Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mysterious Creatures - Game Review

Mysterious Creatures...Are they real? You decide.

Warning! The contents of this package may cause excessive interest and curiosity in other cultures. Please proceed with caution.

The name of a new game created by Education Outdoors, the question, and warning piqued my interest as it did my daughters who are 12 and almost 10 years old. As a homeschooling family, we enjoy playing games...especially ones that are challenging and/or help us learn something in the process.

Mysterious Creatures was created to engage player's curiosity in the mysteries of nature that exist across the world. The game takes each player on an adventure/race across the globe in search of their creature's evidence cards. The first player to collect all three evidence cards and make it back to their creature's country of origin wins.

The game is easy to set up. All we did was unfold the game board; place the stack of 16 creature cards next to the game board; set up the evidence cards that are in a box; and place the passports next to the game board.

To play the game, each person chose a pawn. One player (we chose Sophia, who is the oldest child) distributed a card from the top of the creature card deck for each person.

Sophia distributing a creature card to each player.

Then, each player (starting with the youngest child, in this case, Olivia), flipped over her card and read aloud for everyone to hear. This step (as long as reading the evidence cards during the game) helps with reading skills and introduces young readers to new words. There were quite a few new words that Olivia learned this morning while playing the game.

Olivia reading about her mysterious creature.

Then each player puts her pawn on the indicated country of origin. This was a great opportunity for both girls to find countries on the game board that they have not yet studied.

Sophia and Olivia finding the countries of origins 
for their mysterious creatures.

After all the cards were read and all the players took their place on the map, the youngest player (Olivia) rolled the big red die, and moved towards the country with the first piece of evidence. We continued to play in a clockwise fashion.

Once a player landed on the first country she then pulled out the first card (in order: Photo>Film>Physical) out of the Evidence Files with the corresponding country abbreviation for their creature.

The player then read the information on the back of the card for everyone to hear, making note of the next country to where she must travel.

Sophia reading the information about her mysterious creature.
The girls enjoyed reading these cards, and feeling like they were "detectives."

The first player to get all three cards assembled and land back on their creature's country of origin won. Players must land on the finish space by exact count, unless she has a passport card.

Olivia moving her pawn around the game board.

What makes this game fun is that it simply isn't a move-your-token-around-the-game-board type game. There are:
=> airport spaces (where you followed dotted lines to the next airport space),
=> swap position spaces (where you could swap positions with any player if you wanted to),
=> go back 10 spaces, and
=> passport spaces (where you picked up a passport to allow travel through any country via dotted black lines).

One thing that we liked about this game is that it is unpredictable - you may think you are close to winning, but then another player can switch spaces with you or you have to go back ten spaces.

Mysterious Creatures is designed for up to four players; and the recommended age is 8 years old and above. The playing pieces are small (as is typical of most games), so be aware that these may be choking hazards for young children (under age 3).

This game has several education benefits:
=> Learn world geography.
=> Learn about other country's unique creatures.
=> Be inspired to discover the truth of the world's mysterious creatures.

Mysterious Creatures was a lot of fun, and it is certainly going to be a game that we play often. In fact, after we finished the first game, Sophia asked, "Can we play again?" So, we played another round, this time learning about three more mysterious creatures.

The mysterious creatures that are featured in the game are intriguing; and are ones that we are going to do some more research on now that we have been introduced to them. There are also links and codes on some of the evidence cards so players can watch videos on the internet of the "evidence."

Mysterious Creatures is a perfect game for a homeschooling family - or any family - who likes to challenge themselves, spend time together, and be inspired to further explore and learn about new things.

To purchase this game, please visit the Mysterious Creatures website. Shipping is very quick...and your family will be playing this fun game in no time at all!

Disclaimer: Although I received a complimentary Mysterious Creatures game in exchange for a review, my positive opinions are all honest ones. I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  

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