52 Family Game Nights: Tiger Stripes

Tiger Stripes has a long background story, but I’m going to tell you a short-ish version:

Many years ago my husband designed a board game. He made it himself and sold it online. Someone who worked at a game company bought a copy. Then that game company asked him to let them help redesign it and release it again.

That’s the quick version of how his first board game came to be and how my husband became a full fledged Game Designer.

One thing that happened while my husband was learning the game design business (which is now one of his side jobs in addition to teaching and working for our church): our oldest daughter designed a game of her own.

family game night tiger stripesFamily Game Night #21: Tiger Stripes

In 2011 our then-nine year old daughter designed a game about tigers earning their stripes. She was partially inspired by Kipling’s Just So Stories, myths about how animals ended up with their characteristics that make them unique.

She invented a game where tigers started out as plainer cats who had to earn their stripes by going into the world, hunting for food and for jewels. Because, of course they hunted for jewels.

young tiger stripes designerMy game design husband helped her refine the gameplay a bit, and helped her graphic design. And then she spent $500 of her own money to produce this little cardboard game. She sold enough to friends and family to break even. In those days she included a handwritten thank you note on each invoice and a little hand drawn tiger, too. (The above picture is when the first shipment arrived at our house)tiger stripes square ad

Tiger Stripes Gets a Makeover

One thing my husband does in his game design work is pitch numerous games to various game companies. So one year he pitched multiple games to the company Game Salute. They decided to pick up several of his designs and, in the process, took a chance on our daughter’s game as well.

They refined the rules a bit more and hired a fantastic artist.

And then we waited. For years.

Seriously, it took years from the time this company had her sign a contract, to the nail-biting Kickstarter campaign (where we were begging anyone we remotely knew, online or in real life, to PLEASE support our daughter’s project), to the final delivery of the Tiger Stripes game.

Tiger Stripes on Amazon!

So, here we are in August 2016 and, more than five years after we started, Tiger Stripes is now available directly from Game Salute and also on Amazon! The company didn’t order a very large print run, so I have no idea how long the game will be available. It would be exciting if it sold out and they commissioned a new print run, but I honestly don’t know if that will happen or not.

tiger stripes designerA Game for Kids, By a Kid

The Tiger Stripes inventor, now that she is almost 15, probably would not like to be referred to as a kid. But she was a kid when she came up with the initial idea, so we’ll go with that. If you’re interested in seeing some of the early history of Tiger Stripes you might take a peek at some old posts on my husband’s blog:

This was, overall, a great experience for our daughter. And it also helped her figure out that designing board games is NOT what she wants to do with her life. {wink}

tiger stripes boards and cardsHow to play Tiger Stripes:

There are three decks of cards. If you’re playing with young children just use the Stalk and Explore decks. If you’re playing older kids you can add in the Adventure deck as a twist. The Stalk deck is how you add stripes to your tiger. Each tiger is also a puzzle and the pieces fit in as you earn your stripes.

Since it took so long to come to life, there are a few things our Game Designer would change now. The rules say that the Adventure cards are one option when you’re drawing on your turn, but we now suggest passing out just two or three of them per player at the beginning of the game if you want to use them.

tiger stripes puzzlesHow to win Tiger Stripes:

You need the most points. The game ends when someone’s tiger is complete, but that is not necessarily the winner of the game. The jewel cards are points, some adventure cards earn you points, and if you didn’t complete your tiger you lose points. So there’s a bit of math involved to find the winner.

Another rule variation for young players could be to just use the Stalk deck and try to earn stripes the fastest. We find that young children enjoy “filling” the tiger and they can be confused if they do that first but don’t win the game.

Summary of Tiger Stripes:

Number of Players: 2-4

Recommended Ages: 5+

Reading Required: Minimal.

It’s been a long journey, but we’re excited now to share Tiger Stripes with the world. We are thrilled with how the final product turned out, and we’re especially fond of Felicia Cano’s art.

And if you were one of the Kickstarter supporters who helped bring this game to life: Thank you! We know it took a long time to get your copy of Tiger Stripes, but we’re very, very thankful for your help and support and we hope your family is enjoying the game.

To celebrate the release of Tiger Stripes, Isabel is giving away one copy! (Shipping is on us to the lower 48 states of the US only. Our apologies to any overseas readers, but game designing is not a way to become fabulously wealthy.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Audio Drama: The Dragon and the Raven

I received this product for free from Heirloom Audio and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. See Disclosure page for more.

Long time readers of Living Unabridged know that 2016 has been the year of the road trip for our family. In June we took a cross-country round trip to California and the Pacific Ocean. In August we headed to South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean.

That adds up to a lot of hours in a mini-van. We had 30+ driving hours to fill (just one way) but we had a secret weapon for filling some of those hours: a new audio theater drama from Heirloom Audio.

heirloom audio drama2+ Hours of Exciting Radio Drama

Now, our family also had some books on CD (yeah, we’re old school sometimes) and lots of music to make the hours pass quickly. But audio theater (sometimes called radio theater) is an immersive way to pass the time on a road trip.

The story we had a chance to listen to was The Dragon and the Raven, from The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. Henty books have been delighting readers for generations, but these audio dramas are bringing his stories to life in new ways for new audiences.

audio drama castAn Audio Drama with a Quality Cast

If you’ve listened to any audio dramas at all you’re going to recognize one big name on The Dragon and the Raven: John Rhys- Davies. Yes, Gimli (and Treebeard) himself helps to bring Henty’s historical story to life.

Rhys-Davies leads a fantastic cast. Some of you might recognize Helen George, from the BBC’s Call the Midwife or Brian Blessed, another great British character actor (and if you have young children you might know that he also voices Grampy Rabbit on Peppa Pig. Peppa Pig is BIG at our house).

