5 Tips to Enjoy Games with Young Families


I have lovely memories of playing games with my family growing up. And having found the hobby of modern board games, I love creating new memories with my own family.

Here are 5 tips to enjoy board games for a family of young children.

  1. Look for the Right Publishers. There are oodles of great games, especially for young children. They employ simple rules, chunky often wooden pieces, and include lots of dexterous games. Haba, Peaceable Kingdom, and Blue Orange are fantastic companies with extensive options.
  2. Learn to Cooperate. I love to quote a favorite rule book, “If you’ve had fun, well then you’ve won.” Co-op games inherently instill a family-friendly atmosphere. Working together as a team can be a great way to enjoy time together without feeling competitive. 
  3. Find Some Luck-Based. When playing with kids, it’s not even footing. Sure, you could give the adult a handicap, or let the kids win. But even better is a game that helps to even it out. Some great kid games include skill and luck to make the experience balance no matter who’s at the table. 
  4. Make a House Rule. Have a game that doesn’t quite fit your family dynamic? See if there is a simple way to tweak the play still following the spirit of the original. Often with real-time games where speed is involved, an easy change can be to make it a puzzle or cooperative experience. The game is played the same, but instead of the first player, achievement is shared by all. 
  5. Search for My First or Jr Versions. With the growth of the board gaming hobby has come the advent of younger versions of popular titles. As a more light-weight gamer myself, I have come to love these simpler, quicker versions of hobby games. My First Carcassonne, Catan Jr, and Ticket to Ride First Journey are all excellent versions of meatier games. 

Visit your friendly local game store and pick some titles to share with your family (DMB tip: some places have a Library to try before you buy).

Although our family gaming experience is altered for the young, it is no less enjoyable.