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Professor Noggin's National Parks» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Park trivia -- too short a season rss

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Daniel Munson
United States
Rushford
Minnesota
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I'm not entirely sure how long this game has been sitting in our game closet, un-opened, untouched, but it's been many, many years. On a recent family game day, after the kids were arguing over a rather complicated game, I decided to break out this 'new' game. My wife and I have spent many camping trips in National Parks, but the kids -- not so much. We bought tgis, the wife and I, on one of our many trips to a National Park. Being both supporters of the National Parks System and gamers, we thought that this might be a nice way to support the parks and have some continued recreation.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:

The box itself is of a rather standard size -- typical for a card game that holds two stacks of cards, side by side. However, once opening the box, we realize that the cards are nearly twice the size of standard cards, and on a thicker card stock.

Removing everything from the box we get a quick glance at the components (30 game cards) and we feel that this is very simple.

APPEARANCE:

One thing that strikes us immediately is the quality of the artwork. It is simple. Perhaps 'simplistic' might even be a better adjective. It has the look as though it were done by an average high school student.

This brings its game rating down a great deal.

Our National Parks are so incredible and filled with the opportunities for spectacular, natural wonders, that to have such simplistic art takes away not only from the games, but from the Parks system itself. For instance...Yosemite National Park is famous for the 'Half Dome' mountain and for the incredible, long waterfalls, and yet the art on the card front is a child-like painting of a field, with red flowers, and mountains (that don't look anything like the Yosemite I remember seeing) in the background.

It is sad to admit that the appearance, or the art, on a game can have such a strong effect, but truly, playing with these cards, we don't get a strong feeling that we're playing with high quality materials.

GAME PLAY:

This is nothing more than a common trivia game, with the 'unique' factor being that all the trivia is about National Parks.

Each card is divided in to two parts, each part with three questions. There is the 'easy' set of questions, and the 'difficult' set of questions. Decide ahead of time which set you and your gamers will read from. On your turn, you roll a six-sided die (included) which is only numbered 1-3, twice. The person will read whichever question matched the number on your die roll. Answer the question correctly and you get to keep the card. Miss the answer, and the card is discarded. When all the cards are read once, shuffle the discard pile and continue, until all cards are dispersed. The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.

To spice up this game just a little bit, some of the cards, instead of having a question for #2, give the player the right to steal a card from another player. We chose not to play with this rule and instead offer a chance for the reader of the question to choose the question of his/her choice.

We found the questions to be very appropriate for our children (ages 13-17) and for my wife and myself (in our very early fifties).
Some questions we knew outright, some we could make educated guesses at, and some that we just didn't know.

The game play moved along quickly and we easily finished up in under half an hour.

OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:

One aspect that you really shouldn't over-look is the educational value of the game. While it was clear that while we knew a lot about our National Parks -- more than I thought we would -- there were enough questions to make us realize that we were learning something here as well. I carefully watched my children's faces and I could see that this was making them think and learn (which, fortunately, they enjoy doing).

It's actually a fun way to learn about our National Parks.

THE RESULTS:

As we finished the game (my 13 year old the winner), each of us said that we enjoyed the game, more than we expected to. There is certainly something positive to be said for a game which makes you use your wits, rather than a game in which you simply move around a board based on a die roll.

But despite playing it, it is not a game that anyone will be begging to return to. In part, because it's so simple, but also, in part, because after 30 cards, we've already had a feel for all the cards and questions. There isn't much new to be gleaned from the game.

For a National Parks system with nearly 400 parks and monuments, you might think that the game designers could have put together a few more cards full of trivia.

Fun, moderately challenging, this is NOT a game we'd recommend to any serious gamers. In fact, we probably couldn't recommend it to anywone, even though we enjoyed it. There's just not enough game here, and the art is just dreadful.

Rating:


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