Publisher: Education Outdoors, Inc.
Year Published: 2007
Number of Players: 3 to 8
Play Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Set-up Time: 1 minute
Learning Curve: Low
Ages: Rated 8 and up
Table Size: Small
On a recent trip through Oregon’s gorgeous Tillamook State Forest, I stopped at a forestry center and had a look around the gift shop. There I found this cute little board game called Camp – The Game That Grows With You. It looked like a basic trivia game without a lot of depth, but the topic was of interest and the sample questions on the back of the box seemed interesting so I thought “What the heck, why not give it a try?”
As it turns out, the game really is just a basic trivia game without much depth. One young player who featured the game in this video review probably said it best, though: “It’s not a game where you like necessarily want to win, it’s a game where you learn about the outside doors, like animals and stuff.”
From the game’s product page:
Camp is a game where both children & adults can play & learn fun facts about the great outdoors. The game is designed to grow with the player, starting at level one questions, which are primarily identification of animals. As the players increase in their knowledge about the outdoors, they grow into the higher level questions. A fun & educational game where parents & children can play against each other to get to Camp first. Game includes: 1 game board, 199 game cards(400 questions, and 99 fun facts), 1 decoder, 8 game characters, 1 die, 16 level cards, and 1 compass card. For more information on the game, including rules, check out our printables section.
In Camp, players choose one of 8 animal characters — represented by little pictures printed on cardboard and placed in plastic stands — to represent their trek through the forest. They begin at the starting square and the first player to get all of the way around the board and back to the beginning is the winner. It uses a basic roll-and-move mechanic to determine how far you move, with certain squares on the board representing different actions you may take on your turn.
There aren’t a lot of different squares to land on. If you land on a pair of white shoes, you stop moving and your turn ends. If you land on a pair of green shoes, you get to pull a Trivia Card and, if you answer the question correctly, you get to roll again. Landing on a Go to Club House square sends your character directly to the Club House where you draw and read a Fun Fact card, then end your turn. Finally, there’s a short cut that can be taken by anyone who holds the Compass when they reach the turn-off for the shortcut, but only one player may hold the Compass at a time.
The real game play comes in the form of the Trivia Cards. At the start of the game, you choose one of four difficulty levels: 1, 2, 3, or 4. Each card has 4 different questions which get progressively harder as you increase in difficulty. Difficulty 1 is usually an animal identification question (“What type of animal is the one shown in this picture?”) while level 4 may be questions about an animal’s scientific name (“What is the scientific name of the black bear?”).
Each question has 3 multiple-choice answers, and your job is to pick the correct one. The game uses a “decoder glass” (a little red plastic magnifying glass) that reveals the correct answer, although I am told that if you look closely enough with the naked eye you can decode the answer yourself.
Occasionally one of the Trivia Cards will have a picture of a compass. If you pull that card and answer it correctly, you get the compass and may take the shortcut if you reach it. If someone else gets a compass card they take the compass instead, and you may not have the option to take the shortcut anymore. If you are already on the shortcut path when another player takes the compass, you are allowed to continue on the shortcut path.
That’s the entire game in a nutshell. It takes just a few minutes to play, so it’s likely that you will want to play multiple times in a single session. The real fun of the game comes from learning about the great outdoors, which was what drew me to the game to begin with. Chances are you won’t find a lot of replay value in this game unless you play it with smaller children, but just reading and learning can be a night’s worth of entertainment on its own. My girlfriend and I both took time to read every question on every card and discuss which answers we thought were correct.
If you are interested in learning about animals and have children at home, this may be a great game for you. It’s easy to learn, easy to play, and not very competetive. It’s about learning what nature has to offer, and that’s great. If you don’t have children at home, chances are good you won’t find a lot of replay value with this game and you’re better off spending your money on something else.
Camp is a fun game for all ages, but it does have some accessibility concerns.
In-game Text: As a trivia game, Camp does have quite a bit of in-game text. It’s designed for children who may not necessarily be able to read everything on the cards, and people who are blind or low vision will find it equally challenging. Thankfully, there isn’t any reason why you can’t have a designated reader who can call out the card’s questions and answer options.
In-game Pictures: It is important to be able to discern the occasional picture, especially for Level 1 difficulty questions which are primarily animal identification questions. It is also important to be able to determine which type of square you land on when moving around the game board. Because it’s a simple roll-and-move game, it’s okay to have a designated person move game pieces and call out which square was landed on. Also, every card has at least three text-only questions, so players with limited or no vision may simply choose to play at difficulty level 2 or higher.
Fine Manipulation: Game pieces are thin pieces of cardboard and the game makes use of a lot of trivia cards. If you have trouble picking up small parts or playing cards, it may be difficult to manage. Because you do not keep a hand of cards, using a card holder or Scrabble stand isn’t an option. Again, it’s possible to play this game with a designated person handling the movement and card reading. If you’re only in it for the trivia questions, it may not be a deal breaker.