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Board Games to Promote Reading
September 3, 2014 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Recently, I have been playing the board game Agricola with my daughter and I'd like to know if another game will provide some of the same things for her.

She is not a strong or motivated reader (yet!), but playing Agricola has been a great opportunity to have her reading for content, of her own volition. Each game involves reading 500-700 words, mostly through building your deck of Occupation and Minor Improvement cards).

In particular, I am looking for a game which involves reading, is at least semi-complex and has a variety of mechanics (she likes Settlers, Ticket to Ride, Galaxy Trucker, Alhambra, etc.), but which can start out simple to get the basic idea before ramping up to the full game. Ideally, the simplified game would have less reading and the full game should have more. Agricola does this beautifully with the "family" version of the game where you get the basic mechanics down and play through the game with no special powers (Occupations) or helpful items (Minor Improvements). With that done a few times, she had no problem wanting to read through all the cards and build the best deck.

Am I only describing Agricola, or is there something else like this?
posted by klausman to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Jambo and Asante involve deck building, where the deck contains verbose cards that need strategic play.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:44 PM on September 3


Venus Needs Men has a simplified game with some card reading and a more complicated game with more.

Disclaimer: it's my brother's game but I really do think it's awesome. Other people do too.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:59 PM on September 3


How about Munchkin? There's a Flash demo of the game, to give you an idea of what it's like.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:58 PM on September 3


Dominion has cards with text, and Trains which is very similar to Dominion but with a different theme (medieval vs modern trains). Probably not as verbose text on the cards as Agricola but you definitely have to read them all.
There's not really a tutorial version of those games but they don't really need it, neither are as complex as Agricola.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:13 AM on September 4


The designer of Agricola is a guy named Uwe Rosenberg who has made many other games. I have heard excellent things about Glass Road, which is has been described as the "light" version of another one of his games, Ora et Labora. Both of them have different kinds of suggested gameplay, I believe, of varying complexity, with lots of pieces and descriptions and different stages of the game.

One of my favorite games, which is nothing like most Uwe Rosenburg games, is Lords of Waterdeep. It's fabulously well-balanced and plays in a set number of rounds so no game takes excruciatingly long. But it has a lot of little pieces and many cards, all of which have writing on them that affect gameplay. Sometimes there are funny stories, sometimes the description hints at something nefarious, sometimes it's just nice worldbuilding. But you have to read the cards to play the game, and it can be fun to read the cards when not playing, to know what's possible in the game.
posted by Mizu at 1:33 AM on September 4


Fluxx and its many variants are favorites of my kids, and they have to read the new rules on every card, sometimes each hand just to be sure what the current rules are.
posted by Etrigan at 3:17 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Fluxx is a lot of reading and a lot of fun!
posted by lownote at 5:44 AM on September 4


If you like Agricola, you'll probably like Caverna, and the familiarity with Agricola may mean you don't need a simpler game to start with.

Caverna is sometimes described as a cross between Agricola and and the aforementioned Ora et Labora, which I find similar to Le Havre. Ora and Le Havre have a pretty steep learning curve, but are complex, have cards to read, and reward strategic play.

You might also try Chrononauts, which is less complicated and more random, but has lots of amusing flavor text.
posted by BrashTech at 5:46 AM on September 4


If she has Settlers nailed, how about Cities and Knights? The much wider variety of progress cards is what keeps me going back to that expansion, and it's useful to know what is in development track.
posted by supercres at 5:57 AM on September 4


Consider a cooperative game where your daughter can read the developing story and you're both playing "against the game." Examples I've enjoyed include Mice and Mystics and Robinson Crusoe [for the truly sturdy survivalist]. Mice and Mystics starts off easier and gets progressively more difficult. Robinson Crusoe, you can play with more helpers (e.g., a dog!), to make it easier to win.

Another game to consider would be Seasons. It is of the deck builder genre with beautiful! illustrations and game pieces.
posted by ellerhodes at 7:31 AM on September 4


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