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Subject: Game for kids centered around doing chores rss

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John Cleveland
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I spent one year developing a game with my three boys that centered around doing chores. Each kid did chores, earned virtual currency called "Bot Coins", then used the bot coins to purchase robot Mech parts and upgrade their Mechs. The kids then did "battles" with their upgraded Mechs against enemies, which consisted of a light war game on a "battle board".

It was a huge success in our household and the kids learned all manner of new skills around the house and I had fun doing it with the kids. And it kept the interest of all three kids (6, 8, 10) for over a year.

Has anyone ever used or played anything like this? I am considering turning it into a commercial software application (I am a software engineer). I was unable to get the costs down for manufacturing a physical system, so am considering software as an alternative. Other products on the market somewhat similar are EpicWin and Habitica. However, I learned from working with the kids that they much preferred our Chore Bots system over those products.

I have built a software prototype that allows switching between a sci-fi theme, a fantasy theme, and a pirate theme. And am now basically looking to see if it might be worth it to develop a commercial product.

Is there anyone out there who might be interested in such a product?

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A Balley
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I think this is a cool idea. I have spent many hours grinding to level up in RPGs (one could make the case that games like the first Final Fantasy or the first Dragon Warrior consist almost entirely of grinding). I have always found the process tremendously satisfying, even if it can be dull or repetitive. I could see a child being more willing to engage with chores if they are a path to leveling up.
 
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Chris & Raquel Abernathy
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I think this is a GREAT idea! I know at least 3 of my 4 kids would love it! Keep in mind one is a 12 year old girl, so she isn't interested in much that doesn't revolve around friends or her phone!
 
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B C Z
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http://www.chorewars.com/

This already exists and is fairly popular from what I understand.
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John Cleveland
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Yes, I forgot to mention Chore Wars. I actually tried to use that with my kids a few years ago but they had little interest after just a couple weeks.

The difference between the game I made with the kids was that you upgraded weapons and parts so that when you did the battles, you had a better chance of winning the battle. A battle was a light strategy war game that we played on a small hand-made battle board, they took about 5-10 minutes to play. We did several battles per week, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed them for over a year.

So the kids had a perceived purpose behind purchasing the upgrades. They would come home excited to upgrade their "Phaser Cannon" because they were going to use it in the next battle against the enemy. They even chose to receive virtual Bot Coins in lieu of real money for chores because they had so much fun doing the battles. To the best of my knowledge, Chore Wars doesn't have that extra aspect. There is no strategic game. Please correct me if I somehow missed that, but I only saw the aspects of Chore Wars that were about leveling up, so my kids quickly lost interest in it. Even receiving real money for Chore Wars gold wasn't enough to keep them interested in Chore Wars. They just wanted to skip Chore Wars and get paid directly for the chores, without the hassle of using Chore Wars. So it was that battle system that made it so much more interesting for them.

I contacted the developer of Chore Wars to see what his future plans are for the game, but never heard back from him. There is a notice back in December 2014 that paid accounts would no longer be available to people outside of the UK due to changes in the EU tax laws. So I don't really know what the future of that product is.

I'm curious, how do you know Chore Wars is fairly popular? Do you know people who play it?
 
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Melissa
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Interesting. Are you thinking web based?
 
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Tom Scutt
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A few years ago I made this Spring Cleaning Gamification Operations Map to get the house cleaned over the weekend...
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B C Z
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jsclev1 wrote:
I'm curious, how do you know Chore Wars is fairly popular? Do you know people who play it?


I've heard about it from multiple different social groups that don't have any cross section of membership except me.

I remembered the name enough to find it.

What you've proffered is 'Chore Wars' where they spend their gold on upgrades to a home-grown game. There's nothing wrong with that, but just realize if you attempt to create a new product that you're going to have more than just 'get coins, win game' -- and Chore Wars is as good a model as any on what someone else has done.
 
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Shawn
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If you ever need beta testers or whatnot I'd be interested. Anything to get my kids to do their chores with less complaining is good in my book!
 
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John Cleveland
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mellyagain wrote:
Interesting. Are you thinking web based?


Yes, although that is what I am still investigating. Right now my plan is that it would be a mobile and a web-based application. So you could play it on a tablet/iPad, a phone, or a laptop/desktop inside a web browser.

Also, building the battle system into the software is going to require a lot of work. So I have been brainstorming the idea of having the software manage the chores aspect, but customers would purchase a separate physical battle system and would play it like a board game. My preference would be to do this as it instills that parent-child engagement that was so much fun to do with my kids (rather than a kid playing a 5-minute battle on an iPad). But the cost of manufacturing the physical battle system could be the limiting factor there.
 
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John Cleveland
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Steerpike wrote:
A few years ago I made this Spring Cleaning Gamification Operations Map to get the house cleaned over the weekend...


That looks awesome, and is probably the type of thinking that I started with as well!

The pics I've attached are what I created, it was basically all a bunch of magnetic stuff that worked off of a big whiteboard. The battle board was a small board we hung on the wall, and pulled it down whenever one of the kids wanted to do a battle.



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