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Parable Parade

Parable Parade is one of the series of Bible-themed children's games published by Bible Games Central. It's a simple set collection card game where the 2-6 players are each trying to collect the four cards that make up one of Jesus' parables. Complete two of the 12 parables in the deck and you win the game.

Play is simple enough for 5 or 6-year-olds to enjoy. The sets are also colour-coded, so children can play without being able to read the caption text setting out which parable they relate to. On your turn you simply flip cards and add them to the tableau in front of you; so you can be partway through collecting all 12 parables. Instead of a parable, some cards are 'Kingdom' cards, depicting a crown against one of three different background colours. Collect a set of these in the three different colours and you can trade them in to steal a parable card from another player. It's particularly helpful to do this if the card is all you need to complete a set (ie: you already have the other three cards) because completed sets are immune from subsequent 'attack'.

You have to stop drawing cards when you turn over an 'Oopsie' card. That ends your turn and requires you to discard three Kingdom cards, or to discard parable cards if you don't have the Kingdom cards. Notionally this makes Parable Parade a push-your-luck game, except that there's almost no advantage in ending your turn ahead of turning over an 'Oopsie' so it almost always pays to push your luck Canny players tho' will want to be sure to expend their Kingdom cards for stealing rather than risk them having to be discarded at turn end because it can actually make sense in terms of game play to discard parable cards instead of Kingdom cards. If I can see an opponent is just shy of completing a set and I have the card they need, taking it out of play by discarding it appears to be the best way of stopping the opponent from nabbing it!

The cartoon art adds to Parable Parade's appeal, and tho' the theft mechanic is perhaps counter-religious, the game does have an educational role in introducing children to the parables from the New Testament. When children have collected sets, there's a card for each parable that outlines the story represented across the four-card cartoon and on the reverse there's an explanation of the significance of the story and what the parable means beyond the literal. Children who play the game will almost certainly come away with a better understanding of these Gospel stories.

Parable Parade worked best for us as a filler-length four-player game. With more players, the game was stretched more thinly; taking that much longer for players to collect the sets. With just two or three players, there usually wasn't enough opportunity to balance the luck of one player benefitting from a good card-flipping run and another having the misfortune of turning up an 'Oopsie' card early on their turn.

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