As I recall, my first thought when I saw it was, "What is this thing?" It's a stand for holding cards, to be used by young children who want to play card games but who also lack the dexterity, strength, and/or size to hold a hand of cards. Alex has used it since he was three or so, when we first started playing Kinder Bunnies together.
Alex seems to have inherited my interest in learning new games, and who can blame him, with a cupboard and a chair filled with colorful and enticing board games? I was looking through my collection a few weeks ago for something he could learn, and I came across David Sirlin's Flash Duel. I suspected that the mathematics of the game would push Alex's boundaries, but all the more reason to try it!
We started by playing a few games without the characters, which I later discovered meant we were essentially playing Reiner Knizia's En Garde. Once he made some sense out of this, we moved on to playing with the characters, each of whom has three abilities that alter the gameplay. This is provided a great opportunity for Alex to learn some arithmetic as well as practice his reading skills. Currently, he reads the "trigger" for when the ability is used, and I read the ability text.
There was a complication with playing Flash Duel beyond reading and arithmetic, however. To satisfy a deep obsession of mine, I had sleeved the cards, which keeps them looking nice but also changes their physical profile. Specifically, they fall out of the stand.
|Dashing strike, coming up!|
Between rounds, he's responsible for making sure the pawns are in the right places while I shuffle the deck. He hasn't tried his hand at shuffling yet, but I think it's funny that there's a good chance he'll learn to shuffle sleeved cards before he learns riffle-shuffling.
I wanted an easy way to set up random pairings for Flash Duel, but because the ability cards go in sets of threes, shuffling the deck of abilities was certainly more trouble than it's worth. Sounds like a programming problem to me! I spent a few hours one morning whipping up Flash Duel Matchup Generator, a mobile application that picks out random pairs for one-on-one matches.
|A thrilling screenshot from Flash Duel Matchup Generator|