Review of 'Busy Beaks' board game as part of our 2023 Season of Creation celebrations,
by Emma Lalic, Common Grace's Supporter Engagement Coordinator.
Busy Beaks is a card game about Australia’s birdlife that is equally beautiful and strategic, designed by Phil Walker-Harding and illustrated by Sarah Allen.
The aim of the game is to collect flocks of birds (5 of the one bird species) and turn them in for points (eggs), but collecting flocks is never straightforward!
Each type of bird has its own special power, such as the Swooping Attack of the Wedge-tailed Eagle, which means you can look at the cards in another player’s hand and steal one of their cards.
I played this game with my 5-year-old and 7-year-old and they both loved it immediately. We enjoy bird-watching as a family, so my 5-year-old took delight in collecting a flock of Superb Fairy Wrens (“Mum, this is your favourite bird!”)
Each type of bird has a reference card to explain their power for the game, while also giving a fun fact about the bird, which cleverly relates to their power. Another favourite is the mimicking Magpie, which lets you copy the card next to it.
I think the more you play this game, the more tactical you can be, as you consider the different ways you can play your bird cards. And there are 14 different birds in total, but you only play with 7 birds each game, which means each time you play with a new combination of birds (and a new set of powers.)
I appreciate the plastic-free packaging and thoughtful design of the game, where the gameboard is shaped like a tree with branches to place your bird cards as you play.
And like every good game, there is an element of chance combined with just a bit of skill and forward-thinking. I was happily triumphant with my collection of 20 eggs, narrowly defeating my 7-year-old (18 eggs) and 5-year-old (11 eggs).
Busy Beaks designer, Phil Walker-Harding, has clearly designed a game to share his love of Australia’s birdlife and to celebrate their fascinating beauty, which fosters an understanding and care for them.
It can be hard to find a game that both kids and adults enjoy playing together, but this one ticks the boxes - the only problem is finding the time to play as often as the kids want to!