New to Your Kids April 2011 - Best New Games You've Played with Kids and Why
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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April is supposed to be the cruellest month, but it's been pretty nice round here.... still there was the occasional day when playing games inside was a good plan, and we managed to try several which were new to my kids.

So, looking back over the last month, which is the best game you've newly introduced to your kid(s), and why? Please pick an entry even if it's the same as someone else's because it's more fun that way.

It would probably be helpful if you say what ages the children you played with are, and how much they enjoyed it as well as how much you enjoyed it.

Please, add you own entries - one per child might make sense if they are of different ages and abilities. And if you play with kids that aren't yours - nieces, nephews or friends' kids, include those!

Just like the idea of this series of monthly lists, I've also nicked the idea of an announcement thread from Grimwold (Thanks Andy!). If you'd like to be alerted to the existence of the new list when it appears, subscribe to this subscription thread.
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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:63]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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My youngest (aged 5) has been watching the rest of us play this excellent train game for some time, and her demands to try it for herself could no longer be refused. She needed a fair bit of help the first time or two, particularly in terms of picking up the colour cards she needed for her routes, but she enjoyed it hugely. We played without stations or tunnels the first time, however we've introduced these over the next couple of games. She played again today and managed to win, which she was very happy with - her brotehr less so. She still needs some help but is getting the hang of this relatively complicated game, which I am sure will remain a favourite for a long time.
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2. Board Game: Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:283]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Having introduced this to my youngest last month, the older two (9 and 12) wanted a go, and duly enjoyed it. We played with all the rules, and I'm sure it will come out regularly.
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3. Board Game: Big Points [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1801]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Ever keen to try a new game, I thought my daughter would like this simple game - which was new to me and to son number 1 as well as we tried a 3-player game. She quite liked it, and grasped the rules very well almost from the off, though the strategy - which in a three player game boils down to grabbing as many white counters as possible - didn't really click. My son did get the strategy pretty quickly and we had a fine tussle. Good to see him employing abstract reasoning and some quick mental arithmetic in a real situation!
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4. Board Game: The Bucket King [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:1617]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Another one we had all played before except the youngest. Suffice to say that beginner's luck held and that she royally trounced me and her two big brothers. Need I add that this made her day and confirmed her liking for it?
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5. Board Game: Le Paresseux [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:7654]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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Finally I thought this anti-racing game would appeal. She certainly liked the theme, but didn't really like other people moving her piece, so I think I'll save this one for a bit later on when she can appreciate the subtleties a bit more (not that there are many in the game play, but in the concept, perhaps).
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:108] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Sean Boyll
United States
Kuna
Idaho
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Played this for the first time with my 7 year old. She liked it and wants to try again with the rivers expansion. This was also my first time playing the analog version.
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7. Board Game: Shear Panic [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1201]
"You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him fill the balloons."
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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We've had this for several months and finally had a chance to break it out and play. "Break" being the operative word here -- at some point the game had been stored/transported on it side, some of the sheep statues had popped out of their little "cups" and one of them had an eye knocked off while another came loose completely from its base. We found the little eye piece and I will be able to superglue it back, along with the loose sheep.

Our kids are an 11y.o. girl and a 9y.o. boy. My wife and I played one game with our son and everyone seemed to enjoy it, especially my son who won by a large margin.

The game has some interesting mechanics and perfect information. I think that with four adults playing a more cut-throat style, this could be a lot of fun. The three of us liked it a lot and my daughter is looking forward to playing it with us next time.
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8. Board Game: Loot [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:1312]
Jeffrey L.
United States
Western Burbs of Beantown
Massachusetts
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My kids enjoy all types of card games, such as Dominion, 7 Wonders, Monopoly Deal, Cribbage, Saboteur etc.

I bought this last month, and was not expecting much. But they both liked it, and we've played 1/2 dozen games or so. We played with their mom last night and she liked it as well. I alway like finding games that cost 10 bucks or less, and get played when we don't have a lot of time for a longer board game.

This is a good family friendly filler.
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9. Board Game: Martinique [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:1992]
Let's Play Two!
United States
Collinsville
Illinois
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Martinique is the winner for my 6 y.o. daughter this time around. She says she liked exploring and trying to find the "big" treasure, and she won the game we played by guessing the location of the treasure because she watched where I was placing my pawns! I had fun with this one too, though in the end game one player can come from far behind with a relatively lucky guess on treasure location. I've read that some people have suggested awarding points for finding the treasure and then adding those points to those already gained (normally used only if the treasure isn't found). We may have to try this.

Monza and Alhambra were also very popular with her as new games in April. She surprised me with how well (and how quickly) she caught on to Alhambra, even winning a couple of games!

Others that fell farther behind on the interest scale:

Animal Mastermind Towers - a bit easy for her since she's already been playing Mastermind for awhile now.
Karawane - this is a pretty good Haba game for kids, but she preferred the dice movement of Monza to the card movement of Karawane.
Socken zocken - cute matching game for younger kids - too easy for her.
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10. Board Game: Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:815]
Let's Play Two!
United States
Collinsville
Illinois
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Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game was the big hit for my 9 y.o. son in April. Space alien combat - what's not to love? He still likes to play cooperative games where we all win or lose together, and the fact that this one has a cooperative option is a big plus. We had a lot of fun with this one.

