9 Best Strategy Board Games for Big Kids
When your child outgrows Candyland, you may think game night is through – or that it’s time to bust out the Wii. But there are still a bunch of awesome board games that will get the family competing – and bonding – even if it means war! So bust out your best strategy and play. In nine very different ways, these games can hone your child’s planning and problem-solving skills, while at the same time giving you hours – and I mean hours – of fun.
Not into the fighting and battles but love the strategy? No problem. Agricola promotes a kinder, gentler gameplay that still lets you hone your tactical skills. The object of the game is to create the best and biggest farm – and you’ll have to compete and cooperate in order to win.
Start with a little wooden shack, a spouse, and not much else. Stockpile resources, expand your dwelling, have a few children to help on the farm...Oh, wait!...Now, you have to feed them! Not only will you be whipping up your strategy, but you’ll also have to think on their feet...because another player’s move can affect yours. Do you have the strategic thinking it takes to really shine out in the pastures? Recommended age: 12-16 years and up
If you’re looking for something a bit easier that little ones can play, Battleship is your best bet. Engage in a head-to-head naval battle and try to sink your enemy’s ships. But watch out, your opponent is looking to do the same. Hide from the attackers by skillfully placing your fleet, while you try to sink enemy vessels on the high seas. Think you’ve found the bad guy’s sub, patrol boat, destroyer, aircraft carrier, or mega battleship? Launch an attack by calling out coordinates from the game board. Keep track of hits and misses as you destroy enemy boats one by one in this exciting and suspenseful game. Recommended age: 7 years and up
Chess is one of the best strategy games in existence – and over 1,000 years of gameplay is proof positive! Armed with a king and queen along with bishops, knights, rooks, and pawns, the winning player must successfully capture the opposing king in a checkmate. The rules of this game are simple to learn – but they can take a lifetime to perfect the kind of strategies needed to become a great chess player. Pick it up at any age...it’s great for cognitive development – and for family time! Recommended age: 5 years and up
In this exciting game of high-stakes strategy, you’re out to conquer the world. Beat your opponents as you build up troops, invade new territories, and defend your land. Craft the right strategy and you’ll rule the world. But engage in the wrong battle, and you may just lose the war. Do you have what it takes for world domination? Recommended age: 12 years and up
Loved tic-tac-toe as a restaurant pastime? Then you’ll fall for this more complex version that’s fun and challenging for both kids and adults. Draw a card from the deck and use your chips to form a sequence on the board. Get five in a row and you have a sequence. Sounds easy, right? Not when you’re playing with other master strategists that are hot onto your tactics. Learn to block your opponents and remove their chips while you try to build up your own sequence. Simple and fun, this will be a game night favorite. Beware: your kids might be better at this than you are! Recommended age: 8 years and up
Welcome to the mythical island of Catan, where you and your children, as settlers there, will have to establish holdings, build up villages and cities – and learn when to cooperate and when to compete with your neighbors! Build up resources, trade, and even steal! Points are given for each settlement and city, and the first to make it to 10 points wins the game. If you end up loving this game, check out Catan: Cities and Knights where players are still on this mythical island, but the situation has changed: it is now under attack from barbarian hordes and you have to strengthen their cities to keep them safe. Recommended age: 10-14 years and up
As the name implies, you’ll be travelling back in time to the Stone Age – where it’s tough to survive and there’s no time to rest! Sure it’s the Dawn of Mankind, but with scant resources and very little brain power, you may not make it to noon! Hunt, make new weapons, and use natural resources wisely – the more you collect, the more knowledge you gain. Know when to compete and when to cooperate with other players – and use your strategic thinking to advance your tribe. Will you make it past the Stone Age? Recommended age: 13 years and up
On a distant planet, far, far away, is a game of battlefield strategy. The object of this very competitive game is to seize your opponent’s flag or to capture so many of their soldiers that surrender is inevitable. Ruses, reconnaissance, and spying are all part of the fun in this very cerebral – but non-violent – war game! So devise your plan, deploy your troops, and attack. Will you come out victorious? Recommended age: 8 and up
Ever wanted to travel the nation? This game is your ticket. The stakes are high in this winner-takes-all competition to claim railway routes across the U.S. Build up your railways, visit locations on your destination cards, and get extra points for the longest routes. Gameplay continues until players have all exhausted their pieces and a final reckoning is made. Recommended age: 8 -12 years and up
What strategy games do you like to play with your children? And who wins??
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