104 – The Family Gamers Podcast – Why Play Games?

Episode 104 - Why Play Games?

Why play games with your kids? No, really – why should you play games? We asked our community and a few other friends.

What We’ve Been Playing

Tokaido (in preparation for Super Saturday Board Game Serial episode 33)

Jetpack Joyride (on Kickstarter now – stay tuned for our snap review!)

Andrew “accidentally” bought Dice Forge on sale at Gamestop. We’ve played it as a family at least 3 times in the last few days. In Dice Forge, you draft die faces, which snap on and off your dice.

10 Days in the USA (currently out of print)

Takenoko is a classic for our family; we introduced it to a friend who beat us in his first game.

We tried Shaky Manor, a dexterity (box-shaking) game from Blue Orange. (It was one of the nominees for the Kinderspiel des Jahres – “children’s game prize” this year.) Watch us shake the table in our live play video.

Maki Stack – teams compete to stack wooden sushi. Either one member is blindfolded and other member(s) tell them how to stack, or the team works together in “chopsticks” mode, each player using just one finger. (Teams is better than the 2-player variant.)

Fruit Ninja: Combo Party (coming very soon from Lucky Duck Games) – a push-your-luck set collection game, with card drafting and an element of speed matching that adds some tension.

Asher finished A Kingdom for Keflings and has started branching out to try some other games.

Don’t forget to check out Dave’s review of Trash Pandas.


Peter Ellis had several comments on what we said in Episode 102, regarding Incan Gold, Machi Koro, Space Base, and Ethnos. He recommended the game Daddy Cool. Unfortunately, it looks like it is hard to get in the US – but our Canadian friends can get it from FoxMind).

Snap Review

Oh snap! We review Jetpack Joyride the board game, from Halfbrick Studios and Lucky Duck Games.

Why Play Games?

Because it’s fun!

We love to watch our kids start to put all the pieces together and start to truly understand strategy.

Since we already like games, we want our kids to like good board games.

Why not do something else together, like sports?

It’s difficult to do most organized activities with a large age range of kids. We also live in an area where most outdoor activities are difficult for 6 months out of the year. Many organized sports also get expensive.

There’s a game that can fit any mood or situation you’re in! We’ve talked about variety before. You can play games for larger groups, two players, or games that only take a few minutes (like most of our recommended restaurant games). Different themes will appeal to different people, of course.

You can go almost anywhere and find people to play board games with you!

Why not spend time together watching a movie?

Movies are passive, and take a certain amount of time. Playing a game requires you to engage socially.

Board games are inherently educational (as we’ve mentioned before) and teach skills that you won’t learn from a passive activity like movies or reading. Taking turns, deduction, and interpreting other people’s reactions are all skills involved in (most) games.

Playing games also helps kids learn to be a gracious winner and avoid being a sore loser. You won’t learn these playing online video games, because it’s too easy to tune out the other players. We talked about this a lot when we interviewed Max Davie.

Balance is important of course, and even board games could be overdone. But as long as they are still bringing your family together, we’d say they are a good thing.

What do other people say?

We also got awesome feedback from our community on why they play games with their kids:

  • stimulates the imagination (Untold is one of the favorites in our adult gaming group)
  • quality time (“family time to sit around and talk”) – games as social lubricant.
  • the looks on their faces when they’re having fun!
  • “I need more players in my group” – we are starting to experience this in our family!
  • “I think [my daughter is] a smart kid, and I’d like to think that part of that comes from playing boardgames with her from an early age.”
  • “Teaching … through games is unlike any other medium. To share wins, losses, stories, discoveries and passion is amazing.”
  • I have found gamers to be the most accepting of groups of people I have ever met. … I think if my little boy likes the hobby as much as I do he will make a lot of the right kind of friends.”
  • “I’ve a vague chance of winning? …scratch that. I usually lose then too.”

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The Family Gamers Podcast is sponsored by Wild East Games. Find Wild East Games online at WildEastGames.com, or @WildEastGames on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.