Unschooling and Board Games

Snakes and Ladders
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Jennifer Stone on the AlwaysLearning list, December 2008:

Responding to the earlier post with a game question made me think about how wonderful it is to give games for Christmas and the holidays. A game is something that can be shared and played by many people, bringing families and friends together for quality time. I thought I would make a few posts over the next week or so and introduce some of the lesser known, but still very popular games that make great gifts for anybody.

Some of you may have already heard of or even played the board game TICKET TO RIDE. Produced by Days of Wonder, Ticket to Ride is a very high-quality and all around appealing game, both visually and thematically. See the game here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/9209

Ticket to Ride - 2-5 players, ages 8 and up. Play time 45 min-1 hour.

The board is a map of the United States, and each player receives a stash of colored plastic trains. The goal is to earn the most points by completing Destination Tickets (designated routes from one point to another). Each destination ticket has a point value. Complete multiple destination tickets for more points, but have any incomplete tickets when the game ends and those points are deducted. Destination Tickets are given out at the beginning of the game.

On a player's turn they can choose to do ONE of 3 things:
1) Draw 2 cards - either from the face down draw deck, or from a layout of 5 face up cards (replenshed when drawn). The cards can be any color.
2) Play a meld of same colored cards to claim a route. A route is from one city to another. For each colored section of a route, the player must play one matching colored card. They place one of their trains on each of the colored sections.
3) Draw 3 destinations tickets, and must choose to keep at least one.

Points are earned for each route that is claimed by a player, depending on the length of the route, and by completing destination tickets.

The game ends when one player runs out of their colored trains.

So that is the bare bones of it! Every person I have introduced this game to has loved it. In gaming lingo, this game is considered a "gateway" game, meaning it's a step up from the more usual and common games (Monopoly, etc) and introduces people to the lesser known Euro-style games. (Definition of Eurogame: http://sodaklady.wordpress.com/what-is-a-euro-game/)

Priced a little higher than games you find at the local stores and only obtainable through specialty stores or online retailers, this game is worth every penny. I haven't even seen my copy for some time now because it's always being borrowed by friends or family members.

[Here are] a few reasonably priced online retailers for this game:

By wiz8mom on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 08:53 pm:
Please, please check out the following links for boardgames. I see so many people here who say how much they love boardgames, but are limited to what can be found in the stores. There is a whole world of boardgames out there that are AWESOME for kids and families, but are not available through mainstream stores. Companies such as Ravensburger, Avalon Hill, Mayfair Games and Days of Wonder produce excellent family and kids games. My favorite online retailer for boardgames is timewellspent.org. They have great prices and wonderful service and are a family-owned business. Check out what they have available by clicking on the links at the top of the page — you can see games by category and can see all kids games listed or all family games listed, etc.

Our favorite family games:

10 Days in the USA
Igloo Pop - a hoot, the kids love this!
Mamma Mia!
Pick Picnic
Sherlock - a different take on a memory game, my 6 yo dd loves this
The aMAZEing Labyrinth
Sword & Skull - check out their demo
Family Games for ages a little older:
Ticket to Ride — the current fave of board game geeks worldwide
Our favorite two-player games:
Lost Cities
At the very bottom of each of these links is another link to boardgamegeek.com. They have a massive database of games and you can search for any game, information, rules if available, pictures, and ratings. I highly recommend checking out the boardgamegeek. You can even find games from your childhood - ahh, those memories!

I've been a boardgamegeek for years and would love to see some more like-minded addicts!


Some games to play online (and in some cases you might be inspired to buy the real-boardgame or real-cards version):
Set Mancala Geoquiz Planarity Sudoku Mastermind Quiddler
Thanks to Alex / Peacemama for these links!

Main games page: GAMES