I’ve shared before my ideas on how to make a cooperative game from a competitive one. You may be sceptical to do it because game rules are meant to be followed. Let’s talk about why to change the board game rules and why not?
Firstly about board games for kids (or family board games when you play with kids).
I’ll start with the reasons for not changing the rules.
There is one, but a huge one – we need to teach our kids to follow the rules. This is a really important skill and we do not want our kid to run on the red traffic light because they know that rules are not important. Yes, board game rules and other rules can become sometimes similar in children’s minds).
Now about why do we need to change rules sometimes.
We can make:
- a game more fun for everyone. For example, we’ve agreed with our son not to use cannibal tile in a Jackal board game because it frightened him.
- it shorter (do not use all the cards in memory games, or in Spot it), if your child is tired after some time;
- a game easier and then steadily harder. For example by not using some of the cards or some rules, like the interruption rule in Uno.
- a cooperative game out of a competitive one so we do not fight who won and can focus on teamwork.
Fortunately, you can change rules in such a way so it will not harm anyone. You need to agree about it before (!) the game. All the players should agree and should know the rules before the game. Of course, sometimes you can decide that you’re tired and make a game shorter during the game but still all the players must agree on that. So, your child will understand that he cannot change the traffic rules because he cannot discuss that with all the car drivers around or he cannot run around during the lesson because he should discuss that first with the teacher and all his classmates.
The last one, please, do not change the rules when (or because) the child is losing. Also, do not cheat yourself if it is not allowed in the game (or they will get that cheating is ok and you’ll have a lot of problems later) and do not let them cheat. Better buy a good bluffing game 🙂
As for adult games, here the situation is not that different, actually. Sometimes we can change the rules as long as all of the players agree on that (and if this is not ruining the game balance). In many cases, it can even improve a good game. There are lots of examples in the board game market when clever home rules were included in the official rulebook on the next board game edition. Let’s remember the old “Uno” game: how many variations do you know and how many of them exists?
How is it about following the rules in your family?