Quick Look: Story Time Backgammon
Publisher: Thinking Cup Games LLC & Story Time Learning (STL)
Year Published: 2023
Story Time Backgammon is a high seas adventure that teaches kids as young as three how to play one of the world’s most popular games.
This game tells the tale of a Viking chieftain, Chompus the Great, and a swashbuckling pirate, Peglegra the Bold. Aided by magical dice and their animal companions, Wind and Wave, Chompus and Peglegra race their ships from dock to dock in search of treasure and glory!
Story Time Backgammon’s hilarious stories, unique mini-games, illustrated board, and custom pieces enable anyone to teach their youngsters the game—no backgammon experience necessary!
As kids have a blast discovering the rules alongside the characters, they’ll also develop critical skills including arithmetic, sequencing, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and more.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided the copy of Story Time Backgammon. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.
I must admit that I never really took to Backgammon when I was a kid. That is not to say that people never tried teaching me how to play it, but for whatever reason, the game rules and mechanics never really stuck with me, and it seemed to me to be a sort of “poor-man’s chess” in my mind, feeling a bit inferior due to its lack of pieces that sported different movement abilities.
So as an adult, I found myself still not really remembering the game of Backgammon having only played a few scant times, though I would hesitate to call my brief childhood flirtation with the game even “playing”, it was more tinkering around with it until I got bored.
I now find myself a parent as well, and trying to find new ways for my kids to think about STEM types of challenges, which can include probabilities and strategic thinking. However, like myself, my eldest daughter is very right-brained ; creative, but also not necessarily keen on rules (she’d many times much rather make her own rules than follow pre-established ones). So when I found a colorfully illustrated rendition of Backgammon that aimed to teach the concepts of the game using a handful of silly stories, my interest was piqued.
And, thankfully, so too was my daughter’s. I did not have to do any enticing at all to get her to sit down at the table and start reading the rule book, as she is rather proud of being a bookworm, and the presentation of Story Time Backgammon was an instant hit in this regard. All I needed to do was leave the book and game pieces on the table one day, and she spent the entire afternoon consumed with it (though admittedly and predictably, she just skipped over the rule parts, and focused on the story telling for her first read through).
For an actual play through, the rules still present the need for a parent or adult to supervise and facilitate the learning process. And though the rules themselves are indeed pretty straightforward as presented (in small chapters, breaking down the game into small steps), I would also happen to concur with the manual in having a grown up around to show the ropes.
The writing and illustrations are both witty and charming, making the learning process a relative breeze. And I say this from the perspective of both myself as an adult and my daughter as well, who found everything to be intuitive, which was totally contrary to my experience as a child.
One element that I personally found very helpful was the use of pirates and vikings (representing each player) needing to sail around a “vortex” to arrive at their proper destination. The fact that there is a vortex on the board (see picture) makes it very clear the direction players should be trying to steer their pieces into to win the game. As an adult playing on a “regular” board, I know that I would definitely get confused and lose track of what direction I am supposed to move my pieces, so the clever implementation of this feature makes it a breeze to use this visual cue to assist you in playing.
The game board and pieces are well constructed. There are very nice dice trays that can be utilized to chuck dice, and the plastic pieces can be used as standees that hold cardboard ships when learning the game (and can be jettisoned easily once you no longer need them, fully knowing the “adult” version of the game). Thankfully, the cardboard seems like it will not compress too much over time, leading to the standees falling out, which is always a pity when it happens to lesser quality materials.
Playing Storytime Backgammon took out a lot of the frustration I had with learning the game as a child, but also the trepidation I had learning it as an adult. I often inwardly laughed while learning this game with my daughter, thinking of the old Geico commercials’ slogan, “so easy a caveman could do it!”. Applied to Storytime Backgammon, I would say it is “so easy, even a tired, worn-down middle-aged adult / parent can do it!”.
And that is the best compliment I can give, I know that I personally felt worn down at the mere prospect of trying out this game, but did not want to deprive the younger generation an opportunity to learn where I had personally failed decades ago. Storytime Backgammon made it possible for not just the younger generation to learn and enjoy the game, but an aging (but not-quite boomer) gamer as well.
If they can have this degree of success with backgammon, I just have to wonder what they managed to achieve with their version of Storytime Chess!
After reading Jazz’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Story-Time-Backgammon is available for purchase on AMAZON for only $39.99 and free Prime Shipping via our Amazon Affilate Link!! (Won’t cost you anymore and it’s a way to support us here at Everything Board Games!)
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Jazz Paladin- Reviewer
Jazz Paladin is an eccentric at heart — When he is not learning to make exotic new foods at home, such as Queso Fresco cheese and Oaxacan molé, he is busy collecting vintage saxophones, harps, and other music-related paraphernalia. An avid music enthusiast, when he is not pining over the latest board games that are yet-to-be-released, his is probably hard at work making jazzy renditions of classic/retro video game music tunes as Jazz Paladin on Spotify and other digital music services.