Thursday, October 18, 2012

Magic Feather

Publisher: Wiggity Bang Games 
Designers: Jean and Matthew Rivaldi
Players: 2-8
Ages: 7+

Magic Feather Rules:

When the minds that created the deliciously random Furt and the awesomely quirky Quao released a younger kids' game, I was slightly hesitant. You see, Furt and Quao are very fun party games for teens and adults which often lend themselves to wackiness for wackiness' sake. That is not to say that I think this is a bad thing; it is a great thing - for party games. It's just that I expect and/or appreciate a little more...pedagogy in my younger kids' games. 

I greatly appreciate Magic Feather. 

At it's base, Magic Feather is a race. You have a starting point, a feather you must retrieve, and a finishing point.  What makes Magic Feather so great are the "Magic Feather Story Cards". Before you start your game, you choose your character form a collection of 8 animals and then you pick a Magic Feather Story Card. These cards create the framework for your game - Who, what, where, when, why? These are all answered in the card - Where your character starts on a board of 12 neighborhood locations, where your must-collect magic feather is, where you need to end, what to do when a crow  (blockers) card is drawn, and a little back story to give your movements meaning. 

I am going to make one up just to give you a general idea of how a Story Card works.

Iris the Skunk is sad because she misses her family. All of her friends want to cheer her up with a party.  Rex, Fuzzball, Nutkin, Olliver, Riley, Poopsie, and Swift are at the Post Office with pictures and letters from Iris' family. All of Iris' friends need to collect their feather and meet meet Iris at the Pirate Grove.

Feathers are all at the Recycling Center.

When a crow card is drawn, place a crow as a blocker anywhere on the board, or move an already placed crow.

What you have here is a reading opportunity for children, where they need to suss out the important details in order to play the game. It's like a word problem for 7 year olds - but fun! (Who am I kidding? Word problems are always fun!)

And this is just the game set up.  You have already created a situation where children are in charge of the game and they are doing it while using reading and logic skills.

Remember the wackiness I was talking about earlier? Here it comes (younger kids' style). You move around the board by completing tasks on the cards. These tasks are all accomplish-able and range from discussion starters (What is your favorite animal and why?) to scavenger hunts (Quick! Go find something stinky and bring it back to the table) to wacky (You are a hamster. Explain in your hamster voice why you should be a character in the game).

My 7 year old son loves this game. He gets to be in control of a changing game setup and act silly. While some of the goals are competitive (be the first to the Old Town Square), some goals are cooperative (meet all the players at the Putt Putt Hut). My son enforces some house rules on the cooperative goals - he turns them all into competitive ones. Should I be worried about that?

Magic Feather can be played and enjoyed with 2 players, but it is MUCH more fun with more; all of the imaginative wackiness is best enjoyed in a group.

While I would not choose to play Magic Feather with my friends or partner (it is a younger kids' game), I haven't turned down any of my son's multiple requests to play with him.

My only real complaint is that there are too few Story Cards. There are 2 completely acceptable solutions for this:
1. Create some of your own story cards with your kids

2. Join the Wiggity Bang mailing list and request to be rewarded with new self-printable Magic Feather cards as they become available:

One Zillion Games was provided with a review copy of Magic Feather. The fact that a sample copy was provided, in no way influences our opinion of the game.

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