Skip to comments.Not just a roll of the dice -Religion-themed board games growing in popularity
Posted on 11/28/2006 8:32:47 AM PST by Alex Murphy
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- One of the hottest board games this holiday season could be Apples to Apples.
More specifically, it's Apples to Apples: Bible Edition, which was released in October and is based on the secular version of the game.
This licensed edition comes from the Christian game company Cactus Game Design Inc., whose product line also includes Redemption, Settlers of Canaan, Inklings and Ark of the Covenant.
The company's twofold strategy is to develop games that are a "solution" to other "offensive" games -- such as the Redemption trading cards to counteract Magic: The Gathering -- and to license popular games, such as Outburst Bible Edition, president Rob Anderson says."In the past, Christian games had a reputation for being cheap and inferior to secular games. ... When selecting potential secular games for development with Biblical content, I look for games with high name recognition that I enjoy (playing)," he says.
That's why he pursued Hasbro for two years, trying to secure licensing rights for a Guesstures Bible Edition, which he finally received. The game is a strong seller and gets good reviews from players, he says.
Thanks to companies such as Cactus, religious board games are growing in number and popularity.
"I think it's an untapped source -- just as in Christian publishing, where all the sudden they found out, 'wow.' If (game distributors) are smart, they could tap into it," says Laura Bandelier, book buyer for Anchor Room who also buys games and puzzles for the Christian bookstore.
"I think it's a market that is just beginning to really hit its peak," says Nicole Hancock, president of Talicor Inc.Talicor sells religious games such as Bible Mad Gap, Bible Baffle, Bible Tribond, the BibleMan board game and various Veggie Tales games, which are licensed from other companies.
Its biggest hit in the Christian market has been the noncompetitive Ungame, which has sold about 3.5 million copies since 1971, Hancock says.
At Trinity English Lutheran Church, the Ungame, which involves answering life questions and sharing opinions, is played occasionally by students during Sunday school classes.
"The majority of games we have aren't teaching-oriented, but are sharing-oriented" and allow kids to get to know one another better, says Katrina Boedeker, director of Christian education.
At Congregation Achduth Vesholom (Reform), young students in Hebrew class sometimes play Jewish-themed games to help them learn about culture and values or memorize Hebrew letters.The Holigame, which covers Jewish holidays, and Hebrew versions of Scrabble and Dominoes are popular.
On this evening, one group of 12-year-olds is playing Torah Slides & Ladders, similar to Chutes & Ladders. In this version, players can climb the ladders by doing good things such as "honoring your parents" and "learning Torah," or slide down for "being greedy" or "showing off."
While the games are fun, the kids say they help them learn as well.
"You learn a lot more if you play a board game instead of just sitting in class," says Laura Zweig. They're also a fun way to teach her non-Jewish friends about her religion, she adds.
Other Jewish games include Exodus and Kosherland, a spin-off of the classic Candyland."Board games are almost retro. In this day and age, where there is so much information thrown at you, people do long for things that are a little bit simpler," Bandelier says.
She's been buying for Anchor Room for eight years and has found that while certain older games, such as Scattergories Bible Edition from 1998, still are popular, many are looking for something new.
"There are the classics, but after a while, everybody has Bible Blurt."
After several years of "stagnation," new Christian games -- such as the Apples to Apples Bible Edition -- are finally hitting the market, she says.
And companies such as Talicor and Cactus are trying to make her job easier by keeping the catalogs stocked with a variety of options."For us, this is not just a job, it's a ministry. We use games such as Redemption to encourage players, especially preteens and teenagers, to read the Bible and be in fellowship with other Christians," Anderson says. "The Holy Spirit has used our games to bring people into the church and closer to Christ. That, more than anything else is why we do what we do."
Please, no Jesusopoly!
Ark of the Covenant d20! In stores now!
No label telling me it's only a joke.
Does this mean......?
This is what I am talking about!!! Instead of complaining and doing nothing about it (normal action by conservatives including myself) we are finally fighting back the right way. People will chose what they want to buy and it seems like these religious themed games are winning.
Yes, it does.
What's wrong with Monopoly? Risk? Stratego? Checkers? Chess?
"God doesn't play dice" -- Albert Einstein.