Posted on

Starting Flight of Pollen

can be confusing if you’re expecting to start a turn by rolling a dice! Because there isn’t one.
Instead, each round begins by turning over an element card. Here’s Shawn holding them up!
There’s a couple of ways, on this site, to help you begin
– you can post on the forum
– you can check in on our cheat-sheet (which I’m constantly updating)

Flight of Pollen Cheat-Sheet

Posted on

our native bees

Native bees come in three sizes. Small, very small and extremely small.

Last summer I was with my friend Gretchen at their community garden in North East Valley, Dunedin. Little black native bees were everywhere! I followed them as the sucked on flax petals (they were after nectar not pollen), and clustered around cabbage tree flowers.

Flighty and fly very fast, seldom settling on one flower for long.

As I observed our short-tongued native bees are generally better at pollinating native flowers, while the introduced honeybees and bumblebees were busy in other parts of the garden, pollinating the crop flowers.

The native bee is an important pollinator in Flight of Pollen, picking up and dropping off a load of three. In the game loads range from one (hoverfly) to eight (bat).

Aotearoa / New Zealand has 28 species of native bees. Most native bees are solitary. At the end of summer they dig holes in the ground, and there they lay a single egg in each cell. These eggs hatch in spring and feed on the nectar and pollen left for them, before emerging.

Quotes from Jay Iwasaki, a PhD student in the Departments of Botany and Zoology at the University of Otago.
In ‘New Zealand’s Smallest Bees’, Our Changing World, by Alison Ballance

Posted on

Lifting off with Kapanui School

Katie & Emily (from Kapanui School) playing with me at the Mahara Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly five years ago Kapanui School students in Matt Wynne’s class helped make the how-to-play video for Cloak of Protection. In the meantime a strong bond has been formed between myself and Wellington Enviroschools.

So when Flight of Pollen was nearly finished I, along with the local Enviroschools facilitator Amanda Dobson, returned to Matt Wynne’s class to make another video.

Making a video was different this time because the game was still in development. Class sessions were held, and students practiced the game. But watching the video is also watching seven students learn and play. It is to observe teams become more strategic as they move up each of the four levels.

The video was filmed and edited Paul Britten-Morby, Kaost Graphics. As he knew the students they were very relaxed about being filmed. And the ending has a surprise twist where, at their suggestion, a rule-change to the game is allowed.

Then Flight of Pollen was launched at the Mahara Gallery on Saturday 2nd September. Once again Matt’s Kapanui students were present, this time time to demonstrate and teach the game. Here also, the videos were played for the first time.

The plan is that students from this class, using Nga Manu as a base, will also teach the game to students at other schools. So carrying Flight of Pollen along.

As Emily Warner said, “This was a really fun game to play and I enjoyed collecting berries a lot. Can’t wait till another game is made!”

Posted on

the hairiness of moths

Here, seen through a window, is a very hairy moth.

The bigger the moth, the more the hairs, the larger the load of pollen it carries from flower to flower.

Aoteaora/New Zealand is a land of moths, so in Flight of Pollen there’s three: large hebe looper; zebra lichen; and cabbage tree.

All pick up and drop off pollen during the night.

As a child, as the evenings darkened at Lake Wakitipu, we’d turn on the lights and lamps.  Then in would come giant moths who’d circle the light, never ceasing as long as the light was on.

Who knew they were essential pollinators!?

 

 

 

Posted on

We won, but we lost at the same time!

In Flight of Pollen, I set out to make a game that was both co-operative and competitive – nothing like a challenge!

We (game designers) once spent a lot of time wondering whether or not this was possible.

Here, you must all co-operate to pollinate. Because, if the weather is bad, if you don’t get out often enough, if too many flowers close-up, you can all die!

Then, if you’re all still alive, there’s a competition to collect the most ensuing berries.

In this video Krystal talks about how this played out, and how it happened that her team ‘won but lost at the same time!’

Posted on

Is Flight of Pollen educational?

When it came to researching Flight of Pollen we found some interesting gaps in the data.

Old, and no-longer-relevant, data was repeated in current books. New research concentrated on the industrialised honey bee. And cryptic statements were hard to source.

Cushla turned out to be an indominatible researcher, and she took to the Internet with zest.

Slowly, over time, a picture emerged of our biodiversity. We felt like our eyes were opened, and we began to see the world around us in a new light.

Helpfully this comes across in the game. Here’s what one test-player had to say, about the educational aspect of Flight of Pollen