Nine Arches is by far one of the most beautiful games I’ve encountered in my 10+ years here at GeekMom. Created by Geoffrey Gray, the Times bestselling author and longtime contributing editor at New York Magazine, Nine Arches is a mix of game, tarot, and adventure. It’s designed to keep you off your screen and explore the people and world around you. Starting today, Nine Arches is available on Kickstarter (not sure what that means? Check out GeekDad Jonathan H. Liu’s crowdfunding primer).
Nine Arches gets its name from the Nine Arches of joy, wonder, fellowship, simplicity, wanderlust, innovation, elegance, courage, and mastery. As you complete the various challenges, you go through each of the arches with the ultimate goal being to enter mastery level. The best part is you can play by yourself or with a group of friends.
What Do You Get
The game kit includes:
- Classic Blue Box with Gold Foil
- 52 Hand-Illustrated Cards
- Collector’s Tin (to hold your cards)
- Hardbound Guidebook
- Personal Arch Log
- Decision Dice
- Archer Pin
How To Play
Your quest begins with a quick internal reflection of summoning your desires.
From there, you choose your fate by shuffling and fanning out the quest cards. You pick three cards. If you don’t like a card, the rules state you can put one back, but you should think and reflect on the why first. And if you’re playing as a group, everyone should agree to put it back.
Look at your cards and hatch your plan. You can do the cards individually or combine them. You can use the included book to determine their meanings or get some inspiration or just go off your own creative gut.
Once you’ve looked at your cards and determined their meaning, it’s time to set off and seize the moment. Roll the dice to see how long you have to complete your cards or just hit the ground running and head out immediately.
After you have completed your cards, document your journey in the included journal or online via your favorite social media platform. Just remember: The point of Nine Arches is to be off the screen, so don’t feel like you need to tie yourself to your device to document every move. Let yourself experience the ride and document later.
I’d like to talk about the quality of this game. The packaging is sturdy and holds everything well with a cut-out foam insert. The cards have their own box as well as a metal tin to protect them. The book is not some softcover, but a hardback. The colors of blue and gold just scream “adventure” to me. If you want to get into the psychology of color, blue represents calm, peace, reliability, and trust. Gold represents achievement and triumph.
Each card is hand illustrated and remarkable in its own right. What I think is super cool is that their interpretation is up to the players.
There are some basic guidelines as to what the card means, but the player is the ultimate authority in what each card means for them at that particular time. For example, I pulled out the “lover” card and immediately thought of spending time with my husband. The handbook, however, pointed out that self-love is just as important as romantic love and that opened my eyes to another use for this card.
The cards are designed to push your comfort zone and send you places by yourself or with your group. The rules state that you can put a card back if you don’t feel it is right for you, but it still encourages you to think about the underlying reason you are putting it back to make sure you are not stuck in your ways and unwilling to try something new.
The cards I was destined to have were pose, lover, and picnic. I instantly wanted to put the picnic card back because to me, picnics draw attention to the people having them and attention-grabbing is not something I’m fond of, if I’m not in a costume of some sort (and there’s some psychology behind that). I kept it though because I thought maybe I could find a creative use for it and push my comfort boundaries.
As someone who battles mental health issues, this game was a breath of fresh air that let me push my boundaries in a safe and healthy way. It also gave me something I could do with my husband and son or just by myself. It helped me to stretch my creative mind and explore ways to interpret the cards to complete the challenges.
If you are looking for a fun way to get off the tech and back into the real world, check out Nine Arches. It makes a great gift for yourself or for the adventurer in your life.
Nine Arches is up starting today on Kickstarter. You can grab a copy starting at the $59 pledge (40% off its expected retail price) with pledges available up to $177 for multi-packs of the game with some swag. Estimated delivery is around June of 2022. Shipping is not included in your pledge amount.
Disclaimer: GeekMom was given a review sample of this item.