A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics is a collection of dozens of familiar games, such as chess, dominos, backgammon, mahjong, bowling, and billiards, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. Most of these games are designed for multiplayer, encouraging friendly social experiences locally or online. A diverse cast of "guide" characters from around the world provide ample instructions for each game, though many games are so simple and accessible that some players will be able to dive in straightaway. Most of the games are innocuous and completely free of iffy content, though Battle Tanks involves cartoonish tanks trying to blow each other up. There are also a handful of games that are technically gambling (Texas Hold'em, blackjack), but chips are used in place of money. Unlockable pieces of trivia provide information on the origins of each game, which could encourage players to learn more about the history and continuing appeal of games that have been around for centuries or even millennia.
What's it about?
CLUBHOUSE GAMES: 51 WORLDWIDE CLASSICS provides pretty much what you'd expect based on its name: dozens of traditional games, most of which are multiplayer and meant to be enjoyed in the company of other players. Some -- chess, checkers, dominoes, mahjong solitaire -- will be instantly familiar to many players. Others have names you might not know, but you're bound to recognize them once you start playing, such as Yacht Dice (Yahtzee), Four-in-a Row (Connect Four), and Last Card (Uno). There are also some that players likely won't know, such as the Japanese card game Hanafuda and the Indian token-flicking game Carrom, but detailed instructions are provided for each one. The collection is rounded out with a handful of tabletop toy games based on sports, including soccer, baseball, tennis, and curling. Depending on the game, each has varying modes of play that allow players to choose between touch, motion, and traditional controls, as well as playing multiplayer locally on one or more consoles or online. Some games can also be played in mosaic mode, which means multiple Switch consoles can be lined up side by side or placed in a grid to create a larger and more dynamic board area or playing field. All games can be played in single-player mode against computer opponents.
Is it any good?
Rather than building out your family's collection of classic board and card games one title at a time, you might consider this handy compilation. Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics is bursting with games most players know. From Chinese checkers and Klondike solitaire to dominoes and the Indian classic Ludo (which inspired Sorry!), there should be plenty of games to satisfy the play preferences of just about everyone in your family. The collection also serves as a good introduction to new games. Kids who love chess might find a new passion in Shogi, a similar game of strategy that's been around for hundreds of years, while folks familiar with mahjong solitaire can take their interest in Japanese tile games to the next level by playing competitive Riichi mahjong. All of the games have been slickly designed, both visually and mechanically, to make them instantly appealing and easy to get into. And with little rewards -- unlockable "guide" characters, new card decks, bits of trivia, and achievement medals -- doled out after each game, there should be plenty of incentive to give all of the games a whirl at least once.
Where the collection stumbles a bit is in the inclusion of games unlikely to played more than once or twice. Games like Sevens are so simplistic that it's hard to see many people enjoying them for more than a few minutes. The same goes for some of the tabletop toy-style sports games -- especially the chaotic Toy Soccer and incredibly basic Toy Boxing. One or two plays of these will be enough to convince most to move on. Still, with so many games included, there were bound to be a few stinkers. And rest assured, the winners outnumber the losers by a fair margin. Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics won't get the sort of play time kids are likely to invest in something like Minecraft or Fortnite, but it's a nice way to get the whole family involved with games that just about everyone will recognize and enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cyberbullying. Who would you talk to if someone you met online began threatening you or requesting your personal information? What would you do if you witnessed this happening to someone else?
How does your frame of mind change when you play a game against other people? Does winning mean more, or less? How about losing? Do you prefer playing games alone or with friends and family?
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