Our house has been taken over by card games. Specifically Go Fish and War. Now as I discovered card game rules are regional. My husband and I are a bi-national couple, he hails from Texas and I am Canadian. Not only do we sing "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" to a different tune we also have different rules when it comes to games. After sorting through that we also realized we see playing with a 5 year old in two very different wasy.
I go easy. He plays hard.
So which is the best way?
As it turns out my son is a self proclaimed "Go Fish Master" and he's not lying, he has a knack for always drawing the card he needs. I wonder though did that confidence he has comes from playing me as he learned the rules, me encouraging him, celebrating his wins and not taking advantage of seeing his cards from time to time when he dropped them or let it slip what he had in his hand.
After a few wins I played for real, but still like a mom. Maybe that isn't fair all moms aren't the same but in our house that means I play against him fairly with the intent to win but I also cheerlead as I play.
Then after that prep course he took on his dad. Not only did my husband take advantage of any slip ups he didn't get the same reaction from our son as I did when I was winning. He giggled and laughed and trash talked with his dad no matter who was winning, but I got tears when I zoomed ahead in one of our first games. Although he is now much better about me winning, he doesn't take it as well as when his dad beats him.
I don't know how you handle games whether it's a board game, cards or even a family game of tag but what we learned was we each do it differently but the end result is a child who adapts to his environment and in this case opponent.