I have been trying for a few years to get my son interested in playing wargames. I started with "Blue Max" but kept the movement and combat simple - no use of charts and a 5 or 6 shot down the plane - to get him going. It seemed to work as we have played a few more times since. When he is a bit older I'll introduce him to the real rules. We have also been playing the simple card game Grand Prix which he thoroughly enjoys and has beaten me everytime we have played.

What are some ploys used by other players to get the sons/daughters interested in gaming?

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Comment by Lewis Goldberg on March 4, 2008 at 9:28pm
I started my oldest (now 14) on chess at 6. It wasn't an option - I just told him he was going to learn. My idea was not to grow up a wargamer (I wasn't back to playing yet then), rather just to foster the analytical skills required in gaming.

Since then he has had a general liking for games. At 9 he asked when I'm going to teach him one of "those games" (pointing to AH's Third Reich on the shelf, one of only two boxed games I still had back then). I said, oh about now. And we were off and running.

My now 9 year old third son cut his teeth on Strike Force One. We must have played that 20 times. We just finished Chicamauga (B&G) and next is Panzer Blitz ... I think he's ready now. We'll see.

Number two son couldn't care less about my games. He likes abstract games, and "platformers", as they are called.

My 5 year old boy asked me just the other week, "when I'm a big boy can I play a wargame with you dad?" They just see me doing it and want to play too. YMMV
Comment by Bryan Collars on March 4, 2008 at 2:13pm
I started my then 8 and 6 year old on HeroScape as well, just the basic game. This year when they turned 9 and 7 I added the more complex advanced rules. Both still prefer the basic game but they at least play from time to time and beat Dad more often than not. They enjoy creating the terrain to play on more than the game I think. I just purchased Manouevre from GMT and I have high hopes for it. The mechanics are straight forward and easily understood even for an 8 year old. The complexity arises from the decisions you have to make. Overtime I expect that each of my boys will get better at this game and others I plan on introducing them to.
Comment by John Kranz on March 4, 2008 at 1:53pm
What I often hear (my son just turned one last month so I have a ways to go) is that any game that offers a tactile, 3D feel (i.e. miniatures) with lots of action and rolling of dice is going to be a thrill for young kids. Something about those dice!Delete Comment
Comment by Steve Dixon on March 4, 2008 at 9:39am
Interesting - my son is also more into the mechanics. My two daughters on the other hand are more into strategy when we play our family games!
Comment by nix342 on March 4, 2008 at 9:30am
I started my son with Memoir '44. I was leary at first, but used the "variant for young generals" and had great success. This variant involves taking out the "tactics" cards from the deck leaving only the "section" cards. The section cards are graphically represented, so he didn't need to read any text, which would have slowed things down greatly. We had a great time with that and he even learned some history as I made it a point to read the background provided with each module.

We've moved on to BattleLore which adds a lot of complexity and he does well. We've also played Nexus Ops (OOP, but easy to find) which he enjoys.

Now all these games have one thing going for them...plastic minis. That is an obvious attraction for boys. But, he is expressing interest in more "serious" wargames now as well, so I think they do act well as stepping stones. I let him hang out and watch for a bit when I host a wargame night. Recently he watched an entire game of Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, and was very interested.

On the other hand, I've been trying the same thing with my younger son, and he hasn't quite taken to it the way his brother did. He's still interested in some games and I just follow his lead, playing what he likes, and I'm able to see his taste in games is slowly developing.

What is interesting is that I think the younger son is grasping the tactical and strategic ideas better than his older brother, who seems to grasp the game mechanics a bit easier. In any case, it's fun to share the hobby with them and see them both develop into gamers, although in different ways.
Comment by Steve Dixon on March 4, 2008 at 9:22am
I need to correct an error - the Grand Prix card game is actually Reiner Knizia's Formula Motor Racing by GMT. Results are still the same though!

Our family playe Miles Bourne also. My wife is pretty good at it. My son though hasn't take up the challenge yet!
Comment by Scott Pfeiffer on March 4, 2008 at 9:15am
My son and I started with the old Naval War card game. I took out the special cards at first (like mines) and added them as he got comfortable. Later we moved to Miles Bourne and then Battle Cry.

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