Passport to Australia – The Australian travel game
Publisher Barker Boys
Recommended retail $A59.95
www.passporttoaustralia.com

If you are looking for a good ‘all round’ board game, Passport to Australia will not disappoint. It not only offers challenge and fun for all age groups, it is also a valuable learning tool. The 400 questions cover a wide range of topics including geography, history, animals, government, landscapes, demographics and much more.

To play the game, individuals or teams, have to fill in their passport base with eight state and territory plaques, to complete the map of Australia.

While players start the game with a substantial amount in traveller cheques, the acquisition of wealth is not the aim, rather the means to purchase a question when landing on a particular state or territory. A correct answer to the question gives the player, or team, a plaque to add to their passport base.

Travellers commence from the Departure Lounge with an elected Custodian rolling the dice. Along the way, players experience special conditions or demands for payment when they land on various squares that require Travel Funds, Quarantine, Travel Insurance, Fate or Destiny requests. The winner is the player, or team, who is first to complete their map of Australia.

I asked Glenda Seawright, Head of Junior School at Ormiston College, Brisbane, if she would be interested in testing the game’s educational potential with primary students. Her conclusion was extremely positive.

“The directions were easy to follow and the game board easy to set up. We loved the idea of only giving junior players two choices (right or wrong answer) and the adults four. This way both adults and children can play in the same game. The fact that the correct answer is highlighted in green was great for the ‘Custodian’ as you could really have some fun delivering the questions with the intent to throw the players off the correct answer.

“The game has a number of different squares e.g. fate, destiny, quarantine etc, and this adds to the challenge.

“Money is always a great incentive and we loved the attempts not to run out of funds. There is a little bit of mental arithmetic going on too, although this is fairly simple.

“I thought the passport was a great idea, particularly for young children learning the states of Australia in Geography or SOSE. Most children from Year 3 up should have this mapping knowledge. It is taught in Years 3 and 4.

“The map of Australia on the board is very good. The symbols and illustrations in each section show a picture relevant to the State. We actually asked the children to explain their significance.

“Questions were a range of geography, history, government and demographics. Most children in a junior school would have covered some but not all of these areas throughout their primary years. However, as a group, they would be able to answer the questions because there would be those who have travelled.

“Interestingly, Lachlan answered a question about the $10 note because he had done a profile on Banjo Patterson in Year 5. It is amazing what general knowledge children can draw upon in this sort of situation.

“Not sure of the copyright but it is an Australian game and I would like to have seen real pictures on the $10 and $50 notes etc. Perhaps the coloured travelling tokens could be Australian symbols e.g. animals, rather than standard coloured tokens.

“We would happily buy one.”

The game is produced by Barker Boys and Tony Maddern is the mastermind behind the hundreds of questions that make Passport to Australia such an interesting collection of facts.

He took two years to research and develop the questions and says: “The most challenging aspect for me was to create a game that would suit a very wide range of age groups.”

I have to say he definitely achieved his goal.

Primary students certainly enjoyed the game, and I thank Glenda Seawright for undertaking the trail with some of her students.

It would certainly prove a fun challenge for high school students and, having tested the game out with adults, I can say it is a great way to check out our general knowledge of this country we live in.

Valerie Warwick
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Ormiston College

1-to-1 Learning: Laptop
Programs That Work,
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Publisher: ISTE
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