The Best of The Dad Game
The Best of The Dad Game
How board games can help you build communication and connection with your kids
About the Book
As a parent, you want a solid relationship with your kids, right? Build a bond that’s strong and flexible, that connects and carries you through the tweens, teens, and into adulthood?
Yup, me too. And this book can help you get there.
As a young parent of two delightful kids, I had no clue what I was doing. I screwed up a lot in my attempts to connect, especially when the kids entered their tween and teen years. Spending time together suddenly got harder. I can’t count the number of times that “let’s sit down and talk” ended with everybody angry and someone near tears (often me).
That's where games came into the picture. When my kids and I played board games together, we (almost) never fought. Instead, we breezily talked and joked with each other. The only tears happened when we couldn’t stop laughing together. Shocking, right?
Something amazing was happening, and it all started with with a struggling dad, a couple of frustrated kids, and some extraordinary board games.
After spending several years digging into academic research on family communication, family lesiure, shared activities (like playing board games), I launched The Dad Game, a newspaper column to share what I learned and give families hands-on advice in making this stuff work.
This book contains the best of my columns so far. It covers the basics (like why this stuff works and what the research says) along with game recommendations and reviews, inspirational ideas to help you build better connections, and plenty of other helpful info.
I'll keep adding to the book as time goes on. I'm about to pass 50 published columns and still going strong, so I'll have plenty of material to draw from into the future.
Here's to connecting with your kids and building the kind of memories that will keep you warm for years to come. Let's play The Dad Game!!
In the Beginning…
- Where the Trip Started
- And Then There Were Games
- Why I Kept This Short
- Let’s Do This Thing
You’re Not Doing It Right!
- Oh yeah, I said it.
- Focus on fun
When the Time Is (or Isn’t) Right for a Game
- Checking everybody’s moods
- Looking at the clock
Four Secrets to Finding a Great Family Game
- Type of competition
- What’s right for your family?
Feeling Strategic or Lucky?
- Where does your game live?
- Finding the sweet spot
Fun by the Minute: Secrets of Playing Time
- Start where you are
- Blink: The one-minute game
What Multi-taskers Can’t Tell You about Family Time
- Stop trying to multitask
- How to focus
Why MONOPOLY Sucks for Family Game Night
- The evils of player elimination
- A more balanced approach
- Remember your goals
Better Games Make Better Family Time
- A word about chocolate
- Frustration in the big-box toy aisle
- Welcome to Eurogames
- Keeping all of the players involved
How Eurogames Build Better Family Time
- More strategy!
- Better components
- ‘Replayability’ is your new favorite game word
More to Cost Than Price
- Where to start
Why We Love Evergreen Games
- Wonderful, beautiful evergreen games
- Carcassonne: A great first evergreen
Settlers of Catan: Board Gaming’s TV Star
- Settlers of what?
- An ever-changing board
- It just keeps growing
- Getting started
Resolving to Be a Better Dad, Two Dimes at a Time
- Change #1: Your time
- Change #2: Your Patience
Changing Rules and Having Fun
- Rules, schmules - let’s play
- But… RULES!
- Remember the goal
Checking on Your Two Dimes Resolution
- A quick review
- Honest check-in time
- Focus on your next good choice
Cooperating Instead of Competing
- Indirect competition for more fun
- Turning toward cooperation
- Matching games by age
Free Games to Play at Home and Away
- What you need to play
- Great for travel
Tricks to Teaching (and Learning) a New Game
- Learning from a (video) friend
- Teaching yourself
Learning a New Game Without the Angst
- It’s time to unpack
- Find the rules
- Meet the pieces
- Find the goals
Building a Framework, Figuring out the Rules
- It starts with a framework
- I’ll take the overview for $100
- How to set up and win
- Working through the turns
- Going for a test drive
The Gentle Art of Teaching Others to Play
- Begin where you began
- Keep the rules handy
- Helping children teach
Classic Games for Your Summer at the Lake
- Small, fast, and easy to learn
- Packing plastic cards
- Adding some dominoes
- Getting fancier
Better and Bigger (But Still Little) Lake Games
- Rolling on the lakeside
- Using with your words
- Going for the party
Gaming Your Way into College Friendships
- A word of explanation
- On with the list
- And then there’s this one
Getting Started with Playing, Parenting, and Programming
- It’s all about solving problems
- Starting young
Playing, Parenting, and Programming for the Tween
- A quick review
- No brakes! No brakes!!
- Bringing it together
Playing, Parenting, and Programming: It’s Time for a RoboRally
- Meet RoboRally
- Programming your robot
Making a Merry, Game-filled Holiday Season
- Picasso-style gaming with Abs-Trac-Toe
- Rolling some dice
- Right, left, or middle
Top Party Game Picks for the Holidays
- Sharing your thoughts with Choose One
- Making a silly sale with Snake Oil
- The race is on with Camel Up
Good Times Galore in the 2014 Gift Guide
- Stocking stuffers
- Under the tree
- For your favorite only child
- Have a wonderful holiday
Last-minute Thoughts and Gifts to Wrap the Year
- Games are for playing
- Give the gift of your time
- Some last-minute game ideas
- Happy holidays!
Two Dimes for 2015
- Keep moving forward
- Starting tomorrow over
- Two-dime time
- Family fun, games, and more
The Serious Side of Good Family Fun
- Simple and complex activities
- But where does communication fit?
- Playing together builds communication
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