Game: Carcassonne: Star Wars [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1727]
Board Game: Carcassonne: Star Wars
Mr. Blue
United States
Orange County
California
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My wife picked this one up, as she is a huge Carcassonne fan, and my daughters have caught Star Wars fever with the latest movie. As a game, it's o.k., but not the best Carc. version out there. You can't take it too seriously, as there is a lot more of a luck factor in this version with the battles. Fun game that we'll play every now and then.

One annoying thing is that the tiles (at least in our set) are not all printed the same, so the road (trade route?) ends don't all line up perfectly as in other versions of the game. Not bad enough to return; just bad enough to be annoying.
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12. Board Game: Viva Topo! [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1984]
Board Game: Viva Topo!
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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I had a full day with Little Gish the Elder (aged five) at Cancon (a local convention) last month and we tried quite a few new-to-both-of-us kids games.

Viva Topo! was probably the pick of the games. It's a fun little game where each player tries to race their mice around the game track to pick up cheese. The further they get along the track the larger hunk of cheese they claim and consequently the more points they score. The catch is there is a cat who also advances along the game track and catches (and removes from play) all mice that (s)he catches. This means that players have to decide how best to manage their mice with the spectre of the cat an ever-present threat – especially as the cat goes much more quickly on its second lap of the game track.

I found Viva Topo! to be a thoroughly enjoyable kids game where every turn players have to make difficult decisions on where the concentrate their efforts, where to accept ‘small wins’ and which mice must be forsaken. We played twice with two adults and a seven year old and my five year old and each game went over a treat.

Overall – Viva Topo! is a great little game and one that I’ll look out for next time I am in the Games Library.
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13. Board Game: Formula D [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:510]
Board Game: Formula D
Andy Howell
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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My oldest kid can now handle most games by the rules. And that my friends is the gamer-dad brass ring! While enduring Snowzilla-based cabin fever we pulled more games down off the shelf than usual. Which was nice.

For movie night the previous evening we’d watched Smokey and the Bandit, which they loved, so the boy was in the mood to roast some tires. We set up a two-car race on the Monaco side of the board. He was the blue sports car with the white wing. Of course I had to be the yellow minivan. (Why do I always have to be the yellow minivan?!)

We played the basic game without bending a single rule. The boy did an excellent job of managing his gears and his energy in and out of the turns. He handled that car beautifully! I played ultra conservatively, giving him an edge. Whenever I’d shrink his lead I’d say “Boy this is Sheriff Buford T. Justice of Texas you’re racin'!"
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14. Board Game: Hooop! [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:7795]
Board Game: Hooop!
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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I played this for the first time at Cancon as one of my items from the 2015 BGG supporter Badge Drive:

Item for Geeklist "2015 BGG Supporter Badge Drive / Rummage-O-Rama Give-Away - Free Games (some with Free Worldwide Shipping)"

The basic idea is that you are trying to move your three frogs from your home base to other player's home bases but the bridges you cross disappear as you cross them. Each player also has a set of four one-off special ability tiles to help them during the course of the game. This is a rather fun game and very easy for kids to pick up quickly.

Overall verdict is that Hooop! is a good fun kids game, certainly one that deserves more than one play in a month (which it recorded last month) especially when it is on offer in a convention Games Library.

For the record, I also fixed up notclive with a short black which he professed to enjoy.
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15. Board Game: Snake Oil [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1534] [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
Board Game: Snake Oil
Actually, I would think crawling around looking for someone's eye would be a pretty fun game in its own right.
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Kansas City
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At the suggestion of our son (14), who had played an on-line version numerous times, I got a thrifted copy for the family. We played it one evening and had a good time; my daughter (16) got really tickled about some of her combos and laughed quite a bit.

Not a whole lot to the game so I lost interest after the first couple of rounds (although I continued playing), but the rest of the family liked it a lot, so it's a keeper. I think we'll share this with folks from our church at the next Youth Game Night.

EDIT: We took this to the monthly Mensa game night and it seemed to be a hit. No one was really keeping score, but the players didn't seem to mind and were in no hurry to stop, so I call that a win.
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16. Board Game: Junior Labyrinth [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:10413]
Board Game: Junior Labyrinth
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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This is the last game that was new-to-us from the Cancon Games Library and, sadly, our first and only dud. The premise of Junior Labyrinth is that each player is a (non copyrighted) friendly ghost and wants to whiz about the board (comprised of labyrinth tiles) collecting whatever is depicted on the nominated ‘treasure’ chit. The board is a maze which is shifted each turn by each player by pushing a new tile into one of the nominated points at the side which then changes the configuration of the maze. Note that these sort of ghosts can’t travel through walls.

