Little Gamers: 3 Board Games to Play with Kids

So as it is approaching my sister’s birthday, I found myself thinking about what should I write for the occasion. My sister is getting older now, even though for me she will always be little – even though now she can pick me up and beat the crap out of me if she wanted to…So, not so little then. Then I thought to myself, before she became an angsty teen – and before I moved to the UK – we used to play lots of board games together, cause she still thought back then that me and my parents were cool and was not ashamed of spending sometime with us. Sadly for her, she is a very sore loser, and had a tendency ever since she was tiny to get really annoyed if she didn’t win. However, there is a few that I remember she was very keen to play always; and I thought to myself, I haven’t really chatted about some cool board and card games to play with lil ones. So here we go.

Pickomino: now, this game for us is actually called Piko Piko, because for some bizarre reason, in Spain the German name of the board games just stick around. Piko Piko is a great game for everyone to be honest: we have played it in our big gaming sessions with my and my parents friends and it’s just fun. But it is even better to know that you can also play it with kids. I think the game recommends the children to be 8+ to play, but my sister played a bit earlier than that (with some assistance). The mechanic is very simple: you have some domino like pieces with numbers and drawings of worms on them. Depending on the amount of worms, the higher the scoring value, whilst the actual numeric value of the card is just what you require to roll to obtain it. You roll the dice and you can only keep those of a matching value (whichever you fancy), and then you keep on rolling until you run out of dice, you are bust, or you are happy that the amount you have rolled is sufficient for you to grab one of the tiles. It is, in essence, a very basic gambling, risk-taking game. All you really need to keep track of is what are you rolling and what number you are trying to obtain, the rest is just the availability of the pieces. At the end of the game, whoever has accumulated the highest number of worms, wins. Simple. And it plays to a substantial amount: 2-7 players.

Cuckoo Zoo: or Cocotaki (again, the German name…). Once again this is a very easy-going game. It is a bit like UNO. You have a deck of cards with animals and colours and you must play to suit the colour or animal, BUT unlike in UNO you MUST make the sound of said animal card, otherwise you mess up and take cards. The only time when you don’t make animal noises is with the red cards, unless you are playing a red cockerel in which case you very happily go and say “Cocotaki!”. And when you run out of cards; you win. Dead easy. Now for kids this is fun, cause how often do they get to see adults and others make funny noises such as “mmooo”, “oink oink” and the likes? The suggested age for the kids is 5+, which to many sounds outrageous, but it really isn’t, seriously. My sister was rocking it around that age – like I said, it isn’t complicated at all. And the amount of players that can join in is very generous: up to 10. So, children’s’ party? Birthday? You are essentially sorted.

The Dwarf King: (El Rey de los Enanos or Le Roi des Nains for those of you who don’t have the English version). This is something that you could technically play with a normal deck of cards: but this has Dwarves, Goblins and Knights, which is considerably more fun! So, you have cards and these little slabs. The slabs determine the special bonuses of the round. The cards are numbered as in your average poker set, as well as some special cards that have interesting abilities. You play 7 rounds, new slab on each round, and a special card. Then you play your hand in tricks, where the highest card wins the trick. When you all run out of cards, you count and tally your points and repeat for the next round. At the end of the 7 rounds, whoever has more points wins. The mechanics here a bit a more difficult perhaps, and the box does say this is for 10+ children. However, I guess it depends on the case. I was playing ordinary card games with a normal deck with my great grandparents at the age of 8, so just judge whether the kids would be able to follow the process. It is a bit more restrictive in terms of number of players, however: you need a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5.

In any case those three should be plenty to get you started and get the little ones hooked up on the magic of board games 😉

Hopefully they won’t get a salty as my lil monkey :p ( I love her, honest!).