My kids have rules in their blood and dice in their hearts. Please donate so that we can have these things safely removed by a surgeon or plumber. I recently made a list of board games that my family and friends enjoy playing together (it’s, like, right here). But if you’re like me you are handsome and clever. And you have more opportunities to play a board game with your children than your buddies, so you have to make your children into buddies or…chuddies. Here’s a diaper full of games for younger gamers.
LEGO Heroica™ There were five games released in the Heroica line of LEGO Board Games, each featuring a selection of heroes trying to save the land of Heroica from a variety of villains and monsters. The heroes have different special abilities and may also collect treasures, buy weapons, and find potions to give them special advantages. Obviously, the components are top quality (Hello, they’re LEGO!), the theme is exciting, and the gameplay itself is simple, but, being LEGO, the games can be reconfigured in a number of ways to provide new challenges and even connected together for a game of Epic Heroica! Notes for Parents: As long as your kid is old enough to not eat the pieces they can try this out but may need an adult or older child to guide them. While the LEGO line of board games is retired, with five different sets out there it is totally possible to pick up one or two second hand.
LEGO The Hobbit Game™ This Hobbit themed game from LEGO is memory with a twist. Gandalf, Dwalin, Kili, and Fili travel around the Shire peaking in Hobbit holes trying to collect the most dwarves (the game ends when all ten dwarves have been found). By matching food, runes, or hobbits, the players can perform special actions such as sending an opponent’s dwarf back into the Shire, taking an extra turn, or taking a sneaky peak. Notes for Parents: The basic game is playable for young beginners, while several optional rules allow you to gradually increase the complexity. See LEGO Heroica Notes regarding finding retired games and kids who eat LEGO.
My Little Pony™ Collectible Card Game Two Players each take on the role of a mane pony and gather groups of friends to overcome problems taken right from the show. Problems vary in difficulty but those requiring more pony power yield more points. You can add troublemakers to your opponents’ problem, blocking them from solving it, while using resources to help you solve yours. You must budget your actions as moving and adding ponies cost action tokens. The cards look great and, of course, feature the different characters from the show (thus “collectible”) but the playmat, because it is folded from huge down to tiny, does not sit flat, meaning your cards do not sit flat, unless you whip up your own mat as I did. Notes for Parents: This is not My Little Pony UNO. The complexity of this game is comparable to other collectible card games not to other children’s games. An adult or older child may be necessary to interpret rules and reading is a necessity.
Co-operative Games from Peaceable Kingdoms® These games often take a proven mechanic (like memory or race-to-the-end) and add an all-for-one setting. Everybody wins together or loses together. Each game is fun in a different way and all of them are nicely produced with sturdy components and appealing design:
Count Your Chickens™: A beginner game with simple rules to follow but no decision making. Help the mother hen get all her chicks into the coop without getting scared away by the Fox!
Hoot Owl Hoot™: Follow the coloured path to get the owls home before morning. Some strategizing will increase your chances of getting all the owls to the nest!
Stone Soup™: A memory game based on the classic story. Find all the ingredient pairs before the fire goes out (and find the magic stone for a little help)!
Mermaid Island®: Three young mermaids must reach the island before the Sea Witch! Use shortcuts to race ahead and magic wands to slow down the witch!
Lost Puppies™: This is the most complex of the original five PK co-operative games and the most unique in play. Flip tiles to reveal puppies that must get home, areas of darkness the pups can’t cross, flashlights that can banish the dark, and Take-A-Peak tiles that reduce the number of unknowns!
Notes for Parents: Those descriptions pretty much say it all…so, what’s new with you? Really? Gross.
Do you have a favourite family game? Are you made of cardboard and only move when a 1 or a 6 is rolled? I’d love to hear from you, so shuffle yourself into a frenzy and buy as many Boggle® and Scrabble® sets as it takes to write me out your message in dice and wooden tiles. Feed your message to a goat, apply a gentle sleeper hold to the goat, and then load the unconscious goat into a suitcase. Put that goat case on the Greyhound bus…STOP! Not that Greyhound bus, a bus full of actual greyhounds (which is operated by Red Arrow) that passes right by my house. Then leave me a message in the section below so that I’ll know to go wait at the bus stop with some goat laxatives and a bucket.