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This post, Board Games: History and Strategy Meet in Commissioned, was made possible with a copy of Commissioned from Chara Games for review as part of the Homeschool Review Crew.
Games can be fun. They can also provide educational value. Maybe, it is working your brain through the need for strategy. Or, you might find that you are learning a bit of history in the process.
Strategy games are a favorite in our house. Yet, we have not really played many which are weaving in historical facts as you play the game. Commissioned changed all that.
Board Games: History and Strategy Meet in Commissioned
At first glance, some might consider Commissioned to be strictly for Christians. However, that is not entirely the case.
Rather, Commissioned is a strategy game which covers the first 150 years of church history after the death of Christ. The developers of the game purposely have made it focused upon the history and not theology. For those players who want to dive deeper, you can find more about church history in the Theme Appendix.
Players become members of the early church who must work together while overcoming persecution. Each player takes a turn as a church elder. During that time, they make decisions which will affect the team.
Card decks fall into the ARM (Faith Cards), LIVE (Face Trials) and MATURE (Expand Your Faith) categories. The ultimate goal is to achieve the scenario victory conditions before the LIVE deck runs out. Also, you need to do this without losing 5 churches. There are 5 different scenarios with varying difficulty. The ultimate goal is to GROW the Church.
Each player contributes a different skill set to make success possible. As the game is played, history unfolds through the different trial and faith cards. Bible verses are found on cards, but nothing beyond quoting Scripture occurs in the game.
Commissioned is played with 2 to 6 players with the total play time averaging an hour. Before you play for the first time, it is highly recommended to watch the How to Play video linked on the Commissioned page.
Board Games: Our Thoughts on Commissioned
At first glance of the box, my boys immediately started talking about other role playing games they have tried. And, I’ll admit that the connection to church history was not as appealing to them as it was to me.
Now…as for how the family feels about Commissioned.. that is a mixed bag.
My youngest son decided that he wanted to play, which he did with some extra help along the way. He thinks it is fabulous.
My 8th grader said it was okay, but he likes other games better. Both he and my 11th grader voiced that they prefer a game with a clear winner for the competitive value.
A Mom’s Viewpoint
As for me, I will admit that it took a while to get used to what to do. I needed both the written instructions and the how to play video to make it click. But, once you get rolling it isn’t that hard to navigate.
One of the appeals of this game for me is the chance to dive into church history. Sadly, we can spend so much time on the Gospels that we forget about the early church and the trials they endured.
Along with the inclusion of church history, I like that Commissioned does not take any particular theological view. Instead, it can serve as a launching point for discussion with your kids about what you believe and why.
I also like that the game is co-operative in nature. While we may enjoy plenty of games where there is a clear winner, having the ability to work together towards a common goal is priceless.
So, I am thinking this might be tabled for a short while and pulled out again later. And, I want to take it past the basic play to include delving more into the history and Scripture.
Do you like to play board games in your house?
Would this game which blends history and strategy be a fit for your family?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Chara Games post on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this course and other ones.