My boys just love card games! I love when we can take them on the go to play on long drives (it takes some work but it keeps kids happy) or while we are waiting at a hockey practice or drumming session. Games are just a fun way to come together; connect and just have fun! We especially love Chara Games, so the chance to review the card game, Unauthorized, was really exciting for my boys!
If you have never heard of this company and if you love games, you have got to check them out! These are amazingly fun for the family! Every game encourages and builds about a lesson that is meant to not just teach Biblical principles but also to encourage deeper thinking and to help people build their relationships with one another. For us, relationship building is a really big deal (especially with our boys) who are anything but kind to one another lately. Character, virtue, relationships – these are things that matter so much! And thy can be harder to teach than we imagine so a game that integrates all of these skills, learn while you play, its a real winner! And every one of their games does just that.
Influence. Deduction. These are two things that my boys need to learn about. How to influence and deduce, even when to do so. In Unauthorized, players work to either grow or stamp out, underground churches. This is a thirty minute game, recommended for 6-12 players but we did this, often with between 3-6 players and had a blast!
We have seven people in our family right now but one is a foreign exchange student and the other is only 2 so when it came time to play this game, we had to get a bit creative. My oldest son loved the opportunity to play two characters. My oldest is twelve, the other two we played with are eight and six. For my younger daughter this was a bit challenging; my younger son on the other hand had a blast even as he had moments in the game he struggled with understanding.
Since we have had a couple exchange students from China and even one from the Middle East, my children are very familiar with the concept of an underground church. My oldest son often speaks of wanting to lead one one day (God willing!) He truly has a heart for God and a personality that is strong and sure.
This is not a complicated game; the instructions are simple and easy to follow. But while it is fast paced, it also requires a lot of thought. Because you don’t know who is really trustworthy. There is also a video (posted above) that does a great job of helping to walk you through the game. We all watched this a few times to be honest. My kids especially appreciated it since they are more visual/auditory learners.
There are role cards. Will you be matchmaker or a police officer or a rebel or a pastor? My kids were a bit disappointed at not being able to choose their own roles (but that makes it even more fun right?). And it gives them a reason to keep playing this game.
Every game requires a pastor (green cards) and a police officer (red cards) – once those have been assigned then you can deal out the experience cards. The experience cards are what determine if you are loyal to the church or to the state.
There are four rounds to this game and three phases to each round. I promise it isn’t as overwhelming as it may sound. Each round begins with the dealer and as you go around you pass, then play cards.
The cards you play are action cards: will you speak to a neighbor, use power, conduct an execution? Perhaps there is curiosity about the faith. Did someone witness a miracle? An act of selfless sacrifice done? If you are the state perhaps there are meaningless traditions, state education, indoctrination or clergy abuse?
There are also cards that represent public persecution, serious illness and questioning of your faith!
At the end of the fourth round you learn who has the victory. After everyone has decided how to use any wild cards in their hands, all cards are revealed to show church or state.
The church wins when they have a majority and at least one of them is not in prison. If the state has the majority or if there is a tie or all those loyal to the church have been imprisoned, the state wins.
This really is a fun game. And it can get pretty intense to. What I loved most of all though was how this really brought home the fact that our freedom to worship, is a very unique thing. It’s a reminder to be grateful for the what we have and to think on what a gift it is that we get to go to worship. Too often, do we not think of how “we have to go to church” instead of seeing what a blessing it is that we “get to go to church?”
The world is an amazing place. And this game has been something which has encouraged curiosity in my children about the many different places there are and how people worship right where they are. It is also something that I believe is a call to prayer. If there is one thing we know, it is that prayer is what makes amazing things happen!
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