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Ideal Games Library For Children (2-7 year olds)
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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I was just playing a game of Geistertrappe with my 3 year old daughter. She did throw the dice twice and then decided that she doesn't want to play the game any further. Maybe it was just too scary that one player changed into a ghost. Or maybe she is just allergic to dice like her father. Well I consider Geistertrappe to be quite a boring game. We did finish a game of it with her mother, but it was boring. Who would have guessed?

Well after that I decided that we'll try out a game by dr. Knizia, namely Schildkroetenrennen. It's a game for five year olds. I decided to purchase it as a present to some ones children or for my daughter. She doesn't want to follow rules in games. Instead she makes her own rules and wins every time. Well I am proud of her about that. Some day I hope that she'll want to play a game with rules too. But there is no hurry. It's her childhood and I don't want ruin it. Anyway, even as an adult vs. adult game Schildkroetenrennen was fun. I didn't have any kind of expectations, I just wanted to try out if all the kids games are too boring for adults. I guess I was wrong.

I decided that I'll make an ideal games library for my daughter and her future friends. For the time being I think that 3 games per year is enough. Maybe if she gets excited of games I'll expand the library even further.

Also I'd like to hold a game event for families. For small and large children. So I need a quite extensive library for that too. Maybe my daugter gets more interested of games when she sees her friends enjoying theirselves with a boardgame.

I hope that you could add suggestions to my ideal games library for children. My intention is not to make an exhaustive list about the subject. Instead I'd like to have a library that includes all kinds of games for children of different age. So please feel free to add a game to the list if it offers something that previously listed games don't. I think that great childrens game should be fun for adults too. Schildkroetenrennen did prove that it's possible. Now I am ready to expand my horizons!

Because these games are for the toddlers to enter the world of boardgames, maybe these could be called as hatchway games. Webster's dictionary: hatch 1. to bring forth (young) from the egg.
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1. Board Game: Picnic [Average Rating:4.64 Unranked]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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2-year olds

This game is about set-collection. Trying to get five different picnic items by throwing dice. Almost totally random game but teaches:

dice throwing/randomness
set-collection

Essentially this is just Bingo with a dice. The only reason this gets added to the list that this is one of three games that are intended for 2+ and have average rating higher than 4.
 
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2. Board Game: Mandarin [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:6706]
 
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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2-year olds

It's a thematically little bit improved version of Picnic. Strangely the average rating for this is a lot higher. It's totally random.

Object of the Game
Players collect tiles and place them in the appropriate places on their Collection Cards. The game ends when one player has collected at least one tile of each animal type, or all 6 tiles of one animal set. The first player to do this is the winner.

Another bingo.
 
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3. Board Game: Tschu-Tschu [Average Rating:5.58 Unranked]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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2-year olds

If I'd buy a game for a 2-year old this might be it. It's more like a train toy than a game but still has some game elements. Maybe it's a hatchway game to Ticket to Ride (after 6 years)?
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4. Board Game: Go Away Monster! [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2000]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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3-year olds

Reach in the bag to find the puzzle pieces that fit your bedroom game board. Try to distinguish between the different puzzle pieces and decide which one feels like the size and shape of a piece you need. If you pull out a monster, don't be scared... You take charge, and the monsters will take off!

This seems like a nice game. Not too complex but still exciting (for the toddler). Has a great theme. You can be creative and play with the game parts to decorate different rooms. You get to exercise the pick a tile from the bag for the future games (of dr Knizia). It's also about set-collection of course. The best part is the psychological facing the monsters and throwing them out of existence.

#1 game in my childrens library list. I could make my own version of it because it's not available in Finland.
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5. Board Game Publisher: HABA - Habermaaß GmbH
Driver 8
United States
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I'm in love with just about everything I've seen from HABA. Many of their games can easily be played with without any rules as toys. The thing that sets HABA apart is the awesome quality of components!
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6. Board Game: Sequence for Kids [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:6265]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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3-year olds

Again an advanced version of Bingo. You try to make rows of four chits by playing cards. It might be an ok hatchway game. It has even a screw you element, you can remove the pieces of another player by playing a dragon card. Unicorn card let's you choose where to put your chip. So you can even calculate a bit.

