We got this box in the mail a few weeks ago — and I’m accepting so few review products these days the kids got super excited to see what it was. We pulled the Kings of Israel Board Game from Funhill Games out of that box, and set it on the counter to wait for a better time to play. And my goodness, you should have heard my kids beg to open that box and play the game! “It’s a strategy game, Mom. Let’s play right now!” they said. So as soon as Dad had a spare moment to help (Mom is no good with strategy games), we opened the box to dig in.
Out of the box, the Kings of Israel Board Game ($49.95) is beautifully designed — the game pieces, board, and cards all look and feel amazing.
Both my husband and my fourteen-year-old son read through the directions twice, and decided they needed a bit more clarification. Off they went to watch the video at FunhillGames.com. They found that the video was almost word for word from the directions of the game — but guess what? Actually seeing the game play happen was exactly what they needed! Suddenly everything made sense.
Now, my 9- and 11-year-olds both wanted to play the game with Dad. So they chose the “easy” version. Since the entire idea of the game is that you work together to overcome sin – this isn’t as much of an easy win as it seems. The kids still had to strategize, think it through, talk it over and work together or winning would not have happened. If you were playing with all older children – you might want to do the version of game play with moderate difficulty.
The idea behind Kings of Israel is that you are working together to build more altars to God and tear down more idols. The more altars you build, the less sin abounds. But you can’t ignore an area where sin is small – it grows and expands quickly!
The cards drawn during the game can make the process of building altars and running out the idols easy or more difficult. You can give cards and game pieces like cattle to each other to help the next player continue what you’ve started. Each player (representing a different prophet) has a special gift too, and that totally changes the strategy depending on which prophet you are.
Besides the critical thinking skills involved, the game is a learning process too — you work your way through the kings of Israel chronologically and learn which ones were good and bad. You learn about the sin cycles of the Israelites. You have opportunities to talk about sin and how much we are like the people of Israel in our own lives. And you aren’t competing against each other either.
I asked my kids what they thought.
Caleb (age 9): “I really like that we are all working together to defeat sin – and not playing against each other. That would be really bad if we were trying to get each other to sin.” That’s kinda insightful don’t you think? I can use that the next time he “stirs the pot.”
Jonathan (age 14): “It was quite complicated, but once you got the hang of it, it was pretty fun. And it was nice that we all worked as a team.”
My Bottom Line: I like watching the game. My kids enjoy the game. Everybody learned something. Would I recommend it for family game night? Absolutely!