Lustfärd till Avasaka – Huvimatka Aavasaksaan: You can still learn from an old educational board game today

Luftfärd till Avasaksa – Huvimatka Aavasaksaan (Pleasure Trip to Aavasaksa) is the oldest known Finnish board game.  It was first published in 1862. The game teaches the players history and geography of Finland. The rules are in Swedish and Finnish. The game mechanism is similar to Snake and Ladders. The idea is to go to Aavasaksa (a hill in Ylitornio, Northern Finland) and then get back to Helsinki. The game is quite simple and not so exciting but the nostalgic elements make it interesting and you want to play it more than once.

At the beginning of the game everyone is given 25 marks (Finnish currency before Euro). Each player puts 8 marks to the bank. The youngest player starts, casts the dice and goes to the frame that is given by the dice. Then you look from the rules what the frame means. Each frame represents place in Finland in 1862, for example Tampere, Vyborg, Tornio and Oulu. There is some small information about the place and the actions that you should take in the rule book. Most of the time you should pay or get money form the bank. In some frames you need to go back or forward on the board. There are total of 56 frames on the board. The player that gets to the frame 56 (back to Helsinki) wins the game and gets to take all the money from the bank when all of the players reach Helsinki.

The board of the game is visually amazing. Each of the frame has detailed black and white sketch. The board is a bit difficult to use because the order of the frames does not go from side to side and then up. The end frame Helsinki number 56 is on the right down corner of the board. This makes it difficult to play with kids that do not yet recognize numbers up to 56. Adult must make sure that the kid is going to right frames. You can see that game was made for educational purposes. Some of the facts that are given are now outdated, for example Tornio is not the most north city of Finland at the moment and Vyborg is not part of Finland. When playing with the children I feel that it is important that the adult sets the facts right. But the historical facts are still valid and you can also learn about the living in 1862.

I played the game with my 5 years old son and adult friends. For a 5 year old the most interesting thing in the game was the pictures on the board. He would have wanted to use the board as a treasure map. I felt that he was more interested about the money that we took from Monopoly (I only had a copy of the board and the rules) than what he was on actual game. Also he did not like when he needed to go backwards on the board. He did seem enjoy the game but did not want to play again after one game until the next day. I think that the game with the facts would be better for children who are at the school and learning geography and history of Finland. This would be fun way to learn.

Publisher: G. W. Edlund

Release Year: 1862

Gaming time: 20 min –

Number of Players: 2 +