The expansion Pandemic: On the Brink probably came in second for him - yet another cooperative. He really liked the new variety of roles (though he still always wants to be the medic if I'll let him).

Alhambra also worked well - he caught on to the wall strategy in the first game and beat us all.

Lastly, we played Ka-Ching! which was a fun one, but without the "wow" factor for a 9 y.o. boy. Good for a little multiplication review, though, so high marks from Mom!

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11. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:407]
Clare Marie
New Zealand
Nelson
Golden Bay
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I saw this recommended soooooo many times that I bought a copy for my co-operative game loving 9yr old - and it's been a HIT!

I played a couple of solo games first to get a feel for the mechanics before introducing him to it, and wasn't thrilled with the experience .. This surprised me as I actually do enjoy solo player co-ops (eg: Castle Panic), so was equally surprised by just how much fun it is playing with him

Big sister has joined in a few games too, as well as other random visitors .. It's simple to teach and great entertainment for non-gamers of all ages, but personally I prefer this as a two player game ..


Another new game for April was Duck, Duck, Bruce, but he's not as keen on this one .. We played it nightly for a week or so, but now it only appears as an in-betweener, meaning if there's not another game he enjoys coming up he'd rather find something else to do ..
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12. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:84]
William Bekking
Canada
Kanata
Ontario
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My six year old daughter loves this game. She enjoys it most as a three player game, but has 'issues' with people taking her routes. Still, we've played every day for about two weeks.
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13. Board Game: The Climbers [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1144]
Subhan Michael Tindall
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I've been playing the heck out of this game since picking it up at gamestorm in March. I recently got to teach it to my daughter (nearly 8) plus a couple of other random kids hanging around the game store while their dad was playing magic (7-10 range) It was a lot of fun, they had the blocks on the table & were starting to set up based on the directions before I even noticed! Everybody had a great time playing, the rules were quickly grasped except for a couple of fine points around block placement, & much roll playing took place as pawns plummeted to their death, hopped up ladders, etc.
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14. Board Game: Set Cubed [Average Rating:5.27 Overall Rank:10342]
Subhan Michael Tindall
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Was my first play of this, plus first play with my daughter. We did the first game without scoring, although she quickly grasped the concept having played Set with her mom on many occasions.
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15. Board Game: The Powerpuff Girls: Saving the World Before Bedtime [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:5783]
Rebekah B
United States
Colorado
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By far, this was the big winner with my 4yo daughter this month. I bought the game a few years ago at a thrift store. Considering it only cost $1, it's probably got the best plays:cost ratio of any of my games. I've played it many, many times with my older two kids, but this was the first time I thought my youngest could handle it.

We always play it with the co-op variant I've posted in the files section (it's always made more sense to me that the girls would work together to save the world before bedtime!). Although my kids have never watched the Powerpuff Girls, the theme of 3 girls fighting off the villains is very appealing for them, and the co-op game provides plenty of fun tension. Plus, my daughter is just beginning to read, and the cards have simple enough words on them that she can practice her reading with them. I can also use them to introduce the concept of telling and comparing time, so it's a game that's surprisingly educational at this age. At the same time, she really doesn't need to have those skills mastered to play it. Since introducing the game, she's been asking to play it several times a week, which is probably more than she's asked to play any game ever.

Other new games for her this month:
Pick Picknic: She enjoyed this one and did well, but hasn't asked for it again. She's not ready for the scoring yet.
Ruckus: This is a real-time game that I had previously introduced to her by taking turns, which really takes the fun out of it. However, she had wanted to try it, and I knew that she wasn't ready for the real-time version yet. This month, she graduated to the real version, but I can't play full-out against her yet. We're getting there, though!
Socken zocken: Another real-time game that she has trouble keeping up with, but asks to play occasionally. We use a handicap system with this one, which helps, but I think it will be better once she's a little older. I see parents write about how kids are often better at these types of games than adults, but they seem to be harder for my kids. I've seen the same issue with memory games, but they can beat me at games like Dominion (well, my older two can anyways)!
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16. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:499]
Rebekah B
United States
Colorado
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After seeing this on last month's list, I decided to try it out with my 7yo son. He's been playing deduction games like Mastermind for probably 3 years, but I didn't know how he would handle this game. It turned out that he liked it, and picked up on the process of figuring out the rule pretty easily. I did keep the rules pretty straightforward for him.

The other new game for him this month was 7 Ate 9. He usually likes real-time games and math games, so I figured this would be a natural, but it was only okay for him. It's an easy one to pull out before school to "wake up" his brain, though, so we'll probably give it some more chances.
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17. Board Game: Dinosaurs Extinct? [Average Rating:4.88 Unranked]
Lo Ma
United States
California
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Okay, I know this title is not going to thrill the true gamers out there, but wow, my 5 year old is totally wow'd by this game. He thinks it is very tense and exciting. He enjoys the gotcha elements, and is learning about advantages and disadvantage so shortcuts. Plus of course, it has dinosaurs!!!

