Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: central valley, California
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We love board games and are a "gaming" family. Are you planning on playing WITH your 6-year old (in other words, do you want a family game with some "growing" room that the adults will like as much as the kids) or are you looking for a "kids" game that you can send him and his friends into the other room to play by themselves? Boardgamegeek.com is a great site (you can search for lists for 6 year old games and family games, as well). Another site to check is kidgameratings.com, which is more focused for children. Some game shops host gaming nights when you can go try out games as a family.
My own bias is against cooperative games. Honestly, almost every one we've played has seemed really contrived. The kids have never really liked them beyond one or two plays, which is a waste of money. Part of the joy my family has gotten playing board games (and we have had routine game nights with friends for years, well before children arrived) is the excitement of improving our skills and testing our abilities, and yes, the thrill of winning. And I think family games are a wonderful opportunity to learn to be a "good" winner/loser in a safe environment. So I wouldn't avoid competitive games just because they involve competition.
Labyrinth is a great game, and definitely playable by the typical 6-year old. Once he learns the game, this could be played without an adult. Other playable without adults games in our house include Uno (we have an electronic version called "uno attack" which shoots the cards at you - very fun). My son loved Blokus at that age. He also loves the logic games, like Rush Hour, River Crossing, Castle Logix (ThinkFun brand games), although these are solitare games he enjoyed having an adult "helping" him at first. "Classic" games like Yahtzee are also fun, and typically have less of a learning curve.
Someone mentioned the "junior" versions of games like Catan. We've found the lifespan of these games to be pretty short - once they're able to play the kid's version, they can really play the adult version, possibly with some modifications. They might not get all the strategy involved, but that will come with time (some adults don't get it either!). Boardgamegeek sometimes has modifications for "adult" games for kids. You might consider a "junior" version, though, if the adults aren't gamers and can't support the play (Catan is challenging to learn if you simply sit down and try to read the novel-length rules, but pretty easy if you have someone to PLAY with).
My kids started playing Settlers of Catan at 6, although they'd watched us play for years. They also enjoy Carcassone (and this is a bit easier learning curve if the adults in the house. My daughter LOVES Puerto Rico, although this is a bit more challenging, and my son finds it boring (too much waiting for others to complete their actions). Ticket to Ride is a great game if your family aren't really "gamers" - easy to learn, minimal reading, little plastic trains, plus fun for kids and adults and better yet they learn some US geography! We all enjoy a card game similar to Rummy called 5 Crowns (we've actually worn out two decks).