The Kids Of Carcassonne
Like games? This game is nothing short of genius. It’s another recommendation from the friend that introduced me to Story Cubes. We started my daughter off playing when she was three. It took a little while for her to grasp the concept, but now she plays a mean game!
According to the board game website BoardGame Guru, “Each year, the people of France celebrate a national holiday on July 14th. In Carcassonne, the people mark the day by releasing the sheep, chickens and cows from their pens. All day, the children of Carcassonne make great fun by trying to catch the animals and return them to their pens by dusk. This highly simplified version of the best-selling Carcassonne gives small children the chance to enjoy this great game, even with their families”.
It really is a very clever design. The game consists of square tiles with roads and houses printed on them, and small wooden figures in four different colours with eight figures per colour. The aim is to arrange the cards so that you can put your figures down on the roads. The first player to use all their figures wins. Sounds simple, and really it is, but there is quite a lot more to it than that.
As you can see, kids of different colours are running on the roads to catch their animals. Look at the road that has the two yellow figures on top of the pictures of the yellow girls. The road ends with a well at one end and a house at the other. If you can create a ‘closed’ road like this, you can put your figures down on the characters.
It’s a little more complicated than that as it requires you to start thinking about your opponent’s position as well as your own. It’s a fantastic introduction to games that require a little strategy, not just pot luck.We started playing two player games with one adult helping the little one. Most of the time we let her win, but as time went on we thought it best she learn to lose as well. Not the easiest thing. We always begin with a question now: “Who is going to win? Don’t know!” It starts us in the right frame of mind and mostly there are no problems. Still, she is only four.
What is this game doing on a blog about raising your children bilingually? It can be played in any language. It is a social activity that can lead to more interesting conversation later. Most of all though it is a great game which can be played by any age with a real chance that the young ones can still beat the old. It is healthy competition and does what every good game should do: it helps us learn about other people and a little about ourselves.