We like to play board games, when we have the time. I’ve been trying to set aside a bit of time on Sunday for a game or two with the kids.
To backtrack a bit, my in-laws are serious game players. Not serious as in professional, but they play lots of games. My mother-in-law in particular is extremely good. If she’s at the table, your best hope is second place. Doesn’t matter what genre of game, board game, card game, or anything else, she usually wins.
Anyway, some of our favorites are: Tsuro, in which you place tiles marked with lines on a 6×6 board trying to keep your piece moving on the path without going off the edge of the board or running into another player. The kids do well with this one, even though they often get silly towards the end of the game. Catan Junior is another fun one for the kids, which takes the general idea of Settlers of Catan and simplifies it into pirate ships. The mechanics are somewhat simplified, but still recognizable as Settlers. Robot Turtles has a slightly unusual mechanism in which the players (usually the kids) arrange movement cards to tell their turtle how to move on the board, and another person (usually the adult) actually moves the turtle pieces. Exactly as if the kids are writing a computer program to move their turtle from point A to point B, which is the point–it’s programming in disguise.
Last weekend, I introduced them to the full Settlers of Catan. They took very well to it, and I can foresee many more sessions of Settlers in our future. I don’t think it will replace the Junior version yet, especially as the twins begin to be able to play, but it will be nice to have an option that’s a little more challenging for the adults.
We had tried Uncle Chestnut’s Table Gype once or twice previously, but it had been a little too complex. It’s sort of a Chinese Checkers variant where each piece has a particular method of movement (think Chess) with a random element thrown in where when a piece gets jumped, you roll it (they’re dice with different symbols on each face) to change how it can move. It looks like it’s out of print now, which is a shame. It’s a pretty complex game, and you have to keep track of what each symbol means to be able to play. Ikinji did incredibly well. He remembered how each of the different pieces moved, and did a pretty good job of making use of jumping to move pieces across the board more quickly, although he did focus on getting one piece across at a time, rather than moving them all concurrently. Not bad for a six-year-old.
We haven’t introduced Risk yet, really, because I don’t think the twins especially would let us play a full game. Ikinji would be all over it with the military aspects, though.
Fun times ahead!