Buccaneer Bones (3 plays): This is a very light but quite enjoyable dice game with some decision-making (though not too much). It has gone over very well with the non-gamer part of my family… which I think is really the intended audience. (And I just received the expansion set in the mail, which will let it play with up to 8 players... another plus for family/social gaming.)
The game system is a deckbuilder in the lineage of Ascension - but simpler and much more accessible to folks who aren't hardcore gamers.
But when Son the Younger (Collin) began expressing interest in trading card games, I quickly worked to side-step him into the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game. I had two reasons:
- the theme (Lord of the Rings) is much more Mom-acceptable than Magic: The Gathering
- the LCG model doesn't feed the whole Poke-crack "buy a pack, open it, sell useless cards to subsidize the next pack" cycle.
So, a few weeks ago Collin received the base set - and it's been a hit with both he and his older brother. He hasn't done much with the deck-building aspect yet, but he's enjoying the structure of the game and has "big plans" for building a Spirit deck.
I've played one game (with Collin giving me advice) of the most basic scenario - and it's a really great solitaire/cooperative system. I don't know that I'll ever get into the deck-building side of the game, but with Collin in place to build me a deck, I'm good to go.
Relic Runners (3 plays, review copy provided): Another beautiful-to-look-at production from the good folks at Days of Wonder... and another family-friendly game that won't cause gamer types to run screaming from the room. I enjoyed it with 2, 3 and 4 players - the puzzle-y aspect is interesting but not overwhelming. Comparisons to Ticket to Ride are unfair, unless you're talking about relative difficulty... the route-planning issues are very different here.