Five Non-Video Games for Your Tween Gamer

If like me, you find yourself referring to Ash and Link as if they are real people and find many of your conversations with your child revolve around video game strategy, perhaps you’d like a break from video games. My eleven year old son, Ben, has offered us a respite by identifying his five favorite non-video games that require actual human interaction (and in two cases, cooperation).

5-non-videoMille Bornes

A card game based on the idea that the players are in a cross-country car race. There are cards with miles traveled, flat tires, repairs, etc. The game is different every time you play and from a mom’s perspective the math practice (adding up the miles) is truly appreciated. Ben says: I like it because it is fast and fun. It’s a game based on luck.


This is a fun, cooperative card game. The goal is to create fireworks display with the other players. The challenge is that you cannot see your own cards. You have to rely on other players to help you create the best fire works display before time runs out. I love that you have to work together and that there is an element of risk. Ben says: I like it because it is really, really hard. You really have to not shuffle your cards.


This game is both fun, educational, and cooperative. The goal in this game for the group is to pick a pail of blueberries before the sun goes down. Along the way, players collect herbs and use the herbs to heal issues along the way. So kids learn how to work together to achieve a common goal and about the healing property of herbs. Ben says: It teaches you about herbs.


This is a relatively fast dice game that both of my kids love. Using a score sheet and a changing number of dice, players try to build the most points during multiple rounds of play. One huge advantage of this game is that it can be slipped into a purse and taken just about anywhere. The deluxe version of the game contains dry erase board, but decreases its portability. Ben says: It’s fun and I can put it in my backpack for a quick game during free time at campouts.


Of the games listed, this is, without question, the most involved and the most expensive. However, it has a lot of playability and variation, which makes it appealing to video game players. Players collect resources, build cities, and build armies. To extend play, there are expansions to the initial game that create a lot of playing options. Ben says: I like collecting things and that it is hard.

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