Final Kickstarter Event and Animal Polls

OK, so here we are with one day to go until the end of the project and I am overwhelmed by the amazing support there has been from so many of you, so THANK YOU!

If you’re wondering what on earth this is all about, check out the project here.

Below is the third and final round of polls relating to the Kickstarter project – starting with a single new event poll, then a single new animal poll and finally polls relating to the outcome of the UK Championship final event (the Royal Rumble) as mentioned in the project updates. All 3 will be closed at the end of the project late tomorrow night.

New event suggestions can be made right up until the end of the project and the design team will choose one “wild card” event to be added as an extra on top of the events that win these polls – with ALL events suggested right up to the project deadline on Thursday night being considered for this ‘wild card’ option.

Without further ado, let’s get on with it.

Choose up to 3 events…

First draft ski jump art

Then choose up to 6 animals:

The 2 events and 2 animals with the most votes will be included in the game! Up to 4 more animals may also be included in the game, depending how many more stretch goals we unlock…

And finally, for each of the following, choose which rank you expect it to be in the final event of the UK Championships – the Royal Rumble… This will be used to decide the winner of the UK Championships as discussed in project updates.

Remember, the event lasts for 1 hour, there are no special water provisions and flying is allowed to the height of the tallest animal (4.1m in this case). The ring is a square with edges length 27m and in the event of more than one animal being in the ring at the end, they are ranked by judges in the style with which they completed the event…

And that’s it!

Thank you so much for taking the time to vote and for all your amazing support over the last month – I can’t wait to get the game to your front door next year!

Any questions or comments, please comment below or email me at TC@bigimaginationgames.com.

Thanks again!

TC

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Second event poll (and animals too!)

Hello everybody!

Below are the event polls for further events to be added to The Champion of the Wild, as suggested by some of the game’s backers.

In each category, there is one event that represents a current prototype event. If this event loses the poll, it will be replaced by one of the new suggestions (as we have not yet unlocked any further events since the last poll).

There is one poll for each event category and one poll for each animal category (2 land animals, 1 sea creature and 1 bird). The animals listed as options have been carefully selected to maintain the game’s balance.

Polls will close on Tuesday October 10th at 11pm BST. The events to be replaced will be selected by our design team once a winner has been selected.

Note that you can select multiple answers in this poll (unlike the previous one)…

SPEED

POWER

ENDURANCE

TECHNICAL

TEAM

 

NEW ANIMALS – choose up to 4

 

Thank you for voting – we will announce the results on the first update after polls close on Tuesday evening (October 10th) at 11pm BST.

Thanks again!

TC

New event polls delayed to Saturday

Hi all.
Just a quick note for those who are visiting the page expecting new event polls to be up tonight.

 

Due to an unexpected parenting issue, I’ll not be able to get the polls for new events and animals up until tomorrow evening and will send an update to notify all backers.

 

I want to take the proper time over it and make sure all suggestions are properly considered, so I hope you’ll bear with me. The polls will be open Saturday through to Tuesday.
Thanks for your patience!

 

TC

100m Event Rankings Poll

Hi gang,

Here is the poll to have your say as to how you see the animals fairing in the 100m dash on Tuesday night – feel free to vote and we’ll announce the results in the next update…

 

Thanks for voting! Look out for the next new event and animal selection poll from Friday October 6th to Tuesday October 10th.

TC

COTW Polls 23rd Sept to 27th Sept

Hi everyone!

Welcome to our NEW EVENT POLLS! Thanks you so much for your support and for getting us this far…

If you’re wondering what this is all about, see our Kickstarter project page here.

Just to clarify a couple of things around this process:
1) In the FAQ, I’ve said that only 1 event would be put forward for each backer per poll – I’d like to clarify that this means 1 per event category (so the same backer could have suggestions for different event categories in the same round of polls).

2) If the above happens and the same backer wins more than one poll (and therefore has 2 of their suggested events included in the game), then that backer will choose for which of those 2 events they would like to do the art direction and the art direction privileges for the other event card will be allocated at a later date (in a similar way to animal art direction privileges) to another backer who is in some way active in the game’s community at the end of the project.

3) I have extended the period of voting to Wednesday September 27th before I close these polls which should give plenty of time for votes to come in…

Without further ado, let’s get voting! The results will be made available in the first project update after the poll closes.

For a full description of events, click here,

If your event wasn’t chosen for inclusion in this poll, it may still be  included in future event polls.

Also, vote below for which animal Sophie should choose for the UK Championships… Remember the events are:

And her hand of animals is:

Thanks for voting!

