Her Story: Iconic Women of History
How many women can you name from history? Five? Fifty? At Underdog Games, they can name three hundred – although they had to cut their list by half to fit in their newest board game, Her Story.
The Her Story board game puts you in the role of an author, writing biographies of famous women. This topic could easily become dry and boring, but the game keeps it fast-paced, interesting, and accessible.
Designed by Danielle Reynolds, Emerson Matsuuchi, and Nick Bentley, Her Story is for 2-5 players, ages 8+. It plays in under an hour.
How to Play Her Story
Give each player their own “desk” board and matching pushpin, along with a library card. Then set up the central Idea board with chapter cards, research tokens, and the score track for all players.
On your turn, perform one of three actions: either Research, Draft a Chapter, or Complete a Chapter.
To Research, take a single research token from the Idea board and add it to your desk. Then fill the empty space on the central board with a fresh token from the bag.
If you can’t use any of the tokens, you may spend your Library Card twice per game to refresh the Research row before taking a token.
Draft a Chapter
Drafting a chapter means taking that card from the Idea board and adding it to one of the empty “draft” spaces on your desk. This action gets you two points and exclusive access to complete that card.
Complete a Chapter: Build Your Book
To Complete a Chapter, discard the required research symbols from your board, shown along the side of the Chapter card. You can complete a Chapter from your own desk or from the main Idea board. When you do, you get the points shown on the card. And if you can turn in exactly the symbols needed (with no extras), you get three bonus points!
Lay each completed chapter overlapping previous chapters on your desk, so just the bottom of the card is showing.
Why is the bottom important? Well, that’s where any special powers are listed. Cards may offer extra research symbols, abilities to use during the game, or end game bonuses – and some cards have no special effects at all.
Game End: Finishing Your Book
When someone completes their eighth chapter, finish the round so everyone has the same number of turns. Then calculate end game scores.
At the end of the game, you’ve made a book of short biographies of fascinating women! Everyone wins, but the player with the most points officially wins the game.
Her Story surprised me. Even though I had heard praise of the game, I expected something that was in the usual “educational game” mold.
But what I found was a game that’s simple enough for an 8-year-old, plays quickly, and invites you to learn more about each historical woman without being preachy.
Since every card has a short biography on the back, Her Story certainly is educational. From the outset, you’ll be reminded that women have shaped history in all sorts of ways – from mathematicians and artists to queens and pirates.
I appreciate the wide variety in the 120 women selected for the game. While it skews towards 20th century English-speakers, there are still a lot of women included who are not white and/or not modern.
The gameplay is remarkably simple and fun, while the chapter cards invite you to learn more about each historical figure.
We used a house rule that whenever you completed a chapter, you read some portion of that chapter card out loud. It kept my kids engaged and ready to play.
Choosing the right chapters for powers to advance quickly will keep advanced gamers on their toes, but kids like my own 8-year-old will just enjoy collecting research symbols and grabbing cards to find out more about interesting women.
In fact, although the biographies bring depth to the game, even struggling readers can play Her Story. Most of the gameplay is indicated through symbols and numbers. And since there is no hidden information, parents can help kids by reading any special card powers out loud – or ignore them entirely.
Perhaps one of the reasons I expected a more educational game is because the color palette of Her Story is muted compared to most games I play with my kids. Grey, brown, and yellow hues dominate the player boards and the central Idea board.
But this serves as a quiet backdrop for the beautifully illustrated portraits by Eunice Adeyi and Cristina Arctor. Women from Geena Davis to Frida Kahlo to Buffalo Calf Road Woman are amazingly depicted on their own cards.
Everything about Her Story just feels satisfying. The central Idea board is actually an edge-stitched neoprene mat, making chapter cards and research tokens easy to pick up. The token bag is a thin leather-like material and is similarly pleasing to the touch.
The Whole Package
Her Story provides a direct perspective into the contributions of 120 incredible women from across the world into our shared history. Everyone will learn something from the stories on the backs of the chapter cards. And it’s incredibly replayable. In fact, you’ll see fewer than half the cards even when playing with five players.
To put icing on the cake, Underdog Games is offering an online coupon to purchase Her Story for just $19.19 through the end of March (Women’s History Month). This celebrates the 19th amendment, passed in 1919, which gave women the right to vote across the United States. Head directly to the Underdog Games website for this incredible deal.
Even if you missed out on your chance for this great price, you can still find this wonderfully educational title on Amazon, direct from Underdog Games, or at your local game store. You’ll be glad you did!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Her Story from Underdog Games for this review.
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Her Story: Iconic Women of History
Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 2-5
Playtime: 30-60 minutes