Friday, January 16, 2009

What To Do with the Days Off

We're in a part of the world where right now, our nostrils freeze when we step foot outside, and since this is a fairly uncommon state of affairs, schools have been canceled for a couple of days. On top of a few minor illnesses and an unusually long holiday break from school, and we've had a LOT of time home with the kids in the last month.

Fortunately, Imperia and Rambunctious have just hit the stage where they are able to focus long enough for some selected board games, many of which were new from Christmas. Of course, we're already well acquainted with Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land, both of which are often played, well, creatively. They also enjoy a few well-designed movie tie-in games: a hand-me-down Lion King and a cool new one that ties into Madagascar II. I am generally not thrilled with the highly branded/tie-in toys, but in these cases, the design of the game really appealed to us: both games mix in collaboration with the competitive nature of the game, which is really important for twins (probably all siblings, but certainly twins).

Anyway, these lead us to discover Princess: A Cooperative Game of Discussion, Logic, and Rescue. The gender politics of the damsel in distress is mitigated by the fact that Imperia is the one who like to be the one to save her, and the game is flexible enough that we've added our own self-designed cards to the game play.

But we also decided that the game would import well to other narrative worlds that our children enjoy, which right now (for both of them) revolves around superheroes. To wit: We "invented" Superhero: A Cooperative Game of Discussion, Logic, and Capture. We spent the whole morning yesterday with the back of a pizza box, some printed-out graphics from images online, and the template that Princess offered us. The result:

We've put it away only once since we designed it, and it came back out almost immediately. (And Imperia likes to be the one to capture the Joker, too).

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