The following post is from Shannen of Middle Way Mom:
Have your children graduated from board games? When you think of a family game night, are you stuck with Clue, Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, or other popular games? At some point, many kids think they are too cool to play board games with the family, in search of more interesting things for entertainment.
I always thought the board game options were limited to what was on display at Target, but a few years ago, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of games! We happened across the Lord of the Rings board game that my husband’s aunt gifted him many years before, and he had forgotten about. Being unemployed and having nothing but time on our hands, we trudged through the two hours it took to figure out the rules of the game, and in the end found that the complexity peaked all of our interest.
We figured, there has to be more cooperative games out there, like Lord of the Rings, and we found the Board Game Geek website. Through many searches, we’ve found games our entire family enjoys, and my teen daughter still seeks out time to play with us.
Why play board games?
I prefer board games over playing video games together because we are actually looking at each other. Maybe it seems small, but instead of playing in parallel, we are playing together. They are portable and we can bring them with when we are traveling, plus I just treasure time away from screens in general.
I’m a fan of playing board games with young children, so this is a natural extension from that activity you’re already doing together. Plus, we have game nights with friends and it’s nice to invite my teen daughter to be my peer in a social setting. I know she feels grown up knowing that I asked her to come along to play with us.
These aren’t your run of the mill games, but challenging strategy games that prove interesting across the board.
Tips to get started
Since these types of games are far more complex, it isn’t unheard of for it to take a few hours to figure out how everything works. Youtube is your friend for game rule help. Use it often. Also, if your child bores easily, figure it out ahead of time so you can walk them through it instead of stumbling through the instructions.
Once you’ve played a few different types of games, it gets easier to learn because many follow similar game play themes.
My feedback on some board games for teens
Lord of the Rings – Cooperative, strategy game
Do I dare say I’m not a fan of Lord of the Rings on a homeschool website? Well, it’s the truth. Fantasy movies just aren’t my thing, so I was hesitant about this game. It turns out, you don’t need to like the fantasy genre in order to like the game, though my husband likes retelling information about the book while we’re playing, so it’s a win-win.
Really, this game opened the doors for us for a couple reasons. First, it’s cooperative. My oldest daughter was 9 when we tried this game, and there was a time or two where she would walk away from a typical board game really upset because she would always lose. A 9 year old just doesn’t have the same strategic ability as an adult. This way, she can still actively play a game, but it’s the family against the game so either we all win or we all lose. We loved it!
Pandemic – Cooperative, strategy game
After loving the cooperative style of Lord of the Rings, we searched on Board Game Geek for more cooperative games. Pandemic is one of the highest rated games in this category, and it’s easy to see why. It seems to be the measuring stick for other games in reviews, so that speaks highly also. Again, it’s you against the board, trying to save the world. About half the time we lose, but the end of the game gets so intense, it’s still a lot of fun!
We use Pandemic to introduce people to our board game collection, and it almost always goes over very well. It can take a little while to understand, but once you get going, it’s really fun!
7 Wonders – Resource management strategy game
This is one of my favorite games! You build your city, army, and wonders to earn the most points to win the game. There are many layers to this game, and it’s fairly easy to learn. It’s on the shorter side, about 30-45 minutes. One really fun thing with this game is that if you fall behind, you can still catch up in the last round, making it interesting up to the end.
We have a small collection of games at home now, but these are my favorites, and ones I would suggest to get started if you’re looking to try some more complex games.
What games do you like to play with your teen? What’s their favorite game?
|Shannen homeschools her teen daughter, focusing on earning college credit while in high school, and is getting ready to start the homeschool cycle again with two little ones. You can find her blogging about how they homeschool high school and everything that goes along with it, plus meet up with her on Google +, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.|
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Some that we love are Ticket to Ride, Carcassone, Dominion and Settlers of Catan. All good starter games but with all sorts of expansions for the keen and eager. My military minded sons (and husband too) enjoy Memoir 44. My daughter enjoyed Jenseits von Theben /Thebes – especially when she was on her ancient history/archaeology kick.
Shannen Espelien says
I’ve been eyeing Settlers of Catan for a while, especially since they have a Jr. version, so my littles could join us when the time comes. Dominion is super fun, too! Thanks for the suggestions, some of them are new!
Our family is crazy about board games! Try Forbidden Island (or Dessert), Rampage, King of Tokyo, Escape, Survive, Lords of Waterdeep, Tsuro, Galaxy Trucker and so many more! There are tons of awesome board games out there… way to tell the world that there’s more to life than “Sorry!”
…um, Desert, not Dessert. That sounds just depressing.
Angie Kauffman says
LOL – That made me burst out laughing. 🙂