Cartographers puzzle-y fun
If your kids enjoy Tetris-like games, they will enjoy Thunderworks Games’ “Cartographers.”
Designed by Jordy Adan and illustrated by Lucas Ribeiro, this game uses cards and map drawing sheets. Each player is taking on the role of a cartographer, drawing forests, farming lands, towns, rivers and monsters in different shapes to score the most points as possible.
The game is divided up into 4 seasons, with cards that will tell players how to score points. Players then draw a number of cards depending on the season, and draw a shape and fill it with a terrain type that is pictured on the card. Sometimes you can choose between two different shapes and different terrains. Some shapes will also net players a bonus “coin” if they use it. At the end of each season, they score points for the season and continue on for the next season. But betware! If there are monsters on your map without some sort of landmark near it, you will lose points!
The game is designed for as many players as you want, with a playtime of 30-45 minutes and is meant for ages 10 and up. Some players have said they thought kids as young as 8 could follow the rules (and there’s no reading involved) and other players thought it might be too complicated for younger kids, and would be better for ages 12 and up. There is a lot of spatial reasoning going on, as you can rotate the shapes however you want to fill the map (space does become a premium in later seasons) and that is a skill that kids need to foster, so this would be a great way to work that kind of thinking in to a fun activity. My co-worker who tried it with me thought it would be a good thing to introduce at school as a way to work on that.
The game has also received several nominations for best family game.
“Cartographers” is published by Thunderworks Games. It retails for $24.95 and is available online and at board game stores.
Amy Phelps is a book and game reviewer for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel and Graffiti Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.