An Audio Drama with a Quality Story

Henty’s adventures bring historical events to life and The Dragon and the Raven is no exception. This is the story of King Alfred of Wessex. You’ll enjoy the familiar anecdotes (King Alfred burning the cakes is always a popular tale around here) and the unfamiliar (defending a former enemy because it’s the right thing to do).

A Quality Product from Heirloom Audio

From the story to the cast to the sound effects and the original score, you will find the minutes (and miles) flying by as you listen to The Dragon and the Raven. You may even find yourself taking “the long way”, so you’ll have a chance to finish.  Your kids won’t want to leave our heroes in peril!

Teaching History with Audio Dramas

One reason I was thrilled to review this product is because our homeschool is covering the Middle Ages for History this year. The absolute best way to teach History is through stories. (Which is one reason why we remain loyal to The Story of the World as our History spine.) Audio dramas like The Dragon and the Raven truly help bring History to life.

King Alfred and his friends aren’t just story characters, they’re real people. They really made choices and they really lived, loved, and learned no matter how long ago they lived. Henty may not be strictly 100% accurate in his depictions of History, but stories give us a place to start. This year, when we get to the story of King Alfred, even my younger children will already know who we’re talking about. (All thanks to a long road trip!)

My children have loved audio dramas from Adventures in Odyssey and Lamplighter Theater for years. They’ve listened to so many that we joke that all their dialogue when they play (Playmobil, Legos, etc.) is British. Heirloom Audio is a great new addition to the family of audio dramas we already love. (I’ve definitely got my eye on Beric the Briton and Under Drake’s Flag as future Christmas gifts for my kids!)

Ready to find out more about Heirloom Audio?

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram, as well as their website. (Don’t miss the “Kid’s Corner” section: they have a great word search that goes along with The Dragon and the Raven.)

Heirloom Audio is also giving away two copies of The Dragon and the Raven. If you have a road trip coming up, you’re definitely going to want to get in on this:

Do you listen to audio dramas in your family? Have any favorite titles to share? I’d love to hear about them.
audio drama from heirloom audio pin
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Words on Wednesday – On Planning

As an Anglophile and History Buff, I’ve told you before about my love of Winston Churchill. I’ve already shared some of my favorite Winston Churchill inspiration for homeschoolers.

Today, I’m going to share a quote that I read in Max Hasting’s The Secret War. Because it made me laugh. And because there is so much truth in the humor:
nothing but difficulties
You can see how an idealist like Churchill would be annoyed by difficulties. As a homeschool mom of six, I can sympathize.

I love to make plans. I love schedules, on paper. I love lists of things to complete during a school year.

And then there’s reality.

Some difficulties that are sure to come up this year:

I will be tired. My kids will be tired. We will have conflicting obligations. We will lose something, probably more than once.

The baby will take something apart. The preschooler will yell and interrupt our studies. The learning-to-read student will forget everything about phonics that she learned the previous week. The absent minded child will, yes, forget her things, again. The perfectionist child will redo worth that was adequate already. The oldest child will be overwhelmed by how much there is to do in so little time.

More than one person will cry. More than one mess will be left, despite best efforts to tidy up. More than once I will look around and wonder if all this struggle matters.

It does.

I just need to plan for difficulties.

I can’t plan them away, but I can inoculate myself from some of the surprise and frustration that they’re happening.

(See, even humorous quotes can be inspiring, when they strike you a certain way.)

Now on to the books:

Recently Finished

Dust of Life is a slim, but poignant look at Vietnamese-American children left behind in Vietnam when the Americans evacuated. This is not a long book, but it is heart-breaking at times.

The Plantagenets is fabulously readable, lengthy, and even handed history. Highly recommended for History buffs in general, English history or medieval times in particular. I’ve seen this compared to Game of Thrones, but honestly, I prefer this to that. I may add this to my oldest daughter’s required reading for this year. (We’re doing Middle Ages for our History studies.)

Recently Added

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is apparently the WW2 novel “everyone” is talking about this year. I’m more than 1/2 through and I’m not really loving it. The main female character hasn’t grown on me, the dialogue seems forced (and not as funny as the author seems to think it is), it repeatedly uses racial slurs (understandable for the times, I guess, but I’d rather they be alluded to instead of spelled out), and it’s, quite frankly, gross in several instances.

That said, I’m still going to finish it and there is a spark of something in the writing that I find interesting.
Radio Girls is a novel my library recommended to me based on past books I’ve liked. I haven’t started it yet.
The Long Weekend is a new nonfiction look at England between world wars. Haven’t started yet.
Garth Williams, American Illustrator: A Life is a new biography of one of the most prolific American illustrators. (Seriously, he illustrated nearly all my childhood favorites!)
The Astronaut Wives Club jumped into my bag at the library. Because, clearly, I have so much time for new books in my stack. (WHY do so many of my holds come in at the same time?!)

Current Read Aloud

Back to real life after vacation means we’re back to Five Children and It as our bedtime read aloud.

In our morning read alouds we’ve just about given up on Augustine Came to Kent. It’s not grabbing us and I suppose it’s just as well since I have some reservations about the history of it anyway.

While we wait for our school year library holds to come in I started on the story of Beowulf out of our own copy of The Golden Treasury of Myths and Legends.

Current Book to Review

I received a copy of Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst from BookLook Bloggers to review but I haven’t started it yet. (Oops.)

Current Kindle Deals

Not a Fan is currently $1.99. I haven’t read it but I have friends who recommend it.
The Entitlement Cure is also still $1.99. I HIGHLY recommend this one.

What are you reading now? Have any quotes caught your eye lately?

Linking up with:

WWW ladydusk

Dover Books

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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