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Utahn's board game aims to show families real 'Life' experiences

Utahn's board game aims to show families real 'Life' experiences

(Courtesy Joe Henderson)


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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HOLLADAY, Utah — Former NFL player Joe Henderson lives in Utah but grew up on the south side of Chicago, where his family struggled financially.

Henderson remembers his mother staying up to make candy Friday nights so she and her children could sell it door to door on Saturdays.

He and his family loved board games, but Henderson said he could never relate to the games they played, such as The Game of LIFE and Monopoly.

The former Saints and Colts player has created a game called The Life Card, which is based on his experiences and offers contrasts for different socioeconomic statuses, he said.

Players begin by choosing a card that will place them on the south, north, east or west side of the board. Each location determines the socioeconomic status the player will assume throughout the game.

The premise of the game is to navigate by dealing with the cards life gives, Henderson said.

For example, a player who draws a north side card may find that their family has left them a $10,000 trust from the get-go, whereas a south-side player may be paying off their parents' bills and be in debt from the start.

The players on the east and west sides represent the middle classes.

The issues northsiders face during the game include choosing to go to Hawaii or Spain on vacation, while southsiders determining how to get a son to school when they can't afford transportation.

Henderson created the game, in part, to help people understand those who come from different backgrounds.

"What I'm hoping is that if people can sit down and play this game, I'm hoping that they get that just because you're from a different socioeconomic background doesn't mean that you are a bad person, doesn't mean that you should be treated differently," he said. The Life Card is all about choices.

"I think families need to sit down and play this game, and then have a conversation about what the game conveys," Henderson said.

Game enthusiasts can buy The Life Card for $49.99 at Hammond's Toys, Hobbies and Dolls, The Red Balloon Toy Store, Storybook Nook and www.lifecard.life.

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Megan Marsden Christensen

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