But I just had to describe some of the magic that is occurring in this Odyssey.
For starters, as I'm sure you have heard by now--in hushed tones out of earshot of siblings (I apologize for ruining your amazing dinner conversation rituals!)-- that there are a couple major differences between this Odyssey and last year's. For example:
- There is a constant need to improve your situation due to a health meter which declines without food, water, and shelter
- They are confined on different islands (aka rooms) until they build a water-worthy vessel--which will carry them through the oceanways (hallways lol) on scooters and pushcarts
- We have written their backstories this time around
- The 'game' began with memory loss
It is the combination of those last two in particular that have provided some really cool dynamics to play with. It allows them to explore some really deep questions about who you used to be vs who you want to be.
Add to that the fact that the eagles periodically receive memories from their past (like this
) helping them understand who they are... and add to that
journal entries (like this
) which periodically wash up on shore, sparking debate and intrigue about the complexity of events that led them to their islands... and add to that
the realism of shelter building with real wood, rope, nails etc, real exploring via laps outside, real digging in totes of sand for items, real exercises to 'scavenge', real uncertainty of which next piece of the map to uncover (will they strike berries or cliffs?) and you get a perfect storm for moments of pure magic like:
- An eagle receives a memory in the morning, followed by a journal entry that allows him to piece together at least a small part who he is. He literally went into this shelter alone, re-read the letter, and felt what it would be like to rediscover some long-forgotten piece of yourself. In that moment, he was really on a deserted island.
- An eagle doing laps to explore, limping along on an injured leg with a makeshift crutch made out of a tree limb, singing his heart out to improvised pirate tunes to stave off the depression his character was feeling.
- An eagle who had been carrying enormous weight on her island being forced to make an impossible decision to do what she thought would help her tribe survive, and then walking outside to stare out at the ocean (parking lot), reflecting on the memory she had received that morning, wondering to herself, "Who have I become?"
And then with all of that as the backdrop to the world they are playing in, you get learning moments like these:
- An ancient pirate pistol washes up on an island. An intense discussion follows about who should get it. Does previous ownership matter? Should anyone have that power? (or should they throw it in the ocean) Does "finders keepers" apply? Is it fair to prevent someone labeled as 'crazy' on their island from getting it? Or does the leader on the island just get to pick who keeps it?
- That conversation in character is followed by a reflection after the gong where questions are asked like "Should the 2nd amendment be granted to 'crazy' people in our day? Should the leader of our island aka president get to decide who keeps weapons in our day?
- A new eagle arrives on an island and is immediately met with distrust. Is that warranted of an outsider after they had gone through the shared experience of struggling to survive together for only a few days?
- Does sharing a commonality with a 'stranger' give you a bond? (like a shared pirate trinket or the same color of sash)
- What if you find out (via a washed up journal entry) that the person you have become closet with on the island actually used to be an enemy? Does the past determine the future?
It has been so fun to witness. And I know I keep saying this, but we really are just getting started. It's going to be a great year :)