Thematic, semi-cooperative gameplay, also known as “family”.

Dearest Shut Up And Sit Down important decision maker,

I love your site, I love your prose, and I’m rather a big fan of tabletop gaming. And I’d love to get involved, if you’ll let me…

I’ve been thinking about writing a series (maybe 3 or 4) articles on the challenges and rewards of playing board games with kids. Especially want to comment on games that the kids can enjoy, but still offer interesting decisions for adults, layered on top so everyone is having fun.

Written an introduction to one, if its something that would interest you. I plan to cover a range of games, including:

  • Kids Carcassonne, and Adult Carcassonne with a 5 year old.
  • Brief discussion of other kid versions such as Kids Catan.  
  • Pairs by Cheapass games
  • Beetles, by Mayfair Games
  • Survive: Escape from Atlantis
  • GUBS
  • Hero Kids, and a few other children aimed RPGs. As well as decidedly adult aimed such as Goblin Quest, All Outta Bubblegum, Millenial Appartment Hunters, DnD, etc.
  • Homemade Snakes and Ladders, Dominos, other “classic” – read, “notorious for not being much fun” – games and how they work rather well at the lower strategic level.
  • Tips on how to have fun with kids, even with the dreaded, dare-I-say-it roll and move games.

Below, I’ve written an example intro – please ignore the photo, I’d take some actually good pictures…

If you want more, I’d be happy to finish off the article before you commit. Please check out some more examples of my writing: Board Games round up July, (my personal blog) and

Thanks for reading, keep up the good work.


The problem with real life is that it doesn’t allow as much time to play board games as you feel it should. In my imaginary social life, my friends and I meet almost daily. We run through RPG campaigns, set up weekly board game nights and complete Pandemic Legacy within a month of buying it. It’s an existence filled with friendly competition and endless leisure time.

In my real life? In my real life, my RPG group, which aims to meet monthly, hasn’t met at all. For 6 months. My weekly board game group has met twice in the last two months. But only myself and one other person made it, out of the 8 “regulars”… Real life is busy. And filled with activities much less enjoyable than tabletop adventures.

So the result is a pile of board games that don’t get played enough. Probably some that haven’t been played at all. …and the expansions for those games. It’s frustrating.

In real life you often end up getting a few expansions too; these are commonly referred to as “children”. As you know, expansions can add a lot of extra gameplay, usually at the expense of a lot more complexity. Frankly, you often find yourself wondering if the base game was a little better, but once you’ve taken the wrapping off an expansion, you can’t really return it…

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having children – indeed, some of the things you need to do to get children can be almost as fun as board games. But having a family does eat into your free time somewhat, further limiting possible tabletop fun times.

DSC_0949There is a light in this tunnel. In fact, there comes a day, after the nappies are no longer a regular occurrence, when your child reaches around 4 years old, where things change. They start doing things like not projectile vomiting, and talking in vaguely intelligible sentences, and counting. It starts to dawn on you that these small, mostly annoying, creatures could in fact, be your excuse to your wife opportunity to play more board games…

So you broach it with your significant other. With an earnest I’m-a-good-Dad expression on your innocent face, you stammer out,

“Darling, I… I thought I’d get some educational games to teach our son useful skills”

And they look at you, features clouded with a familiar countenance of distrust. No words are needed, just an air of resignation that clearly communicates itself:

“Oh right. So you found yourself an airtight excuse to buy more board games…”.

In this series, I’m going to discuss the joys and pitfalls of introducing your children to the world of tabletop gaming, cards games and even RPG. I warn you, however, that I have absolutely no advice on how to keep your significant other happy. Buy them a board game, maybe?



















Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *