Steveo Reviews the Worst Gaming Products of 2015

10.   The Magical Children of England

by Risinghurst Games, written by James Covent Garden

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I grew up as a role-player with do-it-all universal roleplaying systems that allowed players to adventure in any setting they could think of. A quick glance at the current popular gaming titles is enough to show that those days are long gone. These days, games are hyper-focused on particular scenarios intended to give players a social scenario far out of their own experiences.

The Magical Children of England is one of these social scenario type games. Players take on the roles of British children fleeing from German bombers to a family estate in the country where, via the game's collaborative storytelling mechanics, they stumble into a brand new land filled with talking animals, magical beings, and wondrous vistas. And then, through their birthright as upper class British citizens, sometimes with the help of a powerful mythical being, they establish themselves as absolute monarchs over the lesser beings.

As with most social scenario games, I found the value assigned to it by its defenders to be assumed at best. I myself have never been an upper class British child living on vast country estate with an understood birthright to power, nor do I know any from which I can glean some knowledge of what it's like to walk in their slippers and pajamas. Consequently, I have no idea if my time playing this game really represents their life experiences. Do I have a new sympathetic understanding of kids saddled with an inherited obligation to rule? Or was I simply exploring assumptions shared by the other players, all of us merely guessing at what it's like to be those kids and pretending that equals understanding?

I give this one talking lion out of a possible five. I don't feel I've achieved any of the understanding the game's designer clearly hoped to transmit to those of us who are not, and never will be, upper class British children ruling over fauns and talking animals.