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Old 02-12-2013, 20:54   #1
Wendelius
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The de facto boardgame thread. Now with enhanced title

Board game present ideas for 8-11 year olds

A friend asked me that question and I sent him a long reply. And I thought that, with Christmas coming soon and maybe some of you looking for ideas for family (or yourself ), I could repost here the list of games which have been the most popular with my 11 year old (looking back to when he was younger too). I hope this gives you some useful ideas if you are in the market for a gift.

I focused on games that my sons and daughter love, especially the younger ones, and which do not rely on overly complicated rulebooks. I don't know many 9 year old who want to be talked through a 20 pages rulebook.

The games that come to mind are:

Dixit - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/39856/dixit. I had played it with grown ups before and had a blast. Then I played it for the first time with the kids this week-end and it went down a treat. After they finished the first game, all they wanted to do was play again. Such a simple game and yet such a compelling and entertaining one! It's a beautifully simple concept and engages your brain and imagination. It's hard to describe, so I'd recommend watching this video about it:

Ticket to Ride Europe - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1...to-ride-europe : Considered the ultimate gateway game by lots of gamers, it's dead simple to learn. Can be played by children and grandparents alike, teaches you some geography and kids seem to uniformly enjoy placing their trains all over the map. It's light on player interaction, but gets you started on strategy and planning. The Europe map is generally considered better than the original US one and introduces a rule which alleviates some frustration with any people hell bent on cutting off all your routes. You can also get expansions like Switzerland, India or Nordic countries which provide maps better suited to 2 players than 3 or 4.

Ticket to Ride - The card game - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3...-the-card-game : If your intended giftee travels with her family, this basically brings in the ideas of the board game in a small card box and mixes the mechanics with a memory game. Every time we've been away for a weekend, the kids have insisted to play it. It's a different game, but it keeps the spirit and fun factor of the original.

Saboteur - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9220/saboteur : Dwarves like gold. They don't like coal. They are also greedy. Saboteur is the card game with dwarves and a "traitor" mechanic a la Resistance. My kids have made me play a lot of it as well. It's no Battlestar Galactica (another traitor mechanic game, but that one has a hefty rulebook and is all about theme), but the theme is engaging and it's actually easy to learn too. My kids have also made me play The Resistance quite a bit. But Saboteur has got a less abstract theme. This is a game which works better with more players, like BSG or Resistance.

Escape: The curse of the temple - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1...-of-the-temple : That game is dice rolling madness in a crumbling temple and a good laugh. And it's all over and ready to play again in 10 minutes! Though if you are easily stressed, you will be exhausted after 2 games. The idea is that you are explorers trying to loot a temple and escape before it crumbles. All players are all rolling dice like mad, sharing results on some of them while an ominous soundtrack plays on MP3 or CD. At set times, things start to crumble and you must run back to safety before a gong chimes. It's crazy and fun. And, again, easy to learn.

Castle Panic - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/43443/castle-panic : That game is like tower defense made board game. All players co-operatively try to defend the walls of their castle and survive a constant onslaught of monsters by co-operating and coordinating their attacks and defense. All the while, the monsters are getting closer to bringing down the walls. Check out the pictures on Boardgamegeek. It looks quite engaging. But it's not the deepest game around. The co-op aspect is nice though.

Pyramid - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/36648/pyramid : The kids and I love the set up of this game. There are 2 sides on a vertical board. On one side, the adventurers are trying to look the treasures from a pyramid. On the other, an angry mummy (played by another player trying to figure out the whereabouts of the adventurers based on clues they have to give) is trying to catch them. On the player side, you can see where the mummy is. The mummy doesn't know for sure where the players are. It leads to some tense moments and people practicing their poker face as the mummy slides in the square next to them.

Bakong - http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/40629/bakong : A really entertaining tile based game where you try to reach a tresure in the depths of the jungle while hindering the other adventurers on the trail. Again, it's very easy to learn, has got some interesting gear management and is a fast paced race to the treasure and back. Also, being tile based, no 2 games are the same. You can pick up this one from 6 or 7 year olds easily, but it will also entertain adults.

Depending on what the child likes, there are other games I could recommend, like Munchkin (though that one is one big griefing game better played with 3-5 players, but it leads to quarrels quite often), Settlers of Catan (easy to learn, enjoyable and quite approachable for a Euro), maybe even Risk:Legacy if your cousin was in love with the Risk type gameplay but wanted a (much) better version of that. Besides, what kid doesn't like tearing up cards and writing on the game board? But those games are less immediately fun and approachable in that age range, I find.

I hope the above gives you useful ideas.

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Last edited by Wendelius; 25-04-2014 at 09:15.
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Old 02-12-2013, 21:06   #2
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Excellent list, thanks for sharing.