#2 Childrens library game
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7. Board Game: Snail's Pace Race [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:10513]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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3-year olds

A game for toddlers that includes betting/wagering and a snail race. Definitive addition to the list. Also the first racing game.

#3 Childrens game
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8. Board Game: Auntie Pasta's Fraction Game [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Dave Pasquantonio
United States
Millis
Massachusetts
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For ages 4 through 7.

I guess I'm the only parent owning this game, but it's currently the favorite game for my 6- and 4-year old daughters. It's a little bit of math (just playing with fractions -- the shapes for the pizza pieces), a little bit of strategy, a lot of spinning, and a surprising amount of fun. The rules are quite easy to learn and it would be a good game if you were having a boardgame event for kids.
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9. Board Game: Viva Topo! [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1271]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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4-year olds

Winner of the 2003 Kinderspiel des Jahres.

Players attempt to move their mice (pieces) from the start to any of various goals. The further the goal, the more cheese (points) it is worth. Pursuing the mice is the cat that removes the mice from the game should it catches the mice.

Movement is controlled by a die which has 1/1/2/3/4/5 on the sides. The "1" sides also move the cat. Initial cat moves are only 1 space, but become 2 spaces, so the cat speeds up as the game progresses.

Game is a family game that has players managing risk/rewards as they attempt to avoid the cat in pursuit of cheese. Nice large wooden pieces and an oversized dice for components.


This is the first game in the list that I would want to buy. Because even if my daughter would have inherited the non-geek genes from her mother this would make an good addition to my ideal games library. Even the adults seem to enjoy this. This game might end up to my daughter's christmas gifts. Maybe I should hint Santa for this?

#1 ideal childrens game library
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10. Board Game: Spooky Stairs [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1557]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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4-year olds

Winner of the 2004 Kinderspiel des Jahres.
2005 Vuoden Lastenpeli
2006 Årets Spel Best Children's Game.

On the "Spirit Stairs" it gets quite spooky. There's a race in the old castle ruin, and the most courageous have the edge. The ghost lives at the top of the stairs. Being completely quiet, a few brave children dart up the stairs- everyone wants to be first to scare the ghost with a "BOOOO!"

But the ghost knows this age-old game and has secretly enchanted the die. The players themselves are transformed into ghosts - one after the other one! If a player rolls a "ghost", he may place a ghost piece over another player's pawn. A magic magnetic field connects the two and the pawn disappears! Now the players must remember for the remainder of the game under which ghost their own figure is. If all players are transformed and another "ghost" rolled, two ghosts may be exchanged. Whoever can make it to the top of the stairs in this chaos wins.


I have this game but I am still uncertain if I like this game. Certainly it doesn't work as two player game as adult vs. adult. As a drinking game that might work, but otherwise not. I guess it's tremendeous fun for the toddlers. That's why I bought it. My daughter hasn't played a single game to the end yet. Well she is 3 and half and this is for 4+. So maybe it's my fault that I tried this too early. If this is thought as a game for 3-4 players I suspect I can add it to the ideal library, otherwise not.

#2 ICG
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11. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:579]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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4-year olds

The animals want to show how good they are at making tall pyramids! They must be skillfully careful: Who will position the penguin on top of the crocodile, the sheep on top of the penguin, the serpent on the sheep? The hedgehog wants to stand on top of the pyramid but the height is making him dizzy.

Tier auf Tier (a.k.a. Animal Upon Animal, Pyramide d'animaux, and Dier op dier) is a simple stacking game, listed for ages 4-99, with 29 cute wooden animals.


The first Action/Dexterity in the list. I haven't played this, but it looks that this might be actually one of the best in that category. So it definetely must be included to the list. I assume I have to make my own version of this, if I want to play it.

