Shark Island

I was watching an interview of Michael Phelps by Bob Costas about Michael’s future plans.  As of today, Michael has no desire to swim in the next Olympics.  He expressed a desire to scuba dive, and with sharks.  One of his swimming competitors at the Olympics is from South Africa and invited Michael to visit him and swim with Great White sharks.  Michael did say that he would be in a cage underwater, not actually in the open water with the sharks.  Sharks are his favorite animal he expressed.  Now it was time to have a little fun in life.  Michael is not alone in his fascination of sharks.  Most of us are, especially Great White sharks.   


I choose to place a number of islands on the game board of Treasure Trove such as Crocodile Island, Dragon Island, Skull Island, Treasure Island, and a Shark Island.  There are a several actual Shark Islands throughout the world, and I choose the one near Australia to place on the game board.

Included within the booklet of instructions for the game is an eight page footnote section talking about actual treasure findings throughout history, as with as information regarding places on the game board.  The following is from the footnote section about Shark Island.

            There is an actual Shark Island off Nambia’s coast in southwest Africa.  One of the Cocos Islands is named the “Island of the Sharks” off Costa Rica’s west coast in Central America because of the large numbers of sharks present.  Shark Bay is off the west coast of Australia.  There is also tiny Shark Island off Cornulla Beach, New South Wales, near Australia’s southeast coast.  It is a world famous spot to surf with its huge waves.     

I love to scuba dive, but actually enjoy the little fishes rather than sharks.  I also know people and especially kids are fascinated by sharks.  It was only fