After Dinner Board Games
April 6, 2024 4:48 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for games to play with 4 people. One of the people is a 9 year old. One of the people's has ADHD and doesn't like complicated games.

Here is a list of things we have tried and an assessment of how well they fit:

Skull (Works well, maybe a bit short)
Decrypto (Worked reasonably well, about the right length)
Mysterium (Worked Well, too long)
Dixit (Worked ok, but we had trouble making clues that were suitably universally accessible)
Love Letter (Worked well, played a bit too much of it)

Things I've not yet tried but might give a go:
Concept
Secret Identity (though it might be too culturally dependant)
Codenames? (Maybe a disney edition or something?)

So, that's what I'm after. Suggestions for light to mid weight games which are of medium length and varied type.
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (33 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Scout, Take 5, and The Game are simple-ish card games with a lot of replayability that your group might enjoy.
posted by rikschell at 4:59 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Chinese checkers isn't Chinese, isn't checkers, and has simple rules but is still surprisingly deep. Playable by 2, 3, 4 or 6.
posted by flabdablet at 5:14 AM on April 6


The Quacks of Quedlinburg is a magical push your luck game that can be taught in a couple of minutes.

Deep Sea Adventure is also push your luck, except this time there's a "tragedy of the commons" element and so your actions have consequences for other players, plus a delicious comeuppance for those who overestimate their abilities.

Cockroach Poker is the purest and bestest bluffing game.

Coup would be a nice change from Love Letter, if you want another hidden role game.

Sushi Go is a delightful, easy to learn set collection with a nice drafting mechanic.

Kingdomino is the best "you can go first this time, but it's going to cost you next time, no dammit I wanted that one" game that has you picking terrain dominos to build a little village around a castle.

Speaking of dominos, Mexican Train is an astonishingly accessible family game with just enough "take that" to be interesting.

Black Fleet is an action-packed medium length game about calmly picking up and dropping off cargo while also being pirates making absolutely bullshit manoeuvres and taking petty revenge over and over again.

Don't underestimate the tremendous appeal and replayability of classic roll and write games like Qwixx or Qwinto and card games like No Thanks! and 6 Nimmt.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 5:23 AM on April 6 [4 favorites]


Forgot one: Machi Koro is like building a city by playing poker machines, with lots of random positive reinforcement pushing serotonin through your brain. When your cards go off, it's a great feeling.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 5:31 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Apples to Apples.
posted by blob at 6:02 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Tumple is a building game that's more fun than you'd think.
posted by Enid Lareg at 6:17 AM on April 6


SpotIt has many theme variations, same game play
posted by olopua at 6:42 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Hi, I hate complicated games and have successfully played Isle of Cats with a bunch of board game diehards who love various complicated rules mechanisms, and we all had a good time. Plus, fun art.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:47 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Second Sushi Go and Kingdomino. Also Coloretto, Small World, Hey That's My Fish, and Fauna.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:15 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Ghost Blitz is a hit with my 8yo and with adults. It's a pattern-recognition game where you have to quicky grab the correct one of five game pieces, based on the images shown on a card. Very simple rules, and the physicality is great for kids (and for any grownups) who don't like to sit still.

Set is a similar trick-taking pattern-matching reaction time game, a little more abstract and less goofy, but also a very lightweight rule set.

My parents like to play Rummikub after dinner. It's like a game of gin-rummy with tiles. Maybe a litttle slow/long for the 9yo but maybe not, and the rules are not complicated, and clacking the tiles around is satisfying.
posted by hovey at 7:23 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Dungeon Mayhem seems PERFECT for this. Every player has a deck of themed cards focusing on a character that has their own unique powers and abilities. Everyone starts with ~10 HP, you use your cards to attack other players til one winner is left standing. The mechanics themselves are pretty simple and the energy gets pretty silly. Once you know the rules it can go SUPER fast and it’s a lot of fun swapping new character decks for the next round — so one game might not be medium length of play time but you’ll probably play a few full cycles at least!
posted by caitcadieux at 7:23 AM on April 6


Since you mentioned Codenames: I love that game, and it's very successful with non-boardgame-lovers-- but I would not recommend it for your group. You really want 6 people minimum (2 teams of 3) to get the most out of it.
posted by hovey at 7:31 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Nth-ing Kingdomino.

Spot It is a very simple game that is surprisingly fun, with multiple variations.

Labyrinth
posted by Kriesa at 7:31 AM on April 6


Exploding Kittens is hilarious, light, and fast.
posted by epj at 8:00 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


I agree with many of the above suggestions.

But also, Cascadia and Codenames:Duel are great. CD is coop so not probably great for large groups.
posted by Windopaene at 8:07 AM on April 6


Tokaido is fun for a broad range of ages, and is a very beautiful game as well.
posted by jimfl at 8:12 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Fun Facts might work well for your group. We have had fun playing it.
posted by sueinnyc at 8:21 AM on April 6


Point Salad was this year's hit for a mixed age group and an 11 year old who is very picky has semi-permanently borrowed it from me. Plays fast, but you can do multiple rounds.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:24 AM on April 6


Seconding spotit - works for all the people in yiur roster and there are so many variants. One way to keep different people engaged is to switch when somebody wins to the pack they like. Adults often take that opp to get a kid to choose.

