If your family is like ours, then you are constantly looking for ways to connect with one another and enjoy one another with as few arguments as possible, and without the crutch of the television constantly entertaining you. Family Game Night is always enjoyable, but only if you have the right game.
We totally found that game!
First a little background:
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a dear friend from the past. Thanks to the world of Facebook we can all feel somewhat connected, but there’s something lovely about getting a personal message from someone who once played a significant role in your life.
My friend, Kirk, contacted me about a game that his wife Jane developed. He sent me the game to try out with my family, and if we enjoyed it, asked if I would tell my readers about it, and oh my goodness, we so enjoyed this game.
Instructures is a fast paced game for groups, and it forces you to work together as a team, to problem solve and strategize, and to control your desire-to-win impulses and not throw blocks at your teammates when they let you down.
Jane developed the idea for the game years ago while teaching VBS. She had the children in her group stand behind a curtain with styrofoam cups and follow her voice commands to build a structure out of the cups. If they listened well, they’d build the structure correctly – if they didn’t listen well, it would fall.
The application was to show the children how Noah had to listen closely to God to build the Ark. There weren’t drawn up blue prints. God told him what to build and how to build, and Noah had to listen closely and follow those directions.
Jane noticed how much fun the kids had playing this game, and the idea for Instructures was born.
Taking her simple idea, Jane and Kirk worked together to develop an entire game. They had a friend design the blocks, and Kirk took the designs to an Amish wood working shop in Bowling Green, Missouri and asked if they would be willing to cut the pieces for them – 38,000 of them. They had the cards and game pieces printed, gathered their Amish wood pieces, and in their basement with their children, they packaged the first 1,000 games themselves.
Then they began to tell people about it.
When we sat down to play with the kids, I wasn’t sure if we would like it, but within minutes I realized that this game is Fun with a capital ‘F’! By the end of the game, one person in our family (who shall remain unnamed) wet their pants from laughing so hard.
There are 72 pairs of “blue prints” inside the game, and they are broken up based on difficulty. You split up in two teams, and one person on the team acts as “foreman.” The foreman from each team take one set of matching blue prints, and they look at the picture on the card and tell their teammates how to build the structure. The first team to finish shouts DONE! and the other team inspects. If the structure was built correctly, you roll the die to move forward on the board. If it was built incorrectly, you roll the die to move backward.
There are challenges on the board that up the ante, such as the foremen giving instructions without speaking, or turning around and giving instructions without looking to see if the team is doing it correctly. These added a level of suspense to the game that made it even more fun.
The game was a little too hard for Landon. He couldn’t quite keep up, so we designated him the roller of the die and mover of the pieces. He also shot this video of us playing. Notice how focused Tia is in her instructions. Lee began to worry she was going to harm him if he didn’t quickly and efficiently heed her instructions. (And yes, they won. I want to be on Tia’s team next time…)
I cannot recommend this game more highly. It is great for adults and children. It requires you to think quickly, to listen hard, and to use your wits to beat your opponent. If you’re looking for a great new addition to Family Game Night, this is it.
Disclaimer: I was given Instructures for the purposes of review. I am not being compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.