10 Tips for Playing Games with Your Kids from Gen Con Moms

Considering Gen Con is the largest tabletop-game convention in North America by both attendance and number of events — and takes placed in our beloved downtown Indy — we thought it fitting to have the Gen Con team weigh in with their tips and picks for family-friendly tabletop games. 

Three working moms from the Gen Con staff offer their favorite family-friendly game ideas and tips to maintain the family peace while at home with the kids. Megan Culver, Marian McBrine and Cyra Valenzuela Benedict are all at different ends of the gaming spectrum, from casual gamers to experts. They talk about their experiences, tips, and favorite games with their kids, ranging in ages 5 through 10. Here are their top 10 tips: 

  1. Start with mechanics of the game. Then roll into strategy and build into winning and losing.
  2. Parents should know the game instructions beforehand. 
  3. Let your kid pick the game. It might hold their interest more if they take the lead. 
  4. Don’t you let your kids win! It’s important for them to learn how to lose. But perhaps when they’re young, choose an easier game that requires more luck that strategy to allow them the chance to know how winning feels. 
  5. Parents, consider coaching kids through your strategy for the first few rounds, e.g. stating out loud, “I’m going to make this move because it will give me a this advantage.” Help them wrap their head around the strategy. 
  6. Teach the importance of winning and losing graciously. 
  7. For younger kids, consider a cooperative game so the whole group can win together, as it’s easy to teach the kids strategy of what all the players are thinking 
  8. Haba is a great brand of games, as they offer quality games even adults like to play.
  9. Have an open mind and encourage your kids to also have an open mind. Get into your kid’s favorite game and encourage your kid to try something new, too!
  10. Remember that they’re kids and they don’t have a lot of patience. It’s 100% okay to not finish a game. 

For more:

  • Check out their conversation on Twitch here, starting at 1 hour, 49 minutes.
  • Marian McBrine, Event Manager offers her favorite games here.
  • Cyra Valenzuela Benedict, Senior Operations Manager offers her favorite games here.

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