Did you know that board games have been around since ancient times? Back in the 3,500 BC, ancient Egyptians were already playing a board game called Senet, which is the oldest board game known to man.
Besides a means of leisure and entertainment, playing board game has various educational benefits. It teaches various academic skills like detecting patterns, recognizing numbers and colors, counting, and hand-eye coordination. Furthermore, playing board games also teaches social skills such as interacting with other people, taking turns, and learning to follow the rules.
Bearing all these benefits in mind, today I have an interesting app to show you. Called Happy Geese, this app offers two classic board games that have been simplified for everyone, including young children and children with special needs. In addition, it also offers a way for the parents or educators to customize many elements of the board and the gameplay.
Configuring the Game
Happy Geese comes with two games: Game of the Goose and Snake and Ladders. After choosing the game that you want to play, and the app will take you to a screen where you can customize the board to fit your players’ needs.
On the left side of the screen, you can choose the board that you want to play with. On the right side of the screen, you will find five buttons for further customizing the gameplay. The first, topmost button lets you select between several dice faces: colors, shapes, vowels, consonants, numbers, or dots. The second and the third buttons let you specify whether to include the snakes and ladders (or the geese and the bridges in the Goose game).
The fourth button lets you set whether players can roll any face to arrive at the final cell. Finally, the fifth button lets you enable or disable visual aid to assist players in placing their chips on the board.
Other than customizing the board elements, you can also configure the game chips for each player. Both Snakes and Ladders and the Game of the Goose allow up to four players. You can select any of the app-included avatars for your chip, or use your own pictures from the device’s Camera Roll.
An interesting feature included in the app is the ability to pre-select the “King” of the game, who is guaranteed to win the round. This is quite useful to avoid disappointments with children who are still new to the game.
Playing the Game
Once you have configured all the options, it is time to play. Each player takes a side on the board, and the app randomly selects the player who will go first.
With young children, managing turns can sometimes be difficult. The app alleviates this problem by making the dice only appear on the side of the player whose turn is currently active, so there is less risk of a player hogging the dice compared to playing with physical board games.
When the dice appears, tap on it to roll. Once it stops, you then drag your chip to the assigned cell. If you have visual aid enabled, the app will provide assistance by highlighting said cell. But even if you didn’t, the app will still point out the correct cell when you place your chip incorrectly.
Finally, when a player reaches the final cell, the app will show a cute animation depicting the player’s chip jumping up and down on a podium. It is interesting to note that Happy Geese allows you to continue playing until every player reaches the last cell, although you can stop the game prematurely by tapping on the Pause button.
Parents Need to Know
Happy Geese is an excellent app that presents highly simplified versions of two classic board games for the whole family to enjoy. Parents can use the app to introduce children to shapes, colors, letters, and numbers by using variety of dice faces, and to teach kids about waiting for turns and sportsmanship.
One thing that I want to mention is that the app is available for free with in-app purchase. You get two simple boards for each game on initial download, and you can unlock an additional board pack of six for $1.99. The option to unlock these boards is present in the Configuration screen, but seeing that this menu should be used by adults, I believe this won’t be an issue.
Things I Like
Happy Geese is a happy little app that is great for the whole family. By allowing the adults to customize the game according to their juniors’ development level, the app allows the players to eliminate the frustration of trying to learn many rules, and just focus on having fun together. While the app was designed for children with special needs, I have to say that it is also great for young children.
Visually, the app looks good. The simple and clutter-free graphics are engaging but not distracting. The cute little animations help create a playful environment, as well as teach kids about the rules of the game.
For example, when a player arrives at a bridge in The Game of the Goose, the chip will fall down into the water and float towards the other side. In Snakes and Ladders, a chip will move upwards when it arrives at the bottom of a ladder. I also like how the other chips move to edges of their cells to give way to the player who is currently taking his turn.
Overall, Happy Geese is a great Snakes and Ladders games for kids. I like how the app offers the ability to customize the game to suit the needs of different children, allowing everyone to enjoy the game. If you are looking for an app that you can play with the whole family, I would highly recommend this app.
Get Happy Geese on the App Store.
Thank you Appically for suggesting the app to us!