Over the last month I've had an impressive streak of dud games and bored-appearing players. Further, I've loaned out some games to my elite game-testing gang and gotten very poor reviews back. Rather than changing the blog to Dr. Fischer's Import Car Tuner Night I set out to figure out this losing streak.
It seems like in each case I was introducing a game that was designed for a much older player. Some of the fault lies in the fact that I think all the kids I know are super geniuses. In addition I love all these games and assume everyone else should love them as well. I got a bit of a reality check, however, when one mom returned a copy of Bang! and said it held her kid's attention for about a minute, and then they all begged to play Sleeping Queens.
Of course, this doesn't mean that all the children I know are not in fact super geniuses. It does mean, though, that if you're investing in a game it's probably not a bad idea to check the age range on the box and keep your goals realistic. We know that developing an early interest in books has benefits for children when they reach school. In a similar vein playing the simple games early on may set the stage for Bang! and Carcassonne later.