Reviewing Children’s Games

With having 2 little girls in my household, I plan on reviewing several children’s games over the next many years.  Up to this point, I’ve been basically using the standard 10-point BGG scale to review them, but have been soing so with a sensitivity to playing them with children.  The more kid’s games I play, though, the less relevant I think a scale like that really is.  

So, both to seperate children’s game reviews from everything else I talk about and to hopefully give a little more concrete direction to other parents out there reading these reviews, here’s how I’ll be rating these games from now on: 

 = I think that there’s something really special about this game.  It either has rather universal appeal or has been exceptionally fun for me and my family.  Definitely pick it up! 
= This is a solid game, and I would recommend it to most parents, usually with some guidelines about what kind of children I think might enjoy it most.
= There’s something about this game that makes me a little uneasy about it.  It may still be interesting or fun for some children, but be cautious in picking this up unless you’re confident that your child will like it. 
= This game is broken, stupid, and/or boring; do not buy it!

I certainly welcome any thoughts or questions about this scale, and hope that it will better reflect my overall feelings about the children’s games I play!


  1. Chris, I think this is a good idea. I already feel like I’m modifying the BGG 10-point scale ‘on the fly’ for a lot of games; how often do you hear me preface my rating by saying ‘for what it is, it’s a [blank]?’ Making this switch formal, at least for this subset of your reviews, makes perfect sense.

  2. Chris Norwood

    Yep.  And I guess that it’s really less of a rating than a recommendation.  It’s similar to On Board Games’ “Stoplight” ratings or Game On with Cody & John’s “Buy, Try, or Deny” system, but I’ve also added in the double-thumbs-up for games I really like a lot.

  3. I think this focus is an awesome idea! Of course, I could be biased as I mostly play with my kids. 🙂

    I completely agree that the BGG scale is not applicable to kids games. Indeed when I talk about any Eurogame and its appropriateness for children, I use a broad “rating” system. I explain such on a separate page of my blog. If you’re interested, check it out and let me know what you think.

  4. Chris Norwood

    Wow, I love your blog! (and just linked to it on my sidebar…)

    I like how your system clearly identifies the game’s appropriate audience, which I guess that I try to do in my comments somewhere, but may not be as easily identifiable.  But your kids are of a better age to get that kind of differentiation (since you can play almost any game with them), unlike my 3-year-old who’s just getting started with gaming. 

    I also wanted to focus more on the “would I recommend the game” aspect of the rating system, since so many children’s games are so terrible.  I think that I would like to find a more formal way of rating the parental enjoyment factor, though…

  5. Wow, thanks for the compliment and the link! Yeah, I’d agree your situation warrants a different type of rating system and I like it. In fact, with a 4-year old daughter, I’ll be paying attention to your kid game reviews with an eye for new games when the budget allows!

  6. Chris Norwood

    Cool.  I’m going to put together a mass-review of a few other children’s games that I’ve played lately probably next week, so keep an eye out!

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