Recommendations: Strategy board games appropriate for 8+

My 8-year-old son and I have just started playing Risk, which I never got into as a kid. He loves it, but I’m not sure if it’s a solid game over the long term. It seems like it might be unbalanced with the idea of huge armies being able to win battle after battle in a single turn, so it might get boring/lame once we get good at it. If you disagree, though, I’d be interested to hear.

He’s also had interest in Settlers of Catan (Star Trek version), his friend showed it to him. What do you think of it? Any chance an 8-year-old could handle it?

Other recommendations?

An 8 year old can easily handle Settlers of Catan.

I’d also recommend Small World, King of Tokyo, and if you like co-operative games Forbidden Island. Those are all games that are enjoyed by myself, my kid in Kindergarten, and my kid in high school.

You might try Ra, I second Small World. If he’s into Risk you might have a little wargamer on your hands. Eight is a little early but there are some good entry level wargames out there; Hammer of the Scots, Axis & Allies, Maneuver and tons more.

I’ll reiterate Small World. 8+ should be able to handle Catan and Carcasonne, which are both “entry level” strategy board games.

Definitely Small World.

Ditch Risk as rapidly as possible, it is a fundamentally awful game. :wink:

Ticket to Ride is very popular for a reason.
There is actually a good Catan Jr game, but the regular is probably OK. (Star Trek adds some complexity)

Caracasonne is also good - farmer scoring is the only complicated part and can be eliminated for younger folks


Statego is a good strategy board game. Kind of a cross between chess and checkers.

In the early game when armies are spread thin across the map, you can amass a large force and march across a large area, but of course you have to leave armies behind every time you defeat a country, so it’s usually unwise to do this; someone else is just going to do the same thing to you.

Blokus. It’s a bit more abstract than the other games mentioned, but is a very good game (though the spatially gifted will kick the shit out of everyone every time).

You could try Castle Risk. I feel it’s a deeper and more balanced game (e.g. you have a “hidden” army you could use as extra reinforcements, or for launching a surprise attack, and you get reinforcements at the end of your turn rather than the beginning).

Good call. Stratego is a great two player strategy game. Once I got into “designer” board games (e.g. Catan, Small World, etc…), Hasbro/Milton Bradley mass distributed games, generally seemed to be bland and the flaws became apparent, but Stragego holds up well.

Ok, I’m currently debating between Small World and Ticket to Ride. If I had to pick just one – and remember that I’m playing with an 8-year-old – which would you recommend?

Thanks for all the awesome info by the way!! I knew you buncha nerds (said lovingly!) would come through for me.

I love them both, but if you held a gun to my head I’d go with Small World. You can’t go wrong with either one though.

Ticket to Ride is slightly easier to learn, Small World is far more thematic and would appeal to a young boy more I should think.

8-year-old me would have liked Small World more. It’s a toss up for 33-year-old me.

I’m adding one more vote for Small World - it’s a lot closer to Risk while being a far better game and colorful and fun(ny) to boot. A Ticket to Ride is more of a building game, not a strategic war game.

My 7 year-old plays Ticket-to-Ride on my iPad and likes it quite a bit. I got him Stratego for Xmas and we’ve been playing that also.
If you get Stratego make sure you get the Classic version (80 pieces) on-line somewhere. Seems like all the toy stores carry these days is the dumbed down 60 piece futuristic version.

Go for the source - chess is fine for an 8 year old to learn. :cool:

The rules are simple; the game has many levels; it’s played world-wide; there’s books to read; there are computer programs for teaching and practice.

Catan Junior is likely too easy for an 8 year old.