2013 Best Children’s Game

The winner of the 2013 Best Children’s Game Award from Boardgames Australia is

Catan: Junior

The game, designed by Klaus Teuber (who also designed the best-selling Settlers of Catan) is published by Mayfair Games in the U.S.

This is a wonderful game in which the pirates (players) acquire resources such as rum and cutlasses, and then spend them to build more pirate ships or lairs. There is a die roll at the start of each turn that determines which of the islands on the board will be producing resources, and every pirate with a lair next to that island receives one of the goods. Then players may trade to get the set of resources they need, and finally resources are spent to expand your pirate empire!

There is a bit of luck, a bit of strategy, some interaction between players as your trading or expansion may thwart their plans – but there are no blood-thirsty raids and everyone will succeed in growing their piratical influence. The game ends as soon as one pirate has all seven of their lairs on the board, which usually takes about 30 minutes. Suitable for the whole family from ages 5 and up.

Our judges said:

“Everyone from age 5 to 95 will be cheering, groaning and having fun.”

“Now kids can enjoy the most popular game of modern times too.”

“Spend your precious treas-arrh wisely, if ye want to be the pirate chief!”

We also have a runner-up for this year:

Rhino Hero

Designed by Scott Frisco & Steven Strumpf and published by HABA.

Rhino Hero cover. From the publisher’s website.

Rhino Hero is a clever and cute dexterity game, about an unlikely superhero who wants to climb tall buildings. Your job is to place walls and then a roof to make the skyscraper get taller. Each roof indicates what the next player must do and where their walls must go. Trying to set the next player up so that it will all fall down, is the fun. Eventually someone’s construction efforts or Rhino Hero’s weight will cause the tower to come tumbling down!

Rhino Hero tower. From the publisher’s web site.

Similar to the building game Jenga, this is smaller, has beautiful graphics, a bit more strategy, and won’t ruin your table when the tower collapses!

Our judges said:

“This is an absolute corker of a game. A must-play and a must-buy!”