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Giveaway: Adventurous African Safari

It was one rainy Sunday afternoon when we hauled out this new game:

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I had heard about the Adventurous African Safari via social media and was intrigued.  So, you can imagine my delight when we were given the opportunity to review the game and present a giveaway too.  Fun times!

And what a bunch of fun we had!  Lots of laughs along with lots of fake sulks as money changed hands.

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Quite simply, Adventurous African Safari is something like monopoly in that, as individuals or teams move around the board, they’re able to buy property (game parks) and charge people rental for landing on their property (rental = overnight stay charge at the game park).  And like monopoly there are some question and answer cards whereby you can earn or lose money.  But from there on it gets a whole lot more interesting!  All in all, there are four streams of revenue: 1) going around the board buying game parks, 2) answering general knowledge questions based on Southern African history and geography, 3) collecting game park activities and 4) going on a 4×4 eco trail.  By the end of the game, the one who amasses the most points and eco-dollars wins.

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As with all reviews, it helps to focus on the pros and cons so here goes:

Pros:

In reality, one can sum up the pros of this game in three words: fun and educational.  Anyone who loves monopoly will love this game.  Anyone who hates monopoly (ah-hem, that would be me) will be glad to know that despite the similarities to monopoly, this game has much more to keep one interested.  One of the things that I don’t like about monopoly is the time it takes just to get to the point where you can put houses on the property you own.  With Adventurous Safari, once you’ve bought a game park, you immediately reap the rewards – as soon as anyone lands on your game park, you collect rental and any fees from activities that are done at your game park.  Now that’s instant gratification for ya!

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As to the educational – well, it’s all wrapped up in the fun, which makes it the best kind of educational there is. For example:

  • It is a really fun way to learn a whole lot about ecology, geography, geo-history and much more around southern Africa.  In addition to answering the general knowledge questions of the eco-cards, each game park / property comes with an information paragraph about the part, area and other bits of interest.
  • The centre of the board is a map of southern Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.  All the game parks and other tourist destinations are marked on the map.  By the time you’ve finished a game, you’ve learnt a whole lot about locations of places on the map – that’s got to be the most fun map work we’ve done in a while!
  • I love how board games have kids doing all sorts of brain gym.  From reading aloud the game park cards to counting money, the kids really had a blast doing what is often a drag when done as a drill exercise.  The kids had to work a lot with counting in high denominations 10 000s and more.  A fair bit of addition and subtraction happened as they gave and received fees. Not to mention all the block counting.

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There are other pros that I think are important to mention as far as board games go.  Too often board games arrive in flimsy containers with inferior quality pieces.  This game comes in a sturdy, glossy box.  The box itself has a firm cardboard inner that holds the game pieces in place while in storage.  The board is also glossy, beautiful to look at and easy to navigate.  It is as sturdy as my old monopoly board from the 1980s!  The money and playing cards are all of excellent quality.  I love the thought that has gone into the background animal prints of the eco-cards and tourist destination / game park cards.  Even the dice that comes with the game is quality-made.  The only component of the game that seemed less-than-top-quality was the playing pieces themselves.  They’re really cute little injection-moulded jeeps, but they don’t quite match the quality of the rest of the game.

Cons:

I had to hand over the rules to Craig so that he could figure them out!  It took us a good half hour to get to grips with how the game is played.  I am a read-the-rules-and-play-straight-away kind of girl and I know I’m not alone.  It takes some perseverance to get the various avenues of play under one’s belt.  Craig is usually super quick with these things, but even he had to read and re-read the rules before we got it all figured out!  However, having said that, the game can be played in “levels”.  You don’t have to play all four streams at the same time.  One can easily play the most basic revenue stream only and then build on that the next time one plays.

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Spell check!  A detraction for us was the number of grammar mistakes and typos.  There were a couple of occasions where two different spellings were used for the same place (Namakwa and Namaqua for example).  Often the word “where” was spelled “were”; one time “cross” was mistyped as “gross” and there are a few misplaced commas and semi-colons.  As far as the game-playing goes, it doesn’t affect the play itself, but it does make the product seem slightly less professional.  I imagine that this is something that will be fixed up in the next edition.

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The board itself is beautiful and creative.  But the one detraction is that the place-names are written in black type on a dark background, which makes it difficult to see.  I think that if the place-names were typed in a bold white, it would stand out better and be easier to see. (Having said that, I just recently saw an image of the board online where the map itself was lighter in colour – in that case the black type stood out better, so it may just be a print-run issue).

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Despite these cons, I would still recommend the game.  None of the cons detract from playing the game itself.  It is far more interesting than monopoly, in my opinion, despite having a similar foundational premise.  There is so much to learn while playing it – and that is by far the most exciting part: learning while having fun is always a plus in my book!

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The only one of our four kids who bailed on the game was our youngest who is 5.  The others were fully into the game, including our soon-to-be 7-year-old son.  We ended up playing for 2 hours and the winner declared the game 10 out of 10!

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The next day, this monkey (below) and his sister took the board game out again and started playing.  They decided to try out their own variations of the rules and had a blast.  It made me realise just how versatile this game is – you can even take just the questions on the road and enjoy some Southern African-focused Q and A!

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All in all, this is a wonderful game!

I’ve heard from the producers that they will be rolling their awesome game out in Game stores soon AND they will be developing an international version too – so keep your eyes peeled for that!

