Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Board in the City

Spend time with any sort of church youth group and ultimately you'd likely find yourself participating in some sort of scavenger hunt. Such games are fairly straight forward. Teams are given a list of items to collect or activities to perform and then sent out to complete their checklist. If the youth group and subsequent teams in the hunt are a little bit older - say senior high age - perhaps the teams split up and go door-to-door in a few local neighborhoods to collect particular canned goods for the local food shelf. If the kids are a bit younger, maybe they head out to a local mall and go store-to-store performing certain activities.

I participated in many such scavenger hunts when I was younger and have even chaperoned a few in recent years. While doing demos for my game Stumblebum last holiday season at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, I even encountered several groups of kids chaperoned by parents that were participating in a birthday party scavenger hunt. They were to come to the game store at which I was demo'ing Stumblebum and play a quick turn in the game. It was kind of fun to see the groups come by and check an item off their list when they were done.

Such scavenger hunts have been around for a long, long time, but still I believe they are a harbinger of things to come. They're relatively easy to put together and can be quite fun, and no doubt will become increasingly more complex and varied in the years to come. Especially given the technology that exists today - cell phones, camera phones, text messaging, GPS, and more -it seems quite reasonable that such games will get more and more sophisticated with more and more coordination and variation.

There is obviously no actual board to speak of. The board is the neighborhood, the mall, or the city. I have to believe at some point, someone, somewhere will actually formalize rules for such a game, complete with technology variations and scoring systems. Such a game could include checklists specific to certain cities or specific to certain types of groups. Maybe there will be a New York City version, a Chicago, a San Francisco, or Minneapolis version. Or maybe it will simply all be rolled up into a single Scavenger Hunt book.

Hmmm... Note to self...

Copyright 2007, C. Engdahl, Big E Toys. All Rights Reserved.

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