I recently received the opportunity to review and compare two new games from Harvest Time Partners. After previewing their website and infomercials found there, I loved the idea. What parent wouldn’t love a game discussing situations in which the players would decide on a course of action based upon the following character traits and principals:
They offer two game versions, Abundant Harvest – Kids, and Abundant Harvest for teen and/or adults. Both games offer the same game play foundation, but the prompts differ greatly between the two.
Abundant Harvest – Kids
The Game Board:
When you move around the board, you will land on various situations and receive a reward based upon the nature of the situation and how it is handled. Examples:
Brought toys to kids who were sick in the hospital. Receive an Abundant Harvest Reward Card
When a stranger asked you to get in his car, you screamed and quickly ran away. Receive an Abundant Harvest Reward Card
Did not brush your teeth before going to bed. Receive a Modest Harvest Reward Card
Did not wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Receive a Modest Harvest Reward Card
Did not tell the truth when your mom asked “what happened?” Receive a Poor Harvest Reward Card
Called one of your brother’s “stupid”. Receive a Poor Harvest Reward Card
Before you begin this game with your children, I strongly encourage you to read through all of the prompts and remove anything you prefer the youngest child in the game not hear discussed at this time. In the “School Scenario” section I removed 6 cards (out of 40) from our game and sealed them into an envelope for later use. Examples:
Your favorite teacher in 6th grade was just arrested for drunk driving and has been fired from the school. The entire school is shocked by her arrest.
You are walking home from school when you see two men running out of a house with guns in their hands. they get into a car and drive away.
As you walk home from school, you see a car driving very quickly through an intersection. The car hits an old man who is walking across the road. The driver continues to drive away while the old man is lying in the street screaming in pain. Several cars continue to drive by while the old man is rolling around in the road.
Here’s one from the Child Scenario section that I removed:
You have been waiting patiently to get on the family computer. Your sister leaves the computer for a moment to go to the bathroom and you sit down to use the computer while she is gone. Before clicking to your favorite website, you notice an instant message conversation between your 15-year-old sisters and an “older man”. They are talking about meeting sometime this evening.
…the youngest player in my home turned seven over the summer. I do not feel that the above scenarios are appropriate for her at this time as they are too descriptive/vivid. Each family will have different opinions as to what is appropriate and what is not. It took me less than ten minutes to read through the cards, I recommend you do the same.
I am disappointed that there are not a greater amount of positive scenario cards. I believe it is just as important to discuss positive situations with your children as it provides them with examples of what pleases you and others. I could only find one in the parent scenario collection:
Your 17-year-old son is very helpful to his younger brothers and sisters. He is always willing to drive them to their activities, help them with their home work, and play games with them. He is a tremendous help to you and your spouse.
The games are designed with card prompts for children who attend school outside of the home. This may be difficult for your little ones to understand and you may need to explain to them to “pretend” they were at public school to answer the question. Some of the questions may still confuse them – such as those pertaining to “cheating on tests” and “making a poor grade on a report card”.
We allowed our children to set-up the game board and read through the instructions prior to play. Before we began we talked about the “principles” and asked if everyone understood the definition of each one. I would have liked it if the definitions listed within the instructions were simplified for a child – at least for this version of the game. Example:
Trust: The ability of an individual to have confidence in the integrity, ability, character and truth of a person or thing. Without trust, friendships, families, and businesses will not stand again any significant degree of challenge or struggle.
Try reading that definition to a seven year old and see the confused look you get. After I read this one to her I was asked “What is in-te-gritty?”. There are 18 principles listed, can you imagine how long it would take to explain all of these definitions? and then explain the words used within the definitions?
The play and discussions went well throughout the game. Depending on where you land, your “role” in the prompts change from a child or parent. I originally thought this was peculiar but my children seemed to enjoy landing on parent prompted spaces and explaining what they would do if they were us.
Nearing the end everyone was a little tired and ready to wrap things up. We started receiving a lot of half-hearted and comical responses to the prompts at this point. Our family of 6 (although our 2 yr old didn’t play) spent over an hour and a half playing. I think that larger families can benefit from playing in groups as everyone’s attention can remain on the game better if it wasn’t quite so long to complete.
What everyone had to say:
Jonathan (12 year old boy): “It was fun being a parent. No, this isn’t a game I would pull out to play during free time.”
Jasmine (10 year old girl): “I liked reading the cards. I would like to play the game again – it was fun pretending to be a parent.”
Jackie (7 year old girl): “I loved how we talked about all the questions. I like the colors of the game pieces and the pictures on the board with the different seasons. I liked getting rewards – I liked winning. Yes, I would like to play the game again.”
Dad (35+): “The game play was little slow and it was hard to keep their attention in it. It is interesting to hear where your children’s heads are at and how they react to different situations – which ones they take seriously and which ones they think aren’t as important can be a little surprising. No, this isn’t a game I would pull down for family game night regularly.”
This game is listed by the developing company as for children and adults ages 12 and up. After reading all of the scenario cards, I do not feel this version of the game should be played with children under the age of 16. There are many young adult and adult situations that are brought up that I do not feel young teens/tweens should be privy to. (pornography, homosexuality, pregnancy, abortion, religious cults, specific drug use, gambling, alcohol, multiple sexual partners, stripping, divorce, domestic violence, molestation, extramarital affairs, and miscellaneous illegal activity are all discussed within these cards.)
The board itself is good. Nothing out of the ordinary is listed, however, I’m not sure how they came up with the rewards. “Went to the speedy checkout with too many items” and “Fell asleep in church” both received a “Modest Harvest Reward Card” I am trying to figure out how the space that says “Cut your neighbor’s lawn while he was in the hospital” received the same reward as falling asleep in church – I’m confused.
This version of the game is out of my comfort zone, therefore, I cannot properly review this game based upon game play interactions.
I still love the idea of the game collection, I do feel that the age recommendations need to be reevaluated. It is listed under the “helpful hints” that:
Parents /adults may wish to look through the scenarios before playing the game to ensure the scenarios are appropriate for discussion with all players.
I think that is an understatement. I don’t think parent’s “may wish to”, I think they should change the language to read “are strongly encouraged”.
I think the games are a great tool for parents. When they are utilized regularly, they could greatly increase family discussion, openness, and assist with helping children make appropriate choices.
Please visit Harvest Time Partners for more information on these games.
*Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary Abundant Harvest and Abundant Harvest- Kids for the purpose of facilitating my review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions expressed herein are unbiased and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates in any way.*