Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 5 Games I Want To Play With My Kids

As a gamer dad, there is a long list of games that I love to play that I am looking forward to playing with my kids when they are old enough. Of course, there’s no telling for sure my kids will end up loving games as much as I do, but a dad can hope. So far my daughter seems to love games. Operation, Connect 4, Memory, Guess Who, and Candy Land are among her current favorites. I enjoy playing these games with her, but I also look forward to the day we can both enjoy games with a little complexity. Here’s my top 5.

1.Dungeons and Dragons
This one I might actually be able to do sometime soon. My daughter has a very active imagination and you can run a simple game of D&D where the players don’t have to worry all that much about the rules. I love roleplaying games and I hope that my daughter will love them as well. She loves making up stories and playing pretend so it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

2. Cards
A repeat from my top 5 cheap games to play. Card games are a family tradition for me. If my daughter grows up without knowing how to shuffle cards, how to take a trick, or what a trump card means then I will have been a failure as a father. I’m not sure what game to start her out on though. War is probably the easiest game to introduce a kid to cards, but it has the slight problem of being an awful game that’s incredibly boring. I didn’t even like it as kid. If anyone out there knows a great card game for a 5 year old that isn’t War, please let me know in the comments.

3. Cooperative Video Games
This one is almost entirely selfish. Games like Super Mario Bros Wii, Castle Crashers, or even teamed up Smash Bros against the computer are lot of fun. However, I rarely ever play video games when friends are over. I am hopeful, however, that if my daughter likes video games enough, I will have a partner in crime that I can play Co-op games with. I have fond memories of playing basketball with my dad and other sports. For my turn at parenting, I would like to pass on my love of video games and look back on memories of many a monster defeated together.

4. Settlers of Catan
Now those of you paying attention to both blogs may note that over at Growing Up Gamers, Katie, who is my daughters age, has already played and reviewed Settlers of Catan. I have not yet tried to play Settlers with my daughter, but from playing other games with her I do not think she has enough focus for it yet. Settlers of Catan is one of the few games I can consistently get my wife to play and I am looking forward to introducing it to my daughter soon. A game we can play as a family together (and not one that we just play for my daughter) would be a wonderful thing indeed.

5. Pokemon
The card game, the video games, you name it. I am excited that my daughter seems to be getting into Pokemon. I have never played a Pokemon game. It’s not something I would ever try on my own. However, I’ve always thought they were kinda cool. This is the game I am probably most excited to try with her when she’s ready. Right now she’s definitely into Pokemon. If that continues, it will be fun to try out games that are both new and exciting to my daughter and to me. Part of the fun of being a parent is being able to get goofy and excited about things you want to like but are clearly for kids. The idea of having little monsters as pets that you get to train to fight is awesome, but Pokemon has always been a little cutesy for me. Seeing the little monsters through my daughters eyes, I am excited to let myself act like a little kid again…if only for the length of a few games.

I hope you enjoyed the list. Please comment and share the games you are hoping to play with your kids or stories of games you’ve already played with your kids. Also, please check out Growing Up Gamers and their Top 5 list.

A comprehensive survey of two online blogs (mine and theirs) has revealed that D&D is the #1 game people hope to play with their children.


  1. Great post! Over at GUG, JT was discussing perhaps using Savage Worlds as a first rpg with his son, Theo. I kinda concur that it would be a good starter system.

  2. Easy card games that are more interesting than War that pop into my head are Crazy 8's, Rummy, Spite and Malice, King's Corner, and you could probably start off on trick taking games with a few rounds of something like Oh Hell if you don't have access to one of the published trick taking games like Frank's Zoo that are good starters for kids. Kids like to make up card games too, so you could just explian how to "take tricks" and then make up a game about it to practice, or explain "trump cards" and then invent (or let her) rules for a trumping game. The point of cards is just to play and have fun right?

    Also, playing Pokemon with my daughter was one of the most enjoyable experiences we have had gaming together. We each got our own copy of the latest DS release, I got heart Gold and she got Soul silver and we had loads of fun sitting cuddled up together playing the game, sharing our discoveries (look mom!), trading pokemon, giving "gifts", and sneding our pokemon to the pokewalkers and taking them out on walks around the neighborhood. I remmebr one night before bed Katie insisted we had to take them out for a quick walk before bed, and we walked around our neighborhood in the dark talking about all of our little pokemon and colecting steps with the pokewalkers. So awesome. I could write a whole blog post abotu it, and maybe I will. Point is, I highly recommend diving into them with Sabine, and enjoying the discovery, collection, and cuteness through the eyes of a little one... while letting yourself have some fun too!