56 – The Family Gamers Podcast – Top 5 Games To Teach How To Play Games

We are all about teaching our kids (and others) to play games. But how do you teach skills that are integral to good game-playing: concepts like logical deduction, planning ahead, and making strategic choices? With games, of course! We highlight our top 5 games to teach game-playing skills.

Games we’ve been playing:

Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty’s Trail

Kingdomino (update: Kingdomino did win Spiel des Jahres this year!)


Sushi Go Party!


Catan Junior

Mall Madness Littlest Pet Shop Edition (ugh)

Cube Quest



More from the Klutz book – 3D tic-tac-toe, Mancala, an asymmetric game called Dalmatian Pirates and the Volga Bulgars (variation on the ancient Fox and Geese)

Lots of Dance Central 3 – we’ve created a dancing monster! Gangam Style, in particular, has been played so many times, we feel like we’ve gone back in time to 2012.

Andrew bought the DLC for Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Awesome: Hero’s Path Mode (highlights the map for where you’ve played) Less awesome: Trial of the Sword. 45 levels, with only your wits and whatever equipment you can find within the trial. So hard!

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Games To Teach Game Skills

Common elements in our favorite teaching games: Hidden information or poorly-hidden information. Little math. Simple strategy.

  1. Purrrlock Holmes Furriarty’s Trail: Semi-cooperative; give clues to each other’s secret information. Use this to teach logical/deductive reasoning.
  2. Castle Panic: Cooperative gameplay to defeat the monsters. Use this to model how to plan ahead.
  3. Battle Sheep: competitive, but with no hidden information. Can still talk through how to plan ahead.
  4. Press Here, The Game: semi-competitive pattern game. Teach pattern-recognition as well as planning ahead. A small element of strategy since there are usually several “good” spots to place your colored dot.
  5. Bärenpark (or Patchwork): competitive, but no direct interaction between players, and no hidden information. Teach planning ahead, both to fit pieces and to possibly block out other player(s) from resources.


Do you have a game that you prefer for teaching game skills? Tell us in the comments!

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