Reviewed by Emma Salmon
Play by the Book is a game designed to get adults and children talking about literature and film, using each step of the game as a springboard for further discussion.
Using a simple step by step configuration, rolling the die to progress from the beginning of the game to ‘The End’ the player draws a card and uses it to question an aspect of the story – be it asking which character they might like to change places with, what questions you might ask the director, which special effects they liked best or similar.
Some questions are labelled ‘professor’ and invite debate amongst the player and the person to their left – be it adding more to the answer by taking an alternate viewpoint, or disagreeing upon the answer.
Along the way there are spaces which can be landed upon which ask for you to perform a task related to the. Story – drawing a scene from the story, acting a section using mime, imitating one of the characters, or creating a song or rap.
There are different packs of cards depending upon whether you are choosing to play the game about a book, a film, a chapter or a scene from a film/tv programme. Each card has an easy or difficult question, so children of different ages can happily play together. Because there is no set text, this game is literally limitless.
We took this game on holiday and have been playing it with an eight and fourteen year old, with topics ranging from Pooh Bear, through Harry Potter, to Shaun of the Dead.
We really enjoyed playing the game, the tasks were entertaining, especially some of the songs – a rap about zombies and some interesting impersonations of Hadrig stick in mind. My daughter said the drawing reminded her of Pictionary. I liked the fact that the questions were set at different difficulties, and that as long as you answered the questions there were not really any wrong answers. The only issue I would have was that the different sets of cards always need splitting off, as there is a set based on the board, which is included in each game. It would be better if these could be included as identical extras in each separate pack to avoid having to search through and split them off as you change from playing about a film to about a book. But apart from that we found the game easy to understand. And fun to play.
Suitable age: 8-12 years
Available to buy from Learning Resources here.