#3 ICG
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12. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1038]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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4-year olds

Winner of the 1998 Kinderspiel des Jahres.
1999 Vuoden Lastenpeli

A memory game for children 4 and up.
You must steal the feathers of other chickens in order to win. When you find the face down tile showing the same drawing than the one in front of your chicken-pawn, you can move forward.


I'd say that is probably the ideal hatchway-game. It's about hatching thematically too. In Geistertreppe the child can easily beat an adult. It's about throwing dice and memory. But it's not as rewarding as in CCCC because the victory in Geistertreppe doesn't base on your decisions. I haven't played CCCC, but I gathered from the reviews that this is the first childrens game where she can really make meaningful choices and still beat the adult. Because the children have better memory than adults usually and there is an element of luck in CCCC, that is possible and even likely. Not to mention the high quality of the pieces. This is also a candidate for Santa's bag.

#4 ICG

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13. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:424]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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Ages 4 and up

Winner of the 1994 Kinderspiel des Jahres

In Loopin' Louie, a battery-powered motor placed in the center of the table rotates a boom with a little plastic plane. Four radial arms lead out to the players' homes and the egg chips they're trying to protect. Each person's home has a little lever, which is used to knock the rotating plane away from your egg chips and hopefully into someone else's. When only one person has chips remaining, he wins the game. Very silly and very addictive.

Technically, this is a kids' action game, along the lines of Hungry Hungry Hippos. After an appearance at Alan Moon's Gathering of Friends, though, it's had a renaissance.


Once I was in my daughters cousins birthday party. I did have read about Loopin Louie from the geek and was really excited to notice that he had received this as a present. Well the box didn't include batteries so we didn't get to play it. I haven't tried this out yet. Maybe next time I'll get a chance to play if I ask nicely.

#5 ICG



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14. Board Game: Ribbit [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1035]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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5-year olds

Turtle Race

From Spielbox:
Turtles are not always in a hurry, but even they get to be in a race to try and become the first turtle to get to the tasty salad at the other end of the field. But since turtles don’t have a lot of endurance, they like to rest once in a while – preferably on the back of another turtle so that they can get carried for a little while. The game board, turtles and cards were beautifully illustrated in child-appropriate fashion by Rolf Vogt. The game is for 2-5 players 5 and up, playing time approx. 10-15 minutes.


This is the reason why I made this glist in the first place. This is fun and simply elegant game from my favorite designer dr. Knizia. I should try to play this with children to see if they like it or not. If the children doesn't accidentally reveal her color she might beat the adults. As a five player game I assume this gets quite chaotic, so it leaves a chance for everyone to win. This adds bluffing mechanic to my ideal library. I am happy that I bought this.

#6 ICG
 
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15. Board Game: Dancing Eggs [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1283]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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Ages 5 and up

This is a game that comes in a real egg-box. 9 yellow plastic eggs and 1 yellow wooden egg (worth 2 points, the others are worth 1 point) and two dice one red and one white. Although it is, in fact, a childrens game, it is great fun when played by adults as well.

The point of the game is to have the most points. You throw one die, which gives you different possibilities, whether you can simply take an egg from the box (or steal from someone else if there are none left in the box), or you make it bounce on the table and everybody tries to catch it and other possibilities, or and that's where the name of the game comes from "Dance of the Eggs", you have to run around the table. But the difficulty is that if you take, catch or steal an egg you have a second die that you throw, that gives you the location where you have to put the egg; between your cheek and your shoulder, your chin and the breast, between your knees... At the first egg which falls to the ground, the game ends and the one having the most eggs wins the game.


Works great for kids and gay party adults. Definite addition.

#7 ICG
 
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16. Board Game: Nacht der Magier [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1284]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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Ages 5 and up

Winner of the 2006 BoardGameGeek Golden Geek award for Best Kids Game.
2007 Årets Spel Best Children's Game.

