An Open Letter to Our International Backers

Earlier this week we sent out an open letter to our international Kickstarter backers. We are sharing this message here:

Each game we make takes an incredible amount of time to design, play test, and publish. The idea may come from one person, or from a group of people, but even a game that is made by a single person cannot become a reality without the support of a lot of people who believe in it.

Addictive Alchemy is no exception. Dave designed the game as a challenge to himself, to make a game using only cards, and no other pieces. His local gaming community quickly jumped on board and from there support starting coming in from no less than three continents. All of this was before it was even put on Kickstarter.

You’ve been a big part of this support from around the world. Even though Addictive Alchemy is one game, you’ve shown us something that we see every day in this world, something that is important to remember: we are better when we work together, when we support common goals, dreams, and ideas.

Things that get in the way, like building walls, creating intolerance or misunderstandings can only hurt us. We want to say to you, our international backers, and to the international community, that we don’t believe in separation, inequity, or regression. We believe in building a world that connects people who support each other.

As a token of this, VectoriaDesigns and Team Alchemy have worked together again to create a new card. We won’t pretend the message is subtle. We want to be clear when we say this: we stand together. The art, the symbol for the green potions, and the effects of the card all reflect that message.

If you backed Addictive Alchemy as an international backer, or pre-ordered it from an address outside of the US, we will mail you this card.

A “print and play” version of the card will be made available for everyone from our website, or from the Addictive Alchemy page on Board Game Geek once we finalize it.

Please keep an eye out for it in the coming months.

We hope you find strength and support in our message.

Thank you,

Team Alchemy & VectoriaDesigns

Joachim Brackx, Tinne Diels, Jenn Lee, Jason Stone, Mir Mohammad, Joel Valencia, Elizabeth Gulsby, and David Lupo.

You can see the original post here:

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1669854788/addictive-alchemy/posts/1801122

They Want To Like Your Game

It’s important to note that this isn’t an article about what to do when someone doesn’t like your game. It’s an article about getting honest feedback no matter what they think of your game.

I’ve talked a few times about play testers and the experience they bring to game design. However, I’ve only danced around one of the most important concepts in working with your testers. That is, for the most part, they really want to like your game. This is something that is true in film and stage. Anytime a person puts themselves out there for others the people receiving the performance, art, or medium, all things being equal, want to like it. It’s empathy. They know if they put that much of themselves out there that they’d want someone else to give them a fair shot, or maybe more than a fair shot.

That’s a good place to come from as makes it easier to get new people to test your games. However, it is very much a double edged sword because when it’s all said and done most people will have a hard time telling you the truth when the test is over. Let’s assume for a minute that they didn’t hate your game, odds are in favor they’ll like it more than that, so most people will honestly like or love your game. The problem is when you have people who would have liked it if something was a bit different, but they don’t want to bring the play test down with their honest feedback. They don’t want to “be that guy.” These are the play testers you need to watch for. I find it’s best to resist the urge for feedback mid game. It tends to hurt the flow, and can cause outcomes in the play style that would never happen in the wild. So you have to work from experience at spotting the people who are actively stuck on a point in the game’s design. Sometimes you will get it wrong. I know a few times I was certain someone wasn’t into one of my games, and at the end they couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved it. Still, with practice reading the body language of a gamer will tell you who needs coaching at getting honest feedback at the end of the play session more than not.

So once you’ve hit that point for feedback it’s still best to guide the players without leading them. Just because you think you know who will have more insights to share doesn’t mean you should push them to the front. Again, partly because you might have guessed wrong, and partly because that may make them shut up faster than anything. I find it’s best to give them open questions that make them feel safe. In the past I opened with “Did you have fun?” but that can put a person on edge if they didn’t have fun, or if they only had a little bit of fun. Instead, I assume the negative, and ask “what got in the way of the fun?” This tells them I’m OK with negative feedback, and I assume it will happen. Fortunately, the typical answer is “nothing.” However, sometimes that “nothing” is followed with a “but I’d like to see…” The best part is their thoughts are usually the kinds of things you need to know.

Having a great opener is nice, but you need to back it up with your body language, and follow up questions. You need to resist the urge to defend a point in the game’s design. It’s OK to clarify a design point, but remain open, and take their feedback into consideration. If they are the only person who has ever felt that way, then you’re probably OK. If they are the 3rd, 4th, or 5th person to mention it over time, it’s time to really take a close look at it. In general, it’s just a good idea to remove yourself from the equation, and be glad you have people who are putting your game through a gauntlet of testing.

