Good first game for my 2 year old son.
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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My son is turning two, and while I realize that it is probably a bit early for him to play any games, I'd like to look ahead and possibly buy him a game for his birthday that we can play together.

It should be a game that he could start playing before he is three, and where rules are not very important.

Basically if you were going to pick a game to introduce a child to the world of boardgames, which would be the first one you would pick.

I've included the one game I know about to start you off.

Thanks ahead of time!
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1. Board Game: Go Away Monster! [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2014]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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2. Board Game: Jumbolino [Average Rating:3.88 Overall Rank:10723]
Robert Zurfluh
United States
Cranbury
New Jersey
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We played Oh Rats when my son was two...
 
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3. Board Game: Snail's Pace Race [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:10621]
The Games Are About Glory
United States
Macedon
New York
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I asked the same question a while ago and this was one of the suggestions I received. My son turns two on 6/26, and I ordered this for his birthday.

I also got him Candyland and Snakes & Ladders. Yeah, I know...but at $3 each (brand new) all I want are tools to help teach colors and numbers. The combined total of the latter two games is less than half what I paid for S.P.R. so I'm not really concerned with replayability.

Aside from that I was told that HABA has many good games for children but I haven't researched any of them yet. My son also has fun playing with some extra dice, backgammon pieces, and "meeples" I have from some old incomplete games. It makes him feel involved while mom & I are playing a "real" game.
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4. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:637]
Ben Vögel
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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I've been on this site for 10 years now, and I'm far from sick of games, but I think I am, to some degree, sick of learning too many new games. I'm also tired of playing 4+ hr multiplayer games, but I'll still happily play really long games 2 player.
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My 3 year old loves this game. She often wins the game when playing with my wife and I, because she can just reach in a pick out an egg effortlessly with her tiny fingers while we fumble around and knock over the alarm pole. She is starting to occasionally figure out the strategies of movement and selecting the best colored hex.

Overall, I'd say this game introduces kids to elemental strategy decisions, has a dexterity component that gives kids an advantage over the clumsy big fingers of adults, has high quality components, and is just a beautifully made game.
 
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5. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1040]
Chester
United States
Temple
Texas
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Just picked up Chicken Cha Cha Cha for my 3.5 year old...which he loves. I don't think a 2 year old could play, though. Interestingly, I got Gulo Gulo at the same time, but had not opened it yet because its supposed to be for 5 year olds (per the box). I had been planning to save it for later, but maybe we shouldn't wait.

The first games he loved were...Hungry Hungry Hippos (more of a toy), Hawaiian Punch, and Toy Story Yahtzee. Of course, we tried some of the stand-bys like Candyland (blech!), Chutes and Ladders, etc.

Actually, maybe the first one was Carcassonne...where we would just let him place the tiles like a puzzle. At first, wherever he wanted and then we played with the meeples like action figures. Later, I urged him to match up the terrain edges (at about age 3).
 
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6. Board Game: Kleiner Spatz [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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My 3 year old really loves the HABA games that I have gotten for her over the last year or so and this one is one of the best in my opinion. The board is a ring of different colored nests. You roll a die that gives you a target nest to go to but you have a choice of going clockwise or counterclockwise. The number of other birds (player tokens) you jump over determines how many worms (nice green wooden ones!) you collect. When all the worms have been collected, the player with the most wins. Like most HABA games, this one is very colorful and engaging while being quick and simple but still allowing children to make meaningful choices that impact the outcome of the game. This one comes in a fairly small box and I think it cost me something on the order of $10-$12 which is pretty cheap as HABA games go.
 
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7. Board Game: Orchard [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2307]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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Here is another HABA game that works well with the little ones. It's very simple, basically just roll a die and pick up a fruit of the corresponding color. the great thing about this game is that it is cooperative so it's great at breaking kids into the whole winning/loosing thing. A 2 year old should be able to play this without much trouble. As usual with HABA, this one comes with great wooden components and is very colorful. I've seen a huge floor version of this game as well with almost lifesize pieces of fruit!
 
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8. Board Game: Galloping Pigs [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:5000]
(ron lee)
United States
baton rouge
Louisiana
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I've had pretty good luck with this with a 3-yr old. When you play, do away with the last rule (when you read the rules, you'll understand which one I'm talking about), and focus on how yummy the vegetables are when you win them, making pig noises.

This is just SLIGHTLY more decision-making than candyland, the pigs are cute, the race track can be played with to go any direction you please. Kind of a cross between a toy and a game (and you should play it that way). If I remember right, it's pretty cheap too.
 
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9. Board Game: Aggravation [Average Rating:4.72 Overall Rank:11120]
Nate Sandall
United States
Portland
Oregon
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One of my earliest gaming memories is Aggravation.
 
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10. Board Game: Tummy Ache [Average Rating:4.98 Unranked]
Fraser
Australia
Melbourne
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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For a two to three year old I'd go with this one or something similar. No dice to be eaten

This was probably the first game we introduced daughter the elder to and around two and half from memory. Color Clowns also worked a bit later, but it's probably impossible to get these days (it was from my wife's childhood collection) and it's not very good (for parents - the colour and shapes stuff is good for the children).

My First Uno is good once they have some rudimentary number and colour skills. We started her on Snakes & Ladders at four and a quarter. At five she is playing Balloon Cup, Bohnanza and slightly reduced rules Carcassonne.
 
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11. Board Game: Max [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2848]
Marc Kob
United States
Pennsylvania
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I have a 5 and and 8 year old. Both of them played and loved this at 2 or 3, and we still even play it now. It's a co-operative game where you try to get a mouse, chipmunk and bird home past a very hungry big black cat, named Max. Very simple but fun. The kids love making the animal sounds. Especially when the cat eats one of his treats. Chomp! Chomp!
 
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12. Board Game: Hungry Hungry Hippos [Average Rating:4.08 Overall Rank:11166]
mary welch
United States
Portland
Oregon
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You get to bang on something AND its easy enough he can play it with a friend with no help. Its also cheap so when he outgrows it its no big deal.
 
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13. Board Game: Don't Break the Ice [Average Rating:4.65 Overall Rank:11123]
mary welch
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Same applies to this one, except it takes awhile to set up.
 
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