It was Miss Scarlett, in the Conservatory, with the Candlestick!

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Mr9 “I’ve worked it out, Mum! It was Miss Scarlett, in the Conservatory, with the Candlestick! Am I right? I know I’m right! Am I?”

*checks confidential envelope*

Mr9 “Awwww! I’m totally wrong! How did that happen? Let’s play again!”

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There is a great deal to be gained from playing boardgames with your kids. Much to be learned, and lots of fun times to be shared. We’ve been growing our collection of games this year, while revisiting some classics, like Cluedo. We try and play at least one boardgame together each week, on ‘Boardgame Sunday’. Here’s some of the games that we’ve been playing, and what we have learned along the way.

Cluedo: Don’t rely on what others say, collect your own evidence

My two sons quickly realised that in Cluedo, bluffing gets you everywhere. It allows you to zone in on the evidence you are after. It also allows you to be a trickster with your opponents in the race for the truth. While having fun, my two guys actually learned a lot about logic, deductive reasoning and the process of elimination. With a little patience and strategy, they were both winning games. All they need to work on now is their poker face while they bluff ;)

Pandemic: We can all win when we play as a team

This is one of our newest games, and admittedly we put off playing it because it seemed fairly complex. It really isn’t! My boys picked it up very quickly. Before we knew it, we were combining cards and finding cures for widespread disease. As we played a few more times, the boys became more confident about how they best spend their action points and make the most of their turn. What we’ve learned from Pandemic is that playing a co-op boardgame is not only lots of fun, but allowed us to still be individuals with specific roles within the game, but to work towards a common goal. And as a mother, it is delightful to experience this alongside your kids.

Dixit: There’s a sweet spot between what is real and what is imagined

This game is as ephemeral as the imagination of the players who play it. What has struck me about it, is that it gives my boys a platform to express creative vision and interpretation of the cards within play. We’ve discovered that in order to win, there is a sweet spot in the description you give – it can’t be too literal or real, or all the players will pick your card – but it can’t be too obscure either, or no-one will pick your card. The challenge is being creatively descriptive enough, but not too much. It really is a great game for exercising those imagination muscles.

Tsuro: Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail

Tsuro is a path building game, where your token follows the line of the path that you put before it, while you place one tile at a time. It sounds like it could be tricky, right? It really isn’t. In fact, this game is so beautifully simple that I would suggest it is playable very successfully by a bunch of kindergarten kids. Having said that, with a little planning and foresight, the game can become strategic given that you can plan one, two or even three moves ahead. It’s a great introduction to strategy, particularly for the younger ones.

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So there you have it. What boardgames are you playing with your kids?