Check out "Sting-A-Win," a Pinoy-made educational board game about bees and honeys developed by husband-and-wife team Alexis and Sheila Marie Dela Cuesta.
It combines elements of roll-and-move racing games and trivia quizzes, with the Dela Cuestas' hoping to entertain, educate, and encourage healthy social interaction in an age when everyone's eyes are glued to a screen.
Playing and learning
"Sting-A-Win" is a game for 2 to 5 players.
There are two ways to win: by reaching the hive first, or by harvesting the most nectar. "First to the hive, or first to accumulate 1,000 nectars wins the game!" said Alexis.
The game doesn't use dice. So to advance to the hive, players will need to draw cards from a Draw Pile, then play them with numbers denoting how many spaces they can move.
As players move around the board, they have chances of landing on Quiz Bee flowers. This triggers trivia questions which, when answered correctly, award players nectar.
But the game isn't that simple. The board comes with features that can either help or hinder your progress.
For instance, the Buzz Pollination Area can move you 20 spaces forwards or backwards, depending on whether or not you have a Buzz Card. There's also the Bee Bath Area, which robs you of your next turn.
Scariest of all are the Predator spots, where Birds, Frogs, and Spiders lie in wait to eat your bee. Landing on any of these results in instant elimination – unless you have one of those rare Sting Cards, that is.
There is more to the fun. "Sting-A-Win" is an educational tool for which Alexis took steps to ensure all information featured in the game was accurate: "Before we signed off the final design with our printer, I attended the Basic Beekeeping for Beginners seminar at The Beehive Farm & Kitchen in Lipa City," he said.
So yes, birds, frogs, and spiders do indeed dine on bees. After foraging for nectar for hours, thirsty and exhausted bees also stop at "bee baths" to rest and drink.
As for the cards, all of them boast information about bees and related topics. Some even contain Bible verses.
"With the knowledge we have learned about bees so far, we want to help create awareness about their importance to our environment," said Alexis. "I could write on and on about the bees being indispensable to food security, but suffice it to say that we need to help save the bees."
With "Sting-A-Win," the Dela Cuestas also want to create an opportunity for people to enjoy a socially engaging activity.
"We want to create games kids and their parents can enjoy and learn from, face-to-face," Alexis said. "It's just so sad to see families in restaurants fixated on their gadgets instead of engaging in meaningful conversations these days. Also, many parents seem to be using gadgets as pacifiers when their babies/toddlers cry for whatsoever reasons. So, in our own little way, we want to help by offering tabletop games that are very engaging and fun-filled."
The board game features Bible verses; the Dela Cuestas hope to share their Christian faith with those they believe it can help.
Celebrating a "beeloved" daughter
Alexis and Sheila named their daughter Nea Deborah after the Biblical Deborah – a prophet, judge, leader, and heroine in the Old Testament.
And as they were preparing for their daughter's first birthday party, Sheila discovered that "Deborah" is a Hebrew word for "bee." They opted for a bee-themed celebration.
Alexis contemplated entertaining guests with word games and a trivia quiz revolving around bees but Sheila challenged him to design "something much more fun, unique, and creative."
A fan of "Exploding Kittens" and the classic "Snake & Ladders," Alexis began working on a project that combined both games' elements. Sheila offered valuable input throughout its development, while Angeline Brisenio, a family friend and Nea Deborah's godmother, provided the art. After 4 months, "Sting-A-Win" was a real, working board game.
"We consider it a God-given idea, though, as we have been praying for business we could start to augment our income," Alexis said.
For the party, they printed 16 by 12 feet tarpaulins of the board that they could lay down on the floor.
"Parents and their kids played it at the party last October 6, 2018, and some of them encouraged us to publish it," stated Alexis. After a few more play-tests with friends and family, the couple eventually decided to self-publish "Sting-A-Win."
"We love the fact that we can leave some sort of heritage for our baby," said Alexis. "I can only hope that, for eternity, 'Sting-A-Win' will continue to be known to be, first and foremost, a father's tribute to her beeloved daughter on her 1st birthday."
"Sting-A-Win" has so far been a success for the Dela Cuestas. The game is available at Gaming Library and Neutral Grounds – two of the biggest board game retailers in the Philippines. It can be purchased from cafés such as The Blocks Board Game Café, Bubba Lab Finest at Lamp Quarters, and Purple Bee Shop & Café; and online from Board Game Express, Game Dogs, and G-Plus Store PH.
"Sting-A-Win" has also been well-received by the beekeeping community, and is available at Milea Bee Farm and The Beehive Farm & Kitchen in Lipa City; Honey House inside Paradizoo in Cavite; and BEEngo Farm in Tunga, Leyte.
Alexis also hopes to create "Sting-A-Win" expansions in the form of additional Quiz Bee decks of cards which owners of the game can print for themselves. The decks will boast new themes, such as geography, history, entertainment, science, and general information.
After receiving game design advice from the game developers of the Unpub PH Facebook group as well as friends, the Dela Cuestas now have plans to create an enhanced version of "Sting-A-Win."
"One of the stalwarts of the beekeeping industry, Mr. Rico Omoyon of Milea Bee Farm, has given us so many wonderful ideas for its improvement," said Alexis. "As he is very well-connected with many of the biggest beekeeping communities around the world, we are hoping and praying we could partner with him for international editions of the game." — LA, GMA News