Sunday, June 23, 2024

High Schoolers Play National Parks Get Wild And Blaze Their Own Trail

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It’s time for another review by way of high schoolers, this week looking at National Parks Get Wild, part of the new line of National Parks themed games. It’s an original creation focused on fast paced dice rolling and habitat restoration that aims to help educate kids about the National Parks and the ecosystems of each one. It was a natural fit for the school setting, so sending it along to the kids seemed a no-brainer!

What’s In The Box?
national parks get wild box
  • 1 Map Board
  • 6 Double-sided Player Boards – locations include Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Everglades, Crater Lake, Great Smoky Mountains, Cape Hatteras, Arcadia, Badlands, Rocky Mountain, North Cascades, and Zion
  • 60 Animal Tokens – animals include bald eagle, bison, black bear, rattlesnake, sea turtle, and lynx
  • 18 Dice
  • 45 Scoring Points
  • Rules
How’s It Play?

This is the fourth of the games we sent our high schoolers to play in Oklahoma, and by far the one that went over best with the students. As far as directions go, this was the easiest for them to understand and immediately begin playing without having to sit through a video tutorial. They also ranked this the highest as far as educational value went, particularly with learning about the different eco-systems of each park featured, and which wildlife are native to their respective parks.

While the teacher had said a few of them complained of it being boring initially, she also reported back that the same students had requested to play it again the following week.

That said, we also found out they had devised a different use for the game cards of all the animals. Apparently, they make for a fantastic deck for lightning rounds of third-party throw-down ERS to play in lulls during class time. In the event of a tie, the first student who correctly called out which park the “paired” animal belonged to would win the pile. Word of warning, if you plan to homebrew a version of this, make sure all players are not wearing jewelry on their hands!

The Verdict?

It might not be the most exciting game in the world for older students, but it is still plenty educational and, as noted, they actually did ask to play it again. Plus it has added replayability as an ERS homebrew if the players are creative enough. Overall, over 70% of the kids said they’d voluntarily play it again (homebrew and all), which is not too dang shabby for such a judgemental segment of the demographic. Especially after how savage we learned they could be with other games.

Bottom line: Easy entry with less complex instructions left the students primed to be more charitable to the actual gameplay, and willing to “go wild” with their own creativity to squeeze even more value out of the game, bruised fingers and all.

National Parks Get Wild is available at The Op Games and Amazon for $19.99.

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