Screenshot from Plants Vs Zombies Heroes
Video games are not just about senseless violence and mindless button-mashing. Like chess, the right video game can help develop the logical left brain. These games often combine skill and luck, with success dependent on a higher dose of strategy and less on Lady Luck. Unlike chess, which gets repetitive, these video games are fun, exciting and mentally stimulating. Here are some great strategy games to consider for your kids.
Recommended Age: 11+
What it is: An epic strategy game where you play as Qin Shi Huang, Cleopatra or other historical figure to conquer the world through force, diplomacy, research and religion.
Why it’s great: Kids learn about famous leaders, civilisations and their historical impact. Playing the game requires strategic planning and thinking. They also learn about the discovery of key technologies and their place in history.
In a nutshell: This strategy game requires players to raise cities, fight for resources and trade with other nations to build a strong economy, fund a technologically superior army to wage victorious battles or defend against invasions, explore the unknown world to discover new lands to colonise and more.
Not only does your child learn about great leaders, artists, scientists and religious figures in history, they will also be introduced to the Wonders of the World such as The Pyramids of Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Colossus of Rhodes.
There are many different paths to victory and your child must constantly make strategic choices. He can focus on scientific research and build a spacecraft that can successfully colonise Mars, or he can build awe-inspiring monuments and collect great artworks to attract more tourists than the other civilisations.
Civilization VI is a challenging game, but there is much your child can learn from it while having plenty of fun.
Recommended Age: 10+
What it is: A popular card strategy game forged from the popular World Of Warcraft universe
Why it’s great: It works on phones, tablets and PC so you can play any time, anywhere. Learning is easy but winning at higher levels requires deck planning and knowing when and how to play your card. It’s like chess, but a lot more fun.
In a nutshell: In Hearthstone your child chooses one of nine character classes to play. Each class has a unique hero ability, such as The Priest who excels in healing, the quick-on-his-feet Hunter and the reckless and power-crazy Warlock.
Once your child has chosen his class, he needs to build a deck of 30 cards. There are common or neutral cards which every class can use. There are also class-specific cards which are only available to your selected hero.
Your child starts off with a limited number of cards, but as the gameplay progresses he can unlock more cards to build his desired deck. This requires him to strategise properly. Once your child is more confident in his ability, he can challenge other players online or have a practice match with a friend.
Plants Vs Zombies Heroes
Recommended Age: 9+
What it is: A relatively new card strategy game based on the fun Plants vs Zombies franchise which was a cult hit among kids and adults.
Why it’s great: The cartoonish graphics will appeal to kids. The game is simple to play but still requires plenty of strategy and thinking to win.
In a nutshell: Unlike the original game where you have to defend your home against hordes of invading zombies by planting combat-capable plants, Plants Vs Zombies Heroes requires your child to build a deck of cards and battle against another online player or the computer.
Your child can play as a righteous Plant Hero or an evil Zombie Hero. Kids will love the cartoonish animation and the variety of cutesy Plant Heroes to choose from. Solar Flare is a sunflower which excels in burning bad zombies with solar and fire power, while Wall-Knight is a walnut who is a master at defence.
Like Hearthstone, each Hero has its own unique Hero cards to swing the tide of battle which requires your child to strategise carefully to defeat the evil zombies.