I’ve been a big fan of fantasy board games for ages, and I’ve been looking for some good way of getting my six year-old daughter interested in this magical pastime. Sure, there are plenty of board games for children but let’s face it: if you’ve been playing more advanced stuff for decades, even the “regular” board games for adults will bore you to tears in just a few turns (Monopoly? Seriously?). So, most of the stuff aimed at kids feels completely pointless. I’ve been looking for a game that we both can enjoy and get into.
Sadly, there aren’t a lot of fantasy games for younger kids. I’ve been recommended a few titles — Mice and Mystics, for example — which look like a lot of fun, but are maybe slightly too complex for a six year-old. In a couple of years, yeah, but not right now.
I have some old Lord of the Rings board game with pretty straightforward rules that we’ve been playing from time to time for over a year. Only problem is… it’s not really a lot of fun. The whole premise is somewhat odd and we’ve ended up having to alter so much of the rules that we might as well play some entirely different game instead.
Then a few weeks back I realized that the answer had been there right in front of me the entire time.
My daughter’s crazy about Lego. And to be honest, so am I. During a visit to a local thrift shop I picked up a copy of Lego Heroica Draida Bay, and the first time we played it was a real eureka! moment. It’s a simplistic fantasy dungeon crawler, made with Lego. And we had a great time playing it. It instantly met every requirement I had!
Ironically, I’ve seen these games in various toy shops over the last years but I’ve always dismissed them because, well, they didn’t look that great and were kind of expensive. And now that we’ve discovered them… they’re not being sold anymore. Figures.
They’re still available on the used market, thankfully, and we’ve managed to get hold of Waldurk Forest as well. I’m keeping an eye out for the other titles. Castle Fortaan looks awesome!
To anyone else looking to introduce their kids to the wonders of fantasy board games — you should really give the Heroica games a try. Yes, the rules are dead simple but it’s easy to expand upon them. Battle Heroica — basically an RPG/strategy variant of the rules — is by far the most fun, where one player controls a party of heroes and the other the monsters. My daughter always wants to control the monsters, and usually kicks my butt with much glee. I think I see a GM in the making there…