The Game of Genealogy

genealogy game

There are games that cover every genre and cover both fiction and non-fiction scenarios. What about games that focus on genealogy? Well, I found one at RootsTech 2018. Let’s learn more about The Game of Genealogy.

About The Game of Genealogy

The Game of Genealogy was developed by husband and wife, Coral and Karen Richardson.

The game can be played with up to 10 players, ages 5 and up, and was developed in 2013.

Coral and Karen developed the game as a way to get family members more interested in their own family history and to educate them on how to go beyond the game to conduct their own research.

The Story Behind the Game

The idea for the game started in the 1980’s. Coral spent about one year designing the board and coming up with the situations for the cards.

In 2012, when work on the game started again, Coral and Karen were working at the Family History Center in Saline, Michigan. While Karen helped the patrons, Coral would research the information in the library to update and create new cards. The Washtenaw County Genealogical Society has their library housed in the Family History Center so he had a large resource of books and manuals to use.

Getting the Game Manufactured

Originally, the prototype was sent to two different printers who were not interested in producing the game.

The game was then set aside for about 30 years. However, Coral was constantly bugged by the thought that he needed to get the game out, make revisions to it, and see if someone would be interested in producing it.

Later, he was given the name of Robert Ennis, a student at SSU, who was hired to do the artwork on the game board. He gave them the name of Board Game Design and Manufacturing in Pahrump, Nevada who was then hired to finish the design and manufacture the game.

When they first contacted Michael Spahitz at Board Game Design and Manufacturing, he was so easy to talk with and excited to help.

Originally, the game was in a plain box with the name of the game on the top and on the sides. Michael asked for some pictures of their ancestors and since Karen has many pictures of both of their families, they were able to give him pictures that are now on the box.

Coral and Karen met with Michael in his showroom which was lined with games that he has helped produce, which gave them the feeling that they had found the best to work with. Michael has gone out of his way many times with suggestions and ideas which has really helped. He also designed their website where the game can be purchased.

When the game was finally ready to produce, Michael took care of all the arrangements to have it manufactured. After a few modifications, the production order was placed and Coral and Karen were very satisfied with the results.

How to Play

The game of genealogy lets players experience the excitement and some of the challenges in doing genealogical research. The game board features ten locations where genealogical information can be found. When a player arrives at a destination, they pick up a situation card which tells them the results of their search at that location. The situation cards describe typical experiences a genealogist would possibly have at that location in real life. For instance, some cards tell the player that they found the name they were looking for or that they found several names; some will tell the player that they must go to another location to verify the information they received; some will tell the player they did not find any information; and some cards will award bonus points for acts of kindness or assistance given to another person.

The game rules are pretty simple. singlesituationcard

  1. Determine how long you wish to play.
  2. Each player takes a turn by rolling the dice and visiting the ten locations and completing tasks on the various situation cards
  3. Following the various actions of the game, players earn points for tasks they complete.

Games Sold to Date

Because they have only been selling games at Genealogical conferences, only about 1,000 games have been sold. Some sales do come from online following people they have talked to at the conferences who could not fit the game into their luggage either because they have no room or because the game is too heavy to take.

Feedback from Players

Coral and Karen are constantly receiving positive feedback about their game. At the conferences, they have people stop and talk about the game, or they will walk past the booth and give a “thumbs-up” saying, “We love your game!”, or “Our kids love your game!” Occasionally, while they are telling people about the game someone will stop and give a very good compliment and encourage those listening to buy the game. “They make the sale for us!“ Coral and Karen have also received letters telling them how much families enjoy playing the game.

How to Purchase Your Own Game

To learn more about The Game of Genealogy or to purchase your own game, please visit their website.

About Coral & Karen Richardson

Karen is originally from Holden, Utah. Coral and Karen started working on the game when they lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan. They lived there for 46 years. They have since moved back to Holden, Utah and built a home on land that was part of her family’s farm.

Coral and Karen both come from families that have been involved in genealogical research for many years. The fan chart for both of their families has only one or two vacant spots in it so most of the work they do is on family histories and branching out the research to cousin lines. Karen has been actively working on family history for the past 45 years – serving as a Family History Consultant and also teaching family history classes.

In addition to genealogy research, Coral enjoys gardening and has a very large garden. He starts his own plants from seed and has a small fruit orchard, a grape vineyard, raspberries, asparagus, and many other summer plants. He also enjoys designing and building things. He designed their homes both here and in Michigan and did most of the work except for the rough framing.

Karen enjoys gardening and canning. She also produces a quarterly family newsletter that has grown over the past 5 years to now having 30 pages and approximately 120 photos each issue.

Together, they have 6 children, 21 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. All children and grandchildren live on the east coast with the exception of one son who lives in Denver, Colorado.

Coral and Karen at RootsTech2