TC

Champion of the Wild launches Monday

OK, so things have been a bit quiet on the blog recently. Mainly because I’ve been spending most hours outside of work preparing for this…

Hurdles launch date rounded

It’s launching at 1pm this coming Monday on Kickstarter…

Check out the page preview here or follow our Facebook page here to stay up to date during the project.

I’m hoping to get back on the kids game reviews once things have settled down from this project which will run for just over a month.

Hopefully see you there!

Solution to code at UKGE

Code
For all those wonderful people who we inadvertently tortured over the UK Games Expo weekend with the code on our promo cards, here follows the solution.
If you weren’t at UKGE then avert your eyes as we’ll be running a challenge on our Facebook page to see who can crack it first – starting with a picture of the card (and code) this evening & followed by clues every few days.
I’ll leave a gap below before re-listing the 2 clues we gave out at the expo and then one final clue before finally giving the solution:
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Basic info: there is a one word solution
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Clue 1: the code relates to the image on the card
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Clue 2: the ostrich is in lane number 1
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Clue 3 (not given out at expo): the numbers are grouped in pairs
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Solution (see below):
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The first number in each pair represents a lane number (with the ostrich in lane 1, polar bear in lane 2, dolphin in lane 3, lion in lane 4, horse in lane 5, elephant in lane 6).
The second number in each pair represents the numbered letter in that name. So the code that starts “53” relates to the 3rd letter in the name of the animal in lane 5 (horse) – so letter “R”.
Following that through, you get to the correct solution – RHINOCEROS (there are also 3 other solutions for cards turn different codes – CROCODILE, ALBATROSS and ANACONDA).
Well done everyone and thanks for your support!

We are at the UK Games Expo!

Come to stand H6 and say hi if you’re here this weekend and you want to check out our fancy new prototypes.

20170602_082423
What an amazing day it’s been today. Met so many great people on the stand and somehow had the fortune to meet the team from Shut Up and Sit Down who liked the concept of Champion of the Wild so much they did a 30-minute feature on their live podcast on it!

We’re hoping for another busy day tomorrow and looking forward to meeting more awesome gamers!
Come and say hi if you can – stand H6!

Snail’s Pace Race review

After the recent birth of our beautiful third son, I’m finding myself remembering all those little things you forget about babies once your kids are older.

Ez and Sim.jpg

Ezra and baby Simeon

The comforting smell of their tiny heads… The warm sensation of freshly-voided urine on your hands… The constant question of how much vomit on your clothing is socially acceptable…

Well, one of the great things about babies like our little Simeon is that whilst they don’t really do anything at all, you could spend hours just … looking at them!

So in honour of the fascinating and enigmatic Simeon, let’s take a look at a game that doesn’t really do anything and see if it has a similar effect!


What is Snail’s Pace Race?

Well, it’s not really a game, but more of an activity for 2-6 players, with the box suggesting ages 3-7 as being most suitable.

There are 6 snail meeples on the board, each of a different colour and players take turns to roll 2 six-sided dice with coloured faces. Every time a colour comes up, that ‘sneeple’ moves forward one space and you take turns to roll until all the snails have crossed the finish line.

Snails close.jpg

Once the sneeples have set off on their merry way, the players “try to guess who will win” and also who will come last. And that, believe it or not, is the game. Let’s try and casually guess the outcome of a randomly-generated event without anyone actually committing to a colour in any tangible way.


What’s in the box?

6 chunky sneeples, 2 six-sided dice with coloured faces, 1 rulebook (our charity shop copy was missing this) and 1 folded game board

20170405_111207.jpg

Child not included

 


How did the kids find it?

*Note: as a trial, this section is no longer solely focused on Ezra’s enjoyment, but it also includes wildly speculative estimations as to how it might suit other age children (see last week’s post for more on this), based on my experience of working with young people but I should stress, not from playing it with any children apart from my own…*

Well, Ezra (nearly 4) and Eli (2.5) did enjoy themselves. There is something strangely satisfying about watching six snails jostle for position over the course of the race and you do get a thrill from seeing the underdog overturn an unthinkable deficit to snatch a glorious victory (orange pushed green all the way)…

Orange losing

Orange second

Epic comeback by orange wasn’t quite enough for the win…

It is true, though, that Ezra became distracted after a single play through, preferring to physically race them himself the second time round in real time. Whilst many other children will have a longer attention span than Ez, I do think the lack of depth can be a bit of a problem in terms of replayability even at age 4.

And Eli – whilst enjoying rolling the dice and getting some good colour practice in – struggled a little with moving 2 different snails each time he rolled. This is easily remedied by just rolling one die at a time but this takes away some of that ‘underdog’ factor when a snail suddenly jumps in to the lead.

