Board Games for Christmas


#1

I want to get a board game for my little 9 year-old cousin for Christmas. I was thinking of the classic board game "Life" for her. Any thoughts? What are some other good ones?


#2

Sorry, this probably belongs in the popular media section.


#3

We loved playing this one.

amazon.com/Ravensburger-26448-Labyrinth/dp/B00000J0JF

It is a very sturdy game although the box hasn't held up over time. It is easy to learn and fun to play with 2 people or up to 4.

Does she have older siblings or younger ones? This game can be played by adults too. It's quite strategic and really makes you think.


#4

How about a children's version of Scrabble? That's a great game to start learning at 9. When I was about 9, I started playing Scrabble with my mom and grandmother - they would pair up with my sister and I and teach us the game in teams.

They make really nice versions of Cranium for kids/preteens. That game is awesome - it combines artistic, theatrical, and academic talents. It's best for a small group.

Good luck!


#5

I'm not nuts about Life, because the spinner breaks. Still, it is a classic.

I guess I'd ask her parents, and bounce ideas off of them. Who is she going to play these board games with? Does she like competitive games? Does she like thinking games or games of chance? Does she have some avocation that she'll want reflected in the game: horses or pink with glitter or some sports star?

Our twins always had someone to play with, since they both like board games. Still, they like playing against a parent even better. They started playing chess and monopoly by the time they were nine. (It's actually great to learn chess when you're quite young, since people are actually still young enough to see it as a board game, and not an entrance exam into Mensa.) There are many classic games such as Parcheesi, checkers, backgammon, and so on. If she's a thinker, those are more fun than games of chance such as Life.

Also, I'd suggest looking for award-winning games, especially the ones you have never heard of. There are some great ones out there.

If she likes thinking but not competing, she might prefer puzzles or puzzle books: everything from Sudoku through Rubik's cube to an old-fashioned cardboard puzzle with a picture she'll like. (I think the periodical Games Magazine has a youngster's edition, too.) If she likes performing, she might prefer a magic set.

I've also had good luck going on Amazon.com....don't just look for the number of "stars", but why people rated a game the way they did. What others didn't like about a game may be exactly what your cousin will like best!


#6

How about Snakes and Ladders?

My own 9 year old niece just had her First Communion, so I am supposing that this is a good age to learn about the concept of sin, the importance of being a good person and how our choices affect our lives.

I think this board game is fun and a good learning tool for children that age. :)


#7

One of our exchange students brought this game as a present for our girls. It ended up being a favorite of all the kids in the family! My kids and their cousin's range from 5-17, and they all loved it.

Apples to Apples is a fun game. Classic's like Sorry, Trouble, or Monopoly are always fun.


#8

If she likes games like Risk or Stratego, Settlers of Catan is really, really fun. That might be better for an older tween/young teen, but it's a great game. We play it all the time!

I second Scrabble and Apples to Apples. Life is always a good choice, though. You really can't go wrong with it.


#9

Wow. Y'all have some advanced kids. I'm impressed.

My girls were quite intelligent, but The Game of Life was beyond them at age 9. Also, it was boring, since the little girls weren't into jobs, marriage, taxes and stuff like that yet. I'm a little surprised that people want little ones to play this kind of grown-up game. Why not keep them young as long as possible?

At that age, my girls absolutely loved the game Guess Who. toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2267238&camp=PPC:673951990&002=2194806&004=2011580686&005=175995222&006=7012288366&007=Search&008= In fact, they still talk about how much they loved this game.

If you get Scrabble, get the Jr. version. The regular version is kind of advanced for a typical nine-year old. Even if the OPs daughter is advanced enough to play it, many of her friends won't be. Adult family members could play it with her, but honestly, many adults find Scrabble a challenge. Just make sure that the little girl has someone to play this game with, or it's no fun.

My 7-year-old nephew likes Monopoly, the Junior Version. But he really has little concept of what's happening. He just likes going around the board in the little silver car and getting the fake money and playing with the little houses. He cheats, too, but he doesn't realize that he's cheating because he doesn't quite understand what's going on in the game. He's not particularly brilliant, so perhaps a more advanced child with more intellect would enjoy it.

One game that he loves is Shut the Box. At seven, he's perfectly capable of doing addition up through 12, and that's what this game does. It's a solo game, so there doesn't have to be another person playing it with him, but it can be played with two people. It's a very old-fashioned game; we bought ours in an antique store, and the dice are carved by hand. Supposedly it was played on ships by sailors, but I can't see how they were able to keep the dice from rolling off the ship during a swell! Anyway, my nephew likes the game, and I can sit and play it for an hour or two because it's kind of addictive. google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&expIds=17259,27558,27585&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=shut+the+box+game&cp=12&wrapid=tljp1292501311640010&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=11639363448005562884&ei=QwEKTYHwM8L6lweczumYAg&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=4&sqi=2&ved=0CDUQ8wIwAw#


#10

[quote="Ma.Eugenia, post:6, topic:222813"]
How about Snakes and Ladders?

