How to choose a children’s board game, selection tips and reviews
Board game — a game based on actions with objects, on the table or on the hands of the players themselves. Such a game often simulates any life processes and situations (including historical events).
Board games have a number of advantages:
- do not require physical training and regular cash costs;
- develop mindfulness, perseverance, imagination and memory in children, teach them to make decisions, and also expand their horizons;
- safe for vision and the nervous system, which distinguishes them favorably from computer games (especially important for children);
- provide an exciting pastime and develop communication skills between children;
- very diverse in plot — each person can choose a «table» to his liking.
A board game usually includes a playing field, dice, cards, chips, tokens, figurines, game rules, and some other items.
- Board game with cards
- Children’s economic game
intellectual game — requires intellectual effort and / or erudition from the players. Unlike most games, the intellectual «board» does not display any life process or situation. Such a game develops logical thinking, ingenuity, memory, erudition and improves concentration.
There are such types of intellectual games:
- puzzle — requires players to be quick-witted, not erudition («Anaconda», chess, backgammon, logic cubes, «Insh», «Abalon», «Quarto», «Corridor»);
- quiz — unlike the puzzle, it invites players to demonstrate their erudition («Chronology», «Scrabble», «History of discoveries», «Evolution»).
Military game — reconstructs historical or fictional battles and wars. The game offers to feel like a skilled commander. The military «table» develops systemic thinking, teaches how to use the available resources correctly and plan actions to solve the task.
The topics of such games are extensive — conflicts of the era of antiquity and the Middle Ages, the development of the New World, the Napoleonic wars, the battles of the Second World War.
Examples of war games: Risk, Sea Battle, Game of Thrones, Condottieri, Memories of 1944, Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars, Stratego, Great Patriotic. Summer 1941”, “World War II. Blitzkrieg 1940″.
strategic game — differs from the military «table» in a wider range of tasks facing a wise ruler. The goal of the strategy game is to build a strong city/state/civilization by military, economic and political means. The strategic board game develops the same abilities and skills as the military one, and also immerses the player in the world of history, the course of which he can change.
A classic example of a strategy game is Civilization. This category includes Dominion, Jackal, Eight Minute Empire, Colonizers, Progress, Carcassonne, 100,000 BC.
Economic game — models economic relations: exchange, distribution, consumption. The goal is to make a million or build an economic empire. Typically, the game contains the features of a strategy, and «money» brings a share of excitement to the gameplay. Such a “board” teaches the basics of economics, gives an idea of the market, transactions, various financial situations and risks, and develops mathematical abilities.
Examples of economic games: Monopoly, LibertEx, European Airlines, Colonizers, Manila, Valdora, Darjeeling, Super Farmer.
Adventure/Role-Playing Game — Invites the player to take on the role of a character (often literary or cinematic) and complete a series of objectives. This game develops ingenuity, memory and logical thinking.
Adventure/RPG examples: Spartacus, Tobago, Munchkin, Doom, Robinson Crusoe, Underkings, Werewolf, The Hobbit, Citadels.
Detective game — combines a role-playing game and a puzzle. The player (in the role of a detective) is required to investigate and expose the criminal or uncover a mysterious event. Detective game develops logical thinking and ingenuity.
Examples of detective games: «Mafia», «Doctor Shark», «Mr. Jack in London», «Columbo is investigating», «Theft of the Century», «Cluedo».
Active (for companies/parties) the game is designed for a large number of players (6-12) and has simple rules. Such a game does not require intellectual effort, but its participant must perform active actions, showing a good reaction, attentiveness and manual dexterity.
An active board game helps to get to know each other better and is aimed at developing communication, since it is based on communication between players.
Examples of active games: «Crocodile», «Svintus», «Tower», «Twister», «Ekivoki», «Medved», «Activity», «Elias», «Ruff», «Answer in 5 seconds».
For quiet eveningsc — suitable for a small number of players and has a «calm» character. By the nature of the tasks, such a game is more like an intellectual game.
Examples of games for quiet evenings: Tsuro, Bystromino, The Little Prince, Random Mutations, Agricola.
Family game — designed for 3-6 players of different generations. The rules in this game are quite simple. Participants do not fight each other, but rather compete. Such a game promotes mutual understanding between relatives.
Examples of family games: «Colonialists», «Uno», «Carcassonne», «Monopoly», «Citadels», «Jackal». An interesting option is a cooperative game in which players form an alliance and fight against the “game” itself (“Forbidden Island”, “Pandemic”).
Creative game — invites players to show their abilities: improvisation, drawing, mime, singing or oratory.
Examples of creative games: Elias, Dixit, Scrabble.
It is worth paying attention to games created based on famous computer games (“World of Warcraft”, “World of Tanks”) or films (“Lord of the Rings”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Star Wars”). They will be of particular interest to fans of the respective games or films.
