Steven Johnson argues that modern video games are far superior for teaching children than classic board games, such as Candyland, Battleship, or Sorry:
What’s irritating about the games is that they are exercises in sheer randomness. It’s not that they fail to sharpen any useful skills; it’s that they make it literally impossible for a player to acquire any skills at all.
I hadn’t thought about this until I actually played the game again last week, but there is absolutely nothing about the initial exploratory sequence of Battleship that requires anything resembling a genuine decision. It is a roulette wheel. A random number generator could easily stay competitive for the first half. But even when some red pegs appear on the board, the decision tree is still a joke: “Now select a co-ordinate that’s next to the red peg.” That’s pretty much it. Yes, at the very end, you might adjust your picks based on your knowledge of which ships you’ve sunk. But for the most part, it’s about as mentally challenging as playing Bingo.
For older children, Johnson's logic certainly rings true. But for young children, say five of six years old, these games teach how to follow a step-by-step procedure, even if there is no strategic decision involved in it: flick the spinner, count the steps, move the piece, and follow the resulting instructions. That may be automatic for adults, but can be a serious mental exercise for young children.
At any rate, these games based upon random chance teach children that their lives will be dominated by forces utterly beyond their control. I can't think of a more useful concept to learn early on in life.