Bangkok has several great BOARD GAME CAFES which have risen in popularity over the last few years. Although kids love tech, the trend is that more kids are moving away (or trying to) from their online gaming and suddenly board games are back in fashion! Lucky for us many of the Bangkok Toy Stores are delivering more options direct to your door and this is definitely a service we’ve taken advantage of; you can only play Monopoly so many times!
The Board Game Comeback
Over the last month, with people around the world being confined to their own homes during the Coronavirus pandemic, board games have definitely made a come back to both alleviate boredom and hours of either scrolling on Facebook or unlimited Netflix binging. Suddenly social media is full of families connecting over multiple versions of Monopoly, Scrabble, Operation, Pictionary and card games of all shapes and sizes!
During the lockdown of COVID-19 it’s far too easy to let the kids run feral and have multiple blocks of screen time so just that parents can get some time for themselves. However, this can be dangerous for many reasons. Let’s not forget about internet safety, mental health decline and poor eyesight, among many others. It is really up to us, as parents, to offer the kids fun alternatives and the opportunity to connect as a family, and what better way than over a board game. In my house, board games, puzzles and cards are reserved for rainy days and Christmas holidays. In fact, we all look forward to the Christmas quiz card game and our annual tradition of Monopoly on Boxing day so bringing back the board games during this period was (usually) a pleasure! While, yes, there have been many upturned games of chess in my house and relationship-ruining rounds of cards but all in all, even for the most competitive, a board game is a way of bringing families and friends together.
Selecting A Board Game
When selecting a board game for the family consider your kids ages levels. While Mum & Dad might like 3-hour sessions of Monopoly, Fairy Snap or Dinosaur Dominoes are more suitable for the toddlers! You may also need to divide and conquer and play different games to keep everyone happy, especially if you have different ages and ability/attention spans in the same house. Junior Scrabble will definitely not challenge your teens, whilst Pictionary for younger children (and many adults) will result in hours of guaranteed laughs! Many board games will have recommended age ranges and should come with instructions. If not check-out BOARDGAME GEEK which is the ultimate guide to board games.
Remind the family, board games are a time for fun and family connection (serious competitors take note!) There’s a board game out there for every family and every occasion and you can add extra fun for the kids by playing for candy or the winner gets to choose dinner and the loser has to make the popcorn. First and foremost, games should be about enjoyment.
BKK Kids Community Board Game Recommendations
We asked many of our BKK Kids community members what are their favorite kids and family board games and so here’s what we think (in order of popularity) should be tucked inside every good toy box in Bangkok.
Card Games (Snap!)
Pre ‘i-era,’ I would never travel or in fact leave home without some form of a pack of cards in my bag. As all parents know, some situations just call for cards. Whether your stuck at home with a pre-schooler and dinner is taking forever to finish, or if your stuck in an airport lounge waiting for a delayed flight, CARD GAMES FOR KIDS will always save the day!
Every BKK Kids community member we asked came up with some type of card game on their list. The classic SNAP game was on most parents lock down list. You can play SNAP with specially designed themed cards for kids and the versions of this game are endless or in an emergency can you play with any deck of cards. The game is all about mental recognition time. First, the dealer deals out all the cards to each player one at a time (no peeking!) Each player then reveals a card. The first one to recognize a matching pair screams SNAP as loud as they can (or is that only the rule in my house?). This can be as fast paced as you want, considering the kids ages and the winner is the one with all the cards and if you run out of cards, you are out of the game. From easy simple matching picture games, to Uno or the more adult card games I’m currently teaching my teens, you can never not have fun with a simple pack of cards.
Chutes and Ladders
Whether you recognize the game as Snakes & Ladders (aka the 1940’s version) or the 1980’s more updated version of this absolute classic, Chutes & Ladders, is by far one of the most popular games for kids age 3+. The game originally came from India to England in 1892 where players had to move along a handmade or drawn board. The roll of a dice would allow you to do good acts and move up a ladder as they became closer to Nirvana, while the snakes were seen as evil deeds where you slid into hell. Many colonial tales are told over provinces in India being lost to ruthless Moguls over games of Snakes & Ladders.
The principal of the game still remains the same, where players have to roll the dice (or spin a spinner) to see how many steps they can take either moving up the ladders or sliding down the perilous chutes. There is also an audio that can accompany certain versions of the game so you can set up two small kids to play along and follow easy verbal instructions. Chutes and Ladders is great for students learning number recognition, and many users say it keeps their young children engaged for hours.
Another classic that my kids have grown up with and never failed to keep them occupied either mid air or on rainy days. There are over 100 versions of this game and I think I own at least 20 of them. Ranging from My First Picture Dominoes to various versions of Disney Dominoes, my teens have now made their own versions, which I believe they play alone when everyone else has gone to bed!
