Sunday, 6 March 2016

Top Ten Board Games - Updated

Since I wrote about our top ten board games, Christmas has come and gone, and the children have received a number of new games. We have been playing regularly, and have introduced a Saturday evening board game session for the older two, which has been popular. Our preferred games have changed slightly, so I though it was time to write about our current favourites.

Some of our new games.

So here's my updated list:

1) Settlers of Catan

This is still the family favourite.  Building settlements and cities, trading, defending the island against the invading barbarians - always a lot going on and very satisfying to play. We have both the Seafarers and the Cities and Knights extensions which add a lot of variety to the game.

2) Carcasonne

Another building game, but using tiles to make up a board as you go. The basic rules are easy to follow, but you can get better at it the more you play and the more you learn good tactics. A 5 year old can probably play with help. I have a version on my ipad as well, which we can use when short of time for setting up, or for taking on holiday.

3) Romans

You move around the board fighting for garrisons in order to become Caesar, answering questions about Ancient Rome on the way. The questions are multiple choice, and you can choose easier or harder ones, so even young players can enjoy it. Probably 7+.

4) Risk

I know this is a classic, but I had never played it until this Christmas. Simple strategy, world domination, and lots of fun. Our boys play this fairly often, and my daughter rolls the dice for whoever looks like they are winning.

5) Dobble

We played this last summer with some friends, and my daughter liked it so much we bought it for her fourth birthday. The basic idea is simple - you have to spot which picture on your card matches the picture on the card in the centre - but it is harder than it looks. My four year old loves it, but it is fun for all our children, with various slightly different games you can play with a set of cards. It is also a small game, conveniently kept in a tin, so good for taking to play after church or on train journeys.

6) Labyrinth

This game was another Christmas present. It was recommended by a friend after I wrote my last post about our favourite games. Each player has to move around the maze to reach different places, but every time you play you push a tile in which changes the shape of the maze. Our children have really enjoyed this, and it is great for testing our spatial awareness. 

7) Cluedo

Another classic game, and one which is great for encouraging logical thought. Once again, this is a game that can be played at a simple level, but which you can do much better at as your deductive skills increase. Probably 7+.

8) Articulate & Articulate for Kids

This game involves one person describing a particular word on a series of cards for their team to guess, seeing how many they can guess against a timer. This is our game of choice to play with adults, usually at a Bible study group social. It isn't too intimidating if you make it clear that you can join a team in a merely guessing capacity. It gets people chatting and relaxing together, and bonding over a shared ignorance of famous people and geography.

Articulate for Kids was a present for my ten year old. You can play both games together, with the children using their box of cards against the adults using their set. We find that our older two playing together with their cards are fairly evenly matched against Michael and me. Our six year old will join their team as a guesser, and is surprisingly good at it. Our daughter, who is four, likes to be in charge of the timer.

9) Ticket to Ride

This has been a very well received addition to our collection. It was a present for my 8 year old, but we all enjoy it (adults as much as children). You have to compete to complete various train routes in order to gain points. One aspect that I particularly like is that each go is very short as you can only chose to either take cards or play them in a turn, which means that the game keeps moving.

10) Uno

A simple card game which is also good for all ages. Anyone who can hold and manage their cards can play. Probably a mature 3+ (perhaps with somewhere to spread their cards out).

Board games are a great family activity, and a lovely way for us to spend time together. Increasingly, our children are choosing to play them together without us organising them, and it is great to see them having fun together in this way.

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