This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Challenging Questions about American History Fundamentals and the Bill of Rights
The United States has a major problem. A recent survey has shown that only 39% of Americans can name all three branches of government. This means that a fundamental misunderstanding of our nation’s functions is evident. What makes this even more scary is that an ignorant population cannot manage a republic.
When the population is ill informed, it can send the same officials to the Capital to lead them without caring what those lawmakers are doing. Sound familiar? Luckily, we have game companies like Pittsburgh-based IDeclareGame.com which is publishing trivia games to help educate the population about how our country operates.
“The right to free speech? The right to a fair trial? Protection from cruel and unusual punishment? Which could you live without? With I DECLARE® you must earn each freedom from the Bill of Rights in order to enjoy it yourself. Roll the die, move your pawn, and answer true/false trivia questions to find out if you will be the first to truly be free! Whether played at home for family game night or in a classroom, or home school setting, players agree that I DECLARE® makes learning fun!” – www.IDeclareGame.com
Solid Story and Clean Artwork
For ages 8 and up, I DECLARE offers an entertaining way to learn about the US Constitution by presenting simple questions (generally high school level). Literally, this is your story as you play the game and learn about how our country is and was formed. Since America has one of the greatest stories in human history, I DECLARE receives a solid score of 4.5 for story.
I DECLARE enables students and adults to learn about their country while having fun.IDeclareGame.com
For artwork, the I DECLARE incidental learning board game comes out of the box strong with Bill of Rights-themed scorecards and a red, white, and blue playing surface. This is where the artwork ends, however. The cards have logos on the back, but there is no additional artwork to draw players or potential players into the game. While simple is good for a trivia game, too simple is not. I DECLARE gets a 3.5 out of 10 for its simple, but clean, artwork.
Standout Mechanics and Standard Strategy
The mechanics of the game are simple, but this can be a good thing. In the trivia category, tricky mechanics can detract from the game. In I DECLARE, you roll to move around the board, and there are “free move” spaces which allow a player to advance more quickly. This permits players to get to the questions (the point of the game) without the dice rolls.
There are also fun mechanics for a wrong answer. You may have to play without your arms (2nd Amendment) or “salute until your answer a question right” (3rd Amendment.) Each punishment for getting a question wrong is tied to the appropriate amendment. This makes the game fun for kids and keeps everyone active. This nets I DECLARE a score of 7 out of 10 for mechanics
The weakness of many trivia games is the strategy section, so I always go a little easy in this category. Of course the best strategy is to be able to answer the questions correctly. I DECLARE is fairly standard in strategy for trivia games: get to the space, guess, and move on. This gives I DECLARE a score of 5 out of 10 for strategy, which is par for the course in trivia games.
A Special Way to Learn About Constitutional Principles
Insofar as the novelty score is concerned, I DECLARE is unique in that it enables students to learn about their country while, again, having fun. As our nation suffers a drought of knowledge about history, games like this one are essential. I DECLARE thus earns a score of 7.5 out of 10 for novelty. While the trivia game category is quite crowded, high school history trivia in the mass market is wide open.
Overall, I DECLARE is an entertaining, trivia-based game. I would prefer a rules change for adults to add a fill-in-the-blank questions to make it more challenging. True-false history questions can be pretty easy, at least for those who are politically aware. As far as I DECLARE being a trivia game, even though I am not a big fan of trivia games, I am a big fan of this game.
It is an excellent opportunity for kids to learn in a playful way. This is also an educational game any school should consider acquiring for its students. The overall rating for I DECLARE is 27.5, which is above average for a board game and well above average for a trivia game. The publisher also makes companion trivia games I DECLARE® Economics and I DECLARE® Inventions.
As the publisher explains, “In a society where most games are played on a device or game console, we felt an actual physical board game most closely aligned with the message we are trying to send: bring back family game night, start a conversation, interact with each other, have fun and learn some important things, all at the same time.”