Heather Sanders

Living, Loving and Learning – Wrapped In God's Grace

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21

September 2012

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COMMENTS

Board Game Review: We the People Fight Tyranny

Posted in: Homeschooling, Reviews

we-the-people-fight-tyranny

In response to last month’s post at The Pioneer Woman’s Homeschooling blog where I requested help expanding a list of American History Readers for 5th grade and up, one of the commenters suggested I try the recently published “We the People Fight Tyranny Game” as an additional, fun reinforcement of historical facts.

After visiting the website, reading the game details, and checking out the hefty price tag ($54.99), I bookmarked the game for consideration, but held off purchasing until after the books were ordered. While there wasn’t enough money left in my homeschool budget, I was able to “rob” another budget envelope to purchase the game.

Game Board

I considered this game an investment for a few reasons:

  1. Kenny and Meredith will both cycle back through American History before they graduate.
  2. Emelie will wrap up her final American History coursework next year.
  3. This is a game we can play as a family.

Admittedly, I was concerned the game might be too advanced for Kenny since the suggested age range is 15 to adult. However, he is a trivia hound so my hope was that, at the very least, he would enjoy the trivia cards.

FED ID Cards

Upon first review, the four pages of game rules were a bit intimidating. Jeff and I read over them once together and decided to coach the kids along as we played instead of reading all the directions AGAIN before starting the game.

To start the game, the Game Czar (won by a roll of the die) chooses the identity of each player by assigning them a FED ID card. The FED ID cards are divided up into red or blue players – the game suggests the Game Czar select a balance of the two for optimum play.

The Game Czar holds a nice place of power throughout the game, assigning identities and settling disputes not outlined in the rules.

Start Here

All players’ pawns begin from the same spot on the outside square track, Semi-Capitalist Street.

Players are given a score (ledger) sheet and their “Starting Cash”, which is decided by their assigned FED ID card. Each player writes their “Starting Cash” amount on their paper ledger. The ledger basically serves as the player’s bank account record of gains and losses as they progress through the game.

History Trivia Cards

In addition to keeping track of their money, each player keeps track of stars they earn by correctly answering trivia card questions. The allocation of stars are designated at the base of each trivia card. The more difficult a question, the more stars a player stands to earn with a right answer.

Because the player with the most stars wins the game, responding correctly to the questions is the most important aspect of the game.

There are five different categories of Trivia Cards:

  • Portraits in Time – relevant figures in American and world history
  • We the People – documents that contribute to American history
  • Spoken Identity – statements made by politically relevant people
  • Stubborn Facts – interesting historical facts and their context
  • In God We Trust – America’s religious heritage, principles of faith and the scriptures.

"We the People" Question

At EVERY turn players will draw a Trivia Card from the category of their choice (at times players will land on spaces that require a specific Trivia Card category) and answer the question.

The question above reads, “According to the Constitution Article II, Section 2, what does the President need from the senators present in order to make a treaty?” The player selects from one of the four multiple choice answers provided. If answered correctly, the player receives 3 stars.

"We the People" Answer

Did you answer correctly?

“C.) A 2/3 majority of senators”

Additional information is provided at the base of each card. Sometimes this is simply a caption, but other times there are book sources and/or website URLs for further research.

As players progress through the cards it becomes obvious that the more difficult questions earn the most stars.

"Portraits in Time" Question

Another question from the “Portaits in Time” category reads, “Who am I? I was born in Montana to the Shoshone tribe, but was kidnapped when I was 12 years old by members of the Hidatsa tribe. I was taught their culture and language. At 16, I married Toussaint Charbonneau, a French trapper, and went with my husband and my newborn son on a journey of discovery from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean and back. I proved my value to the caravan because of my coolness under pressure and my knowledge of languages. I died when I was 25 from ‘putrid fever’ or diphtheria.”

The choices are: A. Sarah Winnecmucca, B. Sacagawea, C. Mary Brant, and D. Eagle of Delight.