It doesn’t matter if the game is balanced

Recently I’ve begun testing a new game that I’ve designed. The feedback has been so overwhelmingly positive that I’ve decided to fast track its production. That said, very early on its design I hit a rough spot with the scoring. You see each time I played it with four people one of those four would always make a comment like “I can’t win.” about half way through the game. This wasn’t always the case mind you, but the player honestly felt like they couldn’t win, so I would explain to them how they could win. As it turned out if they said that, then odds were in favor they weren’t going to win, but they still had a chance. At first this didn’t bother me a lot because the math said everything was balanced tightly, people still could come back from that position, and it was a short game running about 20 minutes. (The current version runs about 30 minutes.) However, as I continued to test it with people that comment seemed to pop up every single game. Eventually, I had to face facts 25% of my players weren’t having fun about half way through the game. It didn’t matter how much the math told them they were wrong, if they weren’t having fun, then the balance meant squat. I did eventually find an alternate scoring systems that did a good job of removing that feeling while making sure that the right amount of skill and luck determined the winner. I was able to keep the balance, and to be honest the game is a lot better for it.

As tough of a pill as it is to swallow, with game design, the final truth is what the players feel while they play the game is what truly matters. There are games that are fairly dull or uninspired, in my opinion, but if 90% of the people who play those games are having fun, then that’s all that matters right? I mean perception trumps game balance is the point I’ve been making this whole time, right? I mean I said as much in this article’s title.

Well, the article title is only telling half of the story. As I’ve said in previous posts when I play a game if the theme is awesome, but the rules are bad, then the game very obviously suffers. If the theme is boring, but the rules are good, then the game still suffers, but in a different way. If you can have an awesome theme, and awesome rules, then you cast the widest net possible, and maximize enjoyment. It’s why I design fusion games (games that use American type themes, and lighter Euro style mechanics), and why I prefer to play fusion games. Everyone at the table is likely to enjoy those games more than the games that are only American type or only Euro type.

In the same way, a game that isn’t balanced, but feels fun or balanced isn’t as strong as a game that is both balanced and fun. In the end you need both to make the best game possible.

Don’t Make Your Game Look Too Good!

Recently, I gave a talk at a panel during AndoCon 2014 on board game design. There were a lot of great questions during the panel, and some of them were on topics I’ve already covered previously on this website. There were also a few great questions, that I haven’t shared my thoughts and experiences on, so I thought I’d answer one of those today. The question asked of me was on prototyping. It ended up being a multipart question that covered a few key points. The first being what’s the best way to make your game look good during a prototype?

I love this question because I’ve approached this several ways in the past, and I see designers approach it in a number of ways as well. The best approach is to have your game look as good as it is done. What do I mean by that? Basically, if the game is new, and has barely been play tested, then it visually should look pretty rough, and be made from unimpressive components. In that way, if the game is nearly done, then it should have great visuals, and nice pieces to reflect its state of completeness. This may seem counter intuitive. Why not have a game look great early on? Honestly I see a decent number of developers have wonderful pieces, for early drafts of their games.

Let me tell you a quick story. When I first got back into game design I decided to share a game I had designed with a local gaming circle. I decided I wanted to show them what I knew would become a great game, so I wrote the rules in great detail, created wonderful art, and even imported little glass vials and filled them with glitter to use as a game pieces. The game was gorgeous, and so the first time I took it to the board game store where I wanted to play test it all I had to do was open the box, and people flooded over to see my work. Let’s just say the game was nowhere near ready to have other people play. I in fact only took it to the store to buy deck protectors for it, and I wanted the cards with me to test. I was trying to keep the game a secret till I tested it a few times. I was talked into trying it the next day, and it went poorly. It didn’t go poorly for the reasons you might expect. Don’t get me wrong the game wasn’t ready, but that was only half of it. The real trouble was everyone could see the huge amount of effort I put into the project, and that made it really hard to get real feedback about the game. It wasn’t until a year later, and long after I scraped the project, that I finally found out details about what people thought.

