Can a game in which we have to defend our territory from a horde of orcs serve to learn basic aspects of how a database works? We can already say yes.
We have verified it by playing Archers of Nand, the last title of Pablo Garaizar, creator of Moon. The new board game, illustrated by a great like Pedro Soto, starts with the same objective as the previous one: teach computing by playing. But in this case, Arqueras de Nand also gets value as hand management board game, both played individually, in a duel of two players or in a cooperative.
Arqueras de Nand: more atmosphere to learn computer science
From Moon’s sobriety to a whole board game illustrated by the referent Pedro Soto. Archers of Nand It surprises for the finish, design and presentation of your proposal.
We are talking about a board game of the hand management type and that is valid for both one and two-player games. It is initially recommended for players from 10 years, with a typical duration of a game of between 10 and 20 minutes. It is an added value that positions it very well for use in the classroom and to be able to learn in a playful way the basic fundamentals of databases.
In-game content includes territory tiles, action cards, character cards, and a set of coloured coins that doubles as necessary rolls during the game. Arrows? Of course, we are archers against orcs.
Arches of Nand is a Copyleft game which may be freely photocopied for use in the classroom. Currently, to achieve this you have to finance your campaign on Kickstarter (15 euros), which has already made sure to go ahead. Deliveries of the game are scheduled for January 2021.
Playing Archers of Nand
The story behind Arqueras de Nand is simple but attractive to hook the player. We are in the Nand Valley, which is being invaded by hordes of orcs.
To defend the territory the player has warriors on the ground and archers who attack from a distance. The right choice and combination of these two characters is the key to the game. And the correct use of action cards, which are basically habitual operations of consulting a database.
Preparation of the game
After reading the complete game instructions, which are included in the game box, we proceed to prepare the game.
For this, we must place the 7 territory tiles as well as the cards and decks, which are configured according to the difficulty we want for the game. This difficulty starts with choosing the number of orcs of the brands (there are 3,4 and 5 orc cards) as the random or progressive order of those cards. Also in other elements such as the number of arrows available to archers.
Phases of the game Archers of Nand
A game of Archers of Nand It takes place in rounds, each of which is made up of three phases. Although depending on whether we play solo, collaborative or one on one, some action varies, the way of proceeding is very similar.
In the first phase the warriors act. All you have to do is place a warrior token in the territory you want to occupy.
Second, the orcs come into play. You have to take a card from the deck of hordes and according to the number it has associated, this will be the number of attacks that the orcs will make this turn.
The decision on the territory to attack is resolved with the launch of the 3 selection tabs, which act as a die. They are launched as many times as attacks must be made this turn.
We will place the orc tiles on the tiles with the symbols that came out when the tiles were thrown. If no banner appears in the roll, the orcs attack the archers, who lose a number of arrows in flight that will depend on the difficulty of the mode chosen to play.
At this time, if there are three orcs in any territory, that tile is lost and it turns around. If we lose four tiles before the game turns are over, we will have been defeated by the orcs.
The battle phase: learning about database queries
The most interesting thing about Archers of Nand occurs in the battle phase. Here we can perform a maximum of two actions, which can be moving a warrior to a tile adjacent to the one he occupies, or warning archers of the territories most likely to be lost to attack them from a distance.
If we choose to notify the goalkeepers, we must choose the action cards that we have available on the table. Four are placed in the preparation phase, and each turn, whether used or discarded voluntarily, must be removed and new ones must be taken from the stock deck.
Those actions available to warn the archers are actually SQL database query statements. We can use the following:
- Count– To shoot arrows at all territories containing 1,2 or 3 banners, regardless of color. The player chooses the number associated with the COUNT instruction.
- NOT: To shoot arrows at all the territories that do not have the color chosen by the player defending the territory.
- AND: To shoot arrows at all the territories that contain all the chosen colors, which could be the same.
- OR: To shoot arrows at territories that have any of the chosen colors. We can also choose the same color to ensure the shot (green OR green)
- Bengal (LIKE): to shoot arrows at a territory directly chosen by the player.
An example of action would be “Red AND green”What he does is indicate to the archers that they should launch their arrows at the territories that have red and green banners. But be careful, we will only be able to carry out the action of launching arrows if the archers have the necessary arrows and are not running away.
The educational component of the game is very faithful if we want teach basic database query conceptsThe board that we make up with the tiles is actually a database:
What the inhabitants of the Nand Valley do is request help from archers using SQL language. An example would be the AND operation, which works identically to the query in a database.
At home we played with a 9-year-old boy, who liked the game very much by theme, and in very few games he had already perfectly assumed the operation of logical SQL query operations. With more age it is very feasible that this Arndras de Nand can be used to introduce the SQL language in a fun and different way.
Choosing the right instruction correctly is the key to the game, along with a certain skill in managing resources and warrior movements on the game board.
Using logic and a lot of computational thinking, we will have to develop a strategy to get rid of the orcs before they defeat us.
When we have decided, the resolution of effects is simple and depending on which characters are in the territory, so we will lose more or less arrows in our arsenal.
If there were only orcs on the terrain, an arrow is removed and we remove an orc token. If there were only warriors, we remove one token but lose three arrows. What if there were both warriors and orcs? In that case, four arrows are subtracted from the stock and we remove one token from each character from that tile.
Finally, if we missed the shot and there were no tokens in the territory we decided to attack, we lose two arrows from the reserve.
Solving the game with melee
Once the choice of actions is finished, it is time to go to hand-to-hand combat on the battlefield, where it must be taken into account that an orc counts as two warriors when solving who is left standing on each tile. After solving the fight, it’s time to return to the next game round.
As previously stated, the game ends when we have lost four territories or when we have managed to resist the hordes of orcs and there are no cards left in the deck of hordes.
The game Nand’s Archers, with a price of 15 euros, can be obtained in a first run until this Sunday, May 31, which is when the Kickstarter financing campaign ends. If you are interested, do not take too long to order it or you will run out of it.