Author’s blurb: Since I mainly speak English, the classes held in Mandarin and Malay during my school years were terrible. My difficulty in understanding them, coupled with a lack of interest and practice, were some of the reasons why these languages have been difficult for me to converse as an adult.
On the other hand, as a company trainer, Firdaus recognized the incompetence of most Malaysians in the English language.
He wondered why most Malaysian school children didn’t speak English on a daily basis and identified some observations:
- They didn’t read enough, which resulted in poor vocabulary.
- They had no reason to, as no English was spoken at home.
He combined these observations and his passion for board games and created one that encourages players to read a dictionary.
Firdaus told Vulcan Post, “My design goal for the game was to create a game that kids could play at home with their families so that parents wouldn’t be ashamed of themselves if they lose.”
If Scrabble & Uno had a baby …
That would be the WordBreaker Spelling Card Game (WordBreaker).
At first glance, the cards looked like elements in a periodic table. // Photo credit: WordBreaker Spelling Card Game
WordBreaker shows letters tied to dots on each card, such as: B. Scrabble. Players will use them to make words. The longer the words, the higher the points.
But be warned, other players can steal cards from your word to build a longer one. According to Firdaus, this sabotage mechanism helps to increase engagement.
“What do I mean by that? Do you remember the feeling when you almost win in Uno and then a friend throws you a Draw 4 card? Exactly, ”he explained.
“There are also power cards that allow you to do crazy and fun things that most word tile games don’t.”
Instead of blindly taking letter tiles out of a pocket, the players also have a so-called magic field. These are 9 cards that are placed face up in the center of the table for everyone to see and choose.
Choose wisely as the cards you choose will determine how many points you will receive during your turn. Fortunately, this game allows and encourages referencing the dictionary.
Players can select cards in the middle to create their Words / Photo Credit: WordBreaker Spelling Card Game
To prioritize fun over education, it’s the opposite of most educational games that focus on education first. Firdaus said he was choosing this method to praise social interactions. He was missing something in an app.
Quoting the resurgence of board game cafes, he is confident that WordBreaker will be in demand in the market, especially in the education sector.
He thought, “WordBreaker is not about improving grades, it’s about creating interest. If your child is interested in learning, would they improve their grades? “
to teach Through games
Firdaus introduces WordBreaker to Teach For Malaysia / Image Credit: WordBreaker Spelling Card Game teachers
Even in his training, Firdaus would apply similar principles that made board games both engaging and educational for participants.
He joked that participants who attended his training have no choice but to embark on his calamity. After the end of the game, he would involve them in a post-mortem so that the participants could reflect and share their findings.
This method is known as andragogical learning, which requires instructions for adults to focus more on the process and less on the content being taught.
Learning from one another is more effective than me when I give a very dry talk. I’m not the smartest in the room like a teacher, I just facilitate valuable learning from the most knowledgeable people in the room. This makes the lesson learned more authentic and receptive to the participants.
Firdaus, creator of the WordBreaker Spelling Card Game.
He hopes this method will affect the target market of children between the ages of 10 and 18 and their carers, whether parents or teachers.
Since the start of this company, he has sold 200 prototypes to parents and teachers passionate about English. However, it can be argued that in order to sell more units one should go through dealers, agents or bookstores, etc.
“What I tried,” he replied. “I learned from the experiment that I need a product line in order to be able to use a sales channel. One product is not enough. And that assumes that my product is good enough to be marketed anyway, ”said Firdaus.
That said, before going through distributors, he would first have to create different versions for each subject like math, science, history, etc. for a full line of products.
The game can be an engaging learning tool for students / Image Credit: WordBreaker Spelling Card Game
Since this is not his full-time job, he admitted it would take him a long time to develop more games under the brand. Up to 2 years, that was the time he spent creating WordBreaker.
For now, he’s continuing to improve WordBreaker’s game mechanics and product packaging.
Bottom line: Of course, targeting a market with non-English speakers can be a good place to start selling the game. However, I think the next market to be conquered is English speakers who want to expand their vocabulary in a competitive environment. It would be a great way to develop language skills.
- For more information on the WordBreaker spelling card game, click here.
- You can read about other startups we’ve written about here.
Selected image source: Firdaus, creator of the WordBreaker spelling card game