Two games for children.
Munchkin Treasure Hunt is a dead simple board game based on SJGames’s beer’n’pretzels Munchkin card game (which I’ve only played once). It involves some simple arithmetic and very little long-range planning. Its art is charming, though kids won’t pay too much attention to it after they start thinking abstractly about points. (It’s ‘fluff.’) My son, age five, quite likes the game — but for my wife and me it’s barely a game at all. Initial card distribution plays a big role in the eventual outcome, and there’s really no way for players to claw their way back once they fall behind. It takes a longish while to play — 30 minutes, maybe? It seems long.
It is, nonetheless, an ideal gateway to more complex but still kid-friendly games, like…
…Richard Garfield’s King of Tokyo, which is perfect for sub-Catan casual play and can be completed in 15-25 minutes no problem. Strategywise, my 5yo son is still figuring it out, but in a few months I think he’ll be able to come back to it and get something close to the full experience. My wife and I quite enjoy the game. It benefits from a larger group — with only three players, the titular ‘King of Tokyo’ mechanic doesn’t quite apply enough pressure. Interesting tactical choices, room for long-term strategy…man, I can’t say enough about this game.
I’ve heard that the more complex sequel, King of New York, is even better. I think we’re gonna grab that one for Christmas (we’re just borrowing Tokyo).