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There are a great many different board games out there, with each created based on a particular theme or purpose. Some games are based on TV shows or have been created with pieces that resemble popular cartoon characters.
If your child has specific likes and dislikes or has a character that they love, then, to keep them engaged, it might be best to purchase a game with the character in it. If you do, your child will have an interest in playing the board game from the very start.
Board games aren't all just fun and games. They can actually teach your kids about strategy, cooperation, math, color and pattern recognition, concentration, and various other hard and soft skills. And, in general, almost all board games can teach your kids how to take turns, though.
Some games are more cooperative with others, where you work in teams to solve a problem or fight against other players. These types of games teach your children teamwork and communication. Games like First Orchard or Hoot Owl Hoot! are great for this.
Then there are games where your children can compete with others to finish an objective. Here, they may employ strategies where they try to outthink their opponents. Strategy games are more likely to keep everyone in the family engaged, as they do require more in-depth thought to complete.
The payoff in strategy games is in how it teaches your children complex thinking, like anticipating others' actions, negotiation, probability, and adaptation. They can even teach your children to accept failure and take more risks. Some games within this genre include Settlers of Catan and Battleship.
However, do note that learning games are often more complex and might not make the best party games due to longer explanation times.
If you've decided on a strategy board game, then what you need to know now is the type of strategies that can be used in a game. Some examples are resource optimization, risk and reward, and control. Note that games don't have to stick to one strategy, and many use a combination of many different kinds.
In resource optimization, you try to gain as many items as they can, in a bid to use them in the future to thwart your fellow players (or if the game's objective is to collect items). In some cases, this might mean investing in pieces to multiply your resources in the future.
Monopoly can be considered a resource optimization game, as you're collecting and buying buildings, making an initial investment to get more money than everyone else.
In risk and reward strategies, luck is in play. You either choose to risk a big chunk of your resources in hopes of receiving a big reward or you choose to risk small bits at a time, hoping your opponents run out of luck.
In control, you actively work to try and prevent your opponents' next move. In some cases, this can involve eliminating a player, limiting their choices in actions (such as constantly attacking them and having them on the defense), intervening on their strategy, or taking control of more of the game pieces.
After understanding the different types of strategies, you can generally infer what kind of concepts your children will learn from board games and choose according to what you would like them to try out. You can read more in-depth about these strategy types here.
On the other hand, if your kids are growing out of an old game and want more of a challenge, look for a more difficult game aimed at slightly older players. You can look towards strategy games, as we went over in the above section.
While there are some outliers that are just so fun that no one wants to stop, you should be aware that younger kids tend to have shorter attention spans and may get frustrated if they’re not winning.
In that case, it’s best to look for a game with a shorter play time (up to 20 minutes) that you can play a couple of times over. For older kids, feel free to find games that push up to an hour or more.
Games can come in many different shapes and sizes; plus, some can take longer to play through than others! If the game has a complex setup, or if you simply don't want to have to reposition all the pieces when you resume the game next time, then you'll want to find something that suits your play preferences.
Did you know that some games take 30 minutes to setup? The complexity of setting up a game board can feel like a huge mountain you have to overcome before you can start enjoying yourself with the actual gameplay. In young children, this can be confusing or too intimidating, so the best thing to do is buy a game with an easy setup.
Naturally, the number of pieces can be part of what makes a game seem complex to setup. In general, the less the number of parts, the easier setup will likely be. And if you want to know how complicated a game is, then it's always best to scroll through the reviews for more details. And don't forget that bigger, easier to handle pieces are best for younger children, as well.
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Dragonwood: A Game of Dice & Daring
Best Game for the Whole Family (Parents, too!)
Blue Orange Games
Learn Strategy With This Beginner's Game
Math-Based and Highly Addictive Gameplay
Game Development Group
Wordplay For Kids
Teaches Your Child Spelling and Vocab
Race to the Treasure!
Lower Elementary Students Cooperate to Get Treasure
A Versatile, Spatial Reasoning and Pattern Building Game
Even Toddlers Can Learn to Work With Others
The Ladybug Game
Simple Math and Reading for Preschoolers
Raise Your Child's Confidence and Creativity
Kids Against Maturity
Kids Against Maturity
All Ages Humor Perfect for Parties
The world of games is a vast one, that's not even contained to just physical board games. There are ways to play on your smartphone and computer, amongst various other options. Here are some of our other suggestions to keep your little ones busy.
No. 1: Gamewright｜Dragonwood: A Game of Dice & Daring
No. 2: Blue Orange Games｜Kingdomino
No. 3: Magilano｜Skyjo
No. 4: Game Development Group｜Wordplay For Kids
No. 5: Peaceable Kingdom｜Race to the Treasure!
View Full Ranking
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