And now, for the giveaway!  Adventurous Safari is giving away one awesome board game to the winner of the giveaway.  You can enter this giveaway by sharing the following link on Facebook:

Win an awesome African Safari Board Game!

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Not on Facebook?  No worries, you can ALSO enter this competition simply by leaving a comment here on the blog.  So comment away!

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Disclosure: We were given a game for review purposes.  This review is entirely our own and honest opinion.  To find out more about Adventurous African Safari games head to their website: http://adventuroussafari.co.za

Micah’s 5th birthday party

Last year, Micah requested an Angry Birds party – since he had discovered those pesky birds, he had been Angry Birds’ mad.  This year, he wanted another Angry Birds party.  Well, he eventually settled on a “Bad Piggies” party, which is actually an Angry Birds party in disguise.  For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, good!  Let it stay that way, for those cursed birds and pigs are addictive!

Since the boy wasn’t budging much on his theme, we went with it.  This year I didn’t bother with drawing everything by hand – we went with the digital print versions!  Like the cups and later the piñata:  

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Food also went down the “lovingly made by Woollies” road!  The only thing made by us was the cake – and to be honest, that was made by Craig!

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But, the games were the fun part, so I still did those.  We played an instruction game led by Kiera.  She called out the various poses and the kids had to either dance, pretend to eat, or lie flat on the ground.  This was such a popular game that they played it again later in the party all on their own!

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Even little Sarah joined in, jumping to the ground from her standing position.  Too cute!

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And here is our winner!

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Next game?  Hope from point A to point B to see who can do it in the shortest time.  Getting ready…

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Go!

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Then it was line up time – the kids were going to BE Angry Birds.  No, wait.  The kids were going to BE the Angry Bird catapult. 

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How? Simple!  1x bucketful of water balloons…

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plus 1x write and wipe board with wet-erase drawing and …

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Let the games begin!  What fun they had!  Sploosh.  Splat! 

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Soon the board was running coloured water.

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And then soon all the kids were having a free for all!

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Definitely one of the more successful party games we’ve ever done! Then, clue time!

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Finally, they found the puzzle that took them to a cupboard for the piñata.

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King Piggie.

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Aka Micah-Bad-Piggy-Head…

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With kids tucked safely under the washline, it was time to start…

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Bang!

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Smoosh!

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It didn’t take long before it collapsed totally, but at least everyone had had a chance.

Finally… cake time!

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Excitement is!

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The obligatory birthday shot – although it looks like we own one of those kids!IMG_2100

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I love this expression!  All these all mine?!

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All in all, this little cherub had a super duper time, as did we.

We did his birthday dinner that night – typical 5-year-old choice: hot dogs, chips and coke. Hmm, it’s been a sugar-filled day today! 

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Brotherly love!

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Newsletter #1

newsletter1bThis first newsletter contains news updates, info about the book launch, reader photos from around the world, reviews, tidbits and the links to the Kindle competition.

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honestly, how do you do it?

"So, how is the homeschooling going?"

The question was directed at my friend this time.  I was sitting on the steps outside my daughter’s drama class, half focused on the email I was replying to on my phone and half listening to the conversation that was unfolding two steps away from me. 

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My friend is fairly new to homeschooling, after having been in the mainstream schooling world for a few years.  Yet, the conversation was like so many others I, myself, have been a part of.  I could have mouthed the exchange aloud as it happened, it was that familiar.  And, I confess, it brought a little grin to the corners of my mouth.  How funny it is that no matter who you are or where you are, this conversation always follows the same tack?

My friend was gracious and honest, replying that some days were great and some days not so great, but that mostly they were happy.  My thoughts exactly.

But, the reality is that while that is certainly the truth, the complexities of it all run so much deeper.  The journey we are on is fun, fulfilling, and full of enormous potential.  But it’s also wrought with frustration, fears and failure.  And that sometimes describes just one day!  But these are not things for a brief chat with an acquaintance.

They are, however, worth sharing.  Especially amongst homeschoolers.

Because, despite the absurd logic, we all manage to believe, at some stage or another, that no-one can possibly be doing a worse job of homeschooling than ourselves.  The peeks we have into other people’s homeschooling experiences – through blogs, forums, co-ops, presentations and more – convince us that their highlights are their norm, while our lowlights define us.  The truth? 

We all struggle. 

Yes, some more than others.  Some experience difficulties daily, while others go through seasons.  Some seem like they’ve got it all sussed, while others limp along.  Be it financial pressures, or indecision, or wayward kiddies, or learning disabilities, or family problems spilling over into the schooling experience – it’s impossible to homeschool in a bubble of perfection.  And it’s impossible to keep plugging at it, without the support of those around you.

Which is why I think that the next South African Carnival of Homeschooling Blogs is well worth a visit.  This Friday, over at Karen’s Clan, Karen D will host a carnival of blog posts written by South African moms who homeschool, all focused on getting deep down and personal: sharing the truths of their struggles and the joys of their successes. 

I’ll be there.  Will you?

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Sneak Peek at beginning of my next post …

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At any given time, my days could be reflected by one or more of the shades in the picture above. Bright, intense golds and reds of happiness. Serene blue. Or moody darkness. In a sunset photograph, they make a picturesque combination. In my body and mind, the combination can be tumultuous and frustrating.

And this year has been particularly tumultuous and frustrating…

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This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more.  You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page.

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