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Game Review - Généalogik



There are already some genealogy games out there, board games, such as the Game of Genealogy, and card games, such as Six Generations. They do seem to have been created by grandparents to rope their children into helping out with research into the family. The main problem with games created by grandparents for pre-teen children is that the two age groups could be said to have rather different ideas of what is fun. We have observed that children are somewhat primitive, which is why board games that focus on primitive emotions such as greed (Monopoly), morbidity (Clue or Cluedo) or murderous urges (Risk or War) are so hugely successful. The urge to collect data on dead people lacks the same force for an eight-year-old.

Nevertheless, the world of genealogy games may now welcome a French newcomer, Généalogik, invented by the vice-president of the genealogy association, Généalogie en Corrèze. Ours arrived a few days ago and, our children being grown and gone and no others at hand, we played with our friend, Madame B, a most elegant Parisian lady who can be quite a cutthroat War player. She jumped at the chance for a new game and quickly opened all the little packets, set cards and tokens in place and began to read the rules. Keen as mustard, she was.

The ever-logical French mind was evident in the rules. There were many paragraphs about just how the dice could and could not be rolled and read and used to move around the board. The seventh and ninth paragraphs finally revealed the goal of the game: to progress, via the acquisition of documents, through the identification of three generations of a family. There are four families possible, each represented by a card and tiny, perhaps a bit too tiny, illustrated squares, one for each family member, to place on the card until it shall be filled. The player first to document all members of all generations wins.

The paces on the board take one to places where the documentation - actes de naissance, mariage et décès - can be found: the town hall or mairie, the Departmental Archives or Archives départementales, the local genealogy association or cercle généalogique, or the Internet. When one lands on any of those, one can then choose a civil registration for a family member. There are cards for good luck (chance) and bad luck (poisse). 

We found it moderately entertaining but Madame B., who does no genealogy, did not like it one bit. In fact she found it dull, dull, dull, as well as the print too small and the colours too light, no less. Thus, we recommend it for those who already have an interest in genealogy and who wish to improve their understanding of French genealogy in a slightly new way. To interest children, some stories may have to be told while playing to spice it up a bit.

©2015 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy