Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Action Storybook Bible Kindle Fire Giveaway

Discover your family's place in God's incredible story and together put your faith into action with the new The Action Storybook Bible from David C Cook! Explore God's redemptive story together with your children ages 8 and under in the 15 episodes highlighting key milestones in God's story. Master-artist Sergio Cariello created more than 350 brand-new illustrations to captivate your family and help you recognize how God is moving through each story.

Join the adventure to begin to figure out where you fit into God's beautiful and exciting plan for the world by entering to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!



The Action Storybook Bible Kindle Fire Giveaway

My thoughts: This is a fun help tool for kids. I wouldn't personally market it as a "Bible" since my religious beliefs don't agree with that statement. It's a comic book style item that can draw kids in, in a way that makes sense to them, to help them understand. But again, I would use it as a story, and not call it a Bible.

The illustrations are great, and the artists show a true talent. I'd venture to say any comic book lover would appreciate this! 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on September 29. The winner will be announced October 2 on the Litfuse blog.



**I received this free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**

WorthyKids/Ideals REVIEW

WorthyKids
I'm always looking for books to add to our home library. There's just nothing quite like the feel of a book in your hands. The smell of the pages as you flip through them just can't quite be topped. M would say I'm addicted to books, and I would most definitely have to agree. When a review came up for WorthKids/Ideals I was was eager to take a look at The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series.

For this review, we received the first two books in the series. The Secrete of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2) 
The Secret of the Hidden ScrollsThe Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) feature Peter, Mary, and their faithful pooch Hank-who also star in Book #2-as they discover the power of some scrolls found while staying with their uncle while their parents are away.  They had been worried they'd be bored stuck in the house full of artifacts from their uncle's archaeological adventures. (I don't know about you, but I'd love to explore a house full of treasures like that HAHA!)

Their Uncle Solomon tells them he has been unable to unlock the scrolls, and like any young child, Peter is now determined to find out what secrets they hold! Written on the scroll is a message that tells them "amazing adventures are in store for those who follow the lion's roar!" Just what secrets are held within these mysterious scrolls?! They soon find out that these scrolls hold the power to transport them through time, as they discover when they wake to the sounds of a roaring lion! When the children, and their dog enter the library and pick up one of the scrolls they are suddenly flying through darkness and find themselves in the days of Creation, along side the angel Michael! Michael tells them they have only seven days to decode the message hidden with in the scroll, or else they will be stuck in that history forever.

In Book #2, the magical scrolls sends them back to the days of Noah. They arrive in a city full of really mean people, they get bullied by some boys and a wolf, and get in trouble for speaking of God. The next day they find themselves at Noah's Ark where they help herd animals into the ark, and tend to them. Again, like in Book #1, the children-and their dog-must solve the mystery within 7 days or be stuck in that time period forever. 
Our Thoughts:


We both really liked the character dynamics and the overall lessons taught in each of the books. Michael always points out the three rules: Solve the mystery, don't change history, and tell no one you are from the future. This also helped my son to understand the importance of following our rules at home, too.

Speaking of Michael, the archangel Michael is always there as their guide and to help, but he is hands off in a lot of ways to allow the children to learn for themselves, too. He is there to make sure they are mostly safe, and to lend a hand when absolutely needed. And he's there to remind them of the rules. This reminds me of how we should be as parents. There to make sure our children know the rules, but hands off enough to allow them to make their own mistakes so they can learn and figure out life. We can't live their life for them!

I love the lessons learned in these books. Mr. B was able to point out the lessons being taught, such as God is everywhere in Book #1, and trusting God in Book #2. The lessons are shown in way that shows them being applied to the lives of the characters involved. They are full of fun adventure, and teach the concepts in a meaningful way. They ARE fictional, and a product of the creativeness of the author. It's important to remember, these stories are based off the ones in the Bible, and not actually from the Bible. I don't want anyone to be confused there. Overall, we really liked these. Mr. B is above the intended age range for these books of around age 6 to 9. These are beginning chapter books, but the adventure contained within kept him entertained and engaged. The books are small, at around only 100 pages, so this made for a relatively quick read for him, which is great because he's not really one to read on his own.

The reading level is on par with the suggested age range, but the stories themselves are not. Mr. B, at age 12, really enjoyed the story line and plot, and the character development. As an adult, even I appreciated the overall story dynamics! We recommend these to others who may be looking for easy to read chapter books with an overall moral lesson.

Please click the banner below to see what my crew mates though of these first two books of The Hidden Scroll Series
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}
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RULE OF LAW REVIEW

About the book:


What did the president know? And when did she know it?
For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member ofthe Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.
But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.
Did the president play political games with the lives ofU.S. service members?
Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.
Equal justice under law.
It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

My thoughts: I love crime dramas and thrillers, so I knew I'd really enjoy this book! This is a big, thick book! So don't expect to just breeze through it in a couple of hours. Of course, if you read the "About the Book" you'll not some striking similarities to real life events. The author's knowledge of legal matters is abundantly clear, but his writing is in such a manner that one need not a legal degree to understand. His political views aren't streaming in the way I would have thought, and that's a nice thing. The characters are believable and realistic, and their personalities develop throughout the novel. Very good! 



About the author:


Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than ten legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel "Directed Verdict." In addition to his law practice and writing, he serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school's Board of Visitors.
Find out more about Randy at http://www.

**I received this free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own, or those of my family.**

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

This WW is dedicated to my dear cousin who was found dead from an apparent drug overdose, or complications from drug use. We always called her Sunshine because she was always smiling, and so very friendly to everyone she met. Please, if you have an addiction problem GET HELP. Do your best. Know that you are worth more, you are worthy of making a change, and you CAN conquer it!



Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Captain Bayley's Heir REVIEW

Heirloom Audio Productions
Our family loves audio books and audio dramas, and especially Heirloom Audio Productions. Heirloom Audio Productions heads "out west" in America with their latest audio drama, Captain Bayley's Heir. This 2.5 hour long listening adventure brings all the sounds and edge-of-your-seat action that you'd expect from the wild, wild west during the Gold Rush era. 
For this review, we received the two disc, physical disk set. We also received access to the Live the Adventure Club, that features a lot of bonus content that I'll get to in a moment. 

The Story:

The story begins in England when one cousin, Harry, comes across his cousins, Frank, Fred, and Alice. Harry is quite different from his cousins. Harry's life hasn't been as easy going as his cousins. Not only was his seriously injured, he has barely had enough funds to survive. His cousins, on the other hand, have had the great fortune of living with Captain Bayley, who earned his fortune from the East India Co.

Harry's dog has fallen into a frozen lake, and being crippled from his injury, he's unable to save the pup. Frank, also a student at Westminster School, rises up as a hero when he saves the dog from certain death. He and Harry become very good friends, until Frank is falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. When he is threatened with expulsion from school, Frank makes the choice to escape to America, hoping to prove his worth to his uncle. 
Frank's journey in America is not for the faint of heart. He nearly dies in a storm over the Mississippi River where he works on a flatboat, then he is attacked in an Indian ambush on a wagon train! He finally makes his way to California, just in time for the GOLD RUSH!

Along the way, Frank makes new friends, and each of these new additions helps him along his ultimate path in life, especially James Adams who travels back to England, and promises to deliver a message from Frank to Alice.

While Frank is in America, the on going story of Captain Bayley and his heir (thus the title) is playing out in England. Captain Bayley had a daughter, and he did not like her choice in marriage. As a result of this disagreement, the two had cut off contact with each other. Captain Bayley had no idea what had become of his daughter, and he now wanted to ask for her forgiveness. But, sadly, it was too late because his daughter had already passed away. So who was Captain Bayley's rightful heir? Well, as it turns out, this heir was no stranger to them, and had been right there all along! BUT, I can't give it away!

As you can imagine, there's a LOT more to the story, but I don't want to give it all away. You'll just have to listen to it for yourself! 

Our thoughts:

Mr. B says this is his favorite audio drama to date. He loves it. He was captured from the first few minutes, and stayed engaged for the entirety of the adventure. We had to make our way to Cleveland for an appointment, so that made for the perfect drive to listen to this adventure, as well as revisit a few others! This was by far his favorite of the trip.

Now, I need to pause here for a second to explain just why Mr. B fancies this set as his personal favorite. He LOVES all things gold rush related. So much so, that I actually bought him his very old gold panning pan, and I will occasionally get him Alaskan or Californian pay dirt to pan for fun. He loves it, so this audio drama being all about the same topic thrilled him to no end! 

Like the others, Captain Bayley's Heir includes bonus content that you can access through the Live the Adventure Club. This is a great thing the folks at Heirloom Audio have put together. Not only can you access any of your purchased adventures and their included digital content, but there's also an archive of radio shows to listen to, and a great message board community there, as well! 
What is included in that bonus content? Well, I'm glad you asked! 

You'll get a digital Inspirational Hymn Poster that you can print out. These are always so beautifully put together, and this one is no exception. The sunset scene is just gorgeous! 





You also receive a digital, printable cast poster. 


In addition to that, there's the eBook version of Captain Bayley's Heir. It's important to note that this is an audio drama, and not an audio book. There are a variety of characters, ambient sounds and music, and so much more. It's  like listening to a movie. And this is the book that this drama is based on. It's beautiful to see on a tablet reader! Seriously! 


You'll receive a digital download of the Official Soundtrack that features the music from the audio drama.



Then there's the included wallpaper background. This is really fun! 


And last, but certainly not least, is my personal favorite-The Study Guide! 

This study guide features discussion questions that provoke a lot of critical thinking and conversation about Captain Bayley's Heir. 


The study guide is a great tool, especially for parents, to use to help their children listen well, and listen for information. I know Mr. B will sometimes skip over details while listening, so this is great for him to narrow down his attention to focus on what he should be listening to, and not doddling off listening to the birds chirping the background. 



Here are some screen snips from the first track, so you can see what it is like. You can spend a great deal of time using this as an entire unit study, if you want. I have Mr. B verbally answer some questions, and sometimes I have him write them out short answer style. Usually, we discuss the thinking further questions. These are more abstract, and harder for ASD'ers to really "get." I want to make sure he understands it all, so we talk about these together.

The defining words are good as bonus spelling words for us. He loves to look up definitions, so we do that for fun with these words.

Overall:

Overall, Heirloom Audio Productions has another home run! We have loved each and every one of their audio dramas, and look forward to more! These are not audio books, but more like audio movies. This one says from ages 6 to adult, but it's perfectly fine to let younger kids in on the fun-Though they may not want to really listen much. Mr. B's little sister, Princess J, enjoyed listening along with us here at the house (yes, we have listened multiple times,) but her little 4 year old self also enjoyed bouncing around from place to place. We love this, and highly recommend Captain Bayley's Heir to others! 

Does Heirloom Audio Productions Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

You can easily adapt to fit your schedule. These are physical disks, or you can download the digital from your bonus content. You can listen as you want, and break when you want. If you stop the disk in the player, you pick right back where you left off. If you jump ahead, you're going to be missing some story. And you can elect to use, or not use, the study guide as you want. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

No hidden fees, and this will cover multiple grades The study guide is great for entire family learning. 


3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

Definitely NOT boring! Unless you think edge of your seat action packed adventures are boring!

As far as special needs are concerned, these audio dramas always have a very calming effect on Mr. B. I can remember the first time I popped in In Freedom's Cause. He was sooooooooo hyper, and within minutes he was quiet as a church mouse, listening intently to the story develop. 


4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This is a great American West study or Gold Rush unit study supplement, and would work well with any early American history program! 

Captain Bayley's Heir

Please check out my other Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews! 

In Freedom's Cause

The Dragon and the Raven

The Cat of Bubastes

With Lee in Virginia

Beric the Briton

In the Reign of Terror


For more reviews, please check out the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking the banner below! 
Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Banned Book Week 2017



Banned Book Week is an annual week long awareness campaign brought to use by the American Library Association and Amnesty International. The idea is to focus on our freedom to read, and bring awareness to censored and banned books, as well as persecuted individuals. The list of banned books is quite long, and there are many titles on there that truly shocked me. I mean. Captain Underpants?! The Giver? Harry Potter??

