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Made for Trade: A Game of Early American Life Review by Christine Hindle

901 Lincoln Parkway
Plainwell, MI 49080

Made for Trade: A Game of Early American Life is a board game with four different play options. It consists of a game board, 60 coins, 2 dice, 48 Object Cards, 8 Playing Pieces, 8 shopping lists, 30 Event I Cards, 30 Event II Cards, and instructions.

We played the "Tourist" game first and found it a little boring. Next we played "Trader," and it was fun. The other two game options were enjoyable as well. I found the game board somewhat confusing and felt it could have been laid out a little better. I also felt some of the game pieces could have been better quality, and a better storage option could have been provided for them. Those two things aside, this is a very enjoyable game that provides information that is helpful in gaining a better understanding of early American life. Many of the items in the shops provided fodder for some lively discussion.

Since my middle-schooler is taking American history in the fall, we will be using this game to supplement our curriculum. I believe it would benefit all homeschool families -- no matter the age of the student -- and also just provide some family fun. This game sells for $25 on Talicor's website, which is a reasonable price for a game that will become part of your family's permanent collection and become a family favorite.

Product review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse
® Magazine, LLC, June 2011

Another review:

I've heard about and wanted Made for Trade for years, especially when we studied early American or Colonial history. But it was one of those "extras" that I never seemed to end up purchasing--even though I thought it would make a nice resource to reinforce and enhance our studies. So when I had the opportunity to review this game, I was thrilled!

Made for Trade (by Aristoplay) is a fun way to learn more about everyday life during a fascinating period of our country's history. Players get to choose which Colonial character they would like to be; then they have the opportunity to step back in time. Whether players are a tax collector or an indentured servant trying to buy his freedom, they will learn a lot about the culture and world of yesteryear and even how the barter system works.

From the Talicor website:

Like American settlers, players will need to visit different shops to attain items they need by paying shillings or by trading. They'll learn what everyday life was like for ordinary citizens while practicing bartering and money management. A delightful lesson in history and economics and great for all ages!

Made for Trade is actually four games in one:

  • Shillings, a simple card game that plays like Spoons
  • Tourist, which uses the board and gives players a glimpse of Colonial life, the shops, and the monetary system. The first player to collect four objects and four shillings wins.
  • Trader, where players begin the game as indentured servants and must buy or trade their way to freedom.
  • Shopper, where players make their own inventory lists to buy and trade at the stores. The first townsperson to collect all the objects wins.

The boxed set comes with a game board depicting an early American town, 60 shillings, 2 dice, 48 object cards, 8 character playing pieces, 8 inventory (shopping) lists, 30 Historical Event 1 Cards (easy), 30 Historical Event 2 Cards (more difficult), and an instruction /information booklet that gives instructions for each game and descriptions and uses of the objects found in the game.

It took a little while to figure out exactly how to play the games, but I put my 14-year-old son in charge of reading and explaining the directions and strategies, and he was able to do so quite easily. As we played, I realized just how much the children learn by exposure. Seeing pictures of shops, products, and fixtures from a Colonial town and reading descriptions of each was a great way to introduce them to the culture, lifestyle, and systems of this earlier period in our history. Some things are similar to what we have today, but many more are different.

As an educational game, Made for Trade is a great resource for homeschooling families, especially those who are studying Colonial history. There are options for children ranging in age from 8 on up, and there can be from two to six players. The cost for the game is $25.00 on the Talicor website, but this is a well-made and sturdy resource. Therefore, I think the price is well-worth what you get. Plus, it can be used for many years with many children (and adults) for educational fun.

Product review by Amy M. O'Quinn, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011