One of the great things about being on the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew is that we get introduced to new games. I especially like it when we learn something from a game, though it’s also good just to have fun together as a family.
Thus, I was glad to be among those who received Civilize This! from Griddly Games, a history trivia game that’s challenging enough to keep adults on their toes, while offering accommodations to make the game playable by a range of ages. (We added a few accommodations of our own. More about that, later.)
The game comes in a sturdy storage box. It consists of four decks of cards and a colorful die. You roll the die, and, according to the color, you might answer a history trivia question set in ancient times, the medieval era, or modern times, or if you get the “purple option” you pick up a Wise Alec card. The purple option quickly became the most popular choice among our younger players: Even though they didn’t know a whole lot about ancient China or the Mayans or the Maori or modern-day Germany (some of the topics we encountered), they could do their best to hum a mariachi tune, or make up their own rain dances, or just pick up points (or lose them!) by reading the card aloud.
The cards themselves are fairly sturdy, though one card didn’t stand up well to nervous bending on the part of an eager player. The questions range from commonly known trivia to guessable answers to things that we didn’t know at all and thus learned by playing the game. Each card has two questions, one worth three points and the other worth seven, and you get to choose which one you want to try for. We assumed the seven point questions would be harder, but they weren’t always.
Sitting down to play
Game set-up is easy — just open the box! (The first time you play, you have to take the cards out of their plastic wrapping, of course.) The rules are right there on the box, a nice feature, as I can’t tell you the number of games we’ve had over the years where we’ve lost a separate rule sheet. The rules are not complicated, quick to read through, and we were quickly immersed.
Technically speaking, Civilize This! is a travel set. The box is compact, and the materials pack away securely. The game is easy to play whether riding in the car (though you have to be a little careful, rolling the die) or sitting around on the floor of the family room, or around the kitchen table, or even on a picnic blanket in the park.
Good for a mix of ages to play together
We immediately adopted one suggestion in the rules list designed to “level the playing field” — assigning different winning point totals based on age and grade level. This worked pretty well — at the end of the game, all the players were within one question of winning, making it an incredibly close game. Of course, that popular purple deck helped a lot, for those who didn’t know a lot about history (yet).
We added a spin of our own, too, allowing our struggling players to attempt the seven point question without penalty, and being allowed to tackle the three point question if they couldn’t answer the seven pointer. (You’re only supposed to get one chance per turn.) We also played a kind of 20-question game if we thought someone could guess their way to the answer, and this helped to even things out and prevent frustration on the younger players’ parts.
Games to get you going
Griddly Games‘ motto is “the games to get you going” and Civilize This! certainly lives up to the promise. We enjoy this historical trivia game, and as a byproduct, every time we play, we learn something about different cultures through the ages. A variety of cultures and their customs is represented in the game, and the information is interesting. (Do you know what color represents happiness in China? What bird is on the flag of Germany? How the Maori cooked special feasts? What connected Mayan cities?)
Other games available from Griddly include Nature Nuts (check out the link at the end of this review to see TOS Crew reviews of this game), a nature trivia game, as well as other trivia, strategy, story-telling, and brain-teaser games.
Civilize This! is designed for 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, and is available where toys and games are sold for $14.99.
To read other TOS Crew opinions of Civilize This! click here.
Disclaimer: Griddly Games provided our family with a free copy of Civilize This! for review purposes. No other compensation was provided.