My own 9 year old niece just had her First Communion, so I am supposing that this is a good age to learn about the concept of sin, the importance of being a good person and how our choices affect our lives.

I think this board game is fun and a good learning tool for children that age. :)

[/quote]

Do they still make "Snakes and Ladders"? The only ones I've seen recently were "Chutes and Ladders" and I don't recall that they had any reasons for the chutes, the way we had reasons for the snakes.


#11

The company GameWright makes lots of awesome games, many of them are award winners. Ravensberger also makes lots of nice games.

My daughter loves this one:

amazon.com/Race-to-the-Roof-Game/dp/B000IO3FEQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1292507940&sr=1-2

Also:

amazon.com/Gamewright-7110-Orders-Up/dp/B003D76D6W/ref=sr_1_21?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1292507989&sr=1-21


#12

My family swears by Blokus, although I have never played it. On Barnes and Noble right now, there is a buy 2 get 1 free special, plus a 15% off coupon. There's also a 30% in store coupon.


#13

[quote="HouseArrest, post:12, topic:222813"]
My family swears by Blokus, although I have never played it. On Barnes and Noble right now, there is a buy 2 get 1 free special, plus a 15% off coupon. There's also a 30% in store coupon.

[/quote]

I LOVE Blokus! It's beautiful to look at, fun to play, and forces you to use your spatial reasoning skills.

The big controversy in our family is how to pronounce the name. Is it Blow-kus or Block-us?


#14

I think it depends on what type of game you think your cousin might enjoy, and who else might be playing with her.

I do like the Settlers of Catan game that was mentioned, although the strategy required might be a little intense for most 9 year olds, if they are playing with adults.

Another game to consider is Carcassonne. This game involves placing tiles (kind of like a puzzle) and trying to complete cities and roads. Points are scored by placing "followers" or "meeples" on the feature when you place the tiles. When a road or city is completed, the player with the most followers on that feature collects points, depending on the size of the city or road.

My favorite game lately is Ticket to Ride. I think a 9 year old would be able to handle this game, as the mechanics are not too difficult. The strategy can be as soft or intense as desired. This game has a map (the original game that I would recommend to start with has the U.S.), and different colored spaces between cities for trains to be placed on. The object of the game is to build connections betewen cities using little plastic trains. There are train cards, of different colors, corresponding with the spaces on the board, and ticket cards, which list pairs of cities to be connected. You get points for placing trains on the board, which requires train cards, and at the end of the game you get points for every ticket you completed (connected the cities with your trains). I find it is a very interesting game, and as a plus it helps with geography.

If you think your cousin might be better off with a game designed specifically for children, I would recommend Max. This is a cooperative game, so everyone wins or loses together. There are two dice, and these dice have equal numbers of black and green dots. There is a cat (called Max) and there are three little woodland creatures: a mouse, a bird, and a chipmunk. For each green dot rolled, one of the little creatures can be moved one space (or if there are two green dots, one animal could move two spaces). For each black dot, Max moves. The little animals start on a stump, and Max starts on the porch, several spaces back. The object is to get the animals safely to the tree. If Max lands on a square with one of the animals, he "catches" the creature, and it is out of the game. There are also cat treats that can be used to call Max back to the porch.

Good luck. If you want to read more about board games, I recommend BoardGameGeek. Here is the entry for Max: boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4637/max
and here it is for Carcassonne: boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/822/carcassonne
and here for Ticket to Ride: boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9209/ticket-to-ride


#15

[quote="EEgirl, post:14, topic:222813"]
I think it depends on what type of game you think your cousin might enjoy, and who else might be playing with her.

I do like the Settlers of Catan game that was mentioned, although the strategy required might be a little intense for most 9 year olds, if they are playing with adults.

Another game to consider is Carcassonne. This game involves placing tiles (kind of like a puzzle) and trying to complete cities and roads. Points are scored by placing "followers" or "meeples" on the feature when you place the tiles. When a road or city is completed, the player with the most followers on that feature collects points, depending on the size of the city or road.

My favorite game lately is Ticket to Ride. I think a 9 year old would be able to handle this game, as the mechanics are not too difficult. The strategy can be as soft or intense as desired. This game has a map (the original game that I would recommend to start with has the U.S.), and different colored spaces between cities for trains to be placed on. The object of the game is to build connections betewen cities using little plastic trains. There are train cards, of different colors, corresponding with the spaces on the board, and ticket cards, which list pairs of cities to be connected. You get points for placing trains on the board, which requires train cards, and at the end of the game you get points for every ticket you completed (connected the cities with your trains). I find it is a very interesting game, and as a plus it helps with geography.

If you think your cousin might be better off with a game designed specifically for children, I would recommend Max. This is a cooperative game, so everyone wins or loses together. There are two dice, and these dice have equal numbers of black and green dots. There is a cat (called Max) and there are three little woodland creatures: a mouse, a bird, and a chipmunk. For each green dot rolled, one of the little creatures can be moved one space (or if there are two green dots, one animal could move two spaces). For each black dot, Max moves. The little animals start on a stump, and Max starts on the porch, several spaces back. The object is to get the animals safely to the tree. If Max lands on a square with one of the animals, he "catches" the creature, and it is out of the game. There are also cat treats that can be used to call Max back to the porch.

