We all want to enjoy our hobby with the little gamers in our lives, but finding the right games can sometimes be tricky. You want to play something accessible that new gamers can enjoy, but you also want to be teaching them something, laying the foundation for the future. At Kids Table Board Gaming, we strive to create games that are as much fun for you as they are to the kids playing them and we're not the only ones. Check out this list of games to enjoy on your next family game night.
When I first played this insect racing game, I wasn’t immediately blown away. It wasn’t until my nephew came for a visit and we pulled it out again that it really showed me its potential. At the start of the round, you are dealt two secret goal cards (or three in a two-player game). They inform you which bugs you want to get to the front of the line. You then alternate with the other players placing the bugs in order to complete the set-up for the game. Then in turn order, players use cards to move the bugs forward, or backward, or have them switch positions. You may be working with another player to accomplish the same goal, or they may be looking to send your bug to the back of the pack. It is a ton of fun to work your way through the 15 minute rounds and see how you scored. The simple rules, fast playtime, and super cute art make Minuscule a hit with gamers young and old!
In Foodfighters, you get to answer the age old questions: who would win in a battle between meats and vegetables? In this simple, head-to-head, tactical game, two players square off. Each one chooses one of the food groups and looks to eliminate three identical fighters from the other side. On a turn, they either roll dice to collect beans (the currency in the game), swap two of their fighters, or launch an attack. Each fighter is targeting one of their opponents and if they’re in range, they can fight them. If they get a Splat result, it’s a hit and that fighter is eliminated, but even a result of all beans is not too bad. They can use those to buy special items like spoon weapons and cracker shields. If you don’t feel like meats or veggies best represent your culinary personality, you can also use one of the expansions, like the PB & J, Salty, or Sweet factions.
Touted as the first ever legacy family game, Zombie Kidz Evolution changes and, well…evolves as you play it. Zombies are invading your school and no one is left to defend it, except you and your friends. The rules start off very simple, but as you play, you will be instructed to open different envelopes that are included in the game. These add new complications that will make saving the school and your brains a little bit more tricky. Legacy games have swept the hobby. They are a unique way to return to the same mechanics again and again. Zombie Kidz Evolution has a story arc that the whole family can enjoy. It is a great introduction to the style of game.
Sometimes the perfect game to play with kids is something that’s just stupid fun. Sticky Chameleons is nothing if not fun! A bunch of different coloured and shaped bug tokens are laid out on the table and each player is armed with a stretchy, sticky, tongue (think of those sticky hand toys you might’ve played with when you were a kid). A pair of dice are rolled, one depicting a colour and one a type of bug. Adding them together tells you exactly which bug you’re trying to snap up with your tongue. The race is on, and the first player to snag it gets the bug as a point (and a tasty meal).You have to be careful though. Sprinkled among the bugs are some stinging wasps. Make sure not to grab one of those while you’re looking for a meal. If you grab the depicted bug first, you get a Yummy token. The first one to capture five Yummy tokens wins the game.
Carcassonne is an excellent kids and family game. I like to think of it as competitive puzzling. Together, you are building the medieval city of Carcassonne. You draw a tile and add it to the growing board. Tiles have to line up, so roads go into roads, fields into fields, and castles into castles. When you add a tile, you can also add a follower (what you more likely know as a meeple). Depending on how and where you place them, they can be farmers, knights, monks, or thieves. Each of them has their own scoring conditions. It's pretty satisfying to build a huge castle, and even more satisfying to steal someone else's. Carcassonne is a great introduction to modern games, whether you're playing with kids, or introducing new people to the hobby.