The other concern for children under 3 was that the dice are quite small (and certainly not baby-safe), which is a real shame for a game could otherwise function reasonably as a good gateway game for a 2-year-old…

Small dice.jpg

As for the game’s stated age bracket of 4-7, I think without house rules to add complexity (and with a disclaimer re: safety for under-3s), I’d put it more in the 2-5 age range. I don’t think there’s enough here for a 7-year-old.

Ezra’s score (aged 4ish)- 13/25

Eli’s score (aged 2.5) – 15/25

Child rating

Note: wildly speculative estimations over age 4


What about Daddy Snail?

Well it’s clear from the outset here that this is an utterly dull activity which equates to predicting the outcome of a die roll…

Snails.jpg

So all the parent enjoyment without house rules comes from the joy of seeing your children play a game & practise identifying colours…

And yet, there’s quite an interesting thing going on here mathematically which lends itself to some house rules for adults or older children…

  • First, find a coloured marker (or make one) for each of the 6 coloured snails and leave these at one end of the board.
  • Everyone starts with 10 money tokens (£10, let’s say).
  • At the end of the race, money is awarded to players based on the ranking of the snails equivalent to any tokens they are holding as follows :
    • 1st place – £12
    • 2nd place – £9
    • 3rd place – £6
    • 4th place – £4
    • 5th place – £2
    • 6th place – £0
  • In order to initially pick up a token, you have to pay the same amount of money as there are tokens yet to be claimed (ie £6 if it’s the first token, £5 if it’s the second etc). You are then free to buy and sell tokens from each other until the end of the race. The amount of money reach player has is kept secret until the end. Whoever ends up with the most money after 3 races wins!

Suddenly, this transforms in to an interesting economic game for adults about estimating the value of each snail at any point in time and carefully buying and selling at the right times to make a tidy profit…

Parental enjoyment – 2/25 (normal rules) ; 14/25 (BIG house rules) 


Overarching Principles Of Gaming

Now the game as published teaches virtually nothing to the budding gamer. Yes, it gives colour practice and the chance to take turns.

In fact, I also disagree with the whole premise of a game designed to have no winner (apparently, judging by the box blurb, to avoid any children getting upset).  One of the reasons I think it’s great to play games with your children is that they are a great opportunity for exactly the opposite – to learn how to lose honourably in a safe environment.

Box bottom.jpg

Aaah, the cosy comfort of a properly tucked-in t-shirt…

Even at age 2, there is more that can be done to develop young gamers (see our First Orchard review for an example), but certainly above age 4, there is very little your child will learn playing this game and I imagine there aren’t many children aged over 5 who would suggest playing this game above another more decision-heavy title…

Unless of course you use the BIG rules variant and make it a sociable economic game, in which case they’ll learn about negotiation, how to manage probability/risk and estimation of expected value!

OPG (aged 4ish) – 3/25

OPG (aged 2.5) – 6/25

OPG


The other stuff

Cost – 5/5

£1.99 from a charity shop can’t be beaten really & it’ll be available for a similar price almost everywhere I imagine.

Theme – 4/5

Having initially mocked the theme openly as being incredibly dull, there’s a large part of me that hopes it’s been deliberately chosen as part of a meta-narrative mocking the majority of young children’s games for being so utterly boring…

And the kids do also seem to love the idea of snails racing, strange folk that they are…

The theme is at best a clever commentary on the state of children’s games and at worst appropriately ridiculous.

Art and design – 2/5

It’s hard looking at a game from 15 years ago and comparing it with today’s production values…

There is some nice thematic art around the edge of the board and on the box cover to be fair.

Box top.jpg

Components – 3/5

The sneeples are brilliant – wooden, painted, baby-safe. Insert.jpgUnfortunately, the dice are too small to be safe for babies which as I said earlier is a massive opportunity missed. Plus, the box insert hasn’t lasted the course (although this copy was printed in 2002 so it has been a while…).

 

Rulebook – 3/5

I haven’t actually managed to find a picture of the rulebook & I imagine 3/5 is generous, but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, eh? It’s Easter after all.

The other stuff – 17/25


Conclusion

Snail’s Pace Race is an enjoyable activity for really young children that helps them practice colours and taking turns, but there is little to offer beyond the age of 4 and the lack of baby-safe dice limits its potential role as a gateway game for the under-3s, leaving it with very little appeal for us.

Then again, the sneeples are pretty awesome and it’ll only cost you a couple of quid!

Total score (aged 4ish) – 35        (or 47 with BIG rules variant)

Total score (aged 2.5) – 40        (or 52 with BIG rules variant)

Total score


Ridiculous uninterpretable graph to finish…?

