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the game has generated a life of its own!

Sasana play at the launch Jan 2012.  Morgan Rothwell, Cloak of Protection illustrator, is centre
Sasana play at the launch Jan 2012. Morgan Rothwell, Cloak of Protection illustrator, is centre
Home again & playing the game, last Saturday night with a bunch of primary-school teachers – I realized how much better the game has become since it first left my hands.

It’s morphed.

Partly it’s the Hundredth Monkey Principal.* But it’s more than that!

It’s as if Cloak of Protection has been played often enough, with real meaning, that it’s generated a life of its own!

ie the game now appears to have generated its own force-field! One which is due to all of you.

Scientists acknowledge that his can happen in a creative process.

Rupert Seldrake in his book A New Science of Life says “the creative process can be seen as a successive development of more complex and higher-level wholes, through previously separate things being connected together”.

I stand in awe & wonder.

*The Hundredth Monkey Principal was observed by Lyall Watson. After a group of monkeys on an island learned a new behaviour, suddenly other monkeys on other islands with no possible “normal” means of communication learnt that behaviour too. (Lifetide: The Biology of Consciousness)

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CHRISTMAS holiday gift offer

Wellington Enviroschools & Kakariki games are having a Christmas holiday gift offer on Cloak of Protection.

It’s quite simple. For Nov/Dec every 5 games that are bought where your school is nominated, they’ll get a free game (Karyn says that a school can never have too many games!!).

This replaces the other promotion, in that, for these 2 months, every time your school hits a multiple of 5 sold, they’ll get a game.

And, any school can join in – enviroschool or not! If your school is not already registered as part of our network, then contact me & I’ll put your school name where people can choose you on the buy page.

You can download the poster from the top of the RHS column. You could put it up where parents will see it, &/or put a smaller black&white version in the school newsletter, &/or do anything else you can think of. . .

Thankyou all for being a part of playing the game. It feels so much more alive this Christmas!

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20 months on

It’s been 20 months since the card game, Cloak of Protection, launched at the Mahara Gallery.

The game is a Kapiti Coast production (game, illustration, design), and we’d all like to say a big thankyou to Janet & her team at the Mahara, for giving us our beginning, and putting us on our feet.

Once you’d shown confidence in us, others followed. The Gallery exhibition showed the quality of Morgan’s illustrations. The time spent playing the game, in sessions at the gallery – with local schools & with visitors at the gallery – started the first wave of enthusiasm. And the sales through the retail space, proved that the game had real potential.

To date, we have sold 980 games. To put this number in perspective, a big print-run for a game in NZ is 1,000 & it generally takes 4+ years to sell them all!!

noho ora mai ra

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Cloak of Protection VIDEO!

We now have a video of the game!! I know it’s a big ask to learn to play a game from written instructions. So finally we have the visuals.

Kurt came with me to Kapanui School where we shot Billie-Jean, Leah, Bailey, Callum & Marie-Louise playing the game.

It was wonderful to be back at Kapanui School. Two years ago, the final testing of the game was done with their students. And since then, these students have helped me promote the game in other ways too.

Working to Kurt’s story-board, we added in the instructions, shot some more footage, I did the voice-over, and here it is!!

A larger version is also available, please click on the image above left to view.

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NZ Games Association awards programme

What a week! First I was doing what I love – playing the game. I went over to Lower Hutt, and worked with students at 4 enviroschools: Dyer Street School, Naenae Primary School, Tawahi School, and St Bernadettes School

Then the news was out (in Saturday’s Dominion Post) that Cloak of Protection is a finalist for New Zealand game of the year. This award programme is being run by the NZ Games Association.

We are up in two categories – New Game of the Year, and Teacher’s & Children’s Choice.

New Game of the year is being judged by a panel of six industry experts, including a renowned game designer, board gaming event organizers and retailers.

The Teacher’s Choice and Children’s Choice awards are being judged by teachers and students at four schools nationwide. The participating public schools are all full primaries, offering years 1-8: Clyde, Martinborough, Ramarama and Westport South Schools. Judges will consider criteria including the game’s appearance, quality, clarity of rules, interactivity, and uniqueness.

Results in August.

This week I’m off to the Wairarapa, playing the game with enviroschool teachers & students in Masterton. So the Cloak spreads!

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variations on a theme

Often I write about the game as it is played by children & families. But I also have regular players who are adults. And they play some interesting variations. Here are three that fit within the rules.

1) No-one ever builds a cloak as they are collecting cards. They just lay the cards randomly in lines in front of them. Then they wait ‘til the last moment to show their cloak. In this way, while the cards are showing, the actual cloak remains hidden.

2) All the cards are held in the hand, which must be quite a fistful(!) but is quite possible. Keeping the cards hidden makes trading much more edgy, as you never know how much you are helping the other person.

3) 8 players. 2 packs. Players proved much readier to sacrifice their gods, rather than their birds, so the game moved quickly, remaining interesting & dynamic.

Do you have any interesting variations in the game? If you do, plse post & let us know.

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@ the Upper Hutt Library

SO yesterday I spent a pleasant hour at the Upper Hutt Library. Students there played Cloak of Protection as part of their Summer Reading Challenge.

This was my first session in a library & it was a treat! We had a great corner to play, with plenty of right-sized tables.

Librarians were on hand. Kate, the Children’s Programmes Co-ordinator, kindly organised the visit, and was an amazing hostess. Sophie (pictured) carefully watched over a group.

Whoops soon filled the library, as the kids got their cloaks underway. These sounds were a joy & a delight to librarians’ ears!!!

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Wellington Enviroschools update

Our first sale on this programme was 26 Sept 2012. That was the day we launched the teaching, learning & sales partnership with Enviroschools Wellington.

21 schools from this region now have a page on this site, & 14 of these have begun gaining points toward rewards. Points range from 1 to 39. Muritai School – who are sitting on 39 – have received $125 (which they are putting toward their new worm farm), plus 4 games to go in their classes.

December has been very exciting! If you do the maths, you’ll see that today’s total is 86 games. So the cloak spreads.

So – to all you students who are getting a game in your Christmas stocking this year – I hope you, your friends, and your families have a blast playing the game. All the best. And thankyou.

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nature nerd stocking fillers

at that least that’s what Nicola Toki has put us under, in her blog this week on STUFF (Dominion Post on-line). Titled In Our Nature.

Here’s what she said about the game:
“The maker of Cloak of Protection kindly sent me one of the games, which the bloke and I played last night. The bloke was tired and is notoriously cranky about card games in general, but he got quite into this one, beating me (annoying!) and it didn’t take us long to work out that if you landed a “predator” card it was night-night to half of your collection.

“This game is entertaining, educational (the impacts of predators on our native species becomes very obvious very quickly) and the cards are beautifully illustrated. I’d definitely recommend it for families that are interested in our native wildlife. It’d be great for camping or at the bach over summer.”

Thanks Nicola.

She knows her stuff, having written a couple of books herself.

The first, Invaders – animals from elsewhere that are causing trouble here – was selected as a finalist in the 2010 LIANZA Children’s Book awards for best non-fiction. It’s basically about all the baddies that we’ve brought over here (including sneaky stowaways, out of control pest control, and pet escape artists), and the impact they’re having on our precious native wildlife.

The second book Wild Buddies – friendships and unusual relationships in nature – is about all the different wildlife that relies on other species to boost their survival. Like, for example, the tuatara that take over the burrows of seabirds, eventually becoming flatmates from hell, muscling into their space, eating their eggs and chicks and generally being a pain. Or the worm that takes over the mind of a weta!!