Sunday, January 16, 2011

Going Wild for the "Wildcraft!" Game

It's amazing the things you can find when you aren't even looking for them. I was researching a web host a while ago for a possible website, and while checking out a list of some of their more successful clients, I found a company called "Learning Herbs." Their name caught my attention. So, I clicked on their link, and found a WONDERFUL website full of free, educational information about medicinal herbs and wildcrafting. Written for people like me, who do not have an extensive background in this area. I completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing, and became immersed in their website. It was very enjoyable.

As I read, I found a wonderful game that they sell, called the "Wildcraft!" game. As I read the description, I knew it was something that our family would enjoy, and would be a terrific way to interest my children in herbs. One of my daughters had recently decided she wanted to learn the art of cake decorating, and though my husband and I appreciated the artistic side of this hobby, we were concerned about the kinds of, um, foods, if you can call them that, that she would want to have on hand to practice her art.

You can't imagine how thrilled I was as the lightbulb went on inside my head, realizing my husband had just asked me to get "something fun" (translation: NOT just books, which are my favorite gift for our children) for our daughter who was about to have a birthday. So I ordered the "Wildcraft!" game right away.

It took just a few days to arrive, and when we opened it and played it, it did not disappoint. The first time we played, my husband, two oldest daughters and I all sat around our dining table and had a blast. When we first told my husband the rules, how it is not a competitive game, but a game where all players are hikers, racing the clock to get to a berry patch and back before sunset, he scoffed in a fun sort of way. I guess it's good that men like to be competitive. What a dull world it would be if men and women were wired just the same.

When we told him that each player, at certain points in the game, picks "trouble" cards, listing an ailment that an herb can help, he thought it was funny that each player would search their own inventory of herb cards, trying to find ones to help the player in need. But by the end of the game, he was very respectful towards it. We all had fun, laughed a lot, and each learned some new things about what medicinal herbs look like and can do.

The first thing my daughter, the birthday girl who received this game noticed was how beautifully illustrated the game board and herb cards are. I love the fact that the herb cards are drawn in a very realistic, traditional, botanical style. They are so lovely, you could frame them! So detailed, they could be illustrations in a field guide. I also like the fact that most of our children are old enough to play this. I think it is recommended for age 4 or 5 and up. It is rare to find a game that is simple enough for a smaller child, yet rich enough for adults to enjoy.

Oh, and did I mention the game is made in the U.S.A.? Yes, it truly is.

Well, as you can probably tell, I could continue to go on and on about this game. If you want more details, check out the Learning Herbs website. Also, if you just want lots of free information, but aren't ready to buy, check out their site. They have some free e-mail courses and ebooks that might interest you.

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