Choose your game according to the ages of the kids. This one can start as young as 2, with simple easy recognition tiles. Although this is a traditional game, it’s played very differently and sometimes more elaborately in cultures around the world. Western Dominoes is a simple game of elimination, whoever uses all of their Dominoes first by matching the end numbers on each tile, is the winner. Alternatively, if the ‘boneyard’ or (extra tiles) is used up and no one has a playable Domino, the one with the least amount of tiles wins.
Junior Monopoly & Monopoly
The origins of this ever-popular family board game and all time favorite can be traced all the way back to 1903, when American anti-monopolist, Lizzie Magie, created a game that she hoped would explain the single tax theory. It was originally called The Landlord’s Game, and became Monopoly in 1932.
There are now so many versions of this game – over 75 to date (and we counted 6 in our house alone) – but the basic rules are always the same. Whether you land in a Fairy Castle on Park Lane in London or Hogwarts castle in the Harry Potter version, it is by far one of the most well known games in the world. It requires strategy as you build your property empire and patience as it’s a game that can go on for hours if not days. Be warned this game can lead to a few relationship breaking deals and tantrums if things don’t go to plan. (Yours, not the kids!) I’m never quite sure how, but kids always seem to have a knack for wheeling and dealing their way to victory when it comes to Monopoly.
Note to parents: don’t let kids be the banker!
Settlers of Catan is one of those board games you just can’t stop playing! You’d think a game about bricks and wood will be relatively harmless. But you need more than luck and strategy. And, the will to destroy your opponents will only get you so far. You’re also gonna need savvy negotiating skills and tons of practice.
In this award winning game, players need to try and be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building their own settlements, cities and roads. Points are collected by having the longest road or creating the largest army. The first player to gather 10 victory points is declared the winner. Beware of frayed tempers and tantrums over stolen resources! There are over 70 different versions of Catan and the latest Games of Thrones Catan was a huge success over Easter with my teens.
You can’t go wrong with this all-time favorite kids board game. Candy Land has been a classic family board game for many years, and your kids will love making their way through the magical World of Sweets. Candy Land is best for children ages 3 to 6, and it can be played with 2 to 4 people at a time as you make your way along the rainbow path and be the first to reach King Kandy’s castle. Kids will encounter fun surprises as they travel through magical locations like the Peppermint Forest and Chocolate Mountains — be wary of certain cards that can send you back, though!
Kids love this speedy card game, ideally for 6+ where they feel like they’re sitting at a Yo Sushi table and trying to grab as many plates as possible as they whiz by! You score points for collecting the most sushi rolls and you get to dip your favorite nigiri in wasabi to triple your points. Like all good card games many variations of the original have sprung up and Sushi Go Party is currently being enjoyed in our house!
Junior Scrabble & Scrabble
Here’s another all-time favorite! A fun and educational board game that’s been adapted especially for children. Scrabble Junior comes with a two-sided game board that has two difficulty levels, both perfectly suited for younger players. Scrabble Junior is designed for children ages 4-5 and up, and you can play with 2 to 4 people. The double-sided game board features a letter-matching activity for younger players, allowing them to practice their alphabet skills. The game comes with four fun character tokens to help keep score and to keep young players engaged.
On the other, more advanced side of the board, there’s a classic Scrabble setup where kids can start building their own words in the traditional crossword-style game. Scrabble is great, it’s a game that has grown up with my children and has stayed in the family for years. As an added bonus, it’s a great way for young students to practice spelling and reading! You’ll probably need a dictionary on standby to out the cheaters.
Junior Pictionary & Pictionary
This is a game where your sides will ache with laughter by the end and where kids find out that their parents cant draw either! Junior Pictionary is a simplified version of the parent game and is especially designed for a younger audience. If your lucky enough to have both, you can always play with two sets of cards making the game more age appropriate for all budding artists – or not!
Topics to draw come from the cards and an hourglass marks the time you get to guess what the picture is. You can play this with or without the board and dice and it’s fun either way, the winner is the one with the most correct guesses. Keep the scraps of paper as they will bring back the funniest memories in years to come!
Junior Clue & Cluedo
I’ve seen some great social media posts lately with families playing Cluedo who dress up as murder-mystery characters to add more fun to the game. It’s a simple game of whodunnit and in the junior version if you have younger kids instead of discovering who killed Mr. Boddy players have to discover “who ate the cake?” Kids have to become super sleuths and discover who ate the cake, what time the cake was eaten and what drink was eaten with the cake. The mechanics are simplified for this kids version but it’s very similar to Cluedo the original murder mystery game where you need to question your fellow players to find out who committed a murder. The trick is to be clever with your questioning! Of the many versions available Cluedo Chocolate still remains a firm favorite in my house.
Funny how no-one had the game PANDEMIC on their list right now!
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