I picked up the board game “Carcasonne”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005UNAX?ie=UTF8&tag=mantonorg&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00005UNAX/ a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it. It’s great to see some innovation in board games again, and it’s a relaxing change of pace from video games. Target and the other big box stores are still mostly packed with remakes of classic board games, which are fine, but if you seek out the more speciality shops there’s a range of good stuff available. I bought my copy at “Dragon’s Lair”:http://www.dlair.net/, a local Austin comics and games shop that I’ve been frequenting for about 15 years, but I’ve seen it featured prominently at other quality toy stores.
I originally sought out Carcasonne for play between adults, but I’ve found the game also works great for kids even younger than the 8 years recommended on the box. Just follow a few rule simplifications. First, no farmers. Next, as recommended by someone in an Amazon review, use the word “traveler” instead of thief. And finally, just score a single point for any completed castle, road, or cloister. Part of the charm of the game is in constructing the map anyway, so these simplified rules make for fast and enjoyable games for younger children.