This morning Elyssa and I will be making up new Pokemon decks. One of the things that I love to do is play games, and there are a few games that I've found particularly fun to play with my oldest daughter. Just a note of clarification, there has been a bit of paranoia amongst Christians over many of the games I enjoy (see a great example here, I love how easy it is to blame children's misbehaviour on anything but bad parenting!). But despite the fear inspired assumptions, pokemon are not demons! The names are most often reflections of what that monster is - pikachu (Peek at you), Mankey (monkey man), Doduo (Do Do bird with two heads), etc. Nor is the game a gateway drug to Magic (as if there is anything wrong with the game Magic in the first place, but for the record I've felt no urges to play Magic the Gathering before or after playing Pokemon). Ok, nuff said.
I sometimes chat with other parents who are interested in the games I play with my daughter, because they too want to find activities they can share. Here are some of our favourites:
Pokemon TCG - It is a really easy game, there is some reading but a deck has 60 cards and most of it is learning the meaning of symbols and numbers (stats). The deck is shuffled so it is a new game every time, and cards are available everywhere, including pre-made decks with all the counters you need to get started. (5 stars)
Harry Potter TCG - Too bad this one is out of print. It has a similar dynamic to Pokemon, but it requires a fair bit more reading. The play is simple, collect lessons, cast spells and summon animals (all the things that make the magic paranoid Christians cringe!) - just be the last wizard with cards left and you win! This was our first TCG (trading card game) so it has a soft spot in our hearts. (4.5 stars)
The Kids Next Door (TCG) - The other TCG we play. This one is pretty much the card game WAR with flair. The best part is the make it yourself cards. Kids like it, it is simple, but it will not have as much longevity with the parents. (2.5 stars)
Carcassonne - This is a great little tile placing game, not very hard and no reading for kids. My 5 year old joins us in this game. (4 stars)
Sword and Skull - This is one of my newer games, picked it up for fairly cheap at CanGames this year. I also mentioned it in this blog post. This is an easy version of Talisman, and has a lot of similarities to Monopoly. There is a lot of reading for kids, but Elyssa is a voracious reader these days! You basically go around the board until you feel strong enough to take on the master pirate at the center, if you defeat him (or pay him off) then you win. (4 stars)
Roborally - A classic! I have the original with the pewter minis, and they've been painted by a pro (the guy on the left). Very little reading, basically you pre-programme your robot for five moves. You have to capture flags to win the game. As you play out those programmed moves bad stuff can happen! Lasers anyone? At CanGames there are always folks playing on custom (3D) Roborally boards. The game moves pretty fast, very enjoyable and better with more players. (5 stars)
Zombies - I know, this game is pretty grim. But if you don't use the cards, the game play is simply fantastic for kids. The zombies (you can get glow in the dark ones!) are silly and the goal is to escape with your life. This is a tile laying game with a twist. I've yet to play it with the cards, Richard introduced us to it at the cottage one year - we played with his daughters as well. No reading needed, but this game is not for everyone, but we like it. (4 stars)
Luxor - Ravensburger makes great games. This one is like a matching puzzle with an Egyptian theme. No reading and fun for the whole family. The best thing about this game is how awesome the game is made. (4 stars)
Of course we play normal games too: Sorry, Candyland, Bibleopoly (the game that is only really good with kids), Janga, etc. But those get boring pretty quick. I'm always up for new suggestions. Hope you get to enjoy some fun time with the little people in your life. I'm off to make my Pokemon deck!