Wednesday, September 30, 2009

General Conference Activities

We will have the opportunity of listening to the Prophet's voice (and other servants of the Lord) this weekend. So I figured it'd be a great time to highlight some of the activities that people have devised for helping children "pay attention" during General Conference.

I remember when I was young at home with my parents, the one thing they would give me to help me pay attention to what was being said was the classic BINGO page. You know the one, it's got the grid filled with pictures that are labeled with words such as Prayer, Temple, and so on. As you hear the words you place a Cheerio or M&M on the space. Once you have 5 in a row, well, you eat your "treat." One place to find these is at the (here). also has a page with BINGO pages (here).

The Church has put out a 10 page notebook for children (here). It contains ideas for things to do before, during, and after General Conference.

Deseret Book also has an offering: the My Conference Booklet. You can get a copy here.

Suite101 has a page listing some ideas for children to do during General Conference (here). The list includes things like coloring pages, picture books, and one called Paste the Prophets. You give your children small pictures of the Prophet and Apostles. The kids glue the pictures into a notebook or onto a piece of paper as they listen to the talk given by that person.

Lastly, I wanted to share a post on the Mormon Momma, a blog written by several mothers. This post relates some of the traditions that they have started with their families in an effort to make General Conference a more memorable experience for their families (here). The post is appropriately titled: Making General Conference Memorable.

They break up their ideas into 4 categories: Preparation (things that help you think about Conference and get ready for it, like Pray for the Prophet), Provisions (this category includes mainly food and things that can be done, like picnicking, between Conference sessions), Participation (including things that can be done during the Conference sessions; one of the ideas from this category that I like and will use with my children is Art Book, where kids draw pictures of who is speaking, write the person's name and a little about the message they gave), and Post-Conference Evaluation (things that can be done after Conference is over to help everyone ponder on the messages given and make them more meaningful).

Additionally, they include a nice list of links (at the bottom of the post) where you can find other activities related to General Conference. All in all, this is a great post with lots of good insights into ways of making General Conference a more meaningful experience for your family.

Hopefully we can all be prepared for and learn what we should be learning from General Conference. And hopefully we can help our children learn the importance of General Conference and hearing the words of the Prophet.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Armor of God rejected

I just got word from FRED Distribution that they are not going to do my Armor of God game (it wouldn't have ended up to be the Armor of God (here) had they decided to do it, the theme would have been changed). It's disappointing but I did get some valuable feedback, such as there isn't enough "meat" to the game. They wanted something more to be done with the pieces of armor that players collect, instead of just adding to your faith points.

So, I've got some stuff to work out with the game if I want to resubmit to FRED. I was also given a couple of other companies that the game might fit better. I'm not sure if I want to submit the Armor of God to other companies. I'd probably work out a different theme and then go ahead and submit to them. I guess I'm just not sure what I will do with the game at this point. I do know that in a very short while I'll have a couple copies that I'll be selling and one copy that I'll be giving away to some special person via the blog here (I'm working out a way of choosing that special recipient, probably some sort of contest or something, so look for that in the near future).

Thanks again to Tony Peters for allowing me to use his awesome artwork (Armor of God Cards post)!!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Poll: Vote for your favorite logo

Well, the results from the last poll are in and it looks like a game based on the wars and contentions between the Nephites and Lamanites would make the best board/card game! What a coincidence that is! I talked about one (here) that the church put out over 30 years ago in the seminary manuals: Nephite & Lamanite Wars. I haven't been able to play it yet, but it looks like fun.

There is also Peril in the Promised Land (one of my designs) that you can read about here. It is a cooperative game where all players take on the role of Nephite captains and attempt to retake their cities from the Lamanites, while also protecting Zarahemla from the advancing King-men.

The new poll (which will only run for 1 week) asks you to vote on your favorite logo from the following 4:

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4

After the poll is over the logo that gets the most votes will become the logo for this here blog! Also, any input you might have on these logos is greatly appreciated. Don't hesitate to leave comments.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Top 10 Family Home Evening Games

Rachel Bruner, the LDS tour guide, has a page about Family Home Evening games (here). It is her top 10 list of games for FHE. The games included range from fairly simple activities that most ages can play and that take very little preparation time to more complex games (such as Nephi's Boat; here) that require more preparation and are perhaps more appropriate for children around age 8 or so. There are also games for just 2 players and games that can accomodate any number of players!

I have yet to play any of these games with my family, but I know that my kids are going to have a good time with these. Let me know if you have played any of and what you thought of them.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Remember the Word: Book of Mormon Edition

I just came across this (link) "interactive dvd game." It's a trivia based game aimed at families. From their site:

Remember The Word is an interactive DVD scripture trivia game the whole family can enjoy. Your family and friends will delight in testing their scriptural knowledge with these fun and engaging questions. A sure boost to any personal or family scripture study, REMEMBER THE WORD will increase your desire to feast upon the word of God.

