Kaverini is an educational game that also strives to be fun and give players an infinite amount of choices.
As a child, I was only allowed to play educational computer games on a regular basis (non-educational ones I got to play about once a month or so). From noting what games I gravitated towards and which ones I remembered, the general rule for a good educational rule is this (to which I also have to credit my wonderful colleague and long-time friend Seth Alter):
The key of creating a good educational game is to employ a “Trojan Horse” strategy: put knowledge in the game without having the players realize that they are learning.
Kaverini did exactly that. Over the course of the adventures, the players will discover the nature of real-world places in the same way that they would if they were wandering in the countries themselves.
For my showcases of the card types, I chose to represent the countries that I have lived in to date. The cards themselves do not tell the full story, although the adventures that feature the cards definitely will.
Although not all of the cards are equally of educational value. This one, for example, doesn’t really tell any story, although it probably was somehow related to me almost having been fire-crackered in Jerusalem, Krakow and Heidelberg (yes, on three separate occasions!) ‘
Right now there is a very heavy blizzard outside of my New York Apartment. I remember one time when I was facing a very similar blizzard in Stockholm, and from across the other end of the Baltic Sea, what do I hear but…an ICE CREAM TRUCK! It sounded just like this, only with more echo:
NYC’s own Ice Cream Truck tunes don’t fare better. At all. However, it did enable me to come up with this, while writing one of the umpteen versions of the Kaverini rulebook:
Speaking of Sweden, there is this one drink that is very popular at around Christmastime, called “Julmust” (“Jul” is Christmas in Swedish and the other Scandinavian Languages, hence “Yuletide”). My father aptly described it as “Dr. Coca Cola”, which pretty much sums it up, except for the fact that there nearly isn’t as much sugar in it.
The company that produces the most Julmust is actually owned by the Carlsberg Brewery, which is a Royal Danish brand.
Knowing that I couldn’t use a trademarked title in my game, but wanted to reference the local cuisine regardless, I game up with this:
The companions in the game reference well-known local figures, mostly dead but also some living ones. The figures don’t have to be human, actually, nor do they even have to be living. They provide special effects for the Kaverit (the players) during a confrontation or a bargain (more on that when I reveal more of the rules).
For now, here is Arik Einstein, the best-known modern Israeli songwriter, who died in 2013. Here is his card:
Settings? Allow me to bring you to Heidelberg, featured not only in my sketches for this game but also in the 1996 version of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” The centerpiece of Heidelberg is not only the Old Town (German: Altstadt), but also this castle/palace (Heidelberger Schloss), which will look vaguely familiar to all of you:
Photo by Jared Gimbel
In that area behind the tower all the way to the left is a garden that you can’t see from that vantage point. It has a statue of Neptune with a fountain, a bust of Goethe, as well as serene grass which I felt best captured the overall mood of that area:
And, now for the Dragon of Krakow.
If you visit Krakow, you will see vendors selling dragon plushies everywhere. This relates to the legend told about the Dragon who lived in the den underneath Wawel Hill (on which there is the castle and cathedral in which the medieval kings of Poland are buried). The dragon is slain by a young although not too rich person who feeds the dragon a dead sheep filled with sulfur. The dragon eats it, and then gets so thirsty that he drinks water from the local River Vistula (Polish: Wisła) until the dragon explodes.
There are probably other variations of this tale, but the fact remains is that countless children’s books have been written about it, in Polish and definitely in not a few other languages.
If you visit the area right outside that dragon’s den in Wawel (the den is only open during the spring/ummer months!), then you will find this dragon statue. It breathes fire every few minutes or so, and if you text a certain number, you can make the dragon breathe fire!
Photo by Jared Gimbel. I can’t tell whether that is actually fire or a cloud in the background. Can’t remember.
The story of the dragon -> this card.
Stay tuned for more revelations about the game! Let me know what you think!
Copyright 2015, Jared Gimbel, Kaverini Korp, and WorldWhile Comics