Getting little kids into tabletop gaming

Originally published at: Getting little kids into tabletop gaming | Boing Boing


Bill is a real treasure. His videos are beautifully produced with excellent sound effects, and his curmudgeonly delivery is on point.


If Zach Galifianakis had a crafting channel.


He doesn’t? :nerd_face:


In German, but the English closed captions aren’t terrible.


my 3yo, 5yo and I play “Advanced Chutes and Ladders.” It’s a conventional board but we’ve added house rules. Additional dice rolls, combat and 3 classes with unique bonuses and penalties. Rogues bonus on chutes and ladders (you have to roll to see if you make it up the ladder/avoid the chute), Fighters bonus in combat (two players passing each other can challenge combat, a simple roll-off where the loser is pushed back the diffetence of the rolls), Wizards special abilities (ranged combat and “switch places” spell) on every turn, you move your player and a monster of your choice on the board.

We also play a game we call “Adventure cards” where each kid gets a hand of regular cards: Hearts are communication, clubs physical, spades are tools and diamonds are things of value. they work their way through a simple story playing their cards, a simple <> comparison with my pulls steers the story.

we have a good time


Games we find to be good for 9+ junior gamers:

  • Splendor (economy-model card game, surprisingly varied gameplay)
  • Rumikube (gin-rummy but with tiles?)
  • Unstable Unicorns (screwball deck builder)
  • Hogwarts Battle (Potterverse player-vs-environment co-op deck builder)
  • Pandemic (player vs environment co-op board game)

My 9-year-old daughter craves tabletop games, and wins them. From Candyland to Life, and then Junior Monopoly to regular Monopoly. During the past year, a board game shop opened one town over, and we visited it to acquired two new, next generation board games, Planet and Rule the Realms, which my daughter promptly won. I mean, it’s not like I’m not trying.


I recommend the Game “King Of Tokyo” .
You play as the Monsters and all four of my kids love the game.


Nice chipping and weathering on your granddaughter’s car, btw!

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I’ve found that the games that work really well for adults playing with 4-year-olds are the press-your-luck games. Obviously to play them best requires a lot of conditional probability calculations, but, a lot of play can be viewed as temperament-based: do you feel lucky?

For very small children the 1-player Rush Hour classic block slider holds a lot. Tiny kids just want to play with the cars, next level up have the challenge of setting up the board so as to match the card, then comes actually solving the easiest of the puzzles. One really nice thing about it is that every move is reversible, i.e., one never gets stuck and needs to restart.


I recommend Catan Junior for kids old enough not to swallow the pieces. The core gameplay is there, but it’s fast setup with a good blend of strategy and chance. It’s fun/frustrating to lose to an 8-year-old who manages to parley a few resource cards into an elaborate chain of trades, purchases, and a lucky draw.

Even the adults like it as a quick dip instead of the sometimes many-hour play of the full game. No reading needed, and it’s possible to throw aspects of the game if you have very young players at the table who may need to practice a complex turn.

Really, a well-done adaption and pirate-themed as a plus.


Hack & Slash has a nice, basic push-your-luck mechanic with the numbers of meeples you can commit (from a limited supply) for various rewards (of more meeples or victory points) on the different quests. It was fun explaining this dynamic to my granddaughter (“You need a 4+ on a 1d6, so that’s a 50% chance of success. If you win, you’ll get an extra meeple. If you lose, you’ll lose your meeple.”).

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Wait, isn’t this like getting kids into dinosaurs? It just happens, right?

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