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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's
Strategy Games that
Even Young Children can Play

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

At our house, we have a big collection of board games that promote
thinking skills.  We've collected them over the years, mostly at yard sales
and thrift stores... many are no longer produced, but are still available
(used) on eBay and at thrift stores.  The strategy games that I've listed
below are fun and interesting and worth playing more than once or twice.  
They can even be played by pre-schoolers, as there is no reading required
(after someone reads and explains the  directions, that is).  Most of these
games continue to be challenging on up into the teen years (so they are
not too boring for older siblings or parents to play too ;-)

Blokus -- players place geometric pieces on a board, following simple
rules, and the player who is able to play the most pieces wins, (play online!)

SET game -- follow the pattern rules to find matches -- trickier than you
might think!  
Play online for free to try it out

INPUT by Milton Bradley -- 2 players move tiles around the board in a set
pattern inscribed on each tile - the strategy is to look ahead several moves
to knock your opponent's tiles out by landing on them.  A little like chess in
planning skills.

strata5 by Milton Bradley --  2 players build up plastic "modules" into a
structure that will let you get your pieces to the top (5th) level, while
blocking your opponent's pieces.  Lots of "building codes" to follow - so
good for the "rule-loving" types.      

SHIFTI by OrDa Ind ltd (a company from Isreal) -- 2 - 4 players move
pieces across the board by rolling dice that go up to 6 and have stars on
them.  Rolling a star means you move a slide which shifts the squares on
the playing board.   Strategy level/difficulty increases with number of
players.  Requires flexibility in seeing alternate paths.

Sequence by JAX (Minneapolis, MN, USA) -- 2 players match (standard)
playing cards from their "hand" to matching pictures on the board to get 5
in a row and to block your opponent.  The strategy is in the timing of when
to play the cards you have.  Requires attention to detail and good
"scanning" skills (the board is visually very busy - 10 x 10).

Mastermind by Pavilion -- 2 players, one player arranges a hidden
pattern of colored pegs, the other player tries to figure out the hidden
pattern thru strategy and trial and error.  The player choosing the pattern
must be reliable enough (old enough) to accurately assess and mark the
progress of the other player (or arguments will ensue ;-)   For younger
players, keep it to two colors.

RUBIK'S RACE by Ideal -- 2 players match a 3x3 color block pattern by
sliding the squares on their own 5x5 playing board.   Skills are similar to the
hand-held sliding puzzles where one square is open, and the numbers are
scrambled, and must be re-ordered.  

Tri-Trac by Milton Bradley -- 2 players place plastic triangles into spaces
on a plastic playing board, trying to make a path from any one of 4 end
points to another.  

Domination by Milton Bradley -- 2 to 4 players move pieces around an
octagonal board alternately stacking and unstacking the pieces in order to
capture their opponent's stacks

Universe by Parker Brothers -- 2 players take turns placing pentamino
shaped pieces, trying to be the last who can legally place a piece,  
popularized by the 2001: A Space Odyssey movie

Yahtzee by Milton Bradley -- any number of players, roll dice and get
points for certain combinations and patterns, similar to poker hands
(back to)
math options