Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

August 27, 2010

Playing The Genealogy Board Game - What Fun!

Last month I started making a Genealogy Board Game for my grandchildren. I create a new Genealogy activity for them every year and this year was my biggest challenge and my biggest activity!

You can read the first 4 parts about how I created this Genealogy Board Game at Children's Games. A few days ago I explained how I created the UH-OH, CONGRATULATIONS and TRANSPORTATION cards.

Well, the big day came. We played the game!! More than once!! My 10 and 12 year old grandchldren loved it so much that they asked to play it again. And again. They offered suggestions and ideas. They laughed when another player had to take an UH-OH card and go back spaces or pay money. They whispered to the dice "please please, 3,3,3,3,3!" as they looked ahead at the board squares and realized that a roll of 3 would land them on a TRANSPORTATION square and they could move ahead.

After discussing the game with them, I made changes. I tweaked some items by moving some of the squares. I created more cards with negative consequences because they complained that the game ended too soon the first time we played.

My grandson asked for more death cards. Amazing how young children are so macabre. I had only created one death card which related the death of an ancestor and required the player reading the card to return home and start their journey over. Why? Because they too died with the ancestor! I didn't make any more than that one, thinking that it might be a bit too weird or morbid. But they loved it, especially since Grandma (me) got it!

So at their urging I created 10 more death cards, each one relating an ancestor's actual death. I confess I tried to find the more lurid and bizarre deaths so as to appeal to their young and morbid minds. I made the consequences such things as "Go back home and seek immediate medical attention" The card stated they too had been bitten by the same dog that bit their ancestor who died a few days afterward. I know - oddly macabre but they loved it.

They wanted more squares on the board to make the game last longer so when hubby and I create the final version (this one is a prototype) we'll make the squares smaller to accomplish that.

They liked my one detour through the forest of New York with their Loyalist ancestor so I will add one more for the final game board version.

With our new cards and with our rules semi-established, we played another round. Here are the rules we've come up with so far:

* Players in turn roll the die, player who rolls the highest number goes first
* Players roll one die and take their turn, moving ahead that number of spaces
* If two players land on the same square, they have a duel (their word, not mine) and whoever rolls the smaller number moves back one square
* If players land on a War square (the 4 corners are squares representing a war an ancestor fought in), they must either sit out 2 or 3 turns to participate in the war, or they can pay the bank $100.00 and not lose any turns
* Players can only get Home by throwing the exact number required to get into Home Circle. So a player might end up going back and forth several times on the Home Path before actually reaching Home Circle
*  First player Home receives $100.00, second player $75.00, third player $50.00 and fourth player $25.00. The winner is not the player who got Home first, it is the player with the most money once all players have completed their journey (Their rule, not mine)

We still don't have a name for the Genealogy Board Game. We've tossed around "Journey with your Ancestors" "Ancestor Journey" "Memory Lane" and other ideas but nothing has made us say "Aha! That's it!"

There was a lot of laughing, joking and teasing each other when we played. It really was a lot of fun especially when we realized that Grandpa couldn't keep track of how many turns he'd missed when he had to sit out in one of the War Corners. So we could tell him he hadn't missed all his turns yet when in reality he had!

All in all it's been really fun playing this game with the kids and I'm excited to make the final version and get it laminated, then try it out on my other seven grandchldren.


Kathleen Moore said...

What a great way to get the kids involved!

Mary said...

How about Traveling in Time, or Time Travel. I'm so glad everyone had fun.

Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...

What great fun! I thoroughly enjoy your kids genealogy activities. I think you can go commercial with your board game idea!

gsgenealogy said...

What a great idea. I saw a link to your post from Randy Seavers weekly best of the Genea-blogs. I have a few questions: Would you laminate it for durablility? Another idea would be to use clear contac paper and stick it to both sides. I have a ten year old and I know how hard they can be on board games. I love your idea. I need to read your four other posts.....

Kathryn Lake Hogan said...

Greetings Lorine,
I agree with Joan; you need to go commercial with this. I would love a game such as this to play with my kids.
The photos of your grandkids were entertaining as well.

GeneaGeek said...

I absolutely love this idea. I agree with the kids - the death cards are the most interesting (even though I'm an adult).
I might just have to steal your idea :)

Susan said...

I was sitting thinking here about developing a genealogy game and thought I would research to see if anyone had already done it. Alas you have! Great idea!