Aboloneby Kay Pluta
If you have kids, you probably have a lot of board games. And chances are your kids outgrow those games in a year or two, or six months or a week.
Abalone is the type of game you can buy for the entire family. Kids eight and up will be able to grasp the concept, and game is also challenging for adults. This is a game that will be a favorite for years, then the kids will argue over who gets to take it when they move out of the house. It's rather complex for my five year old, but he thinks it's fun to move the marbles around and knock the opposing color off the board. Basically, that's the point of the game, but it gets slightly more complex.
The instructions explain terms such as "sumito," "broadside," "gambit," and "det." You can't just knock the other guy's marbles off, there are rules that make you think ahead and plot and plan. My eight year old son and I were able to figure things out fairly quickly. It was great watching him study each move, and ponder "Well, if I move here and you move there then..." It's a bit more mind stretching than your average video game, more sophisticated than checkers but not as intimidating as chess.
It's a very attractive game also, one you wouldn't mind leaving out on the coffee table. It comes in a striking black and white hexagon shaped box. The sturdy plastic gameboard is of course in the same shape, and the black and white marbles are large, about the size of a jumbo jawbreaker. From a "mommy" standpoint, I like the way storage is organized in this game. There is an indentation for each marble. All you have to do is toss them in the box and they just roll into place. Kids don't mind the clean up.
It is a two player game, so it would not be a good choice for a party or game night. But for one on one fun for all ages, it's great.