Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Commissioned - A Fantastic Chara Games Strategy Game - A Homeschool Review Crew Review

Commissioned {Chara Games}
A few years ago my oldest son, John Allen, had the pleasure of working at a great Christian camp in upstate New York for two summers. My family was also able to spend a week there each summer helping in different areas and speaking in their evening vesper program. The director and his family just happened to be game players. Now, we aren't talking about regular family board games like Monopoly and Clue, we are talking board games where you have to build your own civilization or control this or that economic area. They were new and interesting scenarios and games that I had never played before. I really enjoyed it! John Allen has since continued to seek out and play these games and has become quite good at playing them.

Recently I was invited to review a new game from a brand new company called Chara Games. It looked like this company made games similar to those neat games that I had played a few years before however, while the other games were very fun with nothing necessarily wrong with them, the games from this company were going to have all Christian themes. This intrigued me, as it did John Allen. So, when I was chosen to review their first game, Commissioned, he and I were both very excited.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

In fact, John Allen was so excited that when the game arrived he promptly grabbed it from my had to open it and begin to read the directions. Now, as I mentioned before, these games aren't your typical family board games. While this makes the game more exciting and interesting, the rules can sometimes be a little frustrating to learn until you finally get into the game. The rules for Commissioned are no different. While someone experienced with these type of games like John Allen and his friend Danny can decipher the rules and understand them quicker, an old codger like me has a little harder time figuring them out. It was one of those things where we just had to dive in and play and, sure enough, as we played things became a lot clearer.

I commented before that the games from Chara Games were going to have Christian themes and I loved the theme for Commissioned. It is based in the first century just after Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension and has to do with the spreading of the gospel to other regions. The game came with a double-sided game board, 5 double-sided scenario cards, 6 player boards, 96 faith cards, 27 trial cards, 4 missionary meeples, 75 church member cubes, 1 elder's staff, 6 player pawns, 30 double-sided stop tokens, 5 double-sided extinguished tokens, 1 converted cities leaders token, 1 Roman Legion token, 1 8-sided die, 1 rulebook and 1 theme appendix. Whew! Say that five times real fast!

There is no way that I could explain all the rules and details of the game in a short blog post, but I can give you a basic overview. You begin by choosing a scenario card which tells you the victory conditions and what it means if you fail. It also determines which side of the double-sided playing board that you use. Oh, and did I forget to tell you that in Commissioned, you aren't playing against each other, but are all working together to achieve the victory conditions? That makes this even more fun and unique. The five scenarios are:

  • Acts of the Apostles
  • Peter's Gentile Outreach
  • The First Missionary Journeys
  • Appeal to Caesar
  • To the Ends of the Earth

Each person then chooses a player board. Each player comes with a unique set of gifts and abilities. That may help you once you learn the game, but when first started out, we just chose a player that we thought we liked. The six players are:

  • Peter
  • James
  • Barnabas
  • Paul
  • Andrew
  • John
The game play is pretty easy to follow. It's the intricate things that happen during the game that make it interesting and challenging. I'll go into those in a minute but first let me tell you the game play.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

You begin by drawing a certain amount of faith cards depending on the number of players. That is called "Arming Yourself" for the round. You then play 2-4 rounds of the "Live" stage (again determined by the number of players). This is where it gets exciting. During the "Live" rounds you choose a TRIAL card and apply what it says. As you know, the apostles had to face and overcome many trials when spreading the gospel. Sometimes they faced opposition, often they were beaten or thrown into prison, many times the churches that they were working with needed to be rebuked because they were allowing wrong influences into their group. The creators of this game do an excellent job in trying to recreate those things in the game. It makes it challenging. However, prayer worked back then and that brings us to the next phase - the PRAY phase.

In the PRAY phase the players quietly play two of their Faith cards. You then go on to the SHARE phase where the Elder (Leader for that round) then chooses two of the played Faith cards to apply. These cards often over power the things done during the trial phase or, they could help to advance the game by adding more churches.

The Elder can then MOVE some of the players around to help further advance the game and then GROW the church population.

After the two "Live" rounds are played, the players "Mature" by buying new cards to add to their collection.

As I mentioned, the rounds are pretty easy to follow, it's the intricate things that happen that can be a challenge to understand. That's where the die and all of the other pieces come in. However, as we have played it has gotten easier.

We have really enjoyed this game. John Allen and Danny have really gotten into it but even this old codger has had fun. Although nothing can compare to the real life trials that the apostles and early church leaders had to go through, playing this game has helped us understand some of the things that they went through. It has been a great learning experience.

Commissioned {Chara Games}

EXTRA BONUS! They have a card game coming out soon that I know is going to be really great as well. In fact, I'm going to be reviewing it soon. Stay tuned for my review on 3 Seeds! I can't wait!

I would encourages you all to look into Commissioned and the other games that Chara Games are developing. Just click on any of the highlighted links above or click on any of the social media links below. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed this game and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Playing!

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @Charagames

Commissioned {Chara Games}
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