Good luck. If you want to read more about board games, I recommend BoardGameGeek. Here is the entry for Max: boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4637/max
and here it is for Carcassonne: boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/822/carcassonne
and here for Ticket to Ride: boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9209/ticket-to-ride

[/quote]

Good calls! I like the Labyrinth suggestion upthread; I'd also strongly reccommend Carcassonne (and it has a nice Medieval theme). Settlers is pretty good too, especially inasmuch as the trading aspect promotes social interaction. The Ticket To Ride games are also good; the original (based in the old USA) is pretty light. TTR: Marklin (set in modern Germany) is the heaviest of the serious (vis a vis extra rules complications); I hear that TTR: Nordic Countries is the most competitive (it's 2-3 players only and the board is really tight) but I haven't tried that one yet.

I would have purchased TTR: Europe but I can't stand that the board shows Petrograd as landlocked. That and Syracuse is mislabeled as "Palermo". Doh!


#16

[quote="Adeodatus, post:15, topic:222813"]
Good calls! I like the Labyrinth suggestion upthread; I'd also strongly reccommend Carcassonne (and it has a nice Medieval theme). Settlers is pretty good too, especially inasmuch as the trading aspect promotes social interaction. The Ticket To Ride games are also good; the original (based in the old USA) is pretty light. TTR: Marklin (set in modern Germany) is the heaviest of the serious (vis a vis extra rules complications); I hear that TTR: Nordic Countries is the most competitive (it's 2-3 players only and the board is really tight) but I haven't tried that one yet.

I would have purchased TTR: Europe but I can't stand that the board shows Petrograd as landlocked. That and Syracuse is mislabeled as "Palermo". Doh!

[/quote]

My husband and I enjoy all the Ticket to Ride games. We have the USA, Europe, Marklin (German) and Nordic. My husband is always looking for the Switzerland board, but it is only available for $80+. We are hoping they will rerelease it soon. We probably play the Nordic map the most now, but we have been playing Marklin quite a bit lately. The Europe, Nordic and Swiss boards all include tunnels and ferries, which changes the play quite a bit. Wilds are not truly wild in the Nordic edition, but they are critical for ferry routes. One nice thing in the Europe map is the stations, which allow you to use one of your opponents routes out of a city.

For a nine year old, I think the original (with USA map) would be the best choice of the Ticket to Ride games.


#17

I love the recommendations for "real" board games in this thread.

My kids, 5 and 8, have grown up with euro-games and strategy games. They've never played American games that offer very little decision and strategy options.

Here's a list of games they L*O*V*E:

*Zooloretto

*Ticket to Ride (I have them all and we play USA the most. With just 2, the Nordic map is the best. BTW, I have the Swiss map up for trade on BoardGameGeek.com)

*Carcassonne

*Abandon Ship

*Amazing Labyrinth

*Wits & Wagers Family - available at Target

*Word on the Street - available at Target

*Telestrations

For the absolute best reference in modern board gaming, you have to check out BoardGameGeek. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first but once you look around you'll find great advice on games for any age/situation.


#18

This one is on the borderline for a 9-year-old but I thought I'd put it out there for parents with slightly older kids. It's great fun and helps vocabulary like Scrabble but with a twist.

Word Thief. You make up words and then the other players can steal your letters to make words of their own. Will not work well when kids are in one of those poor-sport stages.

amazon.com/Faby-Games-WordThief-Game/dp/B00000IZZ1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1292581275&sr=8-1

p.s. We have found that "Apples to Apples" works better when you have more people playing. 3 is too few really. This one is fun for a bunch of folks to play. I suspect that "Would You Rather" will be the same. I am getting that for Christmas to play with family.


#19

[quote="irisheyes66, post:17, topic:222813"]
I love the recommendations for "real" board games in this thread.

My kids, 5 and 8, have grown up with euro-games and strategy games. They've never played American games that offer very little decision and strategy options.

Here's a list of games they L*O*V*E:

*Zooloretto

*Ticket to Ride (I have them all and we play USA the most. With just 2, the Nordic map is the best. BTW, I have the Swiss map up for trade on BoardGameGeek.com)

*Carcassonne

*Abandon Ship

*Amazing Labyrinth

*Wits & Wagers Family - available at Target

*Word on the Street - available at Target

*Telestrations

For the absolute best reference in modern board gaming, you have to check out BoardGameGeek. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first but once you look around you'll find great advice on games for any age/situation.

[/quote]

I feel sooo old! I have never heard of any of these games.


#20

I haven't heard of any of them, either!

I think it is because we are not big board game people. When I buy my kids board games, they use the board as a ship, or use the pieces as a type of currency. They usually find some way to turn the game into something it isn't.

But maybe we would do better with some of these, rather than the typical games that are carried at the stores.

Thanks for the recommendations!


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