288 – Teaching Board Games – The Family Gamers Podcast


How do you get your kids (or grandparents) to play a board game? You have to teach them how to play the game first! We came up with 5 steps to teaching board games to young children.

But first, 288 fact – The Bagger 288 is the largest (tallest) land vehicle in the world. It’s huge!

What We’ve Been Playing

Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden
Ice Duo – starting to get a bit tired of it though.
Peek-a-Mouse – memory & observation game great for all skill levels
Juicy Fruits
Deep Sea Adventure
Tussie Mussie
Royal Visit

The Key: Theft at Cliffrock Villa screenshot

SNAP Review – Theft in Cliffrock Villa

Solve 3 cases with logical deduction – can you figure out all 3 thefts at once? Watch the video or read the transcript of our review.

Welcome new community members!


Teaching Board Games

“How do you get your kids to play games with you?”

Once you’ve got them interested, Well, you have to teach them the rules and how to play!

Have you seen the video of Mandy Patinkin and his wife trying to learn Wingspan?

We mostly address very young children in this podcast, but every age can struggle to learn.

1. Lead by example.

Play games solo (or with older kids/adults) and use it as a natural way to talk about what you’re doing.

dice from Mmm!

2. Put them on your “team”.

Play in teams or play cooperative games!

This allows younger players, with shorter attention spans, to drop in and out while you explain what you’re doing. (Mmm! is a great co-op that allows for players to drop-out without affecting anyone else.)

3. Look for the appropriate skills to make board games even POSSIBLE.

The more of these skills are already present, the easier it will be to teach a game:

Taking turns.

Following multi-step instructions. Can they only do one step at a time? Even very simple kids’ games usually require two-step instructions.

Looking ahead. Connecting “if I do this, then this other thing will/won’t happen” is part of what makes games fun!

Rolling dice gently. While there are tools to help this (dice towers, trays, cups), they still require some finesse. But this can be a hard skill even for adults in some circumstances!

Organizing / sorting. What goes together? What doesn’t?

Paying attention – this is a skill, an active role that gets better with practice! (And another one that adults can struggle with sometimes!)

4. Teaching is showing players where they should put their attention.

Use appropriate and consistent language.

Talk through how a turn works. State the high-level and mid-level goals.

Aside: Accommodate your child’s attention (or lack thereof).

Back off if necessary. If you push too hard, you may end up with a kid who thinks games are punishment rather than fun. Try finding a themed game they’ll be interested in and introduce it in a very low-pressure way.

5. Learn the game before you teach it.

Every gamer parent is guilty of opening up a brand new game and reading the rules for the first time, making the kids wait. This is a huge turn-off! Avoid it if possible.

Alternative: watch a how-to-play video with your kids (because kids love videos…)

To review:

Choose a game suited to players’ interests.
Evaluate whether they have the necessary skills to play this game.
Learn the game yourself.
Organize your thoughts in a topical way or a turn-order way to help them understand.

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