I have been playing games for most of my life. And, after I had kids of my own, I was always anxious to play games with them. They watched me have friends come over to my weekly game night and they saw the benefit from having friends and meeting to play games. However, at the time there were very few options of games to play with younger players. As Doug, David, Logan, and I sat down to play this game it did not take very long to see that we were not the target audience for this game. Not long after we started though, David mentioned this is something he could play with his youngest. Doug mentioned that he wanted to present the game to his youngest son, have him watch the video on how to play and then explore the game through that shared experience. Logan has three nephews all under the age of nine. They are eager to play games, and this will be a great example of a game that the four of them could enjoy together.
Today I had the opportunity to visit Doug’s wife’s work to help some students who were working on a card game project. They were provided with some pictures of a wide variety of animals and the goal of this project was to come up with a game using these animals. Each student was play testing their game, and we, with several of their peers, were there to try the games and provide some feedback. Now these were very simple games, many of which involved battle and matching. However, I was very surprised by the concepts and consideration that several of the students put into these games. This was a great experiment for them. They had to come up with player count, game mechanics, rules, and then be able to teach the game to myself and other students.
Now, what does all of this have to do with my daughters and Zaberias? Well, I am glad you asked. Zaberias, is a game designed for the age level of younger gamers and this is a game that I would have loved to own when my now adult children were eager and hungry to learn and play games. This game is set with a fantasy theme. Each player will pick one of the four factions to play. The Humans, the Orcs, the Guardians, and the Undead. Each of the four factions comes with a section of the board to combine allowing the game to be played with 2 - 4 players. The game board has locations for players to build and upgrade cities, and build armies. There is also a mine and a teleporter on each board allowing players to earn more gold and travel across any of the boards quickly.
Each unit provides a base strength, and a base movement. Some units also provide range for ranged attacks. The goal of the game is to breach each opponent's board and destroy their cities and overthrow their armies. This is done by comparing a target’s base strength with base strength of my attacking forces and then rolling dice to increase that attacking strength or to the strength of the defensive units. Whomever has the greatest strength and the losing force removes their losing forces. Each play has three levels of cities they can build, and each increase allows for stronger forces and more unique abilities.
For anyone looking to play games with younger players in your home, I would very much recommend looking at this game. Now, there are a few issues I have too. The storage of this game is problematic. The game board simply rests on the second sheet holding the pieces in place. I would recommend a file holder and some baggies to both protect the boards, as well as keeping all the pieces together without them dropping out and getting lost. Games like this are great to enhance young gamers' experiences. It also allows you to build on these mechanics and to forge strong lasting memories with those budding gamers under your wings, and at the same time teach strategy and basic gaming principles.
What are some games that you have found successful to both teach and play with beginning gamers?