Anyhow, before I wade in with my definitive view, here as promised is the boys considered opinion. It is not to long but more or less to the point. There are a couple of things that surprised me but I have left my comments to the end.
One Hour Wargames - A Seven Year Old's Review
The one hour wargame ancients includes the following troops: skirmishers, cavalry and heavy foot. In the later games we had skirmishers, archers, heavy foot and cavalry. I think this game is a lot of fun and can really help you learn history.
The part that I enjoyed most is when the first fight breaks because the troop that won gave their sides the upper hand for most of the game.
I enjoyed everything and I understood everything but I think if you were allowed more troops it would take longer so there would be less chance of winning so it would be a closer game.
I enjoyed the first game more than the last because it was the first time I had played so I didn’t know how to do stuff and I also enjoyed it because I won.
I would recommend this game to other children and parents because it is extremely fun and you can learn about important periods of history.
So, bits I would pull out of this.
1. He really enjoyed it - so big thumbs up.
2. Where he says that he enjoyed the first fight the most, this seems to be a implicit recognition that if you get a break through this probably gives you flanks and you can roll up the enemy. The fact that he is thinking along these lines seems to show the game design is very much weighted to a quick decision. On the down side, a game design that means if you start winning then you will probably go on to win just raises the question why bother playing the rest of the game? From a point of view of a child playing it out with his dad the answer would be 'because we both enjoyed the process of playing it out'. As a game with another grown up though it does not seem to be a good thing.
3. This is linked to his comment about if you had more troops it would take longer so it would be a closer game. I think what he means is that there is more chance of turning around the initial loss if you had more units to play with - which seems fair enough. It would push game time up mind.
4. The fact that he states he understood everything is a big plus for playing this game with children. The reason that he gives for enjoying the first game the most - because he didn't know how to do 'stuff' is interesting. To lapse into jargon, it seems that the rules fell into his zone of proximal development (basically something he could learn to do with support) and was therefore interesting and challenging for him. This is the perfect sweet spot that we should be looking for with complexity - so all good. My only question would be is if if there is nothing left that he needs to stretch himself to learn by the fifth game how long would it hold his attention? This could be overcome by developing the rules together as we go along in the future, and people have volunteered many ideas already. It would also be an enjoyable experience in itself and probably a valuable learning experience as well. But I do want to stick to the rules that have been created by their designers. Mind you - how much can you expect from a set of rules in only a few pages? There can not be to much room for growth of complexity built in.
Overall though, he ends recommending the game to children and parents, so it can't be bad. As I say, I will shortly be writing my considered views. Mind you, it is fairly obvious what they are already if you have read what I have wrote in this and previous blogs - and you should probably pay more attention to what the boy has to say anyhow.