30 Mar 2017

The Game of Awesome

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:29 pm on 30 March 2017

A new learning tool is proving so popular with kids, they spend their lunchtime still playing it, its developer says.

The Game of Awesome is a card game aimed at inspiring students to write. It was developed with a specific focus on suitability for boys in Year Five to Year Eight, and won the coveted Purple Pin at last year's Best Design Awards.

Robert Whitaker is from Chrometoaster, the company that developed the game.

"It's based on a long history of different card games. Some of it's more original than other parts but it's designed for New Zealand schools specifically," he says.

"You have two decks of cards. Some of the cards are clues, if you like - they're parts of a story. For example, you might have a card that says something like 'capture' or 'fear or 'secret' or 'showdown'.

"Then the kids have a hand of idea cards, which are a whole lot of quite crazy sort of wacky ideas, and they try and choose the best one to match with that. There's a judge, and the judge decides which is the best match and the kid who gets the best match gets a point.

"Ultimately you play a few rounds of that and you build up a story as you go, which you can use for writing exercises and that sort of thing."

It was important for the game's success to strike a tone that children would actually enjoy, he says.

"It's very random, and that's quite deliberate ... It does have that slightly subversive element to it. There are things on these cards that you wouldn't hear your teacher say."

The game was commissioned by the Ministry of Education.