Sept. 24 through Sept. 30 is the chosen week for 2017. We are reading The Giver in honor of this special week for books across the globe. What are you reading??


2016


2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Let's Go Geography REVIEW!!!!!

Let's Go Geography

Mr. B LOVES geography, and always has. I saw Let's Go Geography, and I knew he'd go crazy for it! Boy, was I right! He doesn't even see this as schoolwork, but as something fun to do during his breaks. I call that a MAJOR win!




Let's Go Geography is a weekly geography lesson that covers a country a week, the US taking 2 weeks at the very beginning. Lessons are divided across two semesters, and you receive an email once a week telling you what country you'll be studying. There are lessons for 3 years of study, so this is a long lasting geography curriculum!

Let's Go Geography


Our Thoughts and How We Used This:



I've been printing out the front page, the check list, and any pages that are consumable, and placing them into a 3 ring binder. 

THIS!!!! This is my favorite part! It's a graphic "To-Do" chart! This is FANTASTIC for autism and ADHD. Mr. B is a very visual child, and his school schedule is comprised of both pictures, and colorful words. He checks off what he has accomplished, and he can see what is left to do. To have the same system integrated into the geography curriculum is fantastic! It's what he's already used to, and he's able to zip right through it on his own. 


I like how there's a list of what you may need or want, including the call number for optional books for more learning. 


I like how the activity action is sort of highlighted. From a special needs perspective, this helps to differentiate the action from the rest of the words, so he can see he has to PRINT something, then COLOR something, and then EXPLORE. As you can see, this is asking you to print a North America map. We did this from the beginning, and keep it in the front of our binder. He adds to it each week as he colors in the countries. 


You can attach printed maps to a single page, or there's a printable "Passport" you can attach to. Mr. B wanted to do both, so both is what we do. 

Each page is colorful, and you can choose to print it all, or just the pages that will be written or colored on. I choose the later to save on color toner, but I splurge toner on the cover sheets and the photo sheets.  


Each lesson is interactive, and I LOVE that. There are links to click on, audio clips to listen to, and video clips to watch. This makes it a lot of fun, and varies up the content to keep his interest and attention. 


I love the included photos! These photos have sparked further research, and we've enjoyed looking up more photos of each country as we learn about it. 



You have access to the entire weekly lesson, and you can choose to do it all in one day, or spread it out through the week.  We did both. Some weeks, Mr. B would be so into the lesson that he'd just keep on going. And some weeks, I'd have him only do a chapter a day, or maybe 2 chapters a day. The lessons are full, and I don't feel they are lacking at all. There's ample opportunity to delve deeper if you wish, especially with the book suggestions. I love the links, and how we can do as much or as little as we want.

Overall: 

Let's Go Geography

Let's Go Geography is intended for grades K-4, but Mr. B is a 6th/7th grader who loves it. I think his favorite part is the Create section. In this section there is a crafty activity, such as coloring a frog and lily pad. He loves doing that kind of stuff still. I'll be able to edit this post with photos of his completed work once I get my new phone. Sadly, mine is pretty much on life support and the camera isn't sending my pics correctly. I appreciate the inclusion of lesson reviews periodically, and the included break weeks. We've not taken a break week yet, but I'm sure we may when they hit around a Holiday time. I really like how well planned and organized the overall program is, as that is so convenient and needed in my life. We both really love this geography curriculum. He WANTS to do it, and I like following along with him. It's a total win for us! 

Does Let's Go Geography Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
There are break weeks included. We have customized to the point of doing a lesson all in one day, or over the course of a week. You have access to the lessons in advance, so you can print ahead, and work ahead, if you want. You can skip if you want, but I don't think anyone would want to do so. You are confined to your membership time limitations. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

There are three year's worth of lessons. It does cover multiple grades, and I can see higher grades benefiting and enjoying this program, as my son does currently.  There are no hidden fees. 


3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

Each lesson is broken into chapters. Each chapter is pretty quick. There are multiple activities that are varied, such as arts and crafts, video clips, and audio clips. I feel it is very varied, and not boring at all. 