The characteristics of the game that affect the gameplay are indicated on its packaging (number and age of players, duration of the game).
1 player — various puzzles or games in which the participant opposes the game itself («Robinson Crusoe», «Angel of Death»). There are games designed for several players, providing for the possibility of a single game.
2-6 players — the vast majority of «tabletops». However, some games are designed for a certain number of players, more than two. Gameplay can be too long (2 players) or too short (6 players). It is worth remembering: the more participants, the more interesting the game.
From 6 players – games for the company / parties. Some economic («Monopoly»), strategic («Citadels») and role-playing «board games» («Mafia») also allow a large number of players to participate (often up to 8).
Age of players
Obviously, complex games for adults will not be interesting for kids, and some games (18+) have restrictions due to the content of pictures. But for adults who play mainly for fun, developing or educational children’s games are hardly suitable.
Children’s (3-12 years old) — has simple rules, bright colorful design, and the gameplay takes no more than 30 minutes. A game designed for children is often based on stories from fairy tales and cartoons (The Golden Key, Puss in Boots, Scarlet Flower, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz).
Children’s «table» gives the child new knowledge, such as writing or counting, and also develops his creativity and useful skills.
For children up to 4-5 years old “tabletops” are suitable, which develop the perception of colors and shapes of objects, motor skills, speech and articulation. Children aged 5-7 years can be offered cognitive intellectual and role-playing games that develop logic and communication skills. Older children (8-12 years old) will master simple strategic, military and economic board games.
Children’s games include «Cat and Mouse», «Grimmasimus», «Batik», «Corridor for Children», «Piglet Gang», «Lamb», «Elias», «Piggy ABC», «Castle of 1000 Mirrors», » These funny animals.
Important: Children who like to read, it is better to choose a quiz game. A child with a good imagination should choose a creative game. For teaching a particular discipline, it makes sense to choose a «table» that gives the appropriate knowledge.
For adults (12-14, some from 18 years old) — the rules in such a game are much more complicated, and the duration of the game can be from 30-60 minutes to several hours.
The adult game invites players to take on different roles (detective, commander, knight, pirate, adventurer) and express themselves in various areas of life, including politics, military affairs, and even romantic relationships. Adult «table» is aimed primarily at a pleasant pastime.
Adult games include: «Mafia», «Scrabble», «Risk», «Civilization», «Sweet Couple», «In Love».
Universal — Good for kids and adults. In terms of complexity, it surpasses the standard children’s one, but is inferior to many adult «tabletop» ones. Thus, the universal game gives an equal opportunity to win both children and adults.
All family games involving players of several generations are universal.
The complexity of the game can be judged by the age group of players indicated on the packaging.
Simple — designed for children, beginners and large companies. A simple game is more conventional («Uno», «Saboteur», «Elias»).
Medium difficulty — the best choice for most players, since such a game is quite interesting and detailed, but learning the rules does not take too much time («Munchkin», «Startup», «Risk»).
Complex is a detailed game that will take several hours to master, and the first games will take much longer than indicated. Such «tables» will be of interest to experienced players or those who are interested in the corresponding type of game. Complex games include strategic, economic, war games («Game of Thrones», «Civilization»).
The duration of one game varies from several minutes to several hours, depending on the type and complexity of the game, the number of participants, as well as their experience. For large companies and parties, it makes sense to take games for 30-60 minutes. For families and experienced players, board games are suitable for an hour or more.
Keep in mind that playing for the first time will take more time, as you need to learn the rules (in some cases they are quite complicated). In addition, the layout of some large-scale games may take additional time.
Any board game is designed for a certain space. Some games will fit on a small table on the train, others require a regular table, and the third — the largest — need a floor.
To navigate the choice of the game, you should pay attention to the size of the playing field and other items in the kit (you must also take into account their number).
In cramped conditions, for example, on the road, card games are perfect, in which there is no playing field and other items or a minimum number of such elements. You can find «tabletops» published in the road version.
Important: Sometimes the features of the environment (lighting or noise) also matter, which can either create the right environment or interfere with the gameplay.
It’s no secret that a well-made game is much more attractive than its less beautiful «brothers». Even an interesting game loses a lot due to poor design. The design of illustrations, chips, cards should be thoughtful, and the objects themselves should be pleasant to the touch and neatly made.
Important: when choosing a «table» for kids, you should pay attention to the absence of small details.
- The materials from which the game is made (cardboard, plastic, metal, wood) must be safe for the health of the child and resistant to wear.
- When choosing a “tabletop”, you should be guided, first of all, by the preferences of the child.
- Boys will be interested in games on a strategic or military theme, girls will like role-playing games (“Cinderella”, “The Little Mermaid”), card games (“Sleeping Queens”).
- The price of the game depends on the quality and quantity of items that are included in the package. A high-level and detailed game cannot be cheap. But it will be interesting to play such a “table” for a long time and it will give a lot of vivid emotions.
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