"Portraits in Time" Answer

This was Kenny’s question. He answered “Sacagawea” correctly and earned one star.

All Trivia Cards have blue stars, but some also have red stars. If a player draws a card with both colors of stars they can request help from another player. If they take the advice or suggestion of that person, they split the “credit” of stars on their tally sheets (the “helper” earns the number of red stars and the player who drew the card receives the number of blue stars).

There are also different icons that may appear on the card where players “do battle” for the right answer.

Social Justice working for you.

The only time a player does not draw a Trivia Card is if they land on “Social Justice” or “Disappoint Big Brother” spaces on the board.

Social Justice Card

When a player lands on the “Social Justice” game board space, they draw a “Social Justice” card, read it to the group, and players for whom the card applies must pay the designated dollar penalties listed on the card.

Let’s just say no one likes to land on the “Social Justice” spaces; they are described as “examples of intrusive government.”

Disappoint Big Brother Card

The “Disappoint Big Brother” game board spaces are described as “Ways ‘We the People’ can restore America.” When a player lands on “Disappoint Big Brother” they draw a card and have a possible earning potential based on what is written on the card.

For instance, the above card reads, “If you have made or mended any clothing item (hat, dress, scarf, kid’s Halloween costume, etc.) within the last two years, earn two stars.

Disappoint Big Brother Card, 2

Another example of a “Disappoint Big Brother” card reads, “If you have read the Declaration of Independence, earn three stars.”

Unlike “Social Justice,” players look forward to landing on “Disappoint Big Brother.”

Bankrupt!

On both the outside and inside tracks, players will roll the die and land on “safe” or rather precarious spaces, obeying whatever is written. For instance, landing on “BANKRUPT!” sends you straight to the “Path of Social Justice” (the inside circle), but only after mortgaging your home.

Your Pocket is Picked

Another possible space is the “Your pocket is picked” spot where you must switch money with the poorest player (unless YOU ARE the poorest player, in which you get to take $10,000 from the richest player).

We the People Fight Tyranny Game Board

In playing the game everyone eventually loses everything in the outside, square track (Semi-Capitalist Street) and is forced to mortgage their home and move to the inside circular track (path of Social Justice). From there, it is a race to gain stars because once anyone loses all their money on the inside track, all the stars are tallied. The person with the most stars wins.

The first night we played this game it lasted 3 1/2 hours, but none of us noticed the time passing until we were packing things up. Embarrassingly enough, I would say we guessed at close to 80% of the questions, had an inkling of an idea on the other 15%, and absolutely knew 5%.

The game itself is simple to play, but the questions range from easy to difficult, pulling from hundreds of books and online resources. There are no “giveaway” questions and the vocabulary can be tricky for younger kids. This is why I recommend it as a family game. It is a great way to practice a combination of skills – adding, subtracting (stars and monies lost and gained), historical questions, vocabulary and context clues, memory, as well as reading for content.

The “We the People Fight Tyranny Game” seems to be a lot like what you would get if you combined Monopoly with Trivia Pursuit and gave it a History spin. The game is designed to teach history from a freedom vs. slavery, liberty vs. tyranny perspective, but I agree with BoardGameGeek who wrote, “The game not only teaches America’s history, but the humor in the game board and ‘social justice’ cards draw a clear contrast between the founding roots of this country and the direction the nation has taken over the past 100 years. The mix of satire and history make it fun for everyone, but this game certainly will appeal more to those who are libertarian or politically conservative.”

Game Storage

Believe it or not we have recently cleared out our board game collection, but it looks as though we soon may be expanding to the linen closet. “We the People Fight Tyranny Game” is one everyone agrees is a keeper.

We are always on the look-out for games to enjoy as a family. Whether educational or just for fun, what are your family’s favorite games? What age range do they cover?

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Please note: “We the People Tyranny Game” was a personal family purchase. I am not in any way affiliated with the company and/or publisher of the game.

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