4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.


This is only geography, though there are bits of history and science relevant to the study included. This is not an overall unit study, but a topical study.
Please click the banner below to read more Let's Go Geography reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew! 
Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Author Matt Koceich's Imagine . . .The Great Flood BOOK REVIEW

Barbour Publishing
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I requested Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich. Mr. B did an extensive study on Noah and the Great Flood of the Old Testament last year, with his entire history program centered around it, so I knew he'd be intrigued by a book based on the same topic. Barbour Publishing is a Christian Publisher, but this book was a fictitious take, so I wanted to make sure Mr. B knew it was a "make believe story" before proceeding. When I knew he understood the Flood in the Bible is real, and this story is a fiction story based on that, I was excited to read it!
IMAGINE... The Great Flood
Intended for a younger audience of around 8-12, Imagine . . . The Great Flood starts off with a young boy of 10 years and his mother. Corey's family is moving to Florida, and he's troubled by this. He feels all of the normal nervous anxiety that any young child would feel over such a daunting and scary ordeal. His mother reassures him that no matter what, God will always be with him, but Corey just doesn't understand it all.

They hear thunder, and Corey runs after their family dog, so that they can get home before the rain hits. The last thing he remembers is falling and hitting his head, and the pain. When he comes to, he's face to face with lion and he realizes he is now in the land and times of Noah. He will go on to meet Noah, and his family, and others. And his faith and trust in God will be showcased throughout the book. Trust can be a hard thing for a kid to understand, and show. And this book has really helped Mr. B in that way. 

While this book is a fiction book, it's a good one for kids to read to strengthen their relationship and understanding of God. Often times, at least in our case, Mr. B has trouble thinking about stories and lessons from the Bible in his own way. Imagine . . .  The Great Flood is written from the perspective of a 10 year old boy from today's world. While that perspective is based entirely on the author's subjectiveness, it's an aid to a child, such as Mr. B, to imagine what life was like. The author has taken some creative liberties for the purpose of the storyline and plot, such as with the Nephilim in the story. But I just made sure Mr. B undersood, again, that this was just a story based around the TRUE story of the Flood and Noah, and not what really happened.

The author has a great idea of writing about Bible stories from the perspective of a "modern day kid" in a "back in time" fashion that really draws in the reader. His use of descriptive writing is great, and we were both able to visualize the picture painted in the story. Painting with words is our focus in reading in language arts this year, so this has been a great example to use to showcase to Mr. B exactly why reading stories with a lot of quality descriptive words and phrases is similar to watching a movie, just in your own mind.

"The ocean swirled around the boy and pulled him down with unrelenting power. Heavy water churned and tugged at his flailing body like unseen hands yanking him into the watery depths. "

Phrases like these are what make up this fantastic read. You are drawn in from the first pages, and can't wait to see what happens next. Even Mr. B said he was able to picture every scene in his mind's eye! That's really something coming from him!

As with anything, I always advocate previewing books, and other media forms, before turning your kids loose with it. But for us, this has been a safe, good reading adventure. Mr. B wasn't at all confused by the fictional story taking place in the book compared to the real account found in the Bible. Overall, I highly recommend this to others. 
Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}
IMAGINE... The Great Flood
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Finding Hope in Behavior Management 101-Visual Schedules.



Most kids with Autism, and other special needs, benefit greatly from a visual schedule. That's where we have been for the last few weeks. I've been trying to develop a visual schedule for our entire day, as well as our school day. 

If you are a subscriber to the blog, I'll have a printable of our daily school schedule on there. It's best to have your own tailored to your child's specific likes and dislikes. We tackle a subject he doesn't like first, with a break afterwards, with a subject he does like. And we alternate like that.  So our school day looks something like this:

10am: Reading

10:30am LA

11:00am: Break

11:10 Science

11:40: Break

11:45pm Math

12:15pm break

12:20 pm History

1:00 ALL FINISHED! 

