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REVIEW: AARK Category: Reference | Review Added: June 23, 2011
There is no better tool than a quality board game to bring a family together, especially as we head into the winter months where indoor play becomes more of a necessity for many. Based on the best selling board game that originated in South Africa, PSTime Games brings AARK to the iPhone and iPad.
While there is a slight learning curve with using the app, once you understand the overall concept, this game truly comes alive and I love that it supports biblical learning and equal, friendly competition. Here's how the game works:
The app supports up to 6 players, which you can select from the home screen along with a game volume toggle (turns the music on/off) and an info screen that takes you through the game's rules. You'll definitely need to read and understand the rules for this app to be useful.
With each turn, your opponent explains four words on a card that is drawn without
revealing the word itself. As you guess correctly, you get a "point" and the reader can check each word for a final tally. You have 40 seconds for the entire card before your turn is up. At the end of the turn, your piece (a cross) is moved the same number of correct guesses (3 correct guesses on the card moves your piece forward 3 spots).
A fun twist, and where the Biblical learning and application comes into play, is that you have an ending action to complete based on color matching your final landing place to the card. This can represent a prayer to say out loud, a passage from the Bible to read, etc.
Play continues as all players seek to get to the end of the board.
It's a great concept that will truly push forward Biblical education and discovery. This isn't a game built for young children. Few of the words are what I would call common, and there are a lot of religious "buzzwords" that might completely stump early believers. I can see this being a true challenge for players which may add, or distract, from the game, depending on who's playing. The game focuses not on winning (as winners help the rest of the players finish) but on educating and discovery. As long as everyone goes into the game knowing this, it could be a lot of fun and a great teaching tool for parents, youth pastors, etc.
The only real problem I had was with the piece graphics. If two players are on the same square, only one can be seen as the others "hide" behind it. That makes it more difficult to track where everyone is at, especially as you increase players. But given the nature of the game, it shouldn't hinder play.
Overall, this is a really fun concept that has a lot of potential in many different uses. I'd recommend picking this up simply for its uniqueness, if for nothing else!