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SAFE Hearts Board Game Review by Cassie Deputie

Damsel in Defense
(208) 288-2989
12336 W. Overland Rd.
Boise, Idaho 83709

Raising children in the 21st century is drastically different from it was during our grandparent’s or even our parent’s times. There seems to be danger lurking around every corner seeking to entrap our families, and especially our children, in some sort of evil. This reality can cause anxiety in any loving parent and freedom from this anxiety can come from empowerment which is attained through being vigilant and being prepared. But, how do you start teaching your kids to be aware? What discussions do you have to prepare them to be alert to when danger could be near? How do you begin to build in them a sense of when things are safe and appropriate and when they are not?

Damsel in Defense created a board game called Safe Hearts Board Game to foster such conversations in a fun, gentle, and kid-friendly way. This colorful and animated game is intended for ages four and older and meant to be played with two to four players with at least one of these players being a parent.

The family game time begins when the youngest player rolls the dice and moves their “Heart Defender” character across the board landing on a white or teal colored space. Two card decks are included in the game with one being for the children to draw from and the other for the parents. If a teal-colored space is landed on, a card is drawn from the applicable deck.

These “Heard Defender” cards and “Proactive Parent” cards describe situations that ended well or not so well instructing the Heart Defender to move ahead a number of spaces or back a number of spaces. Some example cards for the Proactive Parents read, “You taught your children the difference between stranger danger and tricky people. Great Job! Discuss this as a family. Move Ahead 3 Spaces,” or, “You forgot to equip your little Heart Defender with a helmet on their bike! Oops! Move Back 2 Spaces."

Examples of the Heart Defender Cards include, “While playing, your friend asked you to take off your clothing, but you felt a pounding in your chest and said no. Great job, you listened to your heart signal! Move ahead 3 spaces,” or, “You snuck over to a friend’s house after school and your bike was stolen. Explain to your parent why sneaking is a bad idea. Move back 3 spaces.”

The object of the game is to be the first Heart Defender to reach the Control Room Headquarters in the center of the board. As your Heart Defenders move along the path, there are two Transporter spaces that move you ahead or behind a number of spaces as well as a dice action that provides a possibility of earning a spin on the spinner that invokes several special actions your character can take to advance their position or another’s.

As a family of ten, we had to team up to play this game all together. Many family nights we gathered around the ottoman in our living room and took turns moving our Defenders across the board. The conversations we had as a family were extremely constructive. We discussed which people my husband and I trust entirely, how to make friends, yet be cautious about going into someone’s home they do not know well, and even light and fun topics about blessing each other and helping one another out as a family.

A few improvements I think this game can make include making the game pieces shaped a bit differently or having more sturdy bases because our Heart Defenders toppled over every single turn we took. They are not very proportionate to stand on their own. A second improvement would be a manual of some sort that explains some of the terms used in the game such as “tricky people,” “stranger danger,” or “heart signal.” We are not familiar with these terms as a family so explaining these concepts to our children was challenging.

This game was a hit in our household and a coveted addition to our tool chest of ways we equip and teach our kids to be wise and safe in our ever-changing world. We got to solidify ideas we have already established as a family and we got introduced to many new areas of discussion we can be having with our children. I am excited to see how Damsel in Defense grows its line of children’s products that keep the whole family safe.

- Product review by Cassie Deputie, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2020