My kids have had an off-and-on obsession with Ninjago for a while now. We currently have a Lego book from the library that talks about the history of lego and the various sets they've made and sold over the years, and a few nights ago we were reading the Ninjago pages and the book mentioned a spinners game where the pieces could battle each other with "spinjitzu." Intrigued I went straight to amazon, and sure enough there's a game with minifigs and spinners and cards and stuff, so I ordered the starter pack and we opened it up today. It took us a little while to get the hang of what the cards meant and how to best spin the spinners, but soon we were full-on playing and D was really enjoying it.
So we played for most of the morning, and seeing how much D was liking it I started looking at expansion packs but then also realized that you can use regular lego minifigures on the spinners... So I suggested to D that we could maybe make more battle cards for the game ourselves, and use some of our own minifigs and weapons. He loved the idea, and we got to work figuring out how to make our own cards.
We came up with 3 new battle powers, drew out the card on construction paper, then cut them out and glued them onto regular playing cards. We kept playing off and on through the rest of the afternoon, D occasionally wandering off to play something else with Q for a while, then asking to play more of the spinners game.
Then tonight right around dinner he said we should have a points system-- we should win points when we knock our opponent off their spinner, and have points for different weapons and powers, and if we get certain numbers of points we could "unlock" new minifigs and powers to use, etc... It was really cool to see him coming up with all these rules, and also insist on us keeping score as we play from here on out (there's some of that real-world math experience I've been looking for). We didn't get a chance to play much more tonight, but we got a few rounds in with the new score system.
I'm hoping this will be a thing that takes off for him/us, but we'll see. Even if he loses interest come tomorrow, it was still a cool process to watch all day today, and he made the game his own.