Carcassonne. This is one of the family favs, and we like adding expansions from time to time. In Carcassonne, you work to build points by claiming roads, cities and farms. There’s a lot of strategy here, especially as you get into the expansions. It takes about an hour to play, ages… 8? and up. But maybe younger if they’re natural gamers.
Contraptions. Basically, Contraptions is a box full of small wooden planks, a couple of ping-pong balls and an idea book. But what a world it opened for the kids! You stack the planks to make all sorts of interesting mazes, staircases, trampolines and more, and then run the balls through your creation. The kids started out building the models in the book, but have quickly moved on to build their own ideas. We started with the box of 50, but Ian in particular is begging for the 200 count box.
Magic the Gathering. My son’s favorite game EVAH. This is a trading card world filled with attributes, special powers specific to each card, sorcery, powerful attacks, vampires, fairies, monsters and heroes. I’ve been playing the game with him off and on for a while, and honestly it’s dense! However, it is a highly intellectual game, and perfect for kids who love to memorize stats and figures and who enjoy strategy. This if for Pokemon fans who are ready for something a little more mature and complex. Be prepared: like all trading card games, you can add to your collection forever, which of course is what the company wants. And as there are so many unique cards, adding on makes you a stronger player as you have new options for creating new distinct decks.
Munchkin. Another favorite (I suppose I could say that for everything listed here), Munchkin is Dungeons and Dragons without all the strategy and detail. Knock down doors, kill monsters, and get the loot! And if you can, stab your buddy, because it’s all about being kind of naughty. It’s a hilarious game, and easier the more you play it. It’s rated PG, as it has several references to venereal diseases and slightly naughty words. If that bothers you, no problem; simply flip through the decks and pull out the offending cards. It won’t affect game play in any way. We play with all the cards at home, but I’ve edited the decks when we’ve had younger guests around. We used to play it over lunch every day. We called it “Lunchkin.” Tons of expansions available for this one too.
Pokemon. This love began for my kids when they were very young, and though they don’t play it as much these days, they do still play it with regularity. When they were younger, they not only collected the cards, they also played the game again and again. Beyond that, they played “Pokemon” in their imaginative play, having virtual battles in the yard. Pokemon was the initial inspiration “Animal Attack,” the zoology based trading card game that Ian developed over a 3-year period.
Settlers of Catan. Man, I love this game. It’s for 4 people, though you can buy the 5-6 player extension pack. The object is settling and developing a small island, which is comprised of various resources you use for your building projects. You settle the land, and then are able to use the resources you’ve claimed to build more settlements and cities. You can also trade with other players. It’s easy to learn, and super fun. Ages 7 or 8 and up.
- Share this