Games (we built) for orphan girls in Ethiopia
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Two years ago, I spent three months together with my girlfriend Sara in a girl orphanage in Kobbo, in the northern Ethiopia. We were volounteers, and since we didn't have any professional competence to spend in there (we are neither engineers nor medicians), we just did what we do best: play and making other people play!
Although the greatest part of the games were "open air" - like rucha (running) and kwas(ball) - there was still some place for 'board' games.
This list is about the (not many) games we built for the orphanage while we were there. And it's also a way to remember the girls. I think I miss them.

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1. Board Game: BauSquitMiao [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:15930]
Board Game: BauSquitMiao
This is the only boardgame we actually took with us when we left for Ethiopia. The authors and publishers - Mario and Matteo - gave me a copy of it when they knew I was leaving.
Trying to teach the rules in amharic language was an almost impossible mission. I finally gave up and left the children play just rolling the dice and inventing their own rules.
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2. Board Game: Memory [Average Rating:4.74 Overall Rank:21205]
Board Game: Memory
So we decided to move to something easier. Memory has been a classic of our childhood, and it was a game easy to scratch build. In a few days we (but I should say Sara, since I was of little help) produced two sets of Memory. Sara illustrated all the tiles, and we decided to give the game another educational value, writing on the images their name in english and italian. Since there were not many tables around (they were used for the study), many children played the game on the floor..

Board Game: Memory


Board Game: Memory
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3. Board Game: Carrom [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1531]
Board Game: Carrom
I had with me a little book by Giorgio Reali, about building games. It was also explained how to build a 'poor man' carrom set. I decided to go for it. We gave a look in our room to see what we could cannibalize to make the board, and our eyes fell... on a kitsch picture of Virgin Mary that was hung to the wall. I know she has already forgiven us laugh. We glued on it the four sides of a frame of another picture, and we laid a lot of layers of vyinilic glue all over it, to make it smooth.
Bottle caps were the pieces. It was ready to play, and it was a huge success!

From gallery of Pa°L°


Board Game: Carrom


Board Game: Carrom
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4. Board Game: Bausack [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1213]
Board Game: Bausack
But I was a geek, wasn't I? I couldn't stop to memory, I had to go further. Near the orphanage a small hospital was being built, and walking around there I saw a lot of wooden pieces spread on the floor. So I had the idea. We had a lot of fun building and painting this set of pieces (yes, we didn't go for the Noir edition). Then we got the game out to play, in the easy way: add a piece and try not to make the tower fall. Many children caught the rule, other simply used the pieces as building blocks. Good anyway!

Board Game: Bausack


Board Game: Bausack
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5. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:404]
From gallery of Pa°L°
Bottle caps were a source for a lot of other games. I hope everyone knows that Pitch Car is just a luxurious table version of a traditional children game. In Italy we were used to glue images of famous cyclists on the inner side of the caps. In Ethiopia Cycling isn't very popular, so I decided to design a serie of runners instead. I loved the result, and "Corki" (the amharic word for "bottle cap") was frequently played out of the orphanage.

From gallery of Pa°L°


From gallery of Pa°L°

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