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Board games for kids

Iustum

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My wife and I are going to be hosting our nephews (ages 9 and 4) for a little while, and I’m looking for recommendations for some fun, age-appropriate board games.

I have a reasonably extensive tabletop game collection, but little of it is going to be themed appropriately or simple enough for kids. (Though I think the 9-year-old will get a kick out of Flash Point.)

Not having kids myself, I don’t really have a good idea of what is out there now in the space, so I’m turning to RPGnet for help.
 

Dweller in Darkness

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Your biggest obstacle is that the 4 year old probably isn't entirely familiar with writing.

Eleminis is a good one for the youngest.
 

Tonbo_Karasu

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I have been told that Dobble is really good for youngsters, but I'm not sure how young it gets.
 

JamesG

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Catan Junior is fun and not text dependant, Ticket to Ride: First Journeys is another that can be played without reading.
 

Crumbs

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My first stone age, my first jungle speed, snow white a gemstone mining, blue lagoon, hey that’s my fish, battlesheep, stuffed fables, ginger bread house, cottage garden.

We play most of these with our 7 and 4 year old daughters. We just do “team with mom or dad” with the 4 year old on a few of them and she still has fun.

The real problem is the age gap. The games a typical 4 year will understand are not going to be appealing to a 9 year old.

If you do not mind buying games for just each one individually that opens up a lot of possibilities.
 

jimwise00

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Tsuro is a hit with the 5-9 set here. Up to eight players, no reading or math required, easy to remember what you have to do, but good choices to make, and the “slide the stone along the path” mechanic is really satisfying.

BattleSheep is an occasional hit, but not one where the younger players stand as much of a chance, so has had less replay value around here.
 

Victim

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I got my four year old 2nd cousin Outfoxed and it seemed to be a big hit. Hmm, maybe she was 5 at the time instead? And I'm not sure how its held up 6+ months down the line. But she learned it more quickly than my mom IIRC, and apparently loved it for at least a week.

But yeah the gap is pretty brutal, while the game wasn't awful from my PoV, it's also not something that a 9 year old (or adult) is likely to enjoy a lot too. Heck, if the a nine or ten year old is sufficiently into it, they could play a lot of games. I think my brother got into DnD around that age, and I got him to play battletech with me. But you can't necessarily count on passionate interest in the game carrying a kid over the difficulties in learning it when you're talking about the stuff in your collection versus their picks.
 

Knaight

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4 is tricky, but I can confirm that 9 year olds can learn and play Dominion, and based on my sample set they enjoy it at least as often as adults. I've also taught a 10 year old Empire Engines, and I assume he could have learned it a year ago. Catan is playable with 8 year olds in my experience, but then you're playing Catan.
 

Gideon

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Diamant is a great game that can go with young and old. 4 is probably at the edge of its range, but there's essentially a yes/no decision to be made every turn, that you can make without understanding the nuances.
 
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