In the words of the author Sanja: how I created the GIRI Game

For adults, a school is just a building, a traffic light is just an object, and rain is just a phenomenon. But if you ask girls, boys, and those few rare adults, you will realize that there is a world invisible to you: places children can dream up in an instant and stories they can direct in their minds – when they are given the freedom to do so.

Most games for children were designed by adults, limiting them from the very beginning. GIRI had a different beginning – it was created as a bridge, a way for me to become closer to my daughter, stepdaughter and stepson. By playing with dice and cards and by telling stories, I was building trust and closeness with them and teaching them freedom and creativity.

After telling them hundreds of known stories, we set out to create new ones, our own. My daughters would write or draw on a piece of paper the characters and objects they wanted to hear about, and I would take them on an adventure of the imagination. The girls sometimes couldn’t agree on which characters they wanted to hear about so they would burst in with their drawings in the middle of the story. I had no choice but to include them. This is what became the core of GIRI Game: one to two players who tell a story with given cards and two to four Distractors who distract them by inserting their own cards into the course of the story.

From the very beginning, I included children, more than 50 of them, in the making of GIRI Game. They were asked to draw an object, a character or a time period, while the other parameters, such as color, style, technique or what they will submit their work on, were left entirely to their imagination.

The making of the game from the initial idea to its realization took more than two years, and each part was carefully thought out and tested by children and a team of experts who honed the rules, paying attention to the psychological and developmental aspects and the impact of the game on children. In perfecting the game concept, I had help from Kristina Gami, primary school educator Katarina Skupnjak gave her insight, too, and children’s writer Jelena Pervan, who facilitates children’s literature creative writing workshops, also provided input.

Over a hundred children participated in the test phase because I wanted to get feedback from kids of different cultures and backgrounds. But just when I thought I was done and the game was ready to launch, a few more key concept changes occurred. But this reflects the very nature of GIRI: you never know what follows after the next comma of your story ????

When I finally perfected the game down to the tiniest details, I pressed the “Launch” button and started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. I created GIRI guided by the idea that children should be supported to tell their own stories because that is how they build their world views from an early age. Children shouldn’t be controlled, they should instead be inspired and then given the freedom to flourish. That is why GIRI is more than a game, GIRI is the basis for every child’s healthy development!

Our Kickstarter campaign was a success and I am happy and proud that the GIRI Game will be fully funded by supporters from that platform. If you would like to purchase the GIRI Game, please email me at info@girigame.com

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