Updated: Jul 30, 2021
Designed by Juliet Smith, Photographic World is a light board game aimed primarily at primary school children. It's a roll & move set collection game where 2-5 players are rolling custom six-sided dice to move around a board representing a map of the world and collecting photos of animals native to each of the seven continents. You score for the animal photo cards you pick up but there are additional bonuses to be earned by having the most unique photos from each continent, for having at least one photo from all seven continents and for winning the 'best in class' (first to collect three different animals in each class: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects).
Tho' we're only showing a preview prototype here on Board's Eye View ahead of the game's launch on Kickstarter, you can see that it benefits from attractive art by Ana Reyes. Children will find the wildlife photos especially appealing, and the publishers Bright Beetle, highlight the game's educational potential in helping children learn about basic animal classification, geography and elementary mathematics (adding up the scores).
Children may need to get over possible frustration over movement on the world map. The board sets out locations in each continent and the connections between them. Rolling two '1's allows you to transport your player pawn to any unoccupied spot on the board. There are two '1's on each die, so a '1, 1' roll is an 11% probability. Otherwise, however, you can only move a maximum of one space per turn and you can't move onto a space occupied by another player. That means there's scope for blocking or at least seriously impeding another player's access to a continent and so limiting their access to certain cards. There's no Risk-style link up between the eastern and western edges of the board, so it can be a long trek getting your pawn from Asia to North America or vice versa. Of course, learning strategies and dealing with frustration are also important educational objectives.
Rolling a camera icon allows you to take a card from the continent you are in. You can take this from the tourist deck (take the top face-up card) or from the face-down continent deck. You don't know what you're getting when you take a face-down card, but the face-down cards have points values of 2, 3 or 4, compared to a value of just 1 for cards in the tourist deck.
Rolling a shopping cart icon lets you take a card from the market. It'll be a face-up card so you'll know exactly what you're getting and it can be a good way of getting cards from a continent that's proving hard for your pawn to reach on the map. If your continent deck draws have given you duplicate photos of the same animal these won't score any points but rolling the shopping cart icon also gives you the option of 'selling' your duplicate (ie: placing it out in the market in return for another double dice roll). Of course, putting a card into the market can only help other players and Photographic World is a competitive rather than cooperative game, so it could well be in your interests to deny opportunities to your opponent by just hoarding your duplicates and discarding them at the end of the game. If the intention is to create a fluid market in the game, we'd have liked to have seen players offered a stronger reward for 'selling' - perhaps by imposing an end-game penalty on duplicates.
Bright Beetle have included a solo play variant which dispenses with the market and substitutes a calendar that will be printed on the market mat's flip side. The calendar serves as a 31-turn tracker. Your objective is to earn all six 'Best in Class' certificates (ie: collect three unique photos of each type of animal) before the end of your calendar month. In this variant, instead of giving you access to the market, rolling a shopping cart icon allows you to discard one of the face-up photos. You might want to do this if, for example, the top card is an elephant and you've already picked up a photo of an elephant. The solo rules offer an easy-to-play but not-so-easy-to-win game; and if you succeed in earning all six certificates before the end of the 31-day month, why not try completing your scenario in June (cover up the 31 spot) or even February (play with just 28 dice rolls)...
Photographic World is due to come to Kickstarter on 2 August. Click here to check out the KS campaign.
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