From traditional board games that date back nearly a century to the newest ones featuring popular culture icons, board games continue to hold their own against their electronic competition. Gathering around the table and hovering over a game board with a group of friends or family members still holds appeal for most kids, particularly because there is such a wide variety available for various ages.
Games that require no reading, or limited reading by parents, are good choices for preschoolers. Candy Land, manufactured by Hasbro, now played by third and fourth generations, has kids winding their way around a maze by matching colors. The two games Chutes and Ladders and Mouse Trap, also both from Hasbro, entertain kids while teaching them the basics about how board games work. Kids on Stage, developed by University Games, gets everyone involved in charade-type acting activities.
Grade School Possibilities
Kids in grade school go for games that are a somewhat challenging and require a combination of luck and skill to master. The object of Sequence for Kids (a Jax board game) is to be the first player to come up with a sequence of four chips in a row, both by adding your own chips and eliminating other players’ chips. The classic game of Sorry! and a similar game, Pop-O-Matic, both from Hasbro, have kids using logic and counting as they play. Younger grade school kids can begin by playing Monopoly Jr.; as they get older they can begin to master the traditional game of Monopoly. Both are from Hasbro.
Middle School Choices
Although middle school kids can master most board games, they respond particularly well to ones that are new to them and unlike those they played as young children. In Carcassonne (from Rio Grande Games), players use skill to lay tiles to develop areas around a city. The mystery of solving a different crime every time in Clue (Parker Brothers) is intriguing to middle school kids, particularly the Harry Potter edition. A trivia-type board game of the same name, based on the television series, “Glee,” is available from Cardinal Games.
Games for Teenagers
Teenagers who have long tired of playing Monopoly may take new interest in the game when they try the Anti-Monopoly Game, or the Monopoly Movie and TV Edition, or the Sports League Monopoly (all from Parker Brothers). Academic types, who are word lovers, can get into Scrabble (Hasbro), and the SAT for Dummies Board Game (BE Innovative Group), which takes a lighter look at studying for those college admission tests.
Although families may enjoy playing board games designed for any specific age group, playing some old favorites, such as Parchesi (from Milton Bradley and others), can become family traditions. For something new, families might like Ticket to Ride, from Days of Wonder, which has players vying to plan routes that allow them to visit the most cities in seven days. Blokus Classic Game from Mattel is a family strategy game that kids as young as 5 can play.