Seconded votes for Castle Panic, Ticket to Ride and Saboteur. All excellent games and Castle Panic's cooperative nature in particular is good for a variety of kids ages. Even the younger ones feel like they're able to contribute.

My 10 year old boy's absolute favourite is my battered and well loved copy of Space Crusade. I loved it when I was ten, and had many happy games with my dad, so it's great that he enjoys it so much.

I've also started to introduce him to Lord of the Rings : Living Card Game, but it's possibly a bit early for him at the moment.

Hacienda goes down well as a family game, which is a farming 'sim', but is more about resource management and chaining point-scores. The adults can often out-strategise the kids, so I do prefer some of your suggestions like Saboteur where strategy doesn't play such a big part.

Also one to note is Tikal a complex at first glance, but simple enough game to teach where you compete to 'mine' treasure from Inca pyramids on an expedition.
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Old 02-12-2013, 21:42   #3
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Note: I wrote this post first without completely considering the topic was games for kids! Have updated...

Excellent post Wendelius, always love game recommendations. My friends and I are getting more into board gaming.

I bought TTR: Europe over the original simply because it was cheaper, but after having played both I think I prefer the original as I find the tunnels + ferries a bit frustrating. I hear Nordic Countries is meant to be great too.

Only cooperative game we have is Forbidden Island, which is ok (and cheap) but as everyone plays as a group it doesn't feel like a good team game. I'd like to have a cooperative game which allows people to make their own decisions too - though I think there's a variation on the game that allows one person to secretly play a traitor, which might space it up. We also have Pandemic but haven't played that yet.

King Of Tokyo is good fun too, that generally goes down well with kids too from what I hear.

The following are more for adults, certainly LFW:

We also enjoy Smallworld, which involves you playing various races and taking over territories. It has a good mechanic that means the races are unique (or near enough) each time you play it.

I watched a video review of Letters From Whitechapel recently and I absolutely love the mechanic involved in it and it looks absolutely ace, but it's unavailable in this country at the moment and generally hard to come by

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Old 02-12-2013, 22:15   #4
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I'd echo the recommendations for Dixit, Ticket to Ride, Small World and Forbidden Island. I'd also add Carcassonne to the list, and maybe Apples to Apples though it's very pricey for what it is, and you'd probably have to make sure you were getting the UK edition, especially if playing with children.
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Old 02-12-2013, 22:34   #5
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Everyone seems to be playing Cards Against Humanity these days, from what I can tell is basically a very un-PC version of Apples to Apples. Not one for kids.

Watched the video of Dixit and think I'm going to pick that up - kind of like a surreal artistic version of Balderdash.

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Old 02-12-2013, 22:45   #6
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Board game present ideas for 8-11 year olds

Great thread and posts so far

I'd go for Dixit Odyssey over Dixit. You can then buy extra card packs for it. It's a fabulous game and everyone I've introduced it to loves it, even those who say they don't like games.

I'd agree with TTR USA over Europe, but get the (1910?) expansion if for no other reason than the bigger cards.

Others to look at: Tsuro, Discworld: Ankh Morpork, Lords of Waterdeep (in order of complexity)

My favourite games at the moment are Keyflower and Castles of Burgundy, but both may be slightly too much for the age bracket?

Last edited by nutter45; 03-12-2013 at 16:39.
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Old 02-12-2013, 22:54   #7
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Who cares about the kids, we need games too
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Old 02-12-2013, 23:50   #8
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So that's where Nintendo got the idea for the Luigi's Mansion game in Nintendoland ... the Pyramid board game.
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Old 02-12-2013, 23:57   #9
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Good suggestions too!

I don't have King of Tokyo, but I've seen it played and have heard very good things about it both from my kids and their friends. The theme of monsters destroying the city is also enjoyable. I'd definitely have put that one high on the list if I had played it myself.

I have only played Forbidden Island on the iPad, but I enjoyed it. It certainly makes you work together and it seems quick to set up, learn and play.

I thought about Smallworld, but I also thought it might be more suited to the very upper limit of the age range as all the race and ability combinations can be a bit overwhelming. That being said, the art is very nice and the mechanics are very simple. So it should work.

I hadn't heard of Hacienda or Tikal, but I'll look into them! Letters from Whitechapel might not be one to play with the kids.

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Old 03-12-2013, 00:08   #10
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So glad you guys are adding more suggestions. Interesting that I maybe have been missing out by not trying out the USA version of TTR. I love Ankh Morpork too, but it didn't really hook the kids.

How does Dixit Odyssey differ from Dixit + its expansion packs. Are the mechanics different? I couldn't quite believe how entertaining and mind bending that game can be. What's pretty cool is that I can also equally play it in French with my family in Belgium and in English over here. There are no words on the cards. It's just the players and the images. Very neat concept.