Totals all games.jpg

Thoughts? Comments? Best urine and vomit stories…? Post in the comments if you like.

Next time it’s a big ‘un – Rhino Hero

What Every Gaming Parent Needs…

So, when I was putting the finishing touches to the Loopin Louie video review, I found myself somewhat downcast… Of all the games that I’ve reviewed so far with my pint-sized progeny, there’s no doubt Loopin’ Louie would be the one I’d recommend…

And yet according to my scoring system, it came in third place, behind First Orchard – a beautifully-produced game for really young children that does at least have one decision for players to make, but remains for grown-ups an experience more akin to First Tortured

So I got to thinking about what it is I personally want when searching for games to play with my kids Ezra (nearly 4) and Eli (2) and whether I need to rethink the rating system. The answer was a little disturbing…

All I care about is me!

 

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Me! Devil horns and all…

Bear with me a second though gang.

Let’s be honest, here. Kids are easily entertained… Take this illustrative excerpt from my life…

 

Ezra: “Look at this leaf, Daddy! It’s so green!”

Me: “Yes, Ez, it is very green.”

Eli: “Plane! Plane! Plane, Daddy!

Me: “Yes Eli, consider your sighting of a plane formally acknowledged…”

Ezra: “DADDY, IT’S HERE – IT’S THE BIN LORRY! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

 

But somehow my own green leaf of childlike enthusiasm has long since withered, being trampled underfoot by the stampede of constant high quality entertainment at my fingertips – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TV, radio, podcasts – so much fascinating new content to bombard your senses, which ultimately numbs my innate sense of wonder and dumps me down to a media withdrawal state whose default emotion is boredom.

Floor leaves

What remains of my innocence…

Or perhaps we just need more entertaining than children because our brains are more developed…

Anyways, whatever the reason for it – I am more difficult to entertain than my children. As such, my priority is to find a game (or a way to play a game) that I can actually enjoy myself, because I know the boys will be pretty excited even if all they get to do is open an empty game box…

Ex playing

Loves pink stripey fish, hates the hairbrush…

Often with young children, it’s a question of how you play the game, as you’ll need to build in some complexity for your own mind that the rulebook of a toddler’s game will necessarily exclude. Perhaps you’ll play Floundering (pictured left) with your spouse, using the knowledge of your child’s colour preferences when choosing fish to give you the competitive edge. Or you’ll set yourself the challenge of trying to get exactly the same number of marbles as your daughter in a game of Kerplunk. Or maybe you’ll develop a physical or mechanical handicap to even the playing field, like we did for our house rules in Loopin Louie.

 

 

Whatever it is, you’ll need to prioritise your sanity if you want to get through gaming with your 2 or 3-year-old and you’d ideally want a list of the highest adult ratings of the games available for young children… That’s what I want, anyway.

Then again, some parents will be more focused on their child’s development and will want to know the best games for challenging their child’s age and stage.

Ez give

10 minutes of boredom anyone?

Or they might be after a game like Spotty Dogs (see right) with high child enjoyment factor that the kids can play without them whilst they cook dinner. They may not care that it actually makes time stand still for playing adults.

 

Or maybe they need a game that will entertain their 10-year-old and their 3-year-old at the same time.

My point is, one of these days some bright spark needs to develop a system to satisfy all these different preferences and give parents a powerful reference resource to guide them in this minefield.

Well, today I am unilaterally declaring a national holiday for what will no doubt become known as Family Game Ratings Score Day from now on because that day has come…

Allow me to introduce you to… the Graph of Truth…

Game ratings

Look at that line Daddy! It’s so green!

So, we’ve got age along the x-axis and rating on the y-axis, with the games listed including all those that I’ve reviewed on this site for young children up to now.

Each game rating has 4 componentschild enjoyment (this varies with age), adult enjoyment, how it teaches the overarching principles of gaming (also varies with age) and other stuff (theme, components, cost, art/design and rulebook). The graph shows the total of those 4 areas for all the games covered so far, but just imagine the possibilities…

There is no game playable by a child aged 15 or younger that can’t be scored in this way…

Gandalf

And so it begins…

If you want to take a look at the spreadsheet (and frankly, who wouldn’t?), then there’s a read-only spreadsheet available here where you can take a look, with different sheets for each age and all the data on the first sheet.

Not only can you see the total game rankings for each age, but also the rankings of the “child enjoyment”, “adult enjoyment”, “overarching principles” and “other” categories, with each age listed under a separate worksheet.

OK, so let me know your thoughts on this rating system in the comments? Has this already been done somewhere else?

Now all I need to do is review all the family games ever made… Shouldn’t take too long…