Thursday, August 06, 2009

Kid Games 100: MIA Games (Just Missed The Cut)

There are a number of well-known/well-liked kid games that didn't find their way onto my Kid Games 100. Over a series of posts, I'll try to explain the logic of why I didn't include them - or, in some cases, actively excluded them. I used the top 100 games categorized on the Geek as the jumping off point for the fourth post in this series:

MIA Games: "Just Missed the Cut"

These are all games that I enjoy... but with the arbitrary "top 100" designation ended up not quite making the list. In a couple of cases, I hadn't had the opportunity to play with children before the list was made.

  • Animal Upon Animal - The combination of cute wooden animals & a very kid-friendly set of rules makes this stacking/dexterity game a real winner. Probably #101 on the Kid Games 100. (There are two new games in this series: The Duel for 2 players & a card game that involves stacking cards on a gator who looks like a refugee from the ballet in "Fantasia." I want to try both of them!)
  • Bounce-It-In - Supplanted on the Kid Games 100 by Hop Hop Hurray, this is still a very good game. We've esp. taken a liking to the "Bounce 21" rules, which is a weird cross of dexterity game & Blackjack.
  • Burg-Ritter (Castle Knights) - This is one of those wonderful games that you realize that could ONLY have come from Haba (or maybe Zoch) - it's a cooperative dexterity game involving big wooden pieces & a ponytail holder w/4 strings tied to it.
  • Battleground: Crossbows & Catapults - I've played with these over the years... and we just got a bunch of them this Christmas, thanks to Toys'R'Us putting them on clearance. (We're still looking for a Tower set, btw.) It's a lot of plastic shooting fun... though I think I still like Attacktix better, probably because it doesn't require so much set-up/tear-down time. (Again, I think the better game ended up on the Kid Games 100.)
  • Go Away Monster - This is BARELY a game... but for younger kids (3-5 years), it's one they will play over & over & over again. I wish it was more difficult to tell the good things & monsters apart in the bag - but the opportunity to throw a monster tile into the box & yell "Go away, Monster!" at the top of your lungs is an awfully strong selling point.
  • Hisss - Thick cardboard cards w/colorful snake art... the chance to build & claim snakes... learning color matching for the young ones... it's over quickly enough not to irritate the heck out of parents & older siblings...
  • Lord of the Rings (Kids) - My view of this one has softened over time... the first time I played it (with adults), I was underwhelmed. The theme is a bit off (why are the hobbits racing each other to Mt. Doom?) and it's basically a roll'n'move/spin'n'fight. But then I played it with kids and discovered that they have a great time facing off against the bad guys. And multiple plays helped me see the benefits of some careful odds calculations... not to mention the very nice bits. It's not going to set the world on fire, but it's still a popular game at my house.
  • Magic Dance (Hexentanz) - I just haven't played this enough to include it... I think it's a wonderful design (like I said elsewhere, it's got an abundant level of chaos due to 24 identical pieces & memory). I think it might crash with the wrong crowd - esp. gamers (it's an AP death trap waiting to happen) but it's a lot of fun with kids.
  • Monza - While I appreciate this fine little dice racing game for what it is (a great introduction to proper sequencing for young gamers), I don't think I like it as much as some other folks.
  • Piraten-Pitt (Pete the Pirate) - The same goes for the Kinderspiel winner, a bit-o-licious memory game with a good bit of potential hosage. It works very well with the intended age group (4-7 years) but doesn't have much staying power beyond that.
  • Pounce - I've been playing this game (or variations of it) since I was a kid. It's more of a pastime (though the Haba version adds some nice rules variations to turn it into a bit more of a game) and an excuse to slam stuff down really hard on the table. Warning: put a tablecloth on any table you don't want scratched; spectators should stand clear to avoid have a mouse imprint on their face.
  • Schloss Schlotterstein (Shiverstone Castle) - Once again, Haba makes a game with components so gorgeous it'll almost blind you: the box turns into the game with the addition of two dividing thick cardboard dividers & four wooden feet and the magnetic arm slides beneath the box while the cloth ghost (and a variety of other wooden debris) float around in the box. The only reason it didn't make the Kid Games 100 is that the dexterity required to play well is beyond most kids under the age of 7. (It is, however, great fun for younger kids to use for imaginative play.)
  • Zitternix - One more Haba entry... and this pick-up-sticks variant misses the Kid Games 100 because I haven't played it with kids. (With adults, it's LOTS of fun.)


Splinters said...

I was actually surprised that Go Away Monster! was left off. But I think I see why. You suggest that it's playable by 3-5 year-olds. But we've found it beloved by a child who was barely 2. Is there any other commercial game that plays better with a child so young?

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Good question, Jeff... I don't know of one.

MommyLydia said...

Go Away Monster! was our 2 year old's first game that he played with others. And he loved it!

Animal Upon Animal, Hiss... Orchard

Are there any games for the 2-4 year old range on your list? Guess I need to keep reading.

MommyLydia said...

Hrms... and going through your list. You at least do have a few for the younger set. Just ones that seem aged.. a tad older. But I'll be going through them

My just-Turned 3 year old loves games, puzzles, and all of that. So I'm sent scrambling to find what he can play.

(he wants to play Chutes and Ladders over and over despite that mommy has to count for him every turn -- we both hope he'll figure out how to do it for himself soon. His favorite part is sliding down the chutes and rising up the ladders though!)