I've got a bit of a serial boardgame buying... habit. So you've all given me more ideas for Christmas.

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Old 03-12-2013, 07:12   #11
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Board game present ideas for 8-11 year olds

I'm not sure there's any mechanical difference between the dixits, odyssey just allows more players I think.

If the kids are racing fans then Formula D is a good bet. It's got both a simple and advanced rule set so is flexible to suit.

I would have thought you'd want some quick card games as stocking fillers also. I'll kick off with For Sale, No Thanks! and Love Letter. All very simple, easy to learn and yet offer plenty of depth in the gameplay

Ps I've also got the habit, I spend far too long browsing boardgamegeek Next big game on my horizon is Caverna: the Cave Farmers

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:16   #12
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Not one that I've played with my boy of ten yet, but will be doing so in the next few months is Dominion.

I know he'll soak it up and then keep coming back for more as it's an addictive game for adults as well!

Essentially it's a live deck building game where you're aiming to score the largest amount of victory points by using various means to get there. Your hand is your 'dominion' and you cycle through your deck several times over the course of the game.

Keys to victory are keeping your deck efficient by removing low value cards which just get in the way in the later stages and knowing when to start buying up victory points left right and centre.

Once everyone knows what they're doing, which doesn't take long, games can get very quick indeed with other players planning their moves whilst waiting for you to play your turn.

There are also at least five excellent expansions, and two base games.

If you've got kids in this age bracket, I'd recommend the base Dominion which will keep you going for a while, but definitely get whichever expansion appeals most soon after. It'll help to keep it fresh and as they say ... every game is different.

I also love that afterwards everyone has a story to tell ... this went well ... I can't believe you kept stitching me up with ... I couldn't get to play my xyz ... etc. This invariably leads to "just one more game!"

Also - grab a decent deck randomiser app for your smartphone which will help with choosing the communal Kingdom cards for the start of the game. I use Dominion Kingdom Deck for the iphone.

Enjoy! It's an absolute cracker of a game.

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Old 03-12-2013, 13:24   #13
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Ones that come to mind that haven't been mentioned yet are Zooleretto, would have thought farming zoo animals would go down well with girls. Pitchcar which is basically racing cars around the track by flicking. Prefer Thunderstone over dominion as it has a dungeon crawler theme, and it sounds like Pyramid si another iteration of the tracknig down the hidden player theme, of which I've played The GReat Museum Caper, Fury of Dracula and the hunt Mr X one (whatever that was called).

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Old 03-12-2013, 17:50   #14
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Wendelius - You made a good point about the games being for kids, I've updated my previous post to highlight! I was just enjoying talking about games and got carried away with it

Has anyone played Ladies & Gentleman yet?
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Old 17-12-2013, 10:33   #15
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Recently got in to boardgames myself.

It's a shame Monopoly is so popular, as that was really my first introduction to a 'proper' boardgame as a kid and I must've played it about 20 times over the years but there's so many better games out there that people could be exposed to.

Considering getting 'King of Tokyo' to play with my family over Christmas (age range 8-62) but don't want to waste money if they aren't interested.

Me and my friends started with Risk 2210, which is fairly complex considering we were all newbies. First couple of games with 4 and 5 players took 6 hours+! Recent games have come in at about 4 hours.

A friend of mine has got the Game of Thrones: Second Edition for Christmas so I think we'll be playing a lot of that next. I bought the Bioshock: Siege of Columbia game to play, but i'm hearing it's not that great with more than 2 players.

Anyone watch the Will Weaton 'Tabletop' Youtube series?

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Old 17-12-2013, 12:46   #16
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I've seen a few of the tabletop eps but not for some time.

I should be getting a few games for my birthday and christmas Am definitely getting Crokinole and Pucket
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Old 19-12-2013, 10:20   #17
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Plumped for King of Tokyo in the end, should be here Christmas Eve:

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Old 19-12-2013, 10:36   #18
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Board game present ideas for 8-11 year olds

I've been hoovering up some amazon and amazon.de bargains.

Picked up Carcassonne winter edition for £14 from uk amazon and got both Chicago Express and Hanabi for £20 from Germany

The bargains help to offset the cost of the crokinole board
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Old 19-12-2013, 10:45   #19
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Played the new Family Edition of Trivial Pursuit last week with my kids - absolutely brilliant. Kids questions just at the right level, not to difficult but certainly not easy. Thoroughly recommend this !
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Old 19-12-2013, 10:48   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAmbrose View Post
Plumped for King of Tokyo in the end, should be here Christmas Eve:

Is a beard mandatory..?!

I've got King of Tokyo arriving today.. will stick it under the tree for us to play on Xmas day..

My boy will love it (hopefully) but not sure if it'll be too geeky for my wife and daughter..
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