The Trouble With Most Games Today
I honestly think many of the problems we see in our country today are caused by the fact that kids are not playing dodgeball, capture the flag or red rover anymore. These games taught strategy, technique and planning but are now seen as “too physical.” The result has been a generation of kids who have spent more time playing sports on their phones and other devices than playing with their friends. This has led to weaker networks, less impromptu planning ability and even physical problems for children.
This is why when I saw Starlux Games Capture the Flag Redux, I knew it was something that I had to take a look at. As always, we start off with the score for story. While Capture the Flag Redux (CTFR) does not have a formal story, there is a good point to be made here. Capture the Flag does not need a story, because the kids who are playing get to make up the story.
Invent Your Own Game
Whether they are knights going between castles, soldiers going between battlefields, or unicorns looking for magic gauntlets, CTFR gives kids the opportunity to use their imaginations. This is not the norm for many of today’s toys. This is an important item for childhood development, therefore we award 6.5 points out of 10 to CTFR for the non-story encouragement imagination in children.
There is a modern, sleek element to the game design’s artwork. The blue vs. green dynamic is functional in the twilight of the evening and the bright red markers for the boundaries are a good contrast. This has a good look to it and gave a space adventure feel to the game. I did find that the bands are a little tight on adults when we were playing with the kids (alright we played a game just adults), so an extension would help.
The only other knock that I saw is the rule prohibiting throwing the orbs (flags). This does hold back the strategy a little bit, but makes sense as you could not throw the flag in the original game. This nets CTFR a score of 7.5 out of 10 for art/design. The mechanics were an interesting element for CTFR. The elements of the game are similar to the classic game.
Game Description and Strategies
There is enough of a twist to the game that increases the difficulty. Hiding was a big part of regular CTF, but with the bands (which you are not allowed to cover), you cannot do this. This means that your team needs to have a rush strategy and outmaneuver the other team. Once again this moves the game forward into the digital age where players know where each other are at all times. The mechanics are classic, but the few modifications results in a net score in this area is 6 out of 10.
Strategy is one of the greatest elements of classic CTF, which is not lost on CTFR. As noted above, the glowing bands take hiding out of the strategy, which is something that I am sad to see go. However, the addition of the “no guard” rule (15 feet or yards) really enhances the game. If you were playing classic CTF, once it was down to 1 on 2, the larger team just had one player guard the jail and the other guard the flag.
Unless the “1” was very quick, the game was basically over. With the distance rule, the “1” only needs to penetrate a radius of 30 feet to get in. While this is tricky with the bands, it is doable and adds a level of balance to the game that CTF was lacking. For this reason, we give an 8 out of 10 for strategy.
Finally, novelty. CTFR has some great elements that augment the classic CTF, which should not be understated. This game is fun even though classic CTF has been around for seemingly forever. The question is whether the game is novel or not, and in this category, CTFR came in with a below average game score of 5 out of 10. This game took a classic game and made it better, but it still maintained the elements of the classic game.
Even though the novelty was average, the kids loved the game and that makes it one you should have when you want to let the kids run wild outside (you also have an advantage – you can easily find them with the bands on). With an overall raw score of 33 out of 50, CTFR comes into the market with a very strong score. Everyone who played the game had fun during the testing and the kids loved the bands and glowing elements.
One of the best things about the game is that the “light-up” elements are not “glow in the dark” which means that when everyone is done, they are still bright. This makes clean up easier. For this we award a bonus point for good planning to Starlux. As a result, the final score for this game is 34 out of 50 with the recommendation that if you have kids who still want to have friends they actually talk to, then you should have this game in your collection.
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