- Go (baduk, weiqi, หมากล้อม). For now, we are playing on small boards, usually 5x5 or smaller.
- Qwirkle (not regulation play, a form of War invented by J3 and grandma)
I've ordered these by my own preference. In fact, I would be delighted playing just the first two exclusively and am happy to play cribbage or Qwirkle when asked.
For the other three, I find myself biting my tongue a bit and grudgingly agreeing to be part of the game. I'm in the mood for strategic depth and a moderate (but not large) amount of pure chance. Part of my feeling was echoed in a recent My Little Poppies post: Gateway Games.
However, as in the MLP post, I recognize that my enjoyment of the game is only a part of the reason for the activity. I guess the kids' enjoyment counts, too.
Beyond that, even the games with limited depth are helping to build habits and skills:
- executive control: assessing the situation, understanding what behavior is appropriate, understanding options and making choices.
- general gaming etiquette: taking turns, use of the game materials
- meta-gaming: helping and encouraging each other, making sure that the littler ones have fun, too
- numeracy and literacy: every time a number or calculation comes up or when something needs to be read, they are reinforcing their observation that math and reading are all around them.
- meta-meta gaming: game choice, consensus building, finding options that interest and are suitable for all the players, knowing when it is time to play and when it isn't.
As a family, and a little team, they are also building a shared set of experiences and jargon as they absorb ideas from each of the games.
All of these are, of course, enough reason to make the effort to be open minded and follow their gaming lead.