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First game tester, Mario

Mario, back in Italy
I was lucky enough to live in New Zealand, on Waiheke Island, where I met so many wonderful people and made a friendship with Jil, who hosted me for a month (2015).

We were playing Flight of Pollen in the evenings, almost every day, often with friends. The game was at a very early stage, it didn’t even have a definite name.

It was fun for us to create rules based on the real behavior, characteristics and interactions of New Zealand flora and fauna.

This game is a very interesting way to get an insight into NZ wildlife and to understand why loving and respecting even small things like insects and flowers is so important.

Your unique part of the world has been portrayed with very fine and accurate illustrations.

Now that I am back to Milano I can’t imagine anything more beautiful to enjoy with friends, family and my 7 year old nephew (who is already a fan of “Cloak of Protection”).

In Flight of Pollen, are the things that I learnt in New Zealand and that make life on this world worth living: love, respect and contemplation of Nature.

Mario Pinzone. Milano. Italy.

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ruling on a rule change

Pandora SMALL
Last year we had (what I thought was) a fabulous suggestion for a rule change.

I see that I never reported this, or the outcome.

Rachel Eckersley, enviroschools co-ordinator Taranaki, suggested the following change:
When a predator is ‘Pandor-ed’ (ie given to another player via a Pandora) then that predator is removed from the pack for the rest of the game.

So, as part of a reward for the schools that had exceptional input during Game week (Sept 2013), I asked students if they thought this should become a rule of the game.

predatorVectorThe responses were (not all schools replied):

Dyer Street School “It was a close call but overall we voted for keeping the current rule. Interesting discussion though.” NO CHANGE

Marco School “We have discussed the change of rule and are unanimous with leave it alone. Because quote ‘we will run out of predators and takes away the fun of the game.’ NO CHANGE

We could say that Pukerua Bay School are already playing a version of this rule, so we’ll take that as a YES to the new rule

And from Enviroschools Wellington facilitator Gill Stewart YES & co-ordinator Karyn Burgess MAYBE YES

So I was never sure where that left us!? Feel free to try out the rule in a game & give me some feedback.

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at Island Bay School

Saturday evening was a games evening at Island Bay School.

Peter Noble, of Board Game Rentals was there. And, of course, me with Cloak of Protection. And May, one of their students, will now be teaching the game to her classmates.

Peter rents Board Games to Schools and runs the Great Games Club fund raiser for several schools in the Wellington region.

He wants people to find out about all the really great games that are out there!

But also. Want to rent games for Christmas? Join his library before Christmas and get double the games over the Christmas period. Offer closes 13th December 2013.

It’s a wonderful way to try out new games, while all the family are congregating. For more info:

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Last week I played the game with some Porirua enviroschools at Te Rito Gardens. It was a blast! Arihia brought her son and he lifted the bar – proving right her comment “my kids are getting really savvy & strategic”!!

Then I got these comments from the Broom family: “We first came across your game when my daughter got to play it at Martinborough School as part of testing and feedback of lots of games (including Cloak of Protection). I took one game to friends in Jakarta over the holidays. It was such a hit. I am now buying them for my nieces in the UK!

And so the Cloak takes wings!

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predator = hunter

When I was in Taranaki, I found that I was changing the word predator to the word hunter.

Strangely, I find myself having to explain this word often!

In common usage a predator is an animal that lives by killing and eating other animals.

This is part of the natural order as in the statement ‘the population of rabbits is controlled by natural predators.’ (which they aren’t in NZ – of course)

In the game, and in NZ, the word predator has a different usage. It is also used to describe a species that has a significant impact on a bird species. As in ‘kiore caused many historical extinctions of forest & sea birds’

Here, the new hunters changed everything.

If you look at the booklet that comes with the game you will find more predator / hunter information.

in the game kiore help hunt to extinction huia, matuhi (bush wren), piopio, koreke (NZ quail), tutukiwi (snipe), & adzebill

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some interesting questions

The following interesting questions have come through from Lesley, this week.

I have questions that don’t seem to be covered in the instructions.

1) Can cards be transferred from the hand to the cloak at any time? Can they also be transferred back?

2) When then initial 5 cards are dealt, does this constitute the first row of the cloak, or are they the initial hand?

3) Does the cloak need to be built row by row (as you would if you were really weaving) or can the cards be placed anywhere in the cloak?

Reply / Jil says:

Everything can be moved at any time. The Cloak is not finished (woven) until all cards are laid out into the shape. When I first teach the game, we lay out a Cloak as we play. But as players get more experienced they get quite adept at hiding cards in the open ie not putting a complete cloak together until the last moment.

Also the initial 5 cards are just the initial hand – some may be used anywhere in your cloak, some may be used for trading, and some may be eaten by a predator.

Hope this helps. tnxs for the questions.

Lesley says:

Thanks for the answers. Just one follow-up question, do the predators take cards from both the cloak and the hand?

Reply / Jil says:
Thanks for these questions. Yes, the predators take cards from both the cloak and the hand. This makes people look very carefully at their hand (& at other people’s) before they decide on an action – to sacrifice the birds, to use a god, to use their Pandora & give it to someone else.

Other news: Drew has chosen Te Ra School, Raumati South, Kapiti Coast, to receive a game. This is a great choice as parents from the school have been purchasing the game, but the school itself has not had a copy! These choices are proving very interesting for me!

Meanwhile, birds on Kapiti Island (5km off-shore my beach) “one of New Zealand’s most important nature reserves” are thriving. Including hihi, the stitchbird. Conservation Department staff now believe (that after a 3-year programme) the island is now free of stoats.

In Cloak of Protection hihi gets eaten by ship rat + stoat

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board game geek

I’ve listed the game on board game geek. The wonderful people there kept rejecting my description of the game & making me re-write.

The rewritten, rewritten, rewritten, version is now up on our Cloak of Protection page and on our BUY page. What do you think – is it now worth the 4 gold coins it was finally given??

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at Expressions Gallery, Upper Hutt

In the 9 months we’ve had the game on the market, we’ve had extra-ordinary support from galleries in the greater Wellington region.

The Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, launched us + had an exhibition of Morgan’s outstanding illustrations for the game. Now the same exhibition is on at Expressions Gallery in Upper Hutt.

They’ve made up an amazing booklet ‘how the game was created‘, which shows the steps I took (over nine years). And we’re playing the game! This Wednesday 3, Thursday 4, and next Thursday 11 October.

If you’re any where near Expressions, please pop in and join us in playing the game OR come see Morgan’s exhibition – running until Sunday 11 Nov.

A BIG thankyou, from both Morgan & myself, to the Mahara & to the Expressions Gallery. Your support has been essential.

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at the launch

Here we are in Te Whanganui a Tara, celebrating the Enviroschools Community. It is the launch of the partnership between Enviroschools Wellington & Cloak of Protection.
Four students + a teacher, came from Kapanui School to help teach the game. Here I am explaining some of the rules, while one person works with each group of 4. It all went very smoothly. What a great day! A big thankyou to my fabulous helpers – students Callum, Marie, Bailey and Leah, and teachers Wendy & Nicola.