Seeing that so many hours were lost making the game look good I decided I needed a way to get my ideas on the table faster. I also needed to get people’s expectations in line with the current state of the project. If the game was a rough draft, so were the visuals. With that in mind I eventually came up with my rapid prototype system. It started as an experiment. Get a bunch of cheap blank white cards on Amazon, grab a pen, and other bits, and see if I can design a game from idea to a finished playable game in under two hours. On my first try I had a game ready to play in just barely that time. It played, well, OK. It wasn’t great, but I had come up with an idea, and made a playable game in a very short amount of time. I later tried it again, and had a game ready in an hour, and it was honestly a better game. However, the goal wasn’t to make a good game, or a great game, but just prove that functional prototypes didn’t need to take countless hours.

Since that time most every game I work on uses some variation of the rapid prototyping system, and I found as a great side effect people give me more open and useful feedback. It also ironically seems to be that rapidly making games seems to improve their quality. Several of the games I’ve designed using this system barely change from their first draft to their final draft.

The real question people have for me is what is the rapid prototyping system? And that is a great question. I meant to answer it during the panel, but we moved onto another topic, so I’ll answer that in next post.

Where is the Pig?

Recently I decided to reboot a game I was play testing. It was actually a pretty well received game, but as I’ve said before you have to make a game you like. I decided this game was a bit too euro for my tastes, and the theme begged to be more lightweight than the mechanics allowed. A lot of my play testers were shocked when I dropped the old design, but I stand behind my conviction about the game you design having to really appeal to you.

I say this because the new game, with zero rules in common with the old, does share the same theme and story as the old one. It also uses some mechanics I’ve been dying to put into a game for some time now, so I’m really pleased with the design. The tricky thing is I purposely left the mechanics a bit on the spartan side. I’ll talk about this more in a future article, but generally speaking I prefer to design a game with fewer mechanics up front, and make it “deeper” as I play test. With this game I knew I’d likely need to add something to help push the story of the game along, but the mechanics were so unique I just wanted to confirm the game had potential before fleshing out the rest.

Meanwhile, I’m talking with a friend of mine who hasn’t done a design, yet, but he likes to muse about game designs that would appeal to him. In his game each player controlled a team of goblins piloting a steam powered mech, badly, trying to beat each other up. He spelled out a decent overview of the rules, and mechanics without going too deep for a pitch to me in an email. His final sentence in the pitch was “and if a goblin team can get the pig into the other player’s goal they win.” At no point previously did he even mention the pig. He didn’t have to. I instantly knew what he was going for, and I realized something. My game needs a pig.

As an homage to the idea I even named the mechanic in my new game “the pig.” Ultimately, I dropped that mechanic, but I was still worked to find the right pig. That is to say every game needs a pig, not just any pig, but the pig that will make it stand out, and move the story of the game forward, create that unique decision, or take the whole experience to a new level. It doesn’t have to be the most creative pig, but it’s nice when it is, but it does have to be elegant, and promote one of those core ideals of game design.

Just in case I’m not being clear about what “the pig” might be I’ll list a few well known recent games, and their pigs.

Mice and Mystics – The Cheese Wheel.
Finca – The windmill.
Forbidden Island – Water rises cards.
Dominion – Deck building.
Shogun – The dice tower. (It’s not a cube tower. It’s actually the battle tower.)
Prophecies: In the Shadow of the Titan – Tribute dice.

Of course not every game has an easily described pig. Look at Sentinels of the Multiverse. It’s an incredible game loved by gamers of all types, but I personally am at a lose to describe its pig.

Still, just because it may be tricky to describe a pig doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put one in your game. It’s critical to have a pig. So the next time you’re designing a game, playing a game, or play testing a game ask yourself “Where’s the pig?”

The 3 Laws of Games

Did you know there are laws of library science? No they are not

  • A librarian may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A librarian must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A librarian must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Although, one would hope that a Librarian would follow at least the first and last one.

There are actually 5 laws of library science, which I guess it means they are more complex, or less elegant than the laws that govern A.I. Today I’m going to only talk about 3 of those laws:

  • Books are for use.
  • Every reader his [or her] book.
  • Every book its reader.

The truth is I love to quote these three laws in the context of games. Largely because I’ve seen this scene way too often:
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The first time this game has hit the table!

OK, I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s a terrible secret. I’ve been lying to you. Well, I’ve been lying to you if you’re one of my play testers.

So yeah, maybe if you’re one of my play testers you should look away now.

