If there are two things I love doing in this world it’s playing board games and programming. So, as a maker of things, and with the help from some very awesome people, I did the only logical thing and combined the two. Here enters (gallops? swoops?) Unicorn Ninjas.
Over the course of a year this game has seen a lot of action out here in sunny South Korea. It visited my table to entertain friends visiting from abroad, helped teach kids at an international school in Seoul, made its way around board game design meetups, and even was put through its paces as kindergartners played it as a matching game to learn about websites.
Unicorn Ninjas is easy to learn and unique to play. Our core goal was to make a fun game, with education coming in a close second. We didn’t want it to be too heavy, and our hope is this can be a stepping stone for anyone who wants to get a better grasp on how web pages work under the hood.
I think that developing a working vocabulary is the first step in taking on something new. Through this game, players build their terminology by using cards like “Navbar”, “Headers and Paragraphs”, “Image or Video”, and “Button”. These are terms I use everyday as a web developer. Players also get to “build” site cards (i.e. general patterns you can see in websites) to get points and also, perhaps subconsciously, link how HTML elements are the building blocks of sites.
This is the core premise: the more you play, the more familiar you get with using HTML terminology and experience how these pieces can be stacked together to create websites. Repetition makes remembering these HTML elements easier, and a comic booklet that comes in the game allows for easy access to realize what’s happening under the hood of your favorite websites in an accessible way. We want to make learning almost an afterthought, an invisible action that loops every time you play.
The real fun starts with bluffing cards and bugs, which you can check out here https://www.unicornninjas.net/rules/
If you’re interested in this thought experiment turned real, check out our Kickstarter.