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Family Game Fridays – Pulling in the Youth

Introducing Family Game Fridays

Several of the members of our WiscoDice staff have families and enjoy spending time with their spouse, children, or extended family and playing games. In this new series we’re calling Family Game Fridays, we want to explore this aspect of gaming and talk about some of the challenges of getting the young people in your life interested in gaming, how to keep things civil at the gaming table and possible games you and your family might enjoy getting started with.

When I was younger, my parents frankly weren’t very interested in games. We had your stock standard games such as Life, Sorry, Monopoly, and several more games. I played those quite frequently with my brother. However, it wasn’t until I was older that I was introduced to the world of Eurogames, deck-building games, strategy games, and so many more genres that I’ve grown to love. As an adult, I’ve sought to introduce my kids to games and allow them to grow and learn them, if they chose. 

It has not been all sunshine and roses in my household when approaching gaming. There are the inevitable fights, disagreements, boredom, and of course, gloating when one of them crushes everyone else at the table. It has been a great learning opportunity for me to see how my children approach gaming and grew to love it. As we grow this series, we want you to come along for the journey and share your experiences as well.

Start ’em young and keep them engaged!

Recently my nephews stayed with me for a solid week. My wife wanted to take the opportunity to share our love of gaming with my nephews. It had been years since my kids were 5 and 7. There are so many more options these days for games customized to that age group. My wife and I always enjoy a game of Carcassonne, published by Z-Man Games. It is a great starter game for getting your family or friends involved. It has simple tile-laying mechanics and is quick to teach without being overwhelming, like a Eurogame mechanics, for a first-time player. With all of that said, it might be a little overwhelming for a young player of 5-7 years.

There is not anything wrong with your stock, standard games released by Hasbro or other companies, but most gamers lose interest pretty quickly. While looking over the local game store’s selection, we stumbled across a youth version of Carcassonne. There is a version called, My First Carcassonne (published by Z-Man Games). This version has simpler mechanics and can be played fairly quickly. It was a super quick game to play. Most games were done in 15-20 minutes. 

What makes this a great choice for a young player?

One thing you always need to consider when pulling out a game is your audience. How old are they? What are their interests? How long can they pay attention to what you’re putting in front of them? Here are some of the highlights we found when playing this particular game and some key things you can look for when finding other games you might enjoy playing with them.

  • It was fun all around. My daughter, who was 14 at the time, had a great time playing, as did both of my nephews.
  • Players were always doing something. The physical element of the game kept them engaged.
  • It was easy to grasp for the 5-year-old and he had a great time laying down the colorful tiles.
  • When the 5-year-old got bored, he could just wander away and it didn’t impact the game.
  • With the quick playtime, it was easy to play multiple games in a row or quickly pull this out when my nephews wanted to do something.
  • The 7-year-old got excited with a few wins, but was able to be challenged by the 14-year-old. 

This was not the only game we played, but it was a great example of a game that was fun for our nephews and everyone got an opportunity to have fun playing. What types of games did you find were the most fun for your family to play when your kids were young?

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Do you game with your family? We’d love to hear your experience, reach out to us on social media.

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