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Catch Students Playing Hooky, Cause Strife in Others, and Gain Access to a New Timeline

by W. Eric Martin

• In 2023, U.S. publisher Rio Grande Games will release Hooky, a 3-5 player game from James Miller, who passed away in 2020.

Here’s an overview of the game:

Welcome to the wonderful world of Hooky. Of the 26 children who should be in classes today, three are off playing hooky. It is morning before school starts, and in the chaos, your job as a homeroom teacher is to figure out which three are missing. There are some children off in the playground who are late getting to their homerooms, and you will learn their identities as they straggle in.

The three missing students are represented by three hooky cards. You earn points by correctly deducing the identity of the three hooky cards and thereby finding the three missing students. You can also earn points by learning which students are in the other players’ classrooms (i.e., hands of cards). The player with the highest score wins.

Let the search begin!

The organization Friends of Aseema is credited as co-designer on Hooky, and as FoA president Chris Biancheria notes on Facebook: “James was my close friend, and he died sadly in 2020 with this game still being developed. He was working with me on this and wanted it to benefit a longstanding organization providing high-quality education and medical care to some of the world’s poorest children living in the slums, streets, and a tribal region around Mumbai, India.”

• In other Rio Grande Games news, in March 2022 then developer Ken Hill announced that the publisher had acquired the rights to Mark Major‘s trick-taking game Strife, which was released by AMIGO in 2018 as Texas Showdown.

In that eight-suited card game, if someone can’t play on suit in a trick, the suit that they play also becomes legal for subsequent players, and after everyone has played a card to the trick, whoever has played the highest card in the suit that has been played the most wins the trick — and you don’t want to win tricks.

Production of this new edition has been delayed for various reasons, but RGG owner Jay Tummelson has confirmed that the renamed Seas of Strife will be released in 2023.

Access+ is a new studio within Asmodee that aims to provide “equal and inclusive access to board games”. To quote from the publisher’s bio:

To develop this line of products, Access+ studies all the benefits games offer (cognitive, emotional, social, behavioral, etc.), based on scientific research, the input of professionals and studies conducted on players. The team then selects the games with the most relevant benefits, reworking and adapting the materials used, the rules and the levels of difficulty to make the games accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.

The first three titles from Access+ are Timeline, Dobble, and Cortex. The Access+ version of Dobble, for example, features larger cards and symbols for better handling and recognition, as well as progressive levels of difficulty, specifically decks of cards with four, five, or six symbols on them.

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