In theory this sounds like a rather clever idea that rewards good planning and intelligent play. In practice, at least with four players, this can mean that there is a lot of pushing tiles about and blocking other players which can really blow out the play time well beyond the suggested fifteen minutes. Around halfway through the game the children were getting bored and even both adults were pretty close to having had enough, it’s pretty safe to say we were all happy when this finally ended. Junior Labyrinth definitely outstayed its welcome and is not one I’d play again.
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17. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.62 Overall Rank:2]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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This has been a big hit as it has gotten the commitment of my boys (Sherwin and Shawn) to see this through to the very end. The story has definitely helped in keeping them involved and my daughter Sharlene has also managed to get in a couple of plays with us although she has been busy as of late. We currently are in July now with a record of 5 wins and 4 losses.

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18. Board Game: Minotaurus [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:13216]
Board Game: Minotaurus
Philip O'Brien
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
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Start of a new year and time to pull out some unplayed games and see if they still have legs or will be going on the trade pile.

First up Minotaurus. Acquired a year ago and its seen a lot of play. I was surprised at how terrifying the little lego Minotaurus below was to my 3 1/2 yo son.

Board Game: Minotaurus

He soon got used to it after a couple of games, although a year on he still gets the sòoks if it ever catches him.

His 7yo brother did eventually tire of it, but they both enjoyed this session so I guess it remains for another year.



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19. Board Game: LEGO Creator [Average Rating:5.21 Overall Rank:18734]
Board Game: LEGO Creator
Philip O'Brien
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
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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
Roll and move around a Monopoly style board, grabbing colored bricks instead of properties to build your lego blueprint, usually a vehicle or robot of some sort. Really is a terrible game. We play without the stealing bricks off each other which would only make it worse.

However in it's favor I bought it for next to nothing at a charity shop, although with a few bricks missing. Both kids enjoy it, even though they are not big Lego nuts. We prefer a similar thing called Megabloks which I can sometimes pick up cheap on ebay, Lego is never cheap!

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20. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:713]
Board Game: Can't Stop
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
Should be called Too Timid to Proceed when my kids play! I help the 4yo playing a slow and steady approach while my 7yo plays pretty much the same way. Not sure how he feels about it yet, will need a few more plays. I was hoping it would an instant hit like Qwirkle but I'll have to wait and see.
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21. Board Game: Dwarves and Dice [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:13739]
Board Game: Dwarves and Dice
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
Unwanted in a maths trade and a second hand stall. I might end up giving it away. There might be a slender age range somewhere between age 4 and 7 where kids find this entertaining but am yet to find it.
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22. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:159]
Board Game: Tichu
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Ha! We don't need friends anymore - our kids (6 and 9) have learned Tichu...
And they liked it so much that we played 19 times in January, although some of those sessions were only two or three hands. Obviously, their strategic skills aren't up to ours just yet (I've been playing excessively for decades), but they are occasionally kicking our behinds already, which does make me proud.
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23. Board Game: Atlantis [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2122]
Board Game: Atlantis
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Six plays with my six year old. She won the first three rounds, which impressed me. Hope this sees a few more plays, I really like it.
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24. Board Game: Treasure Hunter [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1418]
Board Game: Treasure Hunter
I started a new "house rule" with my older children for 2016. They can play any game that they like with each other whenever they like. When they play games with me, though, we must play a game five times in a row before moving on to a new game.

This has been a complete success.

In January, we played a new-to-us Christmas game, Treasure Hunter. We did get all five plays in.

Treasure Hunter is a card drafting game with a perfectly applied treasure hunting theme. As a *family* game, I think that it does its job even better than 7 Wonders.
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25. Board Game: Ghost Blaster [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:10916]
Board Game: Ghost Blaster
Another new-to-us Christmas present. This one got a couple of plays with my younger children.

Ghost Blaster is a very simple memory co-op game. It looks great and plays well with younger players (keeping in mind that the younger the player, the more guidance needed in making moves).

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