There are all kinds of breaks in there so he can get up, run around, and do what he needs to do. If he hasn't finished a subject in the allotted time, then I have him work on it after we have finished everything-similar to homework. But we do finish EVERYTHING as planned, each day, unless something comes up that truly prevents us from it. Then we pick it up the following day. This works well for us, but everyone has their own unique situation, so you may need to tweak as you go. I would recommend printing the schedule twice, and putting the subjects on velcro so you can move them around as you see fit. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chara Games REVIEW

Chara Games
I get so excited when I see Chara Games come up on a review request. They have the most unique, and fun games ever! We host game night frequently. So frequently, in fact, that I leave my dining room table extended all the time to the largest it can be just to accommodate everyone easily. There's always at least six people here on any given gaming session, and that just happens to be the PERFECT number for Chara Games newest addition, Unauthorized.
UNAUTHORIZED
This is a family friendly card game that is intended for an older set of players, though younger players can take part with adult assistance. The game is not a mindless game that you can just open a box, roll some dice, and go. It's thought provoking, and you have to use a bit of brain power as you play this 30 minute game of State vs. The Church. 
UNAUTHORIZED
The game comes packaged in a small box, like you'd imagine for a card game. Inside this box you'll find:

  • A rule book: We skimmed over this before beginning, and really used it during play. I find it easier to go along with the rules during play, rather than reading it first. It is easier for my mind to make sense of everything as I try to put it all into play.
  • Role Cards: There are 12 role cards in total, and you use one for each player. The game is intended for 6-12 players. You have to have at least 1 cop and at least 1 pastor role playing. The others are neutral based players, who are swayed during the game play. Each role card has the option of a male or female character. Your choice there doesn't matter as far as game play is concerned. You shuffle all of your neutral cards and deal those out. Each role has a different ability that is unique only to them.
  • Experience Cards: These are like any other playing card in any card game, and are for your eyes only. These are where you make your strategic plays. Cards are dealt first to the cop and the pastor. The cop gets 7 red state cards, and the pastor receives 7 green church cards. The rest of the cards are shuffeled and dealt out to the remaining players. Once each player as 7 cards each, the remaining experience cards go face down on the table as a draw pile.

  • Dealer Reference Card: This provides the dealer with allowable game actions. The dealer card is passed as the game goes on.

  • Player Reference Card: Provides the players with their allowable actions in game.




    Game Play


This video explains game play much better than I can do haha. Each character role has a talent or "power" that can influence the game play. Each experience card influences characters either to the church or to the state. As the game progresses, experience cards are passed to other players and laid down. When a player is down to only one card, they must draw from the draw pile.

Play is not over when a card has been discarded. After the card passing, players must then make a choice. They can choose to use their character power, or-if they are in prison-they can seek parole. Cops can execute, or you can speak to a neighbor. After this, the dealer card is then passed on to the next player according to the set up of your game. 

But, who wins?


If at the end of the game if characters have more green cards, then they are loyal to the state. If there are more who are loyal to the church, and there's at least one person who is not in prison, then the Church wins! BUT, if the members of the church go to prison, or there are more state loyalty cards (red cards) in play then the state wins. Oh and the fun part? Since you can't see what experience cards everyone has, you have NO idea where their loyalty is! So you never know if you are on the winning side, or the losing, until it's revealed at the end!


Our Thoughts

If you are used to card style gaming, then this will be second nature to you. If you are used to role play style gaming, you'll also feel at ease. If board games are more your thing, you may find the directions and rules a bit difficult at first, but easily understood. But even with a more complicated play set up, the video above is a GREAT tool to learn how to play the game, and you can easily work through a game with the rule book handy. I have a difficult time just reading rules and playing a game, so I like to watch the video then work through the game, play by play, with the rule book in hand. That's how we did it during game night, and by the 2nd game everyone knew what to do. The game is varied enough, each time, thanks to the shuffling that the outcome is different all the time. It's not weighted for the church to win any more than the state, or vice versa. 

Even though this is "just a game," it has also been a great teaching tool for Mr. B to understand the struggles some have had over the years, and even currently, when it comes to practicing their Christian Religion. 

UNAUTHORIZED

Check out what the others from the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about Chara Games! 
Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}
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