The basic premise is simple: the board, resting on a platform, is full of wooden discs and trees and other bits. There's a ring of fire in the middle, covered by a cardboard disc and a blazing fire. Cauldrons circle that disc. The goal is to get one's own cauldron to the ring of fire by pushing the bits on the board.

You start pushing from the side of the board and push in one continuous movement until you hear a clack; something has fallen off the board. Your turn ends there. Next player is up, and this continues until someone's cauldron is in the ring of fire.

The gimmick: the game is played in pitch black. When played in the dark, the fire, cauldrons, wizards (used to push the pieces) and the ring of fire all glow, while the trees and discs turn invisible. The game can also be played in the light of the day, but it loses a lot of its charm.


From msaari's review:

As is typical with Drei Magier Spiele games, Nacht der Magier is pretty. The deep shades of blue are very cool in daylight, but the real magic happens in dark. The game looks stunning - anybody should be impressed. This game ranks highly on my list of the prettiest games.

Because the game is so simple, it has little to offer to people looking for serious strategy games. However, Nacht der Magier is a must-buy for three groups: children, childish adults and collectors looking for curious, unique games.


#8 ICG
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17. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:630]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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5 and up

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...

The essential mechanic of the game is to try to pull an egg of a particular color and move to a tile of that color on the linear path toward the bowl, and the little stack of tiles hiding the baby Gulo tile. If you set off the alarm, or knock any eggs out of the bowl, your Gulo is sent back to the previous tile of the attempted color. If there's no such tile, then back to the start he goes!

From a purely objective standpoint, this is among Wolfgang Kramer's finest efforts, and this summarist highly advises playing it while intoxicated. (Please drink responsibly.)


As noted the child can win this game with smaller fingers. So it's a great game for the whole family. I did put this to my best handicapped games list because of this.

#9 ICG
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18. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:363]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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5 and up

Blokus is an abstract strategy game with transparent, tetris-shaped, colored pieces that players are trying to play onto the board. The only caveat to placing a piece is that it may not lie adjacent to your other pieces, but instead must be placed touching at least one corner of your pieces already on the board.

First game in the list to introduce

Category:
Abstract Strategy

Mechanics:
Tile Placement
Pattern Building
Pattern Recognition
Area Enclosure

I did play this once. I wasn't really turned on. Maybe it's just that this is a game that wishes to be Ingenious by dr. Knizia. Anyway a worthy addition to the ideal children games library.

#10 ICG
 
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19. Board Game: Quoridor [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:775]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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6 and up

Won Games Magazine Game of the Year award in 1998.

This abstract strategy is surprisingly deep for its simple rules. The object of the game is to advance your pawn to the opposite edge of the board. On your turn you may either move your pawn, or place a wall. You may hinder your opponent with wall placement, but not completely block him off. Meanwhile he is trying to do the same to you. First pawn to reach the opposite side wins.

This is maybe one of the best games you can play with a pencil and a piece of paper. Eraser is also required to make the moves. I played this like that in high school. It's a fun little game. Gigamic games are really impressive and elegant. So it might be worth to buy it.

#11 ICG
 
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20. Board Game: Hamsterrolle [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:835]
 
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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6 and up

Imagine a hamster’s exercise wheel, divided into numerous segments, separated by low fences (obviously a National Hunt racing hamster). The players each receive seven wooden pieces, which they aim to place ( one per person per turn ) within the wheel without any pieces falling out. Any pieces dislodged are taken back as a penalty and the first to get rid of their pieces wins.

From dougadamsau's review.

While Hamsterrolle doesn't have quite the "wow" and fun factors of Bamboleo, it's still a very entertaining and clever game. Recommended for dexterity game fans.

I just wonder why this rated higher than Bamboleo. It doesn't look as fascinating? Please explain.

#12 ICG
 
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21. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:251]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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6 years and up

PitchCar and Carabande are dexterity games where large, wooden, puzzle-like pieces are used to construct a race track that looks very similar to an electric car track when finished. But instead of using electrons, players use finger-flicks to send little round pucks around the track, a la Carrom.

