Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gaming with the Infantry

The 3 year old infant, that is.

Fraser's taking a break this week so I have a bonus turn at the picspam blog.

We've just this week really started gaming with Otto, who turned 3 in March - and my goodness, was she ready for it!

The first game we dug out was Colour Clowns - you can read about our second session at BoardGameGeek. This is an old game, which is still available in very limited quantities, where each player has a mat with a picture of three colourful clowns. Players roll dice (one shows colour - purple/orange/green - and the other shows shapes - triangle/circle/square) to see which part of which clown they need to make - the hat (triangle), face (circle) or tummy (square). If you roll a purple circle, you need to make the purple clown's face (which is blue) purple - by placing a pink perspex circle on top of it. There's not much game there, and it gets bogged down at the end as people roll three or four purple circles in a row when what they need is a green triangle ... but for a three year old who is just learning about mixing colours, it is fantastic. It's still her first choice off the shelf, although these days she prefers to play with the shapes rather than bother with the dice:

Otto lining up the shapes

Otto dealing cards for I have...The second game we tried was "I have ..." - we picked this up for about $7.50 from our FLGS last Double Discount Day ... and I have to say, we overpaid. This is billed as a game for 5 year olds and up - it's a simple card game, where each card has a picture of an animal with the statement, "I have ..." on the front - and a picture of a DIFFERENT animal with the question, "Who has ...?" on the reverse.

One player starts by playing one of their cards into the centre of the table: "I have an elephant." They then flip the card and ask, "Who has a snake?"

Any player with a snake card can then play their snake, flip it and ask, "Who has a giraffe?" - etc etc

Again, not much of a game. It's billed as great for early readers/pre-readers - and, to its credit, it is well designed enough that Otto, at three, can play it quite competently. She's learning to deal cards and is learning about trick taking and game responses.

And practising animal noises.

I recorded part of our game this evening. (107 KB, 27 seconds, MP3)

Piggies!The third game we tried was more of a success from our perspective. Piggyback, or Rüsselbande, is a simple roll-and-move game with two things that make it stand out. The first is the pig meeples (peeples?) which you can use to make all sorts of shapes. The second is the fact that pigs can take rides on each other - if your pig lands on the same dot as another pig, it takes a ride on that pig's back until your next go.

This is a delightful game, and a good introduction to the use of dice, without the intense yawnfest of many roll-and-move games. Also, it's short.

Preparing for our Family Boardgame Night at Biggie's school, we've broken out some other new kids' games this week - Catch the Match, Frog Juice and Gopher It. They're all good games for kids around 5-8 years, but they're not games I'd get out to play with adults.

Lastly, since a couple of people asked for these, here are the photos of the completed Tikal game from last week.

many gingerbread tilesI realised on Monday morning that I didn't actually need a set of 10 nesting square cookie cutters to make the tiles, I could just cut squares of gingerbread - so another batch was baked, and we went for full playability.

just one tile on there nowAs you can see, the '3' square fits nicely on this '2' temple hex ... it's when we add more tiles that it turns into a dexterity game...


That's ten ... but for how long?

Biggie and I had fun counting out sweets for the pieces - small jelly babies for explorers and big ones for leaders, 'squirts' for tents and snakes for temple guards.

Here are the final photos of the game all packed up for presentation:

Until next time, happy gaming!



Gerald McD said...

Thanks for posting the photos. Great job on the baking and decorating project. It's fun to hear about playing games with Otto, and we already know what a great gamer Biggie is. Good luck with the school game night.

Melissa said...

Thanks Gerald :)

Iain, it's up to us to make a difference! I hope some of what I wrote today is helpful for you - there really aren't a lot of games for the very young.

Anonymous said...

"And practising animal noises."

An important part of any gaming group... Way to teach 'em young!

droz said...

haha! start at an early age.