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Category Archives: games

You know how I’m really interested in virology and epidemiology?  No?  Well, I am.  I’ve always found the topics fascinating.  Partly because of such, I find Pandemic to be a very entertaining game.  In Pandemic, deadly diseases are breaking out all over the world.  All players play cooperatively as different specialists to try to cure and rid the world of said diseases.

Pandemic is nice in that it’s all players against the board.  If you have issues playing games with people because there’s always a poor winner or sore loser, a cooperative game might help.  There is a good deal of cooperative strategy as the board tries to kill everyone on earth with diseases (of four different varieties!) and your plucky band of specialists try to stop it.

You decide at the beginning of the game on the difficulty level.  The game gets progressively harder as gameplay proceeds due to the metered card draws that introduce more conflict and challenge to the game.  Players lose if eight outbreaks occur (because of worldwide panic), not enough disease cubes are left (a disease has spread too much), or not enough player cards remain (team runs out of time).  Players win if they find cures for all four diseases.


I think this game is playable for older children.  The youngest ones I occasionally have in my care are 7-8 years old.  I don’t think they’d really appreciate the gameplay or understand the strategy.  I have one exceptionally bright 10 year old who I think could do really well with this game if I could convince him that it’s a cooperative game.  All the little boys are really competitive.  Loudly and blatantly so.  The girls can be just as competitive, but generally they’ve been more subtle.

Bonus: If you want to play for the opposite team, i.e. be the disease that wipes out the world, you can play Plague Inc.  This is a phone/video/computer game in which you…try to wipe out the world population with disease.  There’s only one disease caused by one active microbe at a time, but each microbe has different characteristics which requires different strategies for propagation.  You can evolve and mutate the microbe to modify its infectivity, severity, and lethality and drug/climate resistance.  I…may enjoy playing Plague Inc. a little too much.  I…may find it too satisfying to cause a pandemic and wipe out the world’s population…


Moar games!

Another board game that’s good for kids is Takenoko.  Takenoko is a bit more traditional than the games I’ve brought up so far?  Actually, not really.  It is friendly to the younger kids although, you may have to be a bit patient explaining all the rules and mechanics of the game.  This isn’t a huge problem though because the game pieces themselves are often entertaining enough to keep them interested in the game during the learning curve.  There isn’t much whininess about how the game is too hard and therefore boring.

In Takenoko, you try and fulfill objectives related to the panda eating bamboo, the gardener growing bamboo, or completing a particular plot formation in the garden.  Objectives are drawn from the related decks of cards.  The game board is modular and built with each game.  There is a panda figurine and gardener figurine that can move across the board and eat or grow bamboo respectively.  The bamboo growth is also physically shown, as you stack (or take away) bamboo pieces from the different garden plots.

Describing the game like this makes it seem kind of boring.  But really, it’s more ridiculous than anything.  And it actually is quite a bit of fun and lighthearted.  I mean, the rules of the game are written partly in comic book form.

This is probably the game we’ve played the most with a variety of people after my brother and I test played.  It’s not bad as a two player game.  Three to four players would probably be best.