"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 26th 2017
When Little Kids Want Big Games
Eventually, there comes a time that every board games geek dreads. It is when the children in the next room tire of the DVD's and Hungry Hippos provided for them on games night and venture into the adults room. They come with their chocolate smudged fingers and snotty noses and peer across the table. They are eyeing the enticing board game you have just spent half an hour laying out (not including the expansion kits). They are fingering the playing pieces and climbing onto laps, 'Ooh this looks a great game, can we play?' Your brain is screaming no, you offer Kerplunk, they sneer with derision. Now is the moment to pull out your 'just for kids' version of said game and a packet of Twisties and send them back to the depths of the rumpus room.
My First Carcassonne
Kids Classic I am convinced it was something like the above scenario that spawned the evolution of kids versions of adult classics like My First Carcassone by Z Man Games, either that or a whole raft of mummy and daddy gamers frantic to get their 5 year old into geekdom as early as possible. My First Carcassonne is such a version. It is designed for 2-4 players and from ages 4 upwards. It has the same lovely artwork as the original but with larger chunkier tiles that will withstand sticky hands and tough treatment, but the gameplay is different to the original. The game only lasts for 15-25 minutes and is very simple to pick up.
There is a backstory to the game that the village farm animals have escaped during a French national holiday and the children have to round them all up before dusk. This story serves to introduce the medieval theme running through the Carcassonne franchise of games and there are a few animals that appear on the tile pieces that kids seem to like. It is a very different game from the original in its gameplay, but still very enjoyable.
The Large Tiles are Easy to Handle
Same but Different Each player is dealt tiles and given eight playing pieces called meeples. The meeples in my First Carcassonne are considerably larger than the original and easier for smaller hands to handle. Unlike the original, the tiles always fit together neatly, making it possible for each player to put down their tiles one after the other, until they construct a road that is complete. Once a road has been finished, players can put down a corresponding coloured meeple on any children on that road. The aim of the game is to get rid of your meeples and build roads, until all the tiles are used up.
Meet the Meeples
This is a great standalone game for kids not old enough to play the adult version and helpful to introduce some of the materials involved in the original. However, although the tiles and meeples will be familiar, that's where the similarities end. It's a fun game and it introduces the basics of strategic thinking and tactics and as it's short, you don't need a lot of concentration either. My First Carcassonne will be enjoyed by all and may help to divert the kids away from your precious games for a little while longer.