“Education is all a matter of building bridges.” Ralph Ellison
“Building roads is all a matter of sheep and bricks.” Bob MacWordell
Why play? Perhaps, the primary reason is to have fun and enjoy ourselves, but games also offer us an opportunity to learn. Games expose us and our friends to new ideas, new people and fresh perspectives on the world.
Games help us explore history. Our minds love to explore and games can transport us anywhere, anytime through the stimulation of our imagination.
A marvelous example of this idea is Mayfair Games’ newest release: Test of FireTM. This game offers all the fun and excitement one could want but also offers more. The rules themselves provide a narrative giving a brief introduction to the course of the battle, which was the first major land battle of the American Civil War.
Our analog games are social and interactive, providing instruction beyond the written word. The game’s map contains some detailed information about the region, including storied locations such as Henry House Hill and the Stone Bridge. The map allows players to get a sense of the battle and imagine the grand historic events unfolding.
For those longing to experience the challenge of army command in battle, Test of Fire’s order system and many of its cards provide the experience and frustrations of command in an era before radio and telephone; a time when orders had to be delivered by hand through the chaos of the battle.
In Test of Fire, movement and attack are determined by the opportunities of the game system, leading to situations where a unit is within range but maddeningly cannot be attacked. Likewise a unit under fire might not be provided the opportunity to retreat for several turns, jeopardizing the unit’s survival.
In the future, we’ll be discussing other games that can spark an interest in history as well as games that can teach other skills, so look for more regular updates in the future!