Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Commissioned - A Review of Chara Games

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to play games together.  We love all kinds of games so we were super excited when we recently received Commissioned from Chara Games to review.  We
were really excited not only to play Commissioned, but we were also excited about the theme of this game and what we would learn from it.
Commissioned {Chara Games}, Christian, Board Games, Strategy, History
Chara Games was founded in 2014 by Patrick and Katherine Lysaght.  Their goal is to design and develop games with Christian themes.  Their mission is to build games that create joy by developing relationships with God and the people around you.  Their games are unique because you work together strategically with each other to accomplish the mission rather than each player trying to accomplish their own mission.

Commissioned is a cooperative style board game for 2-6 players and they recommend it for ages 14 and up.  This game is historically based and takes about one hour to play.  The players are acting as the Apostles of the early Christian Church.  All the players work together to grow the church, collect the books of the New Testament, and overcome persecution.  Your mission is a success if you succeed in spreading the Gospel to all the countries on the board, collect all the books of the New Testament, and have at least one candle left ignited which represents the church (if you can survive the game with all 5 candles lit that is the best case scenario).  There are 5 different scenarios for the game that you can choose to play and 2 difficulty levels.  The game comes with:
  • Instructions for playing
  • A Double-Sided Game Board
  • 6 Unique Player Boards (the characters you can choose to be)
  • 96 Faith Cards
  • 27 Trial Cards
  • 4 Wood Missionary Meeples
  • 75 Wood Church Member Cubes
  • 1 Wood Elder's Staff
  • 6 Wood Player Pawns
  • 30 Double-Sided Stop Tokens
  • 5 Double-Sided Extinguished Tokens
  • 1 Converted City Leaders Token
  • 1 Roman Legion Token
  • 1 8-Sided Die
  • Theme Appendix
Even though the ages suggested on Commissioned is 14 and up, I thought Buddy (who is 13) would be able to get the concept of the game especially since he has recently really gotten into playing strategy board games.  I figured if he didn't quite get all the rules at first, he would pick them up the more we played.  Chara Games has made an "Official How to Play" video that makes understanding the rules much easier.  It is a 24 minute video, but once we watched it, we were set to play the game.  We did have to reference the written instructions several times the first time we played because there are several types of cards you can draw and we wanted to make sure we were using them in the game correctly.
The first time we (Buddy, Hubby, and I) played the game we chose to play out the "Acts of the Apostles" scenario (this is also what the game recommends to start with).  A victory in this scenario means that you have a church in every city and you collect all the New Testament cards.  This seems like it would be a pretty easy thing to do, but then you start playing the game and drawing trial cards and it gets much harder to have a victory in this scenario.  Each round of the game has 3 phases with several steps to it but the steps go hand in hand with each other so that the more you play the game, the less you have to think about completing each individual step.  There are the ARM, LIVE, and MATURE phases.  Each round has an Elder, which is the person who makes the final decisions for the round and this changes each round you play.  The Elder also gets to decide which churches should grow, which missionaries and/or apostles should move to a new country, and more.  It seems like a long process, but once you get playing each round moves quickly.  I am sad to tell you that we failed our mission the first time we played.  We didn't even come close to winning.  We played the game safe and by playing it safe our churches were extinguished.  The next time we played we let Little Miss play too since we had already figured out what we were doing.  She didn't quite get everything that was going on in the game and by the end she was having trouble paying attention, but she is only 8 and she did a great job for being so young.  We just helped her think the through the decisions she had to make and sometimes we helped pick what she should do when she was the Elder.  She was excited that she got to play too.  We did get closer to winning the game that night, but we still failed because we didn't the Gospel to a couple of countries and we didn't get all our books of the New Testament.  We have played a few times and each time we play we do better and we get closer to victory, but we have not won this scenario yet.  Buddy will not let us try the other scenarios until we win the "Acts of the Apostles."  He is determined and we like that!
I can tell you that we honestly love this game.  We love that we are working together to accomplish the goals instead of working against each other.  We love that this game is based on the Bible and even though we have a Biblical background, you don't need it to play this game.  The Theme Appendix that is included in the game has all kinds of Historical information for the people, places, and events that is very interesting to read about.  We love that every time we have played we have gotten different results based on our decisions and the cards we draw.  Even though we have lost every time we have played so far, we keep thinking how we can make better decisions and moves the next time...then you draw the trial cards and realize you can't plan for it at all.  We also love that there are multiple scenarios we can play in this game.  We are looking forward to playing the other scenarios after we become victors in the "Acts of the Apostles" scenario or convince Buddy that we should try another scenario (whichever happens first😄).  This game is definitely in our rotation of family game night games.

We were so close to victory this night...
I am also very excited about the newest game that Chara Games has to offer.  It is called 3 Seeds and it is designed by Anthony and Holli Buhr.  This is a card game style game and it is currently in production.  A limited amount of this game has been sent out so far and I am lucky enough to be on the list to receive this game to review in the very near future.  My understanding is that 3 Seeds is a game about using your resources to mange your time, money, and labor.  I am looking forward to receiving it and playing it so I can tell you all about it.

You can find out more about Chara Games on their website.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  You can find out more information about their game Commissioned by clicking here.  My friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have also been playing Commissioned so you can click the banner below to check out their reviews too.
Commissioned {Chara Games}

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