A young entrepreneur turns her dream of creating an educational board game into reality
A spark of inspiration can strike at any time. Three years ago, it struck a girl in 8th grade returning home from a trip to Morocco.
As her plane was landing in San Francisco, Ava Rathenberg overheard two boys playing on their tablet computers and realized that they had no idea where they were going.
“One of them thought they were landing in New York, and the other thought they were landing in Beijing,” she said. “So I thought, ‘What if I could create a game to help kids explore the world and learn more about the many different fascinating places to visit, but in a fun way, not like a schoolbook?’ Then, I also thought it had to be a real board game to help them get away from electronic devices for a while.”
That game, “Travel Explore Discover,” not only has helped kids and teens learn about the world, but it has also raised more than $3,000 for educational charities, as well as $4,500 for the Red Cross’s efforts to help families displaced by California’s wildfires.
“I never wanted to use the game to make money for myself,” said Rathenberg, now 17. “Initially, I wanted to donate to schools to help children get a better education. I also donated to free lunch programs at my school. I want to continue to help children any way I can.”
In the process, she demonstrated the United States’s entrepreneurial and generous spirit in action.
How to Play
Rathenberg designed the game for as few as two players and as many as six. The board is a world map featuring numerous cities and landmarks. Lines representing air, sea, or land travel crisscross the board.
Players start by drawing a card from a deck of capital cities. Those represent the players’ destinations. Players then draw three more cards. One is another capital city, the second comes from a deck of major non-capital cities, and the third from a deck of natural or man-made landmarks, such as the Parthenon or the Grand Canyon. Before arriving at their final destinations, players must land on spots represented by the other three cards. The first player to reach his or her final destination wins.
Each card contains information about that city or landmark, so when the players reach or pass over a site, they read the information on the cards to the other players.
The board game “Travel Explore Discover” (Courtesy of Ava Rathenberg)
Players use one of seven airports as starting points (or “home bases”), then try to plan the …….