Birdwatchers can chirrup with delight as an ornithologically themed board game is about to hit Kickstarter.
Players will compete to become the best bird conservationist as they rescue birds on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This game looks to highlight the plight of endangered birds on their migration from north to south. It has been carefully researched alongside the charity BirdLife International (Asia) so has educational accuracies throughout.
Can you tell me more about the board game?
On their turn, each of the 2-4 players will draw two cards: a Wing It card that grants a bonus, and a Fowl Play card that will do something to hinder you. The Fowl Play cards get progressively more inhibitive as the game progresses. Every so often a Bird-tastrophe is revealed that are disastrous events that affect all players.
The Action phase follows, where you can use Wing it cards to cancel out the Fowl Play cards or grant bonuses for your turn. You then place location markers on the board with the aim of completing a bird’s migratory route southwards. Placing these markers reminds me of the Dots and Boxes game I used to play with pen and paper, as other players can use your markers as their own along a route. Further strategy around placement surrounds the ability to only lay 2 or 3 sections of the route at a time, but you can lay 1, 2 or 3 markers if you are directly continuing from one of your own markers or if a Wing It card allows.
If, when you finish placing the markers, you have completed a bird’s southern journey you rescue the bird and its special ability is activated. Points are then scored for the rescued bird and a point is given for every link along the route to all players that contributed.
The game ends when one of three conditions have been met: the first player reaches 100 points, or a player saves 6 birds, or the draw pile of Fowl Play cards runs out. Scores are tallied and the player with the most points is victorious!
Final thoughts on Fly-A-Way
You can see in the photos that Fly-a-Way is a feast for the eyes, the artwork is incredible. The birds are beautifully portrayed and all the components are good quality. The pastel colours of the links are pretty as they zig-zag across the map. Mine is a prototype version ahead of the Kickstarter campaign – that means things may be improved even further if this campaign is funded.
The birds abilities are quite varied and this adds extra decision making. To decipher and interpret some of these abilities I would’ve liked an appendix. From discussions with the team behind it, this is something they are working on. Hopefully others will benefit from this, as I think it would be an incredibly useful addition.
Once you have got the hang of it, Fly-A-Way is a breeze to teach. The limited things you can do on your turn help naturally guide play. This regimented ease of playing your turn, allows everyone to focus on their strategy. The game has a real cat and mouse feel about it, which is unusual as it has a bird theme! Players dance around each other not wanting to give away a precious route, but offsetting this with their need to achieve the route themselves. This board game is aimed at ages 10 and over and I must say, that feels pretty accurate.
Overall, there is plenty to enjoy while playing Fly-A-Way and it is certainly worth considering on Kickstarter. You can follow the creators on Instagram @flyaway.sg or sign up for notifications on their campaign here.