When I say “this is the first time the game has hit the table.” I’m just being dishonest. (I got tired of the word lying.) The truth is, as many game designers will tell you, the game has hit the table plenty of times before you’ve ever seen it, or possibly even heard of it. The process I’m about to describe isn’t a revolution in design, and each designer will have his own spin on it, but it’s a critical step in the game design process, and one that I’ve seen some designer skip.

I can’t stress this enough. Do not skip these steps, or the steps like them when designing a game.

The first step is to play the game in your head before you even finish writing your initial notes about it. Walk through the rules in your head, as best you can, and play out a turn from top to bottom. Focus on each detail of the process, and what the player will be doing on his turn. Imagine the mechanics at first, and then later when you run things through your head, after you’ve written down the rules, imagine his experience. Is he making a choice that is interesting? Or is the game just sort of playing itself? Are there steps that are slowing him down, getting in the way, confusing to describe? Find those weak points in the player’s experience, tweak the rules, and replay them in your head again.

That first step hasn’t made me dishonest just yet. The game doesn’t even have pieces at this stage.

At some point after you’ve done this you’re on to actually prototyping some pieces. My advice is to have as few pieces made as needed to play a quick version of the game. There are tons of guides out there on prototyping, and I’ll talk about it more in greater detail in later articles. The thing to remember now is make the prototype as quickly as you can justify making it. Cut all corners you can cut while still making a playable prototype. That is to say if you can play a sample round or two with 20 cards, don’t make 50. You might find that the game needs heavy tweaking after you test it, and you’ve just wasted a lot of time, and energy if you made more than you need.

Once you have the prototype ready setup the game where you are the only player. This means you are taking on the function of player 1, player 2, and maybe 3 and 4 depending on the game’s requirements. Now start playing rounds of the game. This is easier said than done depending on the game’s nature, and mechanics. A hidden Identity game will be very tricky to test in this way, but with a bit of effort you can still get a sense of play by yourself. Meanwhile with a game like Addictive Alchemy it’s really easy to test all of the roles as one person. You can’t account for individual behavior by yourself, but you can see a lot. Whatever the game type is test as much of it as you can by yourself with actual pieces before putting in front of other people. Like I said before I’ve seen designers bring games to people, and they haven’t tested things, and it’s rarely pretty.

OK, that was it. That’s how I’ve been lying to you. I have a good reason though. I don’t want you to suffer with a game that might not even work right from the first round. I need it to be something that has a chance of functioning correctly when I’ve asked you to give your time to test it. I need it to be something that won’t waste either of our time.

So the next time I tell you this lie, just look the other way, and pretend like you don’t know, because really it’s the first time that it has hit the table and mattered.

Cooperative games that others can’t play for you

I love cooperative games. It’s just a lot of fun to work together with your friends, and see if you can beat the board game. You either all win together, or you all lose together. Usually when you lose it’s dramatic, and you still had a great time. In concept it’s the perfect game for someone like myself, and everyone I game with tends to love them as well. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few people who don’t like co-op games.

One thing I try to do with most people I game with is find out what kind of games they enjoy, and why. I think it’s a great way to help build community, and to make sure that people are pairing into groups that will help everyone get the most out of their time at the table. So when I hear someone say “I don’t like co-op games.” It really catches my attention, and I endeavour to find out why. Time, and time again I hear the same complaint from those people. I can’t blame them because it’s a pretty common, and big flaw that pops up in a lot of co-op games.

Let me tell you a story. This involves one of my favorite co-op games, actually one of my favorite games period. I sat down to play Flashpoint: Fire Rescue with a person who I sort of knew at a local game shop. I hadn’t played the game before, but he gave me a quick introduction, picked the Fire Chief, and started his turn. For those of you who haven’t played Flashpoint before the Fire Chief is best played when he gives up, most if not all, of his actions to move other players. I mention this key point because the gentleman I was playing with always used the minimum number of required actions to share each turn. In retrospect I can say, maybe he knew the rules, but not the strategy of the game, OK it’s a rough start, but moving on. After that he rolled his dice to “spread evil” (in this case fire.), and it was my turn. I moved my fireman around the board, did my thing, went to reach for the dice, and he grabbed them, rolled them, and I found that for the next half hour I was basically watching him play the game.

This is a too common experience in co-operative games, and it can be a real turn off if you get that one person at the table with a really strong personality because they’ll start playing for everyone else. Myself, I’ve learned to try to politely rein these people in, but in the process I have to be careful to not become them.

