Saturday, September 12, 2009

Some Top Kids Games

I was putting this together for someone as part of a charity event, and thought I would share it here. Let me know if you have any kids games you would suggest (in print and available).

Age 3-4

This is a difficult category, since kids this age are at wildly different maturity levels. My 4 year old still can't play most of these, while I know of 4 year olds who are playing adult (8+) games.

Kids of Carcassonne
On 14 July, the national holiday in France, the sheep, chickens and cows are set free in the town of Carcassonne. The children have big fun to catch the animals before dusk.

The players in turn draw a landscape tile and place it; unlike in normal Carcassonne, they always match. Amongst other features, the tiles show children in the player colors on the roads. Whenever a road is finished, every player places one of his meeples on each appropriate picture.

The first player who manages to place all of his meeples wins the game.

Coocoo the Rocking Clown
It's show time! Coocoo, the Rocking Clown, just loves to juggle, but his big curved green shoes make him wobble and keep throwing him off balance. Help him juggle the most balls without making any of them fall, and you win!

Froggy Boogy

It's nap time at the pond but the baby frogs still want to play. Baby frogs try to be the first to hop around the pond without being seen by the adult frogs. Players guess or remember which adult frog popping eyes will freeze the baby frogs in their race.

Here's a good review.

Also: Chutes & Ladders, Candyland, Memory and anything that teaches the concept of taking turns and performing actions.

Ages 5-6

Gulo Gulo

Each player is a Gulo, or wolverine, trying to rescue a baby Gulo who got caught by the swamp vulture whose eggs it was trying to steal. Unfortunately for the baby Gulo, all the adult Gulos are distracted by all the delicious swamp vulture eggs, and it has to wait very, very patiently as the adults constantly trip the very, very sensitive "egg alarm" rigged by the vulture to scare off the pesky Gulos.

There is a nice wooden bowl filled with multicolored swamp vulture eggs of various sizes, into which a long thin dowel with another egg at one end is inserted, like a flagpole. As you can imagine, lots of M&M Peanut-shaped wooden bits banging around together in a polished wooden bowl makes it rather difficult to keep a thin dowel with weight at the top balanced...

While Qwirkle is as simple as matching colors and shapes, it is a game that also requires tactical maneuvers and well-planned strategy. The game consists of 108 wooden blocks with six different shapes in six colors. Using the blocks, players attempt to score the most points by building lines that share a common attribute - either color or shape. Qwirkle is a quick game to learn, but you'll soon discover that you'll need to think strategically in order to score the most points.

Pitch Car Mini

Dexterity game where large, wooden, puzzle-like pieces are used to construct a race track that looks very similar to a slot car track when finished. But instead of using electrons, players use finger-flicks to send little round pucks around the track. Contains 6 straight and 10 curve track pieces that allow the construction of more than 10 different racing circuits. 8 wooden cars are included as well.

Gobblet Gobblers

Memory meets tick-tack-toe. This simpler version of Gobblet (Gobblet is for 7+) only requires three in a row, and also has a smaller price tag. Pick your Gobblers and line up three of them in a row to win the game. The Gobblers have a strong appetite and can gobble up smaller Gobblers. These cute characters will test your strategy and stimulate your memory. Easy to learn it is a quick thinking game fun to play again and again.

Also: Blokus, Slamwich

Ages 8+ (adult games that are fun for kids)

This is where I have excellent games to suggest, but nothing new. Have you played any new 8 year old and up games lately?

My usual suggestions:
  • Carcassonne
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Hey! That's My Fish!
  • Bang!