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help designing fire safety board game 4 kids!!!

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addy
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Joined: 12/31/1969

hello,

im new to this site. i was hoping i could get some advice on helping me to design a board game about fire safety, that is aimed at children. to help them learn about keeping safe at home.

i was thinking of basing the layout on an existing board game and then change the graphics...but i havent had much luck at finding one thats right.

i wantd it to be a board game where if the kids land on a question square then they would have to answer a question correctly to move a few places forward or back, if incorrect. something along thoses lines.

im making this board game because it is a project i have been set at college also because i have been in a fire before, so thought it would be good to make something based on personal experience. i have about 2 1/2 weeks left now....so not long left.

any tips would be grately appreciated!!

addy
x

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
help designing fire safety board game 4 kids!!!

Sounds like an interesting project; too bad you've waited till the last minute!

Is your goal for this design to actually make a game that kids will really want to play, or is it just to complete your project and get an acceptable grade?

If it's just the latter, I'm sure that basing the game on an existing game would work great, and will be an easy way to complete your project in two weeks. But if it's the former, I think you should avoid basing the game on an existing game like Monopoly or some such. Making a game where you roll, move, and answer a question will be BORING! I think it's highly achievable to make a game that teaches about fire safety AND that is actually fun.

Here's what I would do. The players all start in a room of a house in which there is a fire. The board shows the floor plan of the house, and there will be "fire tokens" that show the rooms into which the fire has spread, as well as "smoke tokens" to notate rooms that are filled with smoke.

The game should probably be cooperative, and the goal of the game would be for each player to reach a "meeting point" outside in the yard (which, of course, teaches the players about the need to have such a point in their own houses).

Then you could have cards representing the various things that players could attempt to do, or things that happen. For example, if a player tries to go through a door, they must first check to see if it's hot or something like that. Or if they try to pass through a smoke filled room, they should crawl. And they should try to get to a phone and call the fire department. And they should put wet towels under the door to stop smoke from getting in, etc. I'm sure you can inject these into the game as trivia questions, but the key is to make the kids feel that they are actually DOING those things and actively affecting the game state. This makes the trivia more engaging, because you're not just testing their knowledge, you're enabling them to apply their knowledge in a way that will help them win the game.

Maybe answering the question right gives them some benefit, whereas answering wrong means that you add a new smoke token or fire token or some such. And maybe the nature of the question relates to what will happen. For example, if you get the question "smoke is coming under the door! What do you do?" and if they answer right, something good happens, whereas if they answer wrong, they add a smoke token to the room that they're in).

Another key is that at the end of the game, everyone must get out of the house safely -- you don't want to scare the kids. Of course, you can achieve that by just having the fire department show up if the players find themselves trapped and with no escape.

Hope this helps. It sounds like a great game idea. Good luck with it!

-Jeff

Krakit
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Joined: 11/26/2011
help designing fire safety board game 4 kids!!!

Well, the obvious idea is to make the board a house interior.

Let the players compete correcting hazzards throught the home. Oily rags in the garage, overloaded power outlets, dead battery in the smoke detector, etc.

Put a point value for solving each issue. Most points wins.

Carl

addy
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Joined: 12/31/1969
help designing fire safety board game 4 kids!!!

thank you both. i really like the game ideas you've come up with!!
this first week was mainly research so now its down to the ideas and designs.

i definetly agree that a game where you just roll a dice, move and answer a question will be boring - especially for kids. but its mainly the graphics of the game that i will be marked on...but if i can make it fun i will try.

i'll let you know how i get on

thank you fro the tips and advice!!! will definetly come in handy!!

addy
x

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
help designing fire safety board game 4 kids!!!

I was thinking of something a little less literal, as I'm not a big fan of simulation of dangerous situations with kids because I think (just from my parenting, so it could obviously be very different for various kids) it tends to trivialize the danger. In your example, Jeff, where the fire department comes to save the kids in the end, I'd be concerned that it will accidentally send the message that if you don't get out on your own, the fire department will definitely save you.

My thoughts tend towards something a bit more abstract. For example, a simpler board that has x interconnected spaces, one for each major topic area. They'd be connected in an interesting way, like a wheel-and-spoke layout (like Trivial Pursuit, but not with a bunch of spaces, just one per topic area). These could be superimposed over a firefighter symbol or a dalmation or what have you. On a turn a player moves one space.

Each space has a small stack of cards. On the backs of the cards are parts of a house (or, say, a firetruck), not unlike a puzzle. To complete a house it might take 9 pieces: a left, center, and right for the bottom floor; a left, center, and right for the top floor; and a left, center, and right for the roof. Because kids can see what part of the "puzzle" is next on a particular stack, they can move towards one they need (see below for trading/sharing if all the ones in reach are duplicates of what you have).

On the front of the cards are questions and answers. When a player lands on a space, the player to the left draws the top card from the associated stack and reads the question. If the player answers correctly, s/he gets the card and places if face-down on the table in front of him/her, building the puzzle. If the player answers incorrectly, the card is placed on the bottom of that same stack. First player to complete his/her own puzzle wins.

At the beginning of the game n cards (one per player, for example, or one from each deck) are placed face-down (puzzle-side up) by the side of the board or in a special area of the board, with all the puzzle faces visible. If on your turn you win a card that you can't actually use because you already have one in your house, you can trade the card you just won with one of the face-down cards in the special area if you can use it. If you still can't find one you can use, then you just place it in that area to share.

By placing certain house piece backs in certain topic areas, you can make it likely that a player will have to answer at least one or two questions in each area to win. For example if there are 5 topic areas and 9 puzzle pieces, then one topic stack could be mostly roof pieces, one mostly bottom floor pieces, one mostly left-size pieces, one mostly right-size pieces, and one mostly center (non-corner) pieces.

You'd need to play with the board layout a little bit, but in general something like this ensures that kids answer a variety of questions and it's at least slightly tactical (you need left-side pieces so you need to move towards that side).

Or something else that's fun but that doesn't simulate danger. At least that's what I'd do for my kid.

Best of luck on your project!

-- Matthew

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