My children are 9, 7, and 5-years-old and they love to dabble in chemistry.
Now, if they were in a traditional school setting, they would have to wait to learn chemistry.
I’m not a fan of making children wait to learn.
As an educator and homeschool mom, I have learned that children learn best through hands-on exploration and play. This is one of many reasons why our family has embraced gameschooling.
Today, I am sharing a chemistry game that we recently discovered. It has been a great way to dabble in chemistry and build a foundation for later learning!
Dabble in Chemistry with the Board Game ‘Operation Escape E.V.I.L.’
*Disclosure: I received Operation Escape E.V.I.L. in exchange for a review and I was compensated for my time. I was not required to write a positive review and, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only choose to share resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other families will enjoy.
The Scoop on Operation Escape E.V.I.L.
Operation Escape E.V.I.L. is an award-winning magic-meets-chemistry board game from Kitki. The folks at Kitki believe in play-based learning, so much so that the company slogan is: Playing is learning!
Here’s the backstory…
A month ago, four scientists received the following invite from Earth Vision Industrial Labs (E.V.I.L.):
Congratulations Professor! You are among four genius chemists chosen from around the world to participate in the ultimate clash of chemists. The challenge is to synthesize a growth potion that can put an end to the growing epidemic of malnutrition. May no one die of hunger again!
But there’s more to this story…
The four scientists travel by helicopter to a state of the art laboratory located on a secret island in the Mediterranean sea. The laboratory is protected by armed guards and is run by a former prison warden, the E.V.I.L. Chairman.
After reaching the laboratory, the four scientists discover that the E.V.I.L Chairman has other plans in mind. He is not interested in ending world hunger. Instead, he wants the scientists to create a mind control potion so that he can take over the world.
The scientists refuse to cooperate and are jailed in the laboratory. The only way to escape is via the underground fire escape beneath the warden’s office. The trouble is, distracting the E.V.I.L. Chairman is no small feat! Magic is his only weakness.
Players must use the chemicals in the laboratory to create magic tricks and flee through the E.V.I.L. laboratory’s fire escape.
This Magic-Meets-Chemistry Game Includes:
Operation Escape E.V.I.L. can be played with two to four players and is recommended for ages 8 and up. It takes approximately 30-45 minutes to play.
My little gameschoolers were immediately struck by the colors of this game. They declared it beautiful and wanted to play right away.
Operation Escape E.V.I.L. includes the following components:
18-inch x 18-inch game board
- Game manual
16 magic trick cards, divided into three different categories:
45 chemical cards with trivia questions on the reverse side (more on that in a minute)
40 color chips
30 steal cards, change cards, and action cards
2 reference cards
How to Play Operation Escape E.V.I.L., Created by Kitki
The object of Operation Escape E.V.I.L. is to collect the chemicals needed for a magic trick and then perform the magic trick at the warden’s office in order to escape through the fire escape. The first player to reach the freedom flag is the winner.
Setting up the game:
To play, shuffle all cards and set up the game board as seen here:
Players choose a colored pawn and decide who will go first. At the beginning of the game, pawns are placed in the appropriately colored jail cell.
Choosing magic tricks:
Then, players choose a magic trick to perform. They do this by selecting a magic trick card. These cards are leveled based on one’s chemistry background:
- Beginner (yellow) – players must find two chemicals
- Intermediate (red) – players must find three chemicals
- Advanced (purple) – players must find four chemicals
My children are young and while they love chemistry, they are just building their foundation. Therefore, we chose to play with the beginner/yellow cards.
Locate your chemicals:
Once players have selected their magic trick, they must locate the chemicals needed on the game board. They “reserve” these chemicals by placing their color chips on the chemicals. Players place the color chips face down to indicate that they are reserved. (Later, when they have purchased these chemicals, the color chip will be face up.)
Starting the game:
To begin, each player rolls the die and moves the number of spaces indicated. Players must move in the direction noted on the game board.