The site also mentions how it makes a great family home evening game/activity.

The game was created by RB Studios and is sold by Enlightened Imaginations, Inc.

They will also have a second volume coming out in the Fall of 2010. Looks pretty interesting.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Armor of God Cards

These (link) aren't really a game, but they have really cool artwork and they are cards after all. Anyway, designed and created by Antony Peters (who spent over a year of his spare time working on them) these Armor of God cards are currently available in 3 different versions: Spartan, Mayan, and Modern (with other sets coming soon).

Tony worked with the Young Men in his stake and was looking for a way of getting the young men to make correct decisions, do what is right. He wanted something concrete that young men could hold in their hands and kind of experience. These were his idea and they look awesome!!

Here is the Sword of the Spirit in Modern, Mayan, and Spartan versions.

You can order the sets on Tony's website (here). You can get an individual set for $2 or get all three sets for $5! Tony is also working on a book that will include some of the artwork from these cards (here).

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Talking Title of Liberty: Total War

I recently talked with Darren Andrews about his experiences modding and working on the Title of Liberty mod he did on Rome: Total War.

Here is a list of the questions I had going in (not that other things didn't come up as we talked):
1. What is modding?
2. What got you into modding games?
3. What are the legalities involved in game modding?
4. How long does it take you to mod a game?
5. How many mods have you done?
6. What made you decide to do a Book of Mormon based mod?
7. Tell us a little about the nature of the game: how it's played, what special features are included, etc.
8. How were you able to get other artists involved in the project?
9. Any idea how many times the game has been downloaded?

I also asked him a bit about board and card games that he had worked on designing earlier in his life. He worked on a large Book of Mormon war game and a more card based game with the theme based on the Sons of Mosiah and their missionary efforts. Pretty sweet!! I hope he gets up to his attic sometime and pulls out those old designs.


Click here to download the .mp3 file

You can find the link to download Darren's mod on the Book of Mormon Battles website (here, hosted by James H Fullmer).

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Latest Poll

6:39 AM by Mike · 0 comments
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Well, it looks like the votes are in and Nephi & Moroni tied for "favorite person from the Book of Mormon." The number of votes have increased 50% from the first poll to this second poll. I guess that's a good sign that more people are visiting the site here.

The new poll asks about stories from the Book of Mormon that would make good games (be it board, card, or video). As usual it will be up for two weeks. If you would like to vote for a story that is not listed in the options, then please leave a comment here and let me know. I'll update the options list accordingly.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Scott J Wakefield

I wanted to share a little about the artist who is doing the art for Hagoth: Builder of Ships. His name is Scott J Wakefield (check out his portfolio). Personally, I think he's done a great job with Hagoth. The images I've seen look outstanding, and, as I've said before (numerous times), I can't wait to get a copy of the final published game in my hands!!

Scott recently finished his Master of Fine Arts at Utah State University. He also just published a children's book entitled Woodchuck Chuck (here's a link to the free ebook). You can also purchase a hard copy for $12.95 from his website.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Huge Increase in Traffic!

The last week has seen quite a large increase in traffic here on the Mormon Game Design blog! Actual numbers are that there have been almost 200 hits with each hit averaging 1.5 pages per visit!! This may not sound like much (especially compared to other more "general" type blogs) but for this blog, it's a lot!

The two biggest referral sites have been Google (not really a site per-say, but people searching with Google have been directed to this blog) and MormonTimes. Each has sent over 60 people to the blog over the past week. Big thanks go to Emily Jensen at MormonTimes and her daily Today in the Bloggernacle column.

With the increase in traffic I also wanted to say that any and all ideas and comments are welcome. If you have any suggestions that may help improve this blog (or just something you would like to share) don't hesitate to leave a comment or to email me directly and speak your mind.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Treasure Hunt

Recently I was looking for some sort of treasure hunt (based on the Book of Mormon or scripture) that I could use with my kids during family home evening. I came across this (link) idea from It looked promising from a quick glance. But after reading through it a little more carefully, I found that it didn't make a whole lot of sense. I understood how to set it all up, printing out clues and gluing things together, getting the appropriate pictures, hiding things, etc. The problem came with the clue cards. There are the "right" clues and then there are "dummy" or "incorrect" clues. Well, you glue the big X on the back of the incorrect clues. Isn't that a dead give-away to kids? I mean, all they will have to do is look at the back of the two clues they are given? Anyway, it didn't make sense to me and I had promised the kids that we would do a treasure hunt (I don't know about any of you, but I love the idea of hunting for something and using clues to find it, and my kids are no different than me; they love it as well). So I had to think of something. This is what I came up with:

