Week 27, 2012
Yesterday I played Run un den Kalendar. We were 2 adults and one 4 years old. In theory this game helps the children to learn the days of the week, the months and the four seasons. I have my doubts if the game helps the children to learn about the days of the week and the months. However in reference of the four seasons the game is well done, in my opinion.
The game mechanics involve some elements of chance and strategy. For example, depending which number one gets after spinning a wheel, one can move either right or left to the corresponding spot on the board. Then, the player takes the card and describes the picture connect to a season that is in that specific spot. The cards are placed randomly, so one has to pay attention. The game’s aim is to get a card of each season. So, the player has to think carefully which direction to take, to actually collect at cards of the four seasons. 😉
The game also pays special attention to fine motor skills, at least in one “mini-game”. Let me explain. The spinning wheel can indicate the number the player has to move in the board, or if the player has to play a mini-game which allows to get a seasonal card without moving the tile from the board. Ideally this card is from the season the player is missing. The mini-game is about dropping a bar, which has all the seasons, between a player’s fingers. The player has to close her or his hand fast when the bar is passing by. Ideally the player stops the bar in the season s/he needs. It is a fast mini-game within the game, where the children have to learn to practice their coordination skills when dropping the bar and also to close their hands fast.
Designing games for small children is challenging. It increases the difficulty level when we aim to design games for a family with small children. The constant question is: how can we design a game interesting for the small ones as well as for the adults? mmmm… interesting challenge to solve! And you have to notice that I even didn’t even mention in my question the game’s learning aspect, because that increases the challenge. 🙂
If I have to rate this game, I think I will put it 2 of 3 stars. I confess, I have an enjoyable game experience of describing the seasons with the little one 🙂