Can you get to these islands?
For my money, Clans is a real hidden gem. I think it was only available for a short time in the early noughties, but I am so glad I have a copy. The game is a nice exemplar of “Euro” style games: simple, a beautiful game mechanic, excellent presentation (including lovely little wooden huts), and pretty abstract, but with a theme that fits the mechanic well. This is just great.
The main thing that held me back from introducing it to Miss B earlier is that it involves keeping a secret. Clans is one of those games where different colours score points and players are secretly trying to make one of the colours win. The problem with this is that My experience of five-year-olds suggests that their ability to be subtle and secretive is akin to that of a cartoon Tazmanian devil. Still, I figured we’d have to give this a go sooner or later so I put Clans into the pile of “new games” to try and it was the one that got chosen.
The mechanics are easy and Miss B quickly got the hang of them, though occasionally forgot that you’re not allowed to move to an empty territory. She was massively transparent as to which colour she was playing, to the point of asking how she can score points with her colour. I played gently, but still won. And then the worm turned…
Miss B requested a replay right away, so we set things up and played again. I made the fatal error of assuming that we would have a similar experience to the previous game, so I didn’t really think about what colour she was playing, had a guess based on some early moves and then, you know, kinda played casual. A short while later, the colours were revealed and Miss B turned out to be blue, winning the game!
I was so proud. Daddy displays hubris and gets smacked down with extreme prejudice. I think we can safely say that Miss B is really starting to get the hang of this and I couldn’t be more pleased. And she was grinning like a nutter over the whole experience. High fives all round.
The verdict from Miss B (aged 5½): “It was good because it was a bit like Settlers.” Plus we had a request to play again immediately, which I figure is a classic “two thumbs” verdict. The Settlers thing is because of the terrain illustrations on the board looking a little like that other game.
The game: Clans (Venice Connection), 2 to 5 players aged 10+.