Thursday, February 17, 2011

Harry Hastings' History Heroes

Subtitled "How Well Do You Know Your Monarchs?" and "1,000 Years if History in a Game", Harry Hastings' History Heroes (H4) is a deck of 43 game cards. One of them gives you the rules and a little inspiration to mix it up a little if required. The other 42 contain caricaturish illustrations of Britain's monarchs past (from William I, 1066) to present (Elizabeth II, 2011).

Also included in each H4 card is a list of six facts about a monarch, the reigning years and hints at the bottom for playing one of the games. The set doesn't include the die needed to play Games 3 and 5 but any 6-sided playing die from another board game will do. Cards are printed in full color and measure approximately 4.5 inches x 3 inches (about 11.5cm x 7.75cm).

I discovered these the same way I stumble upon other fun stuff: late, late, late one dark, dark, dark night. Like any self-respecting homeschooler, I like checking up on the latest curricula and on a whim, looked at Galore Park and saw these and found that they would soon be available. I was beside myself in glee--I've been extremely curious about the British monarchy since my tweens and would spend hours neglecting homework to read and re-read a set of encyclopedias Dad owned about English kings and queens (funny how I don't remember most of what I read though).

A quick check showed that Amazon wasn't carrying them so I pre-ordered it from Galore Park. Almost kissed the packet when it arrived.

Rotten Rulers (Horrible Histories Special)So we've played three games so far and it's not exactly easy unless you have your British history down pat. But that's the whole point for us. To learn as we play. Knowing all the answers would somehow kill the fun me thinks. If you're interested, here's a bunch of fun books that I think will give you an upper hand: any of the Horrible Histories that go on and on about British kings and queens like Rotten Rulers or Terrible Tudors, and the very fun Kings and Things by HE Marshall. Oh I'm sure there are a bunch of better books out there like reference texts and encyclopedias but I really like the irreverent humor of Horrible Histories and whimsical tone of Kings and Things for a fun game like this one.

Kings and ThingsPlay with any number of players. Games 1 to 5 have the same objective: to ID which monarch card the other player is holding in his hand. Game 6 is to see which player is holding a card of a monarch with the longer reign.

I like Game 1 the best. You have to identify the monarch by looking only at the illustration. Game 2: read facts to guess which monarch they describe. Facts are divided into three categories: easy, medium and hard. In Game 3, you use the die to select which fact to read out. Game 4 might be the most difficult as you have to ID said monarch after being told the dates of his/ her reign. Game 5 requires a throw of a die as does Game 3. You read out the same number of hints at the bottom of the card as the number shown on the die. Game 6, Trumps, is based on the length of the monarch's reign.

Being a total busy body, I googled Harry Hastings. The name refers to the Sussex-based teacher who invented the game. Read more here. Check out the game's website here. Apparently there are a few more games like these in the pipeline! If you're ordering something from Galore Park and want to add this in since you're paying for shipping anyway, click here. Apparently the recommended retail price is GBP7.99. Galore Park is selling it for GBP9.99 (at the time of this post). I'm not a Harry Hastings or Galore Park affiliate so I don't profit from recommending this game through them.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful recommendations! My son loves British History and would love both the book and the game you've recommended.

  2. Hey there Neo! I know, isn't British history fun? However, I AM jealous that you guys won't have to pay what I did for shipping. :) Have fun!

  3. We love the Horrible History books and I am a die-hard British monarchy history buff. Thanks for the recommendation, we haven't seen this one!

  4. These look wonderful, and I know my English loving son will love them. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Hi Suji
    Hope all's well
    Thanks for your kind words- I AM Harry Hastings and you wrote some very exciting things about my game- glad it's going so well. You really must make up your own rules too. It sometimes works having the pack face down in the middle of a group, split the group into teams and get them to identify the card as a member of the opposite team reads out certain pieces of info. Enjoy. Yours ever Harry

  6. Harry, thanks for visiting and leaving your thoughtful comment! My son is so happy to hear you are a real person and not a fictitious character or pseudonym. :) We will certainly play the version you suggested. Thanks again!

  7. hopefully lots of people will visit and be converted to HISTORY !!!


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