I thought of a few (I think it was 5) scriptures that included things that could be found in my home. For example, I used Mosiah 3:10 where it talks about the Savior and how he would be resurrected and judge the world. We have several pictures of Jesus Christ in our home. So I cut some 3" x 5" cards in half, wrote the scripture reference on one side, and wrote a short clue on the other side. In this instance I wrote something like, "Who does this scripture refer to?" I didn't even have to say "look through the house for Jesus." The kids just automatically started looking at all the pictures of the Savior throughout the house (I had "hidden" the next clue on one of those pictures). So they went along like that until they found the last clue which directed them to the treasure we had picked out for them. All in all it only took about 10 minutes to set up and the kids really enjoyed it!

Through this activity we could help the kids become a little more familiar with scripture references, with the Book of Mormon (like where different books were found, etc.), with numbers and sequences (some of our kids are younger so they are still learning how to look up verse 20 that it comes later on in the chapter than verse 8), and we could help them with their reading aloud as everyone needed to hear the clue so that they could go searching for the next one. It's great how even little things like this really offer quite a range of teaching and learning opportunities!!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sons of Mosiah

Not exactly what you would call related to games, but I thought I'd share it anyhow.

Jay Fullmer has started his own company: Sons of Mosiah. The focus right now is in developing a book. The book, titled Hidden Stories of the Book of Mormon, will include over 160 pages and will relate, using Jay's paintings and illustrations, some of the "less well known" stories of the Book of Mormon.

As part of the project Jay made a trip to Central America (Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala) for research. During the trip he collected props and reference pictures for the paintings for the book.

This project sounds very interesting and I'm excited to see the progress as Jay shares it through his blog. I leave you with a couple of Book of Mormon images courtesy of Jay.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gaming with My Wife

At times my wife and I have a hard time playing games (competitive games that is). We both are quite competitive so when we are not winning we are a bit upset (it's even more difficult to be upset with your spouse). But recently we've been able to get over this a little bit as we've played Missionary Impossible, Warriors of the Promised Land, and Settlers of Zarahemla. My wife won all three games, even though I attempted to slow her up as much as I possibly could. I've decided that I'm not much of a gamer. At least, I'm not a gamer that wins very often. As I've thought about this I reflected on my experience at A Gathering of Strangers (probably the most I've played games in a long time). I only won one game during the two days in Salt Lake! And that was a game of Dominion: Intrigue (I think I played it 3 or 4 times). On that note, my wife enjoys Dominion as it's not for sure who is going to win until the end (unless of course, you can keep track of exactly how many points your opponents have been buying up). Anyway, I think I'm learning to be ok with the fact that I don't win a lot. I think I just need to enjoy playing, regardless of who wins. Besides, I think I prefer designing the games so I get caught up in thinking about the design of the game a lot when I play.

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Nephite & Lamanite Wars

In 1974 the church included several games in their seminary curriculum. One of these games was Nephite & Lamanite Wars (boardgamegeek link). It was an historical war game/simulation based on the wars and battles that took place in the Promised Land as related in the Book of Mormon.

As they were part of the seminary curriculum the games/simulations were meant to be opportunities for helping students learn. There are both objectives and indicators associated with each game. For example, the first game/simulation is based on the encounter Captain Moroni had with Zerahemnah.

The objective is stated as the following:
Students will realize that the strength of the Nephites in battle was a result of their faith in Jesus Christ an obedience to his commandments.

Indicators are that the students should be able to:
1. Relate the account of the battle between Captain Moroni's forces and those of Zerahemnah.
2. Explain the cause of the Nephites' involvement in the war.
3. Contrast the preparation and objectives in the Nephites and the Lamanites for war.
4. Explain the Nephite superiority in war.

In a game, one player plays as the Nephites and one player plays as the Lamanites. Each player receives a number of pieces, each of which represents individual Nephite/Lamanite armies. Each army has a combat strength and a movement factor.

On a players turn he may move his armies and then attack (Lamanites go first). The game baord is a map consisting of a number of hexagons. Here's a remake of the board, done by Chris Hansen (the one in the seminary manual was black and white):

Any number of armies can attack on a players turn. This is done using the Combat Resolution Table. Players create a proportion (attackers combat strength to defenders combat strength) and look up the odds ratio on the table. After which the spinner is spun and a second table is used to determine the final result of the attack.

There are also follow-up sections that take students into the scriptures and ask them questions that get more into the particulars of the situations and those involved. For example, there are questions about Captain Moroni:
What kind of man was Captain Moroni?
How would you like to serve under such a man?

All in all this seems like it would be a lot of fun! I'll post again about it once I sit down and play.

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