Gaming with Kids


A friend at work taught me how to play Backgammon about 10 years ago. We played daily for a while, but have dropped off to only playing once every month or two now. I have yet to beat him.


Not to hijack the thread but one of the games I wish for on iOS is backgammon with a decent AI


I’ve been looking for a decent backgammon game to play and never found one that I liked. I haven’t looked for a few years, so maybe there’s one out there now. I don’t really care how good the AI is, I’ll lose to it regardless.


If / when you find it, let me know…


So I gave my 6 year old “My Little Scythe” for Xmas and have so far played 2 games with her and 4 year old twins.

Almost zero strategy, but they live the idea of competing objectives for Trophies. Relatively quick game too (unless I am doing it wrong), but mostly I Seek resources into the kid that is next to win :slight_smile:

Anyways, sweet game. That and Art of War (present for all of them) went well on early Xmas


Oh and also have the Switch with Kart and Smash Bros. Kart is excellent with the “font fall off edges thing”. And now the kids play Smash Bros when the Switch is off… but fighting each other :smiley:


So I had bought Tales of Equestria book and the starter set (probably not worth the money as I did not need the dice, but wanted the adventure screen, the extra adventure, and figured having the printed character sheets would be nice for the first time my wife and daughter tried an RPG).

Today we started the first adventure in the main book, the pet one. They are in the market square, Fluttershy gets there, asks if they can help pet sit and my 6yo is all “no, watch your own pets!” And that was what our session was like. But she started to get the hang of it.


I seriously need this!


Five year old started with Disney Monopoly Junior the other day after getting it for Christmas and it was a hit. Trying to make Saturday game night a thing so when they get older it still sticks around.


Has anyone played Bakugan?

I’m kind of a sucker for toy gimmicks and this game seems to fit right in that category. I have no idea how good of a game it is, but rolling little spring-loaded marbles that spring open into monsters sounds fun.


I was just stuck at home in the freezing cold for three days with a 4 and 6 year old, so if I sound a bit insane, that’s why…

While holed up, I put Minecraft, Portal Knights, and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 on my sons’s iPad. He can read very well, but it was really cool to see him learn to navigate the games and build things. I put all in creative/sandbox mode and let him build away. I like watching my kids be creative and the games went over pretty well. He will get more out of the game when he gets a bit older and can understand the intricacies better, but it worked to keep him from getting too
stir crazy.


I got Portal Knight for my son but he just never got into it. I thought it looked good what I saw of it.


I have finally introduced my five and a half year old to video games. Every weekend she gets twenty minutes of gaming time each day, but she doesn’t currently like playing directly much. I figured I would start her on some of the older stuff to keep it simple, and she has determined she doesn’t much like Mario or Kirby. Doink the Clown on WWF Raw for the SNES is another story. So the last few weekends we have split between that and a playthrough of Pokémon Red on the Super Game Boy. It’s slow going, and I occasionally boot it up during the week to help push through slogs like Mt. Moon. But she has enjoyed it well enough. We’ll see if it lasts.


This is just me opining because I had some “deeper” thoughts last night. Are games ruining our kids? I’m starting to wonder if they may be responsible for issues I’ve been having with my son. My thought, though, isn’t the the old argument that video games are bad, full stop, but that certain games are, not because of their content but because of their ease. Let me explain.

My son just turned 6. He’s always had a problem with losing. He’s always racing to be first to brush his teeth or finish dinner or anything like that, and if he’s not first, he gets really pouty. Even a year ago, he would actually turn all red and start to cry in the middle of a game if he knew he was going to ultimately lose. I had to box up my Anki Overdrive (basically app-enabled slot cara) because of the drama that came about mid-race if he didn’t think he was going to win. I can’t stand the attitude and it carries over into all media. With board games, for example, if he loses he will be pouty and say he didn’t have fun. He will then insist on playing on my team the next game, on the assumption that he will be part of the winning team. I try to stress that we play for fun and while we try our hardest, there is nothing wrong with losing. The lessons don’t seem to sink in.

I let him play Worms WMD yesterday and he was having an absolute blast lobbing holy hand grenades and calling in air strikes. He won the first couple missions, at which point I finished my coffe and went to clean up. A few minutes later he came up to me a bit red-faced and said the game was impossible and that he had turned it off. Yet another failure to handle losing. But thinking about it - and here is my original point - so many kids’ games don’t emphasize failure any more. He loves the LEGO games, and those game are completely fail-free. Games used to be all about teetering in the edge of failure. You don’t beat PAC-Man; you play until you lose. You don’t beat Tetris; you play until you lose. I remember when I first got an NES as a kid and ran tiny Mario straight into a Goomba and died. I died thousands of times. I remember learning patterns, developing dexterity, failing repeatedly, and trying again. I remember games I never could beat like Zelda II; I remember games I could only beat with codes like Contra; I remember buying Nintendo Power for tips and even calling the Nintendo Power hotline. I learned through failing and using actual effort to either get better to the point of succes or knowing when I’ve met my match.

