Board Games: Family Fun for Everyone

I watch too much TV!!  There is no doubt about it.  But one thing that will always get me to turn the television off is the chance of playing a board game with friends and family.  Board games bring the family together.  They create a positive environment for conversation, learning (yes, your kids will learn and they won’t even realize it!) and most importantly FUN!

Board games have seen a recent increase in popularity due partly to marketing – think the Hasbro Game Night campaign – but more so due to the increased availability of designer games.

What are designer games you may ask.  Well, they are board games or card games that give recognition to the designer.  Much like a book has an author more and more games have the designer’s name on the box.  Creativity is being recognized.  These games originated in Europe but are now being published in North America.  The popularity of these ‘Euro’ games has grown so much that now many of these new designer games are being designed and published in North America.

These new games open up new worlds of discovery.  A family can gather around a table and build railway routes across North America (or just about any other part of the world), become explorers, discover new lands, build settlements, become an archaeologist racing through a temple full of dangers, colonize Mars, try to save rats from a sinking ship, race NASCAR or Formula 1 cars and even become bean farmers.  The themes are endless!

Games are no longer about rolling dice and moving with no end of the game in sight.  They are so much more!  Many of these ‘new’ games require planning ahead, strategic thinking, cooperation, and collaboration while having a set time limit!  Your kids will have to think and it won’t even hurt!

Over the coming months, I will be introducing new games that are ideal for family game play.  I hope these games will inspire you to sit down with your family, open a box and explore the adventures within.

Clive Lovett is a husband, father, board game hobbyist, an organizer of BIGCON (Kamloops Games Convention), and facilitator of Family Games Nights that are have been held in Elementary Schools in the Kamloops area.  He has a collection of nearly 300 board and card games that he is willing to play at any given opportunity.  For more information contact Clive at clovett65@shaw.ca

Our first game… Kids of Carcassonne

2 – 4 players

15 minutes

Age 4+

$23.95 online, $30.00+ through local stores

It is the 14th July and the people of Carcassonne are celebrating Bastille Day.  To keep the kids busy and to let them celebrate the people of Carcassonne release all the dogs, sheep and cows into the park for the children to chase and capture.  Players take on the role of a group of children trying to find the animals in the park.

Each player has a group of meeples (wooden tokens in the shape of people) of the same colour that represent their group of children.  In turn players draw and reveal a landscape tile, creating the park as each tile is placed.  The tiles reveal pathways that connect and show children, in the players’ colours, playing on these pathways.  Once a pathway has been closed off, each player places meeples on the children of their corresponding colour on the pathway.  The first player to get all their children (meeples) on the board is the winner!

This is a great game for kids 4+.  The artwork is very attractive and the meeples are just plain cool!  After a couple of plays your kids will develop basic strategies by developing connections that allow them to get their meeples on the board faster than their opponents.

Family Thoughts

Dad #1: Probably one of the best starter games for young kids!  A great game that children can play without the assistance of an adult.  Creating a different landscape every time the game is played is one of my favourite aspects of the game.

Mom #1:  I love watching my daughter think and strategize.  It is a game that is great for kids but also keeps my attention – and it plays quickly.

Sophie, Age 8:  It is fun and I have to think and I like beating my parents!

Mom #2: I love watching my kids get into the game, and look out for one another.  It’s a chance for us to work together and still “against” one another, also.  It’s simple and I enjoy watching the littles get excited when they close a road!

Dad #2: Adults and kids can play this game because there is a little bit of strategy involved but there is also a lot of luck.

Hunter, Age 7:   I like that type of game.  It’s fun and I like playing with my little brother and sister.

 

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