If this has been their experience, then it’s understandable why some people don’t enjoy co-ops.

The good news is I have a list, took me long enough to get to the list, that might just help you avoid these kinds of situations. Keep in mind the Fun ranking is my personal enjoyment level, and the Co-op ranking is how well the game does at stopping other players from running your turn.

10. Agents of SMERSH

Agents of SMERSH is a fun cold war James Bond style spy game that is almost a choose your own adventure book put into board game form. The goal of the game is to defeat the Bond like villain with your friends, while reading fun encounter descriptions from the novel length book that comes with the game. It’s challenging, but not too challenging, and it makes this list because even though a strong personality can try to drive for you, there are enough choices you make on your turn that they can’t interfere with that you’re still mostly safe from their influence.

Fun: B-
Co-op: C+
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Defending your game

At some point in the past, possibly recently (I’ll remain vague), I was sitting near a table of people play testing a game. I have no idea whose game it was, because I wasn’t looking at them, or even what game it was. Whoever these brave play testers were they had just finished the game. As is fairly common in play tests the designer was there to watch, or even play along with the others. It was fairly quiet, so I couldn’t help but overhear the feedback session. It was a lot like many feedback sessions I’ve heard.

Play tester 1: The game was too [something mumbled].
Game designer: Really? OK.
Play tester 2: Yeah, too [that thing again].
Game designer: Oh well, I don’t think [that thing] because [some reason].
Play tester 1: It really does need to be less [that thing].
Game designer: But when you look at [who cares], then it’s not really too [that thing].
Play tester 3: Can you do [some idea] to make it less [that thing]?
Game designer: [That thing] shouldn’t be a problem for people who play games.

First I want to say to Game designer. I hear you. Players just love to not get your game. I mean you’ve thought through every detail, did the math, and probably even did some trial runs in your head before you ever started building pieces. Not only that you’ve played it with other people who played the way you wanted them to. These play testers who have concerns are clearly missing the point. Let them know what they’re not seeing. Right?

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Games for adults that kids can play

Earlier in the week I mentioned that there are things that look like games, which tend to be for kids, that aren’t fun, even for kids, and especially not so for adults. Most parents buy these because they know that in theory boardgames are good for a child’s mind. They think “My child will develop important reasoning, math, risk assessment skills while having fun.” They’re right. If they have their kids play the right games.

One thing I learned a long time ago, having a million nieces, and nephews, is that people forget what it was like being a kid. As a result we sometimes forget to properly engage children. I know for myself if something was labeled as “for kids”, or even had the faintest hint of being intended for children I was not interested. (Excluding toys that featured cool robots. Even I couldn’t resist those.) I know not every child is the same as I was, but in general most kids jump at the chance to do what the adults are doing, and that can be frustrating at a game table. It’s great that they want to play Le Havre, but it’s not great trying to explain to them why they can’t.

I’ve got the solution for both sides of this. Games that will live up to the expectation of developing their reasoning, math, risk assessment, and not bore the pants off of the adults. Also, the young gamers will feel included, and have fun as they get ready to learn to play Power Grid. Some of you probably know these, but the hope is to add that extra hashtag in your mind #kidfriendy:

10. – Ican Gold

Ican Gold

I mention this first because if you stop reading now at least you are aware of this option. Ican Gold is a great little push your luck game that you can teach a 4 year old. That said, it’s fun. I mean for a game you can play with any kid at any age you as an adult will enjoy the game yourself. I’d say the only downside on this one is as an adult you’ll play it once, feel that it is good enough for the evening, and a child may want to play it more before moving on. Honestly, that’s a good problem to have.
Reasoning: 2/5
Math: 3/5
Risk Assessment: 5/5
Fun: 4/5

09. – Dice Town

Dice Town

Dice Town is an even better game for adults, which means that you have to raise the age level a bit. I’ve played the game with a 5 year old, so I know it can be done, but I suspect the first time she played it took a bit longer. This is a good one to coach your child with a bit before you play it with friends. The best part is the game has a fun theme that kids can get behind, and adults won’t mind.
Reasoning: 3/5
Math: 3/5
Risk Assessment: 4/5
Fun: 4/5

