My six-year-old daughter Zori saw the Get the Gem box this evening and asked to play while her three-year-old sister Flip was in the bath. Zori demanded that I wait upstairs while she created a path of arrow cards leading from her upstairs bedroom, down the stairs, through the kitchen, then branching out to the living room on one side and the hallway on the other.
I was trying to show my daughter how to role play an adventurer making a journey through various scenes while searching for a fabulous gem, so I spoke as I walked. "First there's a robin on the path, and he's just sitting there, so I know that everything's okay and I can be calm. Ah, now I'm walking through a Japanese garden over a bridge with a frog statue below, just like the garden in Portland. Ooh, there's a fork in the path with a squirrel just looking at me. I don't want to go into the dark so I choose to go into the meadow with the wildflowers and then over the log bridge. Oh no! There's a bear! Back over the slippery log bridge! Back through the wildflowers, and I'm not taking the time to smell any flowers this time! Back to the - oh. The bear isn't following me." And so on. I eventually found the gem in the hallway.
Of course, Flip is hollering from the bathtub. "Can we play when I get out? I want to play when I get out!"
Then I hid the gem for Zori (tucking the bear away in a kitchen cupboard, which drew an awesome surprised response), and she just pelted down the pathway and start ripping away at our dog's toy box to find the gem. No story. Where's the drama?
Then Flip finishes her bath, gets dressed, and hides the gem and creates a path for Zori. I bowed out of playing, but did surreptiously turn around a bunch of arrows Flip faced the wrong way. And I suggested a hiding place for the gem that Flip totally rejected. Right she was - Zori looked there immediately after following the (misdirected) arrows to that area. Flip's hiding place of Zori's boot behind a stuffed bunny was far more effective, showing that a three-year-old knows a six-year-old better than Mom can.
Anyway. Our Get the Gem session went on like that. While the game probably takes ten minutes maximum (five minutes to hide the gem and set up a path, and five minutes to follow it), they must have spent about 45 minutes playing this evening.
No winners, no losers. Except for the dog, whose toy box is in disarray.