Gaming with Kids


Minecraft is fairly complicated and my 5-year-old doesn’t care much for it. It uses dual analog controls, which my son tends to struggle with. On top of that, there seems to be a lot of tiny text and some complicated menu/inventory system.

On iOS, there are two Toca games that are much simpler for building. One is a side scroller similar to Terraria, one is more 3D like Minecraft. I haven’t watched my son play them much so I can’t comment too much on how good they are, but they do seem simpler than Minecraft.

This is a great question, though, because my son adores building and I’m always looking for a game that will let him build freely. Unfortunately, too many of them are just a tad too advanced. On the PS4 I have Dragon Quest Builders and LEGO Worlds and both are a little too advanced. The LEGO game has been my biggest success but my son struggles a bit with the controls, which are more complicated than other LEGO games.


Ok, I might try one of the Toca games. My 5yo finds anything other than the simplest controls to be a challenge, and I just don’t want to introduce something to her that she wants to play, but will just frustrate her. Yet, I love the idea of creative building for her.


Does anyone play any sports games with their kids? Does anyone know if there are any with simple controls similar to the 2-button layouts of the past? My son is 5 and I think it would be fun to play sports games with him, probably on the same team. I know they have become complex over the years, though, so I don’t know which would be best. I assume hockey and/or soccer are the “simplest” in that they really just boil down to passing and shooting, but basketball might be up there as well. (American) football is still too complex, as is baseball. As a hockey fan, I’m currently leaning towards picking up NHL 18 sometime, pending any recommendations.


We need a Daley’s Thompson’s decathlon type game, with just button mashing to run the 100 metres or throw a javelin


My wife actually picked up Mario Tennis Aces so I didn’t get a chance to wait for any impressions. The game is actually meant to be played with buttons, but there is a “swing mode” that lets you play with motion controls. They don’t seem all that responsive and much of the complexities of the game are lost in swing mode. That said, there is a “large ball” option that is perfect for kids. My 3-year-old doesn’t seem to understand the game much but my 5-year-old is catching on nicely. I’m not going to rate the game because I haven’t given it much of a look myself, but watching my son hit fast forehands and backhand drop shots it pretty fun.


Just played Survive: Escape from Atlantis with my wife, my 5-, and my 3-year-old. We didn’t use the numbers on the explorers and we didn’t use the red actions. The kids both understood the game and thought he sharks and sea monsters were hilarious. I didn’t play as cutthroat as I could, but I did eat them a couple times. Our 3-year-old actually wind because my wife and I were more interested in killing each other and we took it pretty easy on her. The game was an enormous hit with the family, though this one comes with the caveat that it is really, really mean, so I would imagine quite a few kids wouldn’t like it.

Tonight we are playing Shadows in the Forest for my first time ever so I will come back with a report on that.


Shadows in the forest was interesting. You play the game in the dark, and the darker the better. It is basically a game of hide and seek where one person moves a lantern around a board and the other people move little shadowlings around, sticking to the shadows. If the light ever hits he shadowlings, they are frozen and can’t be unfrozen unless another shadowling moves into their hiding spot to unfreeze them. At first, the game seemed highly stacked for the shadowlings; they can move freely as long as they stick to the shadows and they win by all sharing one hiding spot. I honestly thought the game would be over in 1-2 turns. The light seems to be able to reach most parts of the board, though, so it was actually harder to move the shadowlings than I thought. My kids can’t wait to play tomorrow night and I’m looking forward to it as well. The game is certainly unique and game me some of the same vibes as the much more adult-oriented hidden movement games, but in a very kid-friendly package. There isn’t really any depth, here, but I was definitely starting to get a little nervous towards the end of my second game while I was trying to sneak one shadowlng around to unfreeze the other three.

The two caveats are that bumping the board can really ruin the game, and the game may be up to some subjective interpretations of what is “light” vs “shadow,” especially if the room you’re in isn’t dark enough.


I just received My Little Scythe, Scarabya, and have pre-ordered the Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters expansion. I’ll give reports on all as I play them.


I think my 5-year-old just legitimately beat me in Santorini. We were playin the basic game without role cards. I built a couple 3-levels, but always within range of his ability to cap them, but I didn’t throw the game in any way. Even though I kind of had him on his heels all game, we got blocked in to two corners and were limited in our moves. I was finally forced to make a move and build a tier-3 that he could then move on. I’m very proud of him but also (secretly) a bit ashamed that I lost to a small child :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:



Alrighty, getting a Switch for Xmas with family. Any suggestions on good 4 player games? Ordered Smash Bros already


Mario Kart 8!


That’s on the list!

Mario Party for switch?


I haven’t played Mario Party but it very well may be an excellent 4-player party-style game that shows off a bit what the Switch can do.

Overcooked and it’s sequel are really fun cooperative games. I personally have them on PS4 but wish I had the Switch versions instead. My kids really like the Kirby game, but keep in mind that it is very easy; more like a my-first-platformer.


Awesome, my kids are 6/4/4, so still very early into gaming.

Tempted to also go after my little scythe


The best thing about Kirby is that you can play as Kirby and do all the real work and they can tag along and make a lot of shiny stuff happen, but their successes and failures are pretty inconsequential.


Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters Creepy Cellar Expansion just beat the tar out of us. I think the base game is an absolute gem for kids and families and the expansion just adds a bunch more awesomeness, with a difficulty spike. We didn’t even use things like cursed treasure or door or draw cards, but the blue ghost king alone, who floats around the board increasing your ghost counting and making haunting more frequent, is a great addition to the game.


Good old Backgammon. Stone me for it not being a typical board game, BGG. 5 almost 6 year old knows enough to count and move her pieces to cover points, although the deeper strategy escapes her still. Still fun to watch her learn and think through the moves, despite wanting to move backwards more often than not.


I’ve been playing for years and the strategy still escapes me as well.


Are we still talking about Backgammon? :stuck_out_tongue:

I kid because I’m the same way…