Set is another good one.

It might not work for every meal but in rotation it works!
posted by drowsy at 9:00 AM on April 6


Basically seconding all the pattern rec games. I learned about some new ones, thank you Mefites.
posted by drowsy at 9:03 AM on April 6


Qwirkle and Diamant are great additions for many players
Seconding most of some little punks suggestions.
posted by Iteki at 9:34 AM on April 6


Bohnanza or as we call it “The Bean Game”! Super fun negotiating/trading/deal making card game where you “plant” sets of beans for points.
posted by crime online at 10:02 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


There are lots of great ideas above. Seconding Take 5, Apples to Apples, Sushi Go, Kingdomino, and Hey That's My Fish.

Forbidden Island is co-op and has pretty straightforward rules. However, you need to watch out for players who tell everyone what to do. Hanabi is also co-op, with an interesting mechanic that works around that sort of quarterbacking. If you like Forbidden Island, then Forbidden Desert, Flash Point, and Pandemic (base set) all have different themes, more complexity and length, but the same basic bones under it all.

The Dominion base set should be fine for your group; each successive expansion adds more complications.

Splendor, Lanterns, and Azul are all beautiful games and have some good depth without complex rules.
posted by expialidocious at 10:36 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Scatagories was a game I loved when I around 9, and the rounds are quick, so you can plan as much or as little as you would like. We recently played it with some folks who never played it before, and could tell them the rules in about 3 minutes. They played successfully very quickly!

We played with the physical board game, but you can also use an online version with paper and pencil, which I learned *just now* and am very excited about!
posted by chiefthe at 1:08 PM on April 6


+1 for Rummikub - I grew up playing this as a kid. Also yes, Apples to Apples is very simple and just fun, though it might be too simple for those of you who like more structured games.
posted by coffeecat at 3:02 PM on April 6


I agree with Quirkle & Rummikub.

Other favorites in my house:
Trekking the National Parks
Mystic Market
Battle Sheep
Abducktion (new, but we liked it)
posted by belladonna at 4:58 PM on April 6


I'm wondering if a cooperative game might be more viable for the person who sometimes has trouble following the rules. Everyone working towards the same goal would mean even if they missed some part of the rules they could take advice from others and learn as they play
posted by I paid money to offer this... insight? at 7:28 PM on April 6


In our household, which includes a 9 year old with ADHD, we play a rotating series of games. In addition to Rummykub, dominoes, and others mentioned upthread, here are some of our current favorites:

Carcassone - We don't always use the farming rules.
Skull King - A trick-taking card game, kind of like Hearts or Spades. Has a "beginners" version that uses fewer of the special cards.
Sequence - Both a card and board game. Your cards often matter more than strategy on this one.
Taco vs. Burrito - it's better with the expansion pack.
posted by toxic at 8:49 PM on April 6


20 Questions has very few rules and is reasonably child-friendly.

Also, please consider whether the person who "doesn't like complicated games" enjoys games at all, and consider having a Plan B shared leisure activity in case they don't want to play any game.
posted by brainwane at 4:11 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


If your group liked Love Letter, you might also like other "pocket games" like Citadels, Tussie Mussie, or Coup.

I'll also put in a plug for Survive: Escape from Atlantis which is a family favorite. We also love Patchwork (2 player only) and Kingdomino (mentioned above).

And if you can find HAPE Stormy Seas, do not be fooled by the very young kids on the cover. This is a super fun stacking game for all ages.
posted by nkknkk at 7:10 AM on April 7


Response by poster: Good suggestions, thanks.
I think I have a copy of (or have played) a good 50% of the suggestions, but hadn't thought to try them.

Also brainwane, a good thought here:
please consider whether the person who "doesn't like complicated games" enjoys games at all
It was in fact their suggestion that we do this.

A thing I didn't consider taking into account but should have done was ably raised by coffeeecat.
Just anything too complex is a no go for the child and non-gamer, anything too simplistic would be frustrating for the regular gamers.

expialidocious also has taken on the problems with co-op games. I think anything that could have significant quarterbacking problems would be bad, because the non-gamers would probably get a bit anxious about not making the "right" move, Hanabi is a good shout for avoiding that.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:08 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I recently was introduced to Telestrations which was a lot of fun. Poor drawing skills are actually a bonus in this game and make it way more fun....so there is no "i'm not a good artist" stress.
posted by victoriab at 7:35 AM on April 8


Spots is a newer game, easy to play with 4 people. It goes quickly enough, but gameplay is fun. It's a "press your luck" sort of dice game.
posted by hydra77 at 3:25 PM on April 9


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