He picked up on the rules very quickly and is delighted to play the game regardless of who wins. The element of luck is useful here for him becaue it helps make him accept that that;s the way it goes sometimes.

I'd say it is a good advancement in gamedom for him, and it is fun to play it with him.
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18. Board Game: Stay Alive [Average Rating:4.91 Overall Rank:11067]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Stay Alive (3 year old)

I picked up a copy of Mind Your Step at a car boot sale, and my 3 year old son has been fascinated by it all month. He doesn't have a great idea of strategy, but if I don't think too hard myself either we can have a fairly even game. My 5 year old daughter then asked to join in, and playing her required a lot more thought - I was quite impressed at how much she's come on with basic game strategy - mostly she doesn't want to join us, but I think she's probably ready for the next level of game now, and might find it interesting.

Top Trumps (3 year old)

The only other new game to my kids this month was a Shark set of Top Trumps - my son is just about able to work out which number is bigger, and his is a shark set, just perfect for a little boy obsessed by all sea creatures.
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19. Board Game: Rising Kings [Average Rating:4.85 Unranked]
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
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I play with my 13 and 11 year old boys, and they love games in which you have to fight.
Rising Kings is a card game in the line of fillers armoured with Medieval theme.
The game starts in the court when the death of the king is announced. Who will be the successor? Various court officials become busy with intrigue, and making ways to the throne. You have character cards, building cards and rebellion cards to fight to get the crown.
Rising Kings is an entertaining card filler with a medieval theme, and through the abilities in the cards there are a lot of actions in the game that are true to those times. You feel the intricacies of intrigue that accompany the fight for the throne.
The game plays in about twenty minutes, so you can easily find yourself wanting to play one game after another. My sons and I have had lots of fun with the game. It is a great filler and worth adding to your collection. The game is for 2-5 players.

You can read my review here: http://boardgamegeek.com/image/957614/rising-kings





You can read my review of the game here.
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20. Board Game: Gummy Bear Factory [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
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“We are going on a bear hunt, we’re gonna catch a big one! I’m not afraid, it’s a beautiful day!” This song came to my mind several times while playing Gummy Bear Factory where you have to assemble bears using three parts (leg, body and head). . It is a set collection game suited for families with younger children. The game is for 2-5 players.
Players take a gummy bear player card in the colour of their choice and place it in front of them. During the game they have to assemble gummy bears in that colour. Each card depicts one part of the bear.Players can put down a complete bear and they can also trade parts or colour with each other.
I played the game with my 11 and 13 yr old sons , but I find the game is more suitable for younger kids.

You can read my review of the game here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/649386

I took the game in the daycare I work at and enjoyed some games with 6 yr olds.

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21. Board Game: The Golden City [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1116]
Celina
United States
University City
MO
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We got this last month, and I finally got in a game with my two favorite rules lawyers. This game made us all very happy, especially once we figured out the bonus cards. The bits are great, and the game went very quickly. The change in starting player each round wasn't as confusing as I thought it would be, it actually worked well to remind us of the turn order.
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22. Board Game: Cuckoo Zoo [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:8655]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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I think that everything I played with my daughter (4) last month was new to her. I have received a package of Amigo's new releases, in order to learn them for explaining them in Essen. Naturally, most of our plays are from that.
Cuckoo Zoo is very popular (a Uno clone); but Coco Schnipp is more fun to me.

34 plays: Cuckoo Zoo
7 plays: Coco Schnipp
4 plays: Pick a Paint
2 plays: Hippo Hopp
2 plays: Time After Time
1 play: Quirrly
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23. Board Game: Kung Fu Fighting [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2478]
cavan cunningham
Canada
Regina
SK
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I sent this to my kids when I was out of town for a few months in the hopes that the fighting/arguing I would hear on the phone in the background would abate. It hasn't solved that problem completely but it has given my youngest (a boy) an outlet for his Kung-Fu-mania, and eased up the pressure on his older sister to strike back. Still struggling with some of the rules but having fun...and its easily portable for road-trip gaming.
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24. Board Game: Pokémon Trading Card Game [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:2666]
cavan cunningham
Canada
Regina
SK
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Got this for my 8 year old to wean her off her Nintendo DS version. So far its worked. I've even had fun playing the Black & White version with her (had to get my own deck). She's stopped being obsessed with her favourite Pokemon and is learning to use strategy in her choice of Pokemon, Energy cards, the order she executes the different phases of her turn. I haven't won a game yet which she also likes. Whatever gets her playing face to face.
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25. Board Game: The Ladybug Game [Average Rating:4.63 Overall Rank:10779]
cavan cunningham
Canada
Regina
SK
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I find it hard to settle my 4 year old son down enough to focus on much of anything. But this game he pulls out a lot, because of the easy rule play, the art work and events that happen on the board and the fact that it can be a quick play. I also like that it was created by a kid!
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