Yesterday afternoon I found myself in the foyer of the chemistry department here at in Bristol face to face with two Swedes named Markus and Lovisa. Markus looked intellectual and wore cool glasses. Lovisa was blonde. But apart from that, nothing about them was what you might expect.
Markus and Lovisa were in town to promote their new science game, The Art of Science and I was lucky enough to get a free copy to try out. Very lucky in fact, since I join such science writing legends as Brian Clegg (his thoughts are here) in being some of the first to try this bad boy out.
This is the second science game I’ve ‘reviewed’ in the recent past (inverted commas because I feel like I should somehow be qualified to review things like this, and I’m not). The first was the similarly named but altogether strange The Power of Research.
The Art of Science is hugely different because it’s not aimed at children, and it’s a board game, not a web browser-based game. It’s a lot like trivial pursuit, but with exclusively science, technology and maths questions. Instead of the pie, this game opts for a score sheet (left). You have to answer more questions from certain categories which you choose and fill in on the left, based on your perceived strengths. You then move around the board based on rolling the die. There are fun squares where you get to roll again or duel with an opponent to try to answer a question first.
The main thing which struck me about the game was how hard it was and clearly this is the vision of the developers at Academic Board Games; they want to make a board game which is challenging enough for people who are really quite clever. Well, it’s certainly challenging. The questions are mega-hard in places, so even if you are a professor, you’ll struggle with some of them. In my opinion, that’s great though. With a group of friends and a beer, you’ll soon be enjoying how ridiculously hard some of the questions are. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also be bemused by the 6 sided die with no 6 on it – it’s replaced by a 7. Is this some kind of right-of-passage to the game? You clearly have to be cleverer than me to understand the logic behind that.
So to finish, why not enjoy another amusingly budget B21 video offering, showing how my wife Harriet and I got on when we unpacked the game and tried out some of the questions.
Follow the game’s producers (they do all sorts of academic based board games, not just science ones) on Twitter if you like: @AcaBoGames or check out their blog.