The LEGO games are great! They are creative and chock-full of fan service. I have nothing against any of that. But they are also the everybody-gets-a-participation-trophy games of the video game world. And I use them as the example that comes readily to mind, but there are many kid-centric games that work in a similar, failure-free way. I think my son needs to suffer through some games. There are plenty of games out there with good challenge, but they are mostly more adult-oriented games. I think today I am going to go get the new Mario Bros. Switch game and limit his video games to that for a while.

Sorry for the wall of text, but as a parent I am always analyzing - perhaps over-analyzing - what is good for my kids, what makes them tick, and how they are developing.


I think you’re really onto something. I still have trouble with this stuff with my 11 year olds, unfortunately. And I know it’s not just my kids–I see this issue in plenty of the other boys I coach who can’t handle losing. They think fun = winning. Games that don’t let them do that easily “aren’t fun,” and they get put aside for something else.

Part of the issue, too, is the availability of easy games, especially on mobile. My kids don’t spend as much time on their consoles because they’ve got 100 free games on their iPads that they can beat without blinking. I played the heck out of every Nintendo cartridge I got because my only other choices were older Nintendo games I’d already played obsessively.

I really like the idea of making them suffer through some games. Gonna try that in my house and see how it goes.


A friend of mine had an awful time when he realized that his gaming interests had contributed to his son’s mental health issues. I think it’s excellent to face up to that heartbreaking possibility, but I don’t see modern games as quite as fail-free as to explain this phenomenon. My son’s favorite games are Super Smash Bros and Zelda, both of which feature losing and/or dying, and he still gets emotional about losing sometimes. One of our great gaming breakthroughs came when he discovered that he liked playing Splendor and Tokaido (both games in which he figured out that his preferred strategy wasn’t necessarily optimal) even when he lost.

So, while I think that IAP-engine games trade on and cultivate inability to deal with losing, I think there are lots of games for kids which aren’t that way and we should look for other causes. I suspect part of the issue has to do with simply reduced family size-if the average kid has one sibling rather than two, they’ll win more often. If kids are more likely to play with peers in scheduled play dates than by wandering out and collecting the neighborhood, their play groups will be smaller and, again, they’ll lose single-winner games more. I also suspect that cooperation is regarded as more valuable than it used to be, so more activities emphasize it rather than competition.

My current struggle with gaming is helping my son see the whole board. We played a few games of chess recently, and he tends to quickly settle on a piece and choose a good move for that piece. I think, if I can get him to recognize when he drops down into that hyper-local focus and learn to pop back up again and check out the broader context, that will be very valuable for him.


I have an only child, and she goes to an afterschool program until 6pm every day. Because of 4 activities on the weekend (art, piano, swim and hip hop classes) she often does not get many play dates either.

So her video game playing is with me. I am the competition. We historically have mostly played Mario Karts and Let’s Dance. I win. While I went through a short phase of trying to hold back and see if I could let her win, I stopped. Most of the time I win. Instead, especially with Mario Karts, we focus on her final placing and talk about progress. A year ago she averaged 8th place finish. Now she averages 5th place finish.

A balance is for us to play team Mario Kart, so she can be on the winning team, but still know her actual place in the race and focus on practicing.

Recently we have added a new game, Let’s Go Eevee. As the game progresses it is harder for her to catch Pokemon. But before she can ask for help, she has to try.

But in reading all of your experiences, I also wonder how much of a difference there is between boys and girls.


Interesting question. My 4 year old girl doesn’t seem to mind losing as much, but she also doesn’t play games often. She likes to color.


This could partly be an age thing. Most of the board games we got for birthdays and Christmas last year were co-op because of the tantrums along the lines of, “I LOSE! I’m a LOSER!!!” for competitive ones. The good news is that playing co-op lets me be a model when we all lose together. This is no big deal. We can try again next game. It’s started working with my 8-year-old, such that the tantrums don’t come unless he’s tired/already in a bad mood. In other words, it can get better.

…My 4-year-old on the hand, will get discouraged if a dice-roll doesn’t go his way.

For the curious, we picked up Outfoxed, Cauldron Quest, Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters, and One Deck Dungeon.


I have three kids, close in age (6/5/5). I am no longer allowed to play smash bros with them as I win too much. My boy is super competitive and gets upset losing but plays hard. My youngest girl hardly cares and enjoys the jumping and the colours. My eldest girl is happy if she wins a couple and I think my boy lets her win sometimes so she will keep playing.

Max 30 mins/ day, only when I am home (which is weekends).