We hear it over and over (and over and over). Parents that want to get their kids into their gaming hobby, or at least get them away from that blasted Fortnite! So here it is, our list of great games for kids of all ages.
We’ve sectioned off all of the “family” or “kid” versions of games, because we like to think that a lot of kids can play games that aren’t necessarily simplified for them. That being said, if you’ve got a favourite game that you dream of playing with your youngling when they grow up, a junior version can be a great way to indoctrinate them 🙂
- My First Stone Age
- Agricola Family Edition
- Ticket to Ride: First Journey
- My First Carcassonne
- Labyrinth Junior
Ages 7+, 2-4 players
Opposing sheep herds go head to fluffy head in a strategy game the whole family will love. The goal is to occupy the most pastures with your sheep. Each turn, players split a stack of their sheep and move a portion as far is it can go in a straight line to a new pasture. Watch out for sneaky sheep and plan your moves carefully to fence out your foe! A different playing board is assembled before every game, so Battle Sheep is full of new challenges every time you play!
Ages +12, 2 players
While not designed for kids, we’ve found the new franchise KeyForge has really struck a chord with kids. In KeyForge, players compete to be the first to forge 3 keys, which they do by collecting enough Æmber (the game’s currency). Each player plays from their own deck of cards that contains creatures, artifacts and actions. The reason kids (and the whole world) are loving this game is that each deck is standalone and unique. Decks never get mixed up and dealt out, your deck is your own to play with against other player’s individual decks. This means you can play the game with one deck forever, or you can get a few decks so you have some choice about which deck to play with each game.
If you’re a bit confused about how this all works, check out our post on what you need to get started playing KeyForge.
Ages 8+, 1-4 players
Labyrinth is a classic kids game. Players move around the shifting paths of the labyrinth in a race to collect various treasures. Whoever collects all of their treasures first and returns to their home space wins. Labyrinth is an excellent puzzle-solving game for children. Though simple at first glance, the game becomes more complex once kids start to learn the strategy involved in winning.
The great part of Labyrinth is that the maze is constantly changing. The game board has a set of tiles fixed solidly onto it; the remaining tiles that make up the labyrinth slide in and out of the rows created by the tiles that are locked in place. One tile always remains outside the labyrinth, and players take turns taking this extra tile and sliding it into a row of the labyrinth, moving all those tiles and pushing one out the other side of the board. This means the maze is constantly changing, blocking some paths while making new ones elsewhere.
Shadows in the Forest
Ages 8+, 2-8 players
Shadows in the Forest is a great game with a great concept. First of all, you play this game in the dark! Most players take the role of forest sprites that are trying to stay in the shadows, while one player controls a lantern that moves along the paths. As the lantern moves it casts shadows in the forest (hey, that’s the name of the game!). The sprites need to stay in the shadows to hide, while the lantern needs to try to catch the sprites in the light. This is a beautiful game with some true uniqueness.
Ages 6+, 2 or more players
Avocado Smash is a great game for kids, because it is basically Snap with extra rules that can be added or removed depending on the age of the children playing. Starting with the youngest player and moving clockwise, each player places the top card from their pile into a center pile. Like with Snap, players are looking out for instances when two of the same cards are put down on top of one another. But while turning over your card into the center pile, you must also count avocados aloud. The first player starts with ‘one avocado’, the next player ‘two avocados’ and so on. Once you reach 15 avocados, the count loops back to one again. If the number said aloud ever matches the number put down (i.e. saying ‘five avocados’ while putting down a 5 card) then everyone has to smash!
Bears vs Babies
Ages 10+, 2-5 players
What is going to appeal to teens more than the concept of piecing together monsters from an assortment of gross and weird components? Perfect for the teenage crowd, Bears vs Babies has players piecing together monster armies to wage war on an even weirder assortment of baby armies. From the creators of Exploding Kittens and You’ve Got Crabs.
Pickles to Penguins
Ages 6+, 2-6 players
Pickles to Penguins has players using their imaginations to come up with connections between random objects. Two cards are turned over and placed alongside the center deck. These are the cards which all players will play to. Players frantically place cards from their own deck on top of either card, but they must say out loud why their card matches the card in the center. For example: A train picture on a airplane picture “Modes of transport.” The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game. When played with younger players the connections can be more broad (they’re a similar shape or colour) and with older players they can be more specific (both modes of transport or both made of metal).
Standard version: Ages 8+, 2-5 players
In Sushi Go the goal is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Score points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi. Dip your favorite nigiri in wasabi to triple its value. But be sure to leave room for dessert or else you’ll eat into your score! A great introduction to card drafting games.
Rhino Hero: Super Battle
Ages 5+, 2-4 players
Rhino Hero: Super Battle is hands down one of our favourite games. Rhino Hero was a great game to begin with, but bringing in more players, more heroes, and more complex structures and balancing has really bumped it up a notch. Great for kids to work on their coordination and motor skills, and great for adults to just have a damn fun game to play. If Super Battle is a little old for your tiny ones, you can always try the original Rhino Hero 🙂
Flick ’em Up
Ages 8+, 2-10 players
Flick ’em Up is a dexterity game that has you flicking bullets back and forth in a western shoot out. The game does a great job at setting the scene, as you are fighting in a physical town made of cardboard buildings, hay bales and cactai.
As dawn breaks, you plant your spurs in the dirt outside the town bank. With a loaded gun in your holster, there’s only one question that needs answering: who are you fighting for? The Sheriff, who fights to protect all that’s good and pure? Or the Cooper Clan, who fights because it’s fun and profitable? They don’t call it the Wild West for nothing. Join the Sheriff or the outlaws and confront your rivals in 10 epic scenarios.