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Posts Tagged ‘Pokemon’

While playing Flight Rising, I’ve encountered one of the conundrums of fantasy games. That is, discovering exotic critters, capturing them — and then taming them for some use, such as being a steed or fighting in an arena. Flight Rising has arena combat, which is what brings this topic to mind.

Having dragons or other magical creatures as some form of steed or pet has been present from the earliest days of gaming that was specifically Fantasy oriented. In the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, rules had to be written about when and how players could tame such beasts. Mostly, I think it has to do with the “Oh cool!” factor of imagining your hero flying on a griffin or dragon. Yet, these are allegedly sentient beings in many cases.

As fantasy games have grown apace, there’s now a lot of collecting around such creatures. I mean, isn’t the goal of any Pokemon game to “catch them all?” To its credit, the Pokemon franchise does put a lot of emphasis on building friendship and trust between trainers and pokemon. Those who aren’t such Poke-fans point out the irony of capturing animals and making them fight each other. After all, in the real world, most of us frown on “sports” such as dog-fighting.

What are your thoughts on the intersect between heroes and critters in fantasy games?

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In my other life, I’m a support staffer in public schools, and I often work with children who are somewhere in the Autism/Asperger’s Spectrum. I was thinking about creating a board game that would help the kids learn social skills, but decided to search first and see if such a think already existed. Am I glad that I did!

Ryuu is a card game that combines collectible cards with features of role-playing games to teach social skills. Players choose a dragon that they identify with based on their own situations. Through role-playing, they recognize Dark Forces that illustrate problematic behaviors, and try to rally Light Forces that embody coping strategies. They begin as eggs and can “evolve” their dragon by practicing social skills. Feel free to check it out here.

A few of the dragon characters include Remota, who feels like a stranger among her fellow dragons, and Oratar, who talks a lot but has a hard time listening. The Dark Forces include Rigidity and Indifference. These are countered by Light Forces of Flexibility and Empathy. Like all card games, there are many details and abilities for players to track, but they still can mix up the deck with different cards and try new things even if they usually play with a small group such as in a school Resource Room.

There are four versions of the Ryuu game, starting with Concentration-style matching of Light and Dark Forces and progressing to full-fledged role playing that demands a lot of preparation by Game Masters and cooperation from players. Thus the game is accessible for all ages, and players don’t have to be diagnosed with Autism/Asperger’s. For instance, an Oppositional/Defiant kid might identify with Xplotar, whose temper runs amok. Play is based on the kid’s behaviors rather than their diagnosis.

Price-wise, the cost is fairly reasonable. The starter set of two decks, rules, and a support CD comes in at $55.00, right in line with a starter Magic set. Booster packs are $20.00, with the actual quantity of cards not specified. However, because this is such a specialty product, you’re not likely to have the issues with price spikes on rare cards that you get with Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, or Pokemon.

So if you have a young family member with social-skill issues, or you work with such kids, Ryuu sounds like it could be a big winner.

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