If a player reaches a colored jail cell, that player misses the next turn unless the player uses an action card (more on that in a bit).
To purchase chemicals, players must acquire money by landing on a guard space and attempting to steal cash from the laboratory guards.
Sometimes, players will get caught stealing from the guards. When this happens, the player returns to his or her jail cell and loses a turn… unless they have purchased an action card.
On any turn, a player may purchase up to two action cards for $50 each. One action card can be played per turn. The game includes the following action cards:
When a player lands on a chemical, he or she may purchase it unless it is reserved by another player. Once purchased, the player collects the corresponding chemical card. If this chemical was one of the player’s reserved chemicals, he or she will also flip the color chip to indicate that the chemical has been purchased.
If another player lands on a chemical owned by another player, the following happens:
- The owner of the chemical reads the trivia question on the back of the chemical card
- If the opponent answers incorrectly, he or she pays $100.
- If the opponent answers correctly, he or she only pays $50.
- BUT… if the opponent does not have enough money, he or she does not pay at all.
Here are a few examples of trivia questions included in this game:
Winning the game:
Once a player has all the necessary chemicals to perform his or her magic trick, he or she must head to the warden’s office. At the warden’s office, the player follows the instructions on the magic trick. Players do this by acting out their trick.
This is perhaps my children’s favorite part of the game, as you can see from these giggles:
Once the player has performed the trick, he or she must roll the die to travel through the fire escape. The first player to the freedom flag is the winner!
Here is a YouTube video that explains how to play the game:
I don’t know about you guys, but I often need help deciphering game instructions. I rely heavily on videos to help and Kitki has a wonderful video for Operation Escape E.V.I.L. You can view the video below:
What did the kids think of the Escape E.V.I.L. chemistry game?
My children have enjoyed playing Operation Escape E.V.I.L. They describe it as chemistry monopoly and I love that description.
My kiddos love to dabble in chemistry and they also love magic, wizardry, and stories. They delighted in the backstory of this game, as they love to use their imaginations.
The kids have played Operation Escape E.V.I.L. multiple times since its arrival on our doorstep. Most recently, Operation Escape E.V.I.L. helped us to survive yet another early spring sick day. Gameschooling for the win!
Operation Escape E.V.I.L. allows players to dabble in chemistry, but in a fun, non-intimidating way. Players must also use their imaginations and creativity as they create magic to escape the E.V.I.L. Chairman.
Operation Escape E.V.I.L. would be the perfect addition to your gameschool library. The game provides play-based, experiential learning. As children play, they are building a foundation for later learning. They are growing a familiarity with chemistry vocab and knowledge of chemical reactions.
Check out these other games from Kitki
Operation Escape E.V.I.L. is one of several educational tabletop games from Kitki. Here are some others:
Do your children love chemistry?
Here are some related posts:
- Chemistry Resources Kids Love
- 10+ Science Games for Your Homeschool
- Memorize Periodic Table: So Much More than a Party Trick
- Ignite an Early Love of Chemistry with Eddie the Electron
- Homeschool Science in the Early Years: 5 Ways to Keep it Fun!
- 15+ Superb Books for Young Scientists
Do you love games and gameschooling?
Be sure to check out these related posts:
- Ultimate Gamelist: A Free Library of Gameschool Resources
- Gameschool Challenge: Add More Play To Your Day!
- Ultimate Guide to Family Games
- 100 Picture Books and Games for Play-Based Learning
- 10 Tips for a Successful Family Game Night
- Top Educational One-Player Games
- 10+ Amazing Math Games for Your Homeschool
- 10+ Science Games for Your Homeschool
Do you want to see our gameschool in action?
Be sure to follow My Little Poppies because we share snapshots of gameschooling moments… and heaps of incredible books!
Have you joined the My Little Poppies Gameschool Community? It is a private Facebook Group for parents who wish to add more play to their family and/or homeschool routine.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Does your family have a favorite chemistry game? Share here.
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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