Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Feast Day" - The Liturgical Year Board Game: Good, Low-Tech Fun & Learning

Feast Day!, the newly-released board game for ages 6-adult, is a personal project from Steve Botsford, a former youth minister, designed to help kids learn about the seasons and feasts of the Liturgical Year and the significance of parts of the Mass. Like a traditional board game, it comes with a colorful board, four markers - one for each person or team playing, a die and a set of cards corresponding to the seasons of the liturgical calendar. This visually attractive game is intended for families, schools, parish religious education, and home-schoolers and can be played either by individuals or teams. That makes it suitable for use in a classroom situation.

Game play is simple. Players place their markers on the Christ the King space, then roll the die and move through 52 spaces, one for each Sunday of the year, Whenever a player lands on a space, the player to the right draws a card from the pile that corresponds to that season and reads the question to him or her.  If the player answers correctly, he or she keeps the card.

The questions on the cards are mostly pretty basic - asking the color or meaning of the season, the significance of a symbol used during the season or the ways we celebrate the Liturgical Year. The Ordinary Time deck includes questions about the Mass and the Bible. Occasionally, some questions even invite brief reflection, such as this one: "During Advent we watch for signs of God's love in the world. Name one place you can see signs of God's love."

If a player lands on a space with the Feast Day! logo, everyone shouts "Feast Day!" and the player draws a card from the Feast Day stack. These cards contain interesting facts about the liturgical year, but no question. In effect, it's a free card - with bonus learning about how special days are celebrated during the Liturgical Year.

The first player to travel all the way around the board and land on the Christ the King space chooses a season and attempts to answer a question from that card pile.  If the question is answered correctly, the game is over and players count their cards. The player or team with the most cards wins the game.

My take:
This would be a great addition to any home or classroom to test knowledge of Catholic liturgical basics and encourage learning about the liturgical year by children, parents and even teachers and catechists. The graphics on the board are colorful and engaging, the game play simple enough for younger children. There is a nice variety of questions that can appeal to all ages.  I like that it gives a team-play option. When playing this in teams in a classroom, the teacher or catechist could, if time runs out, count cards as the end of class approaches, if the game is not completed.

While Feast Day! may not be as glitzy or "modern" as app-based learning games like Catholic Words and Games, it is attractive, simple and easily used in classrooms where a projector and screen are not available or the catechist reluctant to use technology. Board games may be low-tech, but they are versatile, easy to use and here to stay. At a reasonable price-point of $34.95, with potential appeal to all ages and a durable, heavy-duty box and board, this is a game worth getting and enjoying for years.

Feast Day! is a great learning tool and can be fun, too. Go here to order it now, while there is a free shipping offer. (Grab the free quick review guide for the liturgical seasons while you're on the site, too.)

NOTE: I was provided with a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.


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