Mission Earth

Jenny writes:


‘An excellent game for the whole family which is not only educational but a lot of fun too’

When this game arrived my son was very excited to start playing it immediately. The fun design on the box really attracted my son and he read every bit of writing on the outside of the box. He liked all the different characters on the box and the bright, bold and eye-catching designs.

The information on the box explains the purpose of the game: basically the adults have ruined the world and the Earth Heroes/game players need to save the Earth by lowering their own carbon footprint. The game itself also reinforces this idea as not only are all the parts and pieces made from recycled materials but the box itself unfolds to create the game-board. There are no plastic components and my son was very impressed that even the die is wooden.

The game suggests that it is suitable for children aged 7+. This is a good general age suggestion although a younger child can also play quite easily as long as they understand the basic principles and have some ability to read. The box also states that the game is for 2-6 players although there are actually 8 playing pieces included with the game.

The game-board, once unfolded, immediately shouts ‘fun and exciting’ as it is very brightly coloured with bold spaces and beautiful illustrations.

The instructions are simple and easy to understand. Each player chooses an Earth Hero Character and is given a number of ‘carbon footprint tokens’. The winner is the first person to travel around the board to the middle and NOT have any carbon footprints left. If you reach the middle and still have tokens left, you can use the ‘portal’ squares to transport to another ‘portal’ square on the board. As you travel around the board you must follow the instructions such as ‘Miss a turn’ and you must also pick up cards relating to the colour that you land on. There are three card categories:

  • Chance: which explain why you need to either pick up or lose a carbon footprint. For example ‘You forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room – Pick up one carbon footprint’
  • Question: if you answer the question correctly then one carbon footprint can be put back. There are easier and harder questions on each card.
  • Action: You could be asked to do anything from ‘Waddle and Quack around the room like a duck’ or ‘Make up a song about your Earth Hero and sing it’ – if you complete the action, you can put back a carbon footprint.

The game also has ‘Team play’ rules if you are playing in a large group, however, we found the instructions for team play a little confusing but this may be because my son is quite young. And the group we were in was small enough to play as individuals.

Each character also has a ‘profile card’. My son loves reading the profile card for each of the characters and it is a lovely touch the depth that this game has. However, in the instructions, it explains that you can use this profile card to move six spaces on your go instead of rolling the die as this is your special super-hero power. We decided to not bother with this part of the game as more often than not we forgot to use the card by the end of the game and didn’t feel that it added anything extra to the game. Again, this may be because my son is quite young and this ‘power’ may appeal to a slightly older child more. I personally feel that we were not missing out on anything by not following this instruction.

As a family, we really enjoy this game. The question cards are very educational and interesting. A lot of the questions have multiple choice answers which means that even if you do not know the answer, you can make an educated guess. After each question, we often talk about the answer to ensure that my son understands it. Question can range from ‘How many steps should we take each day to keep healthy?’ to ‘Which of these animals are extinct?’ to ‘How many plastic carrier bags are used in the world every minute?’. The Action Cards add a lot of fun and silliness to the game and we often end up giggling as we wriggle round the room like a worm.

My son has already learnt a lot about the environment and the impact our actions have on the world from playing this game. My son is now much more eager to turn off the lights or television when he leaves a room, he talks a lot about water conservation and how we can use less and is very keen on making sure that we recycle and re-use everything.
I would definitely recommend this game to other families.

However, one of the main features of this game is that the box becomes the board and unfortunately this is also the only slightly negative about the game. The box unfolds and therefore has several creases in it. These are extremely fragile. Despite taking a lot of care when opening the board, it still ripped apart at one of the hinges causing an awful lot of upset as it was only the second time we got the game out. We are still able to play the game as we have patched it up with sticky tape but it was still very upsetting. There is a warning on the instruction sheet inside the box stating ‘please take care to prolong the life of your game, by only attempting to fold and unfold the board as intended’ but I think the board is likely to tear no matter how much care you take. It also does not mention this on the outer sleeve so I imagine an eager child is likely to damage the board before it has even been played with.

My last point is that the board/box is stored inside a cardboard sleeve. Please be careful to always carry the box flat as it could easily slip out of the sleeve and would be very likely to tear if it were to fall any distance. This could have easily been solved by closing off one of the ends.

 

More information about Mission Earth and its stockists is available from Gibson Games

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