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Things From Another World
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Gone Birding!
Gone Birding!
by Rupicola Productions (1990)
Player Count
1 to 6

Player Ages

Playing Time
1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Real-time
  • Memory
  • Environmental
  • Animals
  • Educational
  • Video Game Theme
  • Designers
  • Oliver Komar
  • Alfred Wilson
  • Mechanisms
  • Memory
  • Paper-and-Pencil
  • Family
  • VCR Board Games
  • Rating: 4.6/10 from 5 users


    Gone Birding! Video Adventure in Bird Identification is a niche boardgame directed at the birdwatching/birding community that combines board game action with real-world bird identification skills. It includes:

    • A two-hour video containing 10 separate games
    • 18" x 24" fold-out gameboard map of North America with 100 different renowned locations for birdwatching marked on it (National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, etc.)
    • 51 "Hotspot" cards that match up with the map and describe the location along with a list of several different bird species that can be found there
    • 48 "Surprise" cards that describe a variety of seasonal events such as a cold front pushing migrating birds in great numbers to a location or other unpredictable events that effect how many birds you might spy, like winning an expensive new spotting telescope.
    • 18 "Rare Bird Alert" cards that send you off to a different corner of the map chasing after an especially unusual sighting of a bird species
    • 1 Novice Helper Card
    • 40-page Identification Guide -- instructions and answers to each of the 10 different games on the VHS tape
    • Trip List Pad
    • Video Trip Field Notes Pad
    • 6 glass playing pieces

    There are three different skill levels accommodated by the game: "novice" where, for example, just identifying a bird as a "hawk" is an acceptable answer, "birder" where you must get the exact species named like "Red-tailed Hawk" and "Expert" who must provide not only the species name but also the Latin scientific genera "Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo." This lets people of all ages and bird identification abilities play together.

    To play the game, 6 Hotspot cards and 1 Rare-Bird Alert cards are dealt to each player. The group must decide which season in which to play the game as different seasons produce different numbers of birds at the various Hotspots. Then each player must plan out her route on the gameboard to visit the 6 Hotspots in their hand. Players start at the Hotspot closest to their actual real-world location. Then players watch the first Video Trip. The video is paused between trips while the players write down their identifications of the 10-12 different species shown on their Video Trip Field Notes pad, in order of the bird's appearance. Video "hosts" tell you where in the country you are and what season it is before the trips begin, which helps skilled players pare down the possible choices of species. The video can be replayed if players need more time to work on their IDs. After everyone is satisfied with their identifications, they read them aloud and one player checks the IDs with the answer section of the instruction booklet. Players get a point for each correct ID they make. Then, taking turns clockwise, players move their tokens around the board one Hotspot space at a time and announce the number of species they can add to their Trip List as determined by the card's "species table," which varies according to season. If you end up having to visit the same Hotspot more than once in order to get to another Hotspot card, you'll receive a smaller number of points for each successive trip.

    At the end of each round, a Surprise card is drawn and read aloud. It may affect all, some or none of the players. You can also play a Rare-Bird-Alert card against one of your opponents to send them off their planned course chasing after the bird listed on the card.

    The game ends after six Video Trips and six rounds on the gameboard are played. Points on players Trip Lists are then tallied and the player with the most number of species on their Trip List wins.

    As a final note, bird taxonomy and nomenclature are constantly changing as scientists learn more about avian species. This game specifies that their answers are based on the 1983 American Ornithologists' Union "Check-List of North American Birds" which is of course now, in the year 2006, significantly out of date.

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