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Guest Post: The Brothers Trouble

December 4, 2014

I am delighted to present our first ever guest post. You may have seen the short video review of Tsuro I made a few weeks ago. Well, the guy whose channel I was imposing myself on, Edo Baraf, has agreed to write a guest post here on his experiences as a gamer dad. If you haven’t done so already, please do take a look at his videos on YouTube, which are a great starting point for finding out about some highly recommended games.

After Rob did his Tsuro guest review on my YouTube channel (here), he asked me if I wanted to contribute to this blog. Of course, I did! First, because I’ll always return a favor, but more importantly because I love the idea of this blog and I am actively training two lil’ gamers myself:

Ethan Danger and Evan Adventure – The Brothers Trouble

Since this is a guest post, I decided that rather than doing a run through of a specific game with these boys, I’d give a few of my key pointers on Training a Gamer and some game recommendations. I hope this is helpful!

They are never too young
Kids are curious, kids play, kids are born gamers. Neil deGrasse Tyson nails it in this 2 minute video.
Build on their natural curiosity and play by adding simple rules, and dynamics to the world. Turn what they are doing from playing, to gaming with a rule or two then join in!Edo_2

Always be inclusive
If Training a Gamer is important to you, never turn them away from the table. Even if they can’t play, they can watch, they can play with the pieces in front of you, they can hold your cards. If you want to have serious, adult only gaming, do it, but give them something fun to do – don’t push them away. With both Ethan and Evan we let them sit on laps and co-play as often as we could. When they are young, let them use games as toy and story sets.

Don’t get frustrated
Doing the above, or playing games with kids in general can be AMAZINGLY frustrating Whether it be them playing wrong, bending cards, not listening, or simply taking too long. Your top priority should be letting them have fun when they are young. When you start playing, assume it is going to be slow or not even finish at all. Engage with them how they are engaging. Let the other players at the table know what to expect.Edo_3

Let them leave
This one was hard for me (well as was not getting frustrating). Often times, kids can actually play a longer or harder game conceptually, but simply don’t have the stamina to stick with it (Ticket to Ride for example). Don’t force a kid to play. You can try to keep them engaged and at it, but if they are done they are likely done. Remove them from the game, finish up the road for them, whatever. It isn’t a big deal. Thank them for playing!

Let them win, gracefully
Many may disagree, but I think there is nothing wrong with letting your kids win, especially when they are learning a game or leveling up to new challenges. There will be plenty of time and games to crush your kids in, but while they are learning to love gaming, letting them enjoy the sensation of a close victory (even if manufactured) is huge. More important is teaching them how to win when they win and how to lose when they lose. Be inclusive and positive.Edo_4

There are many more things to consider of course, but these were the ones that stuck out to me the most. On the gaming side, there are a ton of early games to consider, but once they hit the 4-6 range here are the games I’ve enjoyed recently (many of which I’ve reviewed on my site 🙂 ).

  • Guess Who
  • Spot It!
  • Color Sticks
  • Uno
  • Checkers
  • Skippity
  • Qwirkle
  • Chess
  • Walk The Plank
  • Seven Dragons
  • King of Tokyo
  • Chopstick Dexterity Deathmatch 3000
  • Ticket To Ride
  • Garden Dice
  • Takenoko
  • Lift Off! Get me off this Planet!
  • Ricochet Robot

Go Train a Gamer!

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  1. December 5, 2014 at 3:37 am

    Great guest post! I have 3 tiny table toppers (2,3,and 4) so a lot of your comments resonate very clearly with me right now! My attitude on letting them win gracefully is this. If I was a major league baseball pitcher and could throw a 100mph fastball, I would not do so while playing catch with my 4yo. Instead I would try to play at his level. This improves his odds of catching the ball, but he will still drop a few too! By adjusting my play to his level I never actually “let” him win. He just does! 🙂

    Then soon I will find that he will be throwing the ball back harder than me!


  2. Rob
    December 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Hi David, thanks for commenting. I agree, Edo makes some really good suggestions here and is certainly a better role model for this sort of thing than I am :). My personal approach is what I call “play like a muggle”, meaning that I don’t “let” Miss B win, but I do moderate my play style so I’m not playing advanced strategies and looking for all the angles, and as such our level of play becomes much closer and play is fun for both of us. Then she starts beating me, which is awesome.

  3. December 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Yip – this all sounds about right. The best way to grow is for challenge to always be in the sweet spot of hard but not impossible.

  1. May 5, 2015 at 8:47 pm
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