From Smilinbrax's review:

So is it Caylus or Age of Steam, or Twilight Imperium? Of course not, but I bet it will get played more. We played three games of Pitchcar and only one “thinking” game. Pitchcar was the only game that was asked to come back again for another round. I’m sure we’ll get tired of it at some point, but I’m just as sure that we will bring it out again eventually. I don’t see it ever becoming too tedious to play again. I can’t say that of many other games. I also want to point out that you can put a lot of thought into Pitchcar, but its not a thinking game foremost.

As a final note, I wanted to address the “kids” game comments that other reviewers have made. This is only a kids game if you decide it is. Can adults play Xbox 360? Is it okay to make model railroads? Remote control airplanes? Play hockey/soccer? Some would argue that those are all kids stuff and many would vehemently deny it. I feel that adults should worry more about whether they enjoy what they are doing and less about what others think. Sure, Pitchcar is fun with kids. It’s also fun with adults.


#13 ICG
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22. Board Game: You're Bluffing! [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:893]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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7 years and up

Classic bidding and bluffing game. The deck consists of sets of farm animals, 4 cards per animal. Players auction off the top animal of the deck, or try to complete their set by trading with another player. Highest bid wins, but auctioneer always has the choice to buy the animal for the same price as the highest bid.
Trading is a blind bidding system: both players place their bid face down on the table and reveal them simultaneously. High bidder gets the other player's animal. Both players swap their bid. It's best to bid just a little bit more than your opponent, but just how much did he bid?


I bought this used in perfect shape for 50 cents. The seller asked for 1e but I said that I'll pay only half of it or leave it. After seller's mother commented that "You shouldn't let the customers deceive you. You don't get nothing with less than 1 euro." I smiled and walked a way with this gem. I just love bargaining.

#14 ICG
 
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23. Board Game: On the Underground [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:646]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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7 years and up

The goal of the game is to build the most successful Underground lines and in doing so gain the most points. You can gain points by connecting your lines to various destinations on the board, and by having the passenger use your lines to travel from station to station.

The player who has best balanced the demands by the time that the deck of destinations is exhausted will be declared the winner.


From topherr's review:

OVERALL 8/10
What Beasdale has done, and done well, is to take superior elements of route-building games by Alan Moon and Knizia and added a very Knizia-like ingenious scoring system. The details may not suit everyone (some of our group are so-so on it), but every single detail is thought through to a T (which is only funny if you ever lived in Boston ).

Edit: To be clear, I don't mean that Beasdale is using the scoring system from the game Ingenious, just a very clever Knizia-like scoring system.


#15 ICG
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24. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:368]
Nikosu Oyama
Finland
Turku
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7 years and up

Friends of "quick and easy, but fun" card games may rejoice, as this is certainly a winner in this respect. It is not the deepest of games, but can be a satisfying filler or closer for an evening of games. Draw a card to play to a row, or take a row -- it's that easy! You score points for collecting cards of the same color.

The game is very easy, but not dumb, and appeals to both gamers and non-gamers.


From otha62' review:

I think Coloretto is a breath of fresh air in the set collection genre of card games. The unique way in which you place and draft your cards is pretty cool and adds a certain amount of tension/anxiety to the game. It requires a bit of thought, but it's fun at the same time. This is another one of those Lays potato chips games; it's hard to play just one game. While it may take a game or two to get acclimated, I think it'll be well worth your time. And another added bonus is that it's relatively inexpensive (under $10). I currently rate Coloretto a "scaly but colorful" 8.

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25. Board Game: Nobody but Us Chickens [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:2755]
Bill Norton
United States
Seymour
Tennessee
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5 and up

I got this game for my girls last Christmas and they both really enjoy it.
They were 4 and 6 at the time. The younger one doesn't always play with strategy but she can still play. She also messes me up cause I never know what she will play.
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