08. – Tsuro

Tsuro

Tsuro is a great game if you have a lot of kids playing. It’s fast, friendly aggressive, and doesn’t last too long. You can play this with really young kids as well. It’s not as engaging for adults, but it’s way better than the games I mentioned in the previous article. Also the game is quite beautiful. There is a new version of the game, with similar core rules, and that is more interesting for adults, and is likely still very kid friendly.
Reasoning: 2/5
Math: 1/5
Risk Assessment: 3/5
Fun: 3/5

07 – The aMAZEing Labyrinth

The aMAZEing Labyrinth

Confession. A 4 year old beat me in this game. Yeah, it was pretty bad. In my defense she had played it a lot, and it was my first game. Also, I underestimated a 4 year old. I mean come on, they are tiny! Anyway, I think that confession is enough to have any right minded parent interested in getting this game.
Reasoning: 3/5
Math: 1/5
Risk Assessment: 4/5
Fun: 3/5

06 – Can’t Stop

Can't Stop

This is a great game. It’s everything I shouldn’t like in a game. It’s the opposite of everything I like in games. However, Can’t Stop is a great game. By looking at it you assume Ameritrash. By looking at it you assume no story or cool theme. By looking at it you assume same play every time. And you know what! You’re right, you’re obviously right. I made that setup way too obvious, sorry. Anyway, this game is a great math/risk management game that is super super simple to learn. It doesn’t have the appeal of a game with lasers, and robots, but it’s fun enough you won’t care.
Reasoning: 3/5
Math: 3/5
Risk Assessment: 5/5
Fun: 4/5

05 – Dungeon Roll

Dungeon Roll

As far as themes go this game is one of the best on the list. I probably wouldn’t play it with anyone under 5 though. Again this game is great for adults, and cool enough for teens. It only plays up to 4, but it’s not super long, and has some reply because you can play a different character each time.
Reasoning: 3/5
Math: 2/5
Risk Assessment: 5/5
Fun: 5/5

04 – Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Escape: The Curse of the Temple

WARNING: You do not want to play this with a bunch of younger kids. It’s not that they can’t handle it, but they WILL get loud. You may want to teach them, and then stand back 5 feet. The great thing about this game is it’s super fun for everyone. The challenging part is it’s tricky to teach anyone. The reason is it’s a game that doesn’t have turns. Everyone is going at once, as fast as they can, and they are working together for a common goal. It’s great for teamwork, and good old fashioned chaotic fun. However, personalities do come out while playing this game, so keep an eye on them. My advice for playing escape is to play a super short introduction game, I do this with adults as well, where each person goes one turn at a time, till everyone has seen the core mechanics at least once. After that you can turn on the timer, and play for real.
Reasoning: 3/5
Math: 3/5
Risk Assessment: 4/5
Fun: 5/5

03 – For Sale

For Sale

This is a great little auction game that has two halves of play. The first half impacts the second half, and you never know who is winning till the end. It’s super easy to teach, incredible for early math skills, and a lot of simple fun. When I play it with kids I always have them try to find the animals on the cards. The simplicity may make you nervous that adults won’t enjoy it, but that just isn’t the case. It’s a great little game.
Reasoning: 4/5
Math: 5/5
Risk Assessment: 3/5
Fun: 4/5

02 – Get Bit!

Two words for you. Shark that eats swimming robots. OK, not two words at all, but still very cool. That’s the game. It looks like a kids game, but the young ones may beat the adults more than you’d expect. Super easy to learn, and no lack of fun for anyone.
Reasoning: 2/5
Math: 1/5
Risk Assessment: 3/5
Fun: 4/5

01 – Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Another great game where everyone plays on the same team. Flash Point is designed with families in mind. It has “family rules”, so young kids can play, and “advanced rules”, so adults can enjoy a challenge. I have played the advanced rules with a 4 year old, and she needed coaching, but that’s OK because the game does a great job showing you the action. She knew she wanted to put out fires, and she would point on the board and say “I want to put that one out.” and I would walk her through it. That was the advanced rules mind you. Of all of the games on this list I can’t recommend this one enough.
Reasoning: 5/5
Math: 1/5
Risk Assessment: 5/5
Fun: 5/5

I’ve counted down from 10, and I’ve found that there are so many more games I could have put on this list. For example, my own Monsters Made to Order plays great with children ages 12 and up. There just isn’t a shortage of great games adults and children can play together without having to buy the “classics” that sits on most department store shelves.

If you think of a good game to add to this list please let me know in the comments below.

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