A few days ago, I mentioned a gift suggestion for anyone on your list who is interested in learning about edible and medicinal plants. I want to tell you more about a good game that will help familiarize the players with many of those plants.
HerbMentor.com is part of LearningHerbs.com, a great site to find out more about health through good foods and use of herbs. The creators wanted to a provide a place for people of all experience levels to share and gain knowledge. Recently, they created a board game called Wildcraft! too that would give children as young as 4 a good place to begin.
Our family played this game about 2 weeks ago together. It is designed for 1 -4 players so we played in teams. I was a bit concerned that the preschoolers would be frustrated or bored because they can’t quite read yet, but the designers really did make it toddler friendly. Each child could assist in playing in some way, whether it was guessing what each “trouble card” picture indicated, spinning, or counting out spaces, but they really enjoyed matching up the pictures of the herbs.
The game comes with extra storylines you can print off the site to enhance the game, but for the short attention spans we had, we quickly decided nothing much was lost by skipping them. The object is to work together to reach the top of the hill to gather huckleberries for Grandma’s pie and then bring them back to her.
As you climb, you collect herbs that can be used for healing or eating. Along the way, you may encounter bee stings, scraped knees, hunger, rashes, nosebleeds, and the like. The “trouble cards” have illustrations on them of plants that will help treat those conditions. For example, the mosquito bite card shows that horsetail, coltsfoot, stinging nettle, white willow, echinacea, plaintain, chickweed, yellow dock, dandelion, and catnip are all remedies. Each time you examine the icons again to match them up, it helps you to remember the connection.
The designers also planned it so you have 26 pairs of plant cards so you can use the them to play Concentration (or Memory) with them also. This would be great extra practice in recognition of the plants.
The rules are pretty simple and easy to learn. The game board is colorful and appealing with some Chutes and Ladders type excitement of suddenly jumping forward or slipping backward. The creators make some suggestions for various forms of play to accommodate players of all ages and attention spans. We opted to only play to the top of the hill (rather than all the way back down also) since there were many of us playing and it was getting toward bedtime.
One of the aspects of the game I liked most was that it was cooperative rather than strictly competitive. We used all of those game options, including sharing healing plant cards with each other and the spots where the person in last place could be brought up to share the position with the one who landed on it.
Overall, I think this is a great game for someone interested in preparedness. It is simple enough for anyone who can move a game piece, yet offers some learning opportunities for anyone interested. The sites operated by the creators offer lots of great info including courseware and sign-ups for newsletters.