Saturday, December 24, 2016

Growing a Gamer: Alternatives to Candyland

...or why Hisss doesn't drive me crazy.

So our daughter is almost 6 years old she has been enjoying boardgames for a couple years now and it looks to have taken seed as an activity for the next few years. I often get asked by fellow gamer parents what we did to encourage the hobby so I decided I would throw together some thought on the subject and a few games for the younglings.

The first step is be excited about any game they want to play, this means you are going to play Candyland(seriously, be excited about it) at some point if they show interest in board games because a relative will buy it or you will be roped into playing it at a ply date. Be happy and excited that your child is interested, you can try and steer choices later, if you aren't happy chances are the kid will pick up on it and after a few fails the interest will probably die off. Nothing kills the drive for gaming than seeing someone playing a game in a lackluster way, especially if it is a game you wanted to play(so again, be excited).

Second do not hesitate to make changes to early games, you can often make house rules that will make the games easier to understand for games that push the child a little above the age range. The one thing to make sure is that the child knows you are playing by a modified set to rules. This brings us to the first game I will discuss: Hisss

Now Hiss is a game where you draw a card and play it onto the matching color to build a snake. The snake must have at least 3 pieces consisting of 1 head, 1 tail and at least one body section. The large the snake the more points it is worth. Now like most kids early game help them learn to take turns, teach something basic and teaches them sportsmanship. Now I decided to make the game a cooperative game at first, the goal was changed from scoring the more points than the opponent to completing all the snakes. This means we could talk through the turns and help each other make the decision and it made learning to lose easier since we lost together. We would try to make bigger snakes to beat our high score the next time we played the game so the goal was also a shifting number. This went on until I felt she knew the game and then I asked if she would like to try playing the game a different way and we used the standard rules. We still play by the modified rules every now and then but it is often the standard rules that are used these days.

So now when she suggests Candyland I will suggest Hisss, but if she insists I am happy to play a game of whatever she wants. Next time on Growing a Gamer: Alternatives to Tic Tac Toe

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