Evan Moses

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Minimum Age Ratings

Minimum Age ratings on games and why they’re terrible

I came across this Reddit comment today and it explains so much:

I used to work in the toy industry - there is A LOT hidden behind age ranges on a box. Those are less about what age the game is for (except for development focused games, like HABA), and more about regulations around what age can legally be printed on the box.

Examples off the top of my head:

Telestrations is rated 12+… because it comes with a dry erase marker. That’s why. It doesn’t have to do with content or complexity, but if you put a dry erase marker in the box, you’re 12+.

Does your game use standard dice? Great, you can get 8+ rating. Do you use custom or smaller dice? That’s a 12+… unless you go through the rigorous safety testing to prove it isn’t a choking hazard. King of Tokyo is 8+ because of the energy cubes.

Does your game use miniatures? What’s the smallest piece of the miniature? Do you want to pay $10k for each unique piece to test the safety of them? No? Then you’re getting the 13+ age.

If you want to hedge your bets on content, that’s also 13/14+.


I often use the printed age rating as a shortcut for judging how appropriate a game will be for my kid, and just subtract a couple years because she’s been very comfortable with games rated for a few years above her age. But now I know it’s even more useless than I thought.

For actually-useful age ratings, I rely on the “Community” Age rating on BGG.

King of Tokyo on Board Game Geek

For King of Tokyo, It’s “6+”, which seems about right.

BGG Admins, if you ever come across this, please please please add a feature to filter the games list by Community Age, and sort by rating. I would be on that page all the time.