JiL Hemming, environmental game designer, talks about turning the science of pollination into the art of game play, for her new board game, Flight of Pollen, at Mahara Gallery. Waikanae 7th May 2017.
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.
Ya’akov, who is 9 years old, has tested Flight of Pollen twice. The first time (2 years ago) was when his family visited while I was on Waiheke Island. The 2nd time is this week!
Since it’s the school holidays, one morning we went to Peter’s house, and 5 of us played Flight of Pollen.
The first game took us 2 hours, we lost & the game won!
The second game took us about an hour. NIGHT won, that was me!
The game’s a thriller!
Last night my dad & I played JiL, and NIGHT won again, that was us!
His dad says “the game has come a long way, since Waiheke. Certainly more thrilling, but still true to itself.”
Flight of Pollen has been four years in the making. It grew from the honey bee (because I was working alongside a hive), to a DAY and NIGHT pollination game in the Aotearoa / New Zealand forest.
Cushla had done a whole lot of research, when Marine asked me if I’d do a house-sit, for them, on Waiheke Island.
No hesitation on that one! Cushla gave me a boxful of papers, plus a book of ideas, and I was off. . .
I’ve just finished reading a couple of compelling science books.
A WORLD WITHOUT Bees (The mysterious decline of the honeybee & what it means to us), tells how our species is beginning to walk dangerously out of step with the rest of nature.
It’s a common theme.
Reading Callum Robert’s Ocean of Life HOW OUR SEAS ARE CHANGING, I was as absorbed as when I first read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
I don’t know how Callum makes this urgent need for the wholesale reversal of present trends of wildlife decline and environmental degradation, a testament to the human spirit – but he does!
David Suzuki calls it ‘an eloquent and authoritative call for change with a blueprint to guide us in salvaging the great oceans.’ Which it most definitely is.
I got it out from the Kapiti Coast library (aren’t libraries wonderful!)
Judges for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books (it was short-listed) said: “Roberts sets modern conservation in context. For instance he has taken fisheries science and channelled it into the mainstream debate. This book is thrilling: a delightful mix of anecdote, research and polemic.”
Both books: great reads.
It’s the next game that’s taking all the creative space in my head at the moment.
It began last year as a bee game. For a year, I was working a couple of days a week alongside a live–observation hive. A game had to come from that!!
But then the game morphed, into a pollination game (bees, birds, moths, wind. . .)
It’s been on the dining room table & I’ve been playing myself round & round the board/table!
Now I’m waiting for the artist & the environmental scientist to add their input. It’s really exciting when exceptional people agree to assist.
The concept is strong, but it will need a lot of tweaking before it’s ready for testing. Some enviroschools won the right, last year, to test my next game (part of Game Week). Hopefully happening later this year!
I’m not sure if knowing – this time – so more about game design is a blessing or a distraction. But here we are. .
. . .more news as we go.
If you’re looking for a retail store to purchase Cloak of Protection these summer hols – we’ve finally added a list. At the bottom of the BUY page.
Here’s Morgan’s illustration of tuuturiwhatu, the NZ dotterel. Found (when not breeding) on the beaches of the northern North Island, on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, & above the bushline of Stewart Island.
All good places to be this summer!
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.
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