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Are multilayer games (e.g. monopoly) a good present for a child's birthday?

Assuming of course that the child is old enough to enjoy the specific game (e.g. elementary school age for monopoly).

What are the possible downsides?

If the answer depends on siblings, assume that the child has siblings who would be interested in playing that game as well.

My own main concern is that the child would feel that the present isn't really for them because other people play it at the same time.

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+1 - Great question, esp because of this "isn't for them". Makes me wonder about possessiveness, too (e.g., "you can only play if I am playing") –  Jeremy Miller May 28 at 16:15
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I was going to state anecdotal evidence for when my brother or I received games growing up, but most of them had a single player experience. Every instance of it where it was multiplayer only (or gifts like gaming consoles, where we were both expected to play) were gifted to the both of us for Christmas or such... –  Doc May 28 at 16:17
    
I think a good rule would be to give multiplayer games as a gift to all the kids or to the whole family. I remember once my sister got some board game and she would never let us play unless she was playing or gave us permission (like @JeremyMiller said). I recommend giving a more personal gift –  Bobo May 29 at 0:42

2 Answers 2

It depends on the social maturity of the child, as well as with the game.

If the child is very social and will likely be playing the game with a lot of -different- people, then I would say yes. If child is able to express themselves in a very unique and personal way, then again yes. But if the child is going to be playing the game with the same couple people in the same exact way, and there's no way for significant variation to occur during which the child remains the focal point, then I would lean toward no.

Here's some examples:

If a child will be able to play monopoly with his siblings, and with his friends from school, and with his friends from soccer, and with his friends on the block, then he will constantly be experiencing something different. He will view this gift as clearly for him.

If a child will be able to play Magic the Gathering with his siblings, and can spend a lot of time building and customizing his deck to play with, he will be able to express himself creatively. His siblings will be doing the same, naturally, but generally that will be out of sight and out of mind. He will view this gift as clearly for him.

If a child will be able to play monopoly with his siblings, but you all live too far from town to really have many friends over to mix things up, this would probably be viewed as more of a family present.

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I see no reason you can't give a game that requires multiple participants to a birthday child. Just because birthday child will have to find someone to play the game with them for it to be fun in no way takes away from the present being for them.

I remember as a kid having some games that were mine (twister) and my sister had some games that were hers (mouse-trap). We both shared with each other, but took ownership over our own games, and that worked quite well.

Games are usually something that can be played with siblings, but they can also be played with friends, or with parents.

Pros: Something fun to do with siblings and friends, practice sharing with siblings.

Cons: Can't play games when no one is available to play with, practicing sharing with siblings doesn't always go smoothly.

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