Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Favorite Strategy Games

It's been so gray in my corner of the world, so I'll continue to write about indoor activities...

After my last post about chess, I thought I'd write about a few of my favorite strategy games that are less complex. These are the kinds of games that require you to think and plan but that you can begin playing right away. Also, they tend not to take very long to play but are so engaging that you want to play over and over!

First is Cathedral World (which has been renamed Monumental Moves). This is the game my daughter and I would almost always play when we were in a game mood. It is a gorgeous game. All of the 28 architectural playing pieces are replicas of famous buildings around the world, and the playing board is a grid of squares surrounded by four famous walls (one on each side). The game is recommended for (two) players eight years and older. One player gets the dark pieces, and the other gets the light ones. The object is to place as many of your buildings as possible on the board, claiming territory by making wise, strategic moves.

Playing is fun in itself, but this game also could be incorporated into a "Buildings" unit in a classroom or homeschooling curriculum (or home enrichment). Sally Haughey of Fairy Dust Teaching has some great ideas for a buildings/skyscrapers theme, and the story of the Three Pigs fits nicely into this architectural theme, as well. (A caution with regard to using this game in the classroom is that the pieces are quite delicate, and small parts could break off if they aren't handled with the utmost care.) When I was homeschooling, I printed out pictures of each of the buildings featured in Cathedral World so my daughter could see what they look like in full color, and we labeled the plastic storage trays with the name of each building. (Putting the pieces back into their storage trays is an exercise in spatial recognition!)

The game was a doorway into the exploration of buildings and architecture, and I paired it with a Dorling Kindersley book, Amazing Buildings.

With all the online resources available now, you can research the buildings in depth and even take virtual tours of some of them (the Taj Mahal, for instance). It's fun to locate them on Google Earth, as well.

Quarto! is a favorite game of deductive reasoning recommended for ages six and older. It consists of a game board and 16 unique pieces with different attributes. The object is to create a row of four pieces that share a common attribute, and what makes it challenging is that players take turns placing the piece given to them by their opponent. Quarto! also can be played online.

And finally, there's Othello (a.k.a. Reversi), a strategy game that "takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master." This is a two-player game recommended for ages seven (or thereabouts) and up that consists of a board and 64 two-colored discs (black on one side and white on the other). The object is to have as many discs of your color (black or white) as possible on the board when the game is over. Moves are made by "outflanking" (trapping) your opponent's discs and flipping them over to your color. This game also can be played online.

And there you have it - some of my favorite, cerebral contenders for family game night! I would love to hear about your favorite games!

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss ( with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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