1. Dice Forge : This game rocks because you get to create your own dice! Each player gets two die that start with the same faces, but when you take your turn, you get to buy new faces. You snap the old faces off like a lego, then put the new ones on. You can also take different actions on your turn to earn victory points. One of the best things about this game, though, is every one rolls at once, so there isn’t a lot of sitting and waiting time, which is super hard on kids.
Manufacturer age is: 10+
My rec (if your kids are use to playing strategy games): 6+
2. Azul: I love this game. It’s great for people who aren’t into nerdy board games, and it’s really simple to learn. You select tiles of the same color from a “factory,” then push the non-matching tiles to the middle. You place them on your game card, one color per row, until you fill the row and push the tiles to the right location on the mosaic. This is great to play when you don’t feel like deep thinking. My kids play it well, but it’s not their favorite. I think they like games with more story.
Manufacturer age: 8+
My rec: 6+
3. Star Realms: My kids love this game. I like it because it has mechanics of Dominion. You build a deck of space stations (usually for defense) and spaceships (usually used to attack). The boys played this before we attempted Dominion, which has more reading in this. My not-quite-fluent reader pretty much has the card mechanics memorized, so we don’t have to read them much anymore. Probably one of these best things about this game is that there are different play modes. You can play as a team against a boss, or you can have a command deck, which is a deck built for you with special abilities. ETA: The original, main game is two player. The expansion and command decks are bought separately, but highly recommended to add repeat play fun.
Manufacturer age: 12+
My rec: 6+
4. Kingdomino: Kingdomino is a fantastic family game. It’s easy to learn, and I have no idea why the manufacturer recommends the age 8 and up. This is a game we bought for Christmas last year, and I still enjoy playing it. You build your own “kingdom” by starting with a castle, and then choosing and placing tiles down by connecting mines to mines, oceans to oceans, farmland to farmland, etc into a 5×5 square. For every area that has a crown on it, you get the number of crowns times the number of tiles connected to that space. It’s easy and fast and pretty much a family game that everyone will love playing. We also have the Queendomino, which adds just a little more complexity to the game.
Manufacturer age: 8+
My rec: 5+
5. Kingdom Builder: We’ve played this a few times with the kids. They understand how to play, but aren’t quite grasping the strategy involved, so Spreadsheet Guy and I usually win. It plays pretty quickly. On each turn, you draw a card and then place three houses on the area it tells you to. You can get more turns and moves by building next to certain tiles, which is super important to do, especially at the beginning of the game. That’s the part the boys aren’t quite grasping yet, but I bet if we play it another time or two, they’ll understand. This is fun and fast, and pretty easy to learn.
Manufacturer age: 10+
My rec: 7+
The boys will be getting four new games this Christmas because, you know, we can never have too many games. 🙂 They look super fun! I can’t wait to play them.
What games are you playing these days? Any that your kids love that we should check out?
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