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Game Concept: Safari Quest - Dice & Card game for kids

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JDHultgren
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My daughter, soon to turn 5, has been showing a lot of interest recently in what Daddy does - making up her own little boardgames off the cuff for us to play. It's sparked me to make something we can play together, and I thought I'd share the idea with everyone here and see what you think.

I've tentatively called it Safari Quest (Safari was taken). The players are Researchers, travelling through a national park trying to document the various animals that live there.

It's a simple card and dice game. There is a deck of cards face-down in the centre of the table, each with a different combination of between 2 and 5 animal symbols on it. The more symbols, the more points it's worth.

On your turn, you draw 2 cards, and choose one that you want to try and document/photograph/find or whatever we end up calling it. You then play Yahtzee with 5 dice, trying to match the symbols on the card. Like Yahtzee, you get 2 rerolls. For example, I might choose a card with 3 symbols, and then have to match those symbols by rolling and rerolling my dice.

If the player can match the symbols, they keep the card to score at the end. If not, the card goes back to the bottom of the deck.

Here's the catch - when you choose one of your 2 cards, the card you don't choose goes into a discard pile next to the deck. The next player can then choose to either take that card and attempt to roll those symbols, or draw 2 cards of their own and repeat the process.

The game lasts 10 rounds (or whenever young fidgeters have had enough). The round counter is represented by a little Jeep moving along spaces on a board that looks like a national park, with a waterhole, plains, forests, swamp etc. It's purely a round counter, but it helps to engage little minds and put them into the theme of travelling through the park.

I chose the theme by picking something my daughter loves - animals and documentaries. We watch a LOT of David Attenborough, and are greenies at heart, so I wanted to shy away from the Zoo theme and do something a bit more natural. I think the game is probably a step down from Zooloretto Dice, and could be used as a stepping stone for young children before jumping into that game. I really wanted to try and make something that would be engaging for the parents too (which is SUPER hard), so the push-your-luck aspect of taking the easy rolls for small points or going after the hard ones for big points but possibly failing works there, along with the 'potentially giving a card to the next player that they might want' aspect. It's light, definitely, but I think there's a bit of substance there for adults without complicating things too much or unnecessarily for the little ones.

Let me know what you think, and thanks for your time!

Orangebeard
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Lions and Tigers and...

This sounds like fun...

Are animals distributed evenly across the die faces or are some animals easier/harder to roll?

Supafrieke
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Very Nice...

I had a very similar idea; but again my target audience is a tiny bit older so I added a twist in scoring.

My idea was to have a row of 5-6 cards available for anyone to claim. Each card had two elements: Animals (Lion, Elephant, Zebra, Giraffe, Cheetah ... ) and Composition (Playing, Mothering, Eating, Group,...).

Each player would roll a set of dice that had elements of a Safari (Map, Telephoto Lens, Boots, Camouflage, Water, [blank]) as the die faces and would use those elements to capture certain photos. Players would roll Yahtzee style and go around the table; refreshing the available Photos each time one is claimed.

So as an example, a picture of a Cheetah Hunting/Eating would take 4 sets of Boots! A picture of an Elephant calf and mother might take a Telephoto Lens and 2 Camouflage.

Scoring at the end of the game is based on the sets you were able to capture.

So lots of Zebras gets points, lots of Playing gets points and so on.

JDHultgren
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Orangebeard wrote:This sounds

Orangebeard wrote:
This sounds like fun...

Are animals distributed evenly across the die faces or are some animals easier/harder to roll?

Thanks Orangebeard! Animals are evenly distributed, so 6 different ones on a d6. The cards with a set of 5 animals are rare in the deck (7 of them in a deck of 70), but they're worth big points if you draw them and can pull it off.

Printing a prototype today to test with the family - really looking forward to it. I think it would be a good game to take away on something like a camping trip - quick and simple, but fun.

JDHultgren
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Supafrieke wrote:I had a very

Supafrieke wrote:
I had a very similar idea; but again my target audience is a tiny bit older so I added a twist in scoring.

My idea was to have a row of 5-6 cards available for anyone to claim. Each card had two elements: Animals (Lion, Elephant, Zebra, Giraffe, Cheetah ... ) and Composition (Playing, Mothering, Eating, Group,...).

Each player would roll a set of dice that had elements of a Safari (Map, Telephoto Lens, Boots, Camouflage, Water, [blank]) as the die faces and would use those elements to capture certain photos. Players would roll Yahtzee style and go around the table; refreshing the available Photos each time one is claimed.

So as an example, a picture of a Cheetah Hunting/Eating would take 4 sets of Boots! A picture of an Elephant calf and mother might take a Telephoto Lens and 2 Camouflage.

Scoring at the end of the game is based on the sets you were able to capture.

So lots of Zebras gets points, lots of Playing gets points and so on.

This sounds pretty cool! You're right, definitely for an older audience I think, but still cool nonetheless.

I chose to try and aim mine around the 5-8yrs bracket because there just doesn't seem to be many games out there for that age group. I can see why though - when making it, it's very difficult to stop yourself from throwing more complex mechanics in that YOU think sound cool. Got to constantly remind yourself that it's a game for young children to play as well as adults - it's a big balancing act.

Supafrieke
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Scalability...

Our family definitely likes to see new+fun kids games, however don't underestimate those 5-8 year olds! After a few plays with flat scoring (e.g. Cards worth a static 1,2,3... points), you might be surprised at what Jr. has picked up and will be able to do. Building sets and scoring would probably be an easy step-up, as long as its not some complicated geometric progression.

We often play loose with the rules the first few runs through a game anyway, and slowly tighten up/ introduce rules as we see the kids catching on. Mastermind for Kids does just that; multiple levels of play with the same components.

In any case, your idea and graphics are wonderful, keep it up; I only suggest thinking about how the game can grow with the players...

For inspiration on introducing complexity to children look at "My Happy Farm", for 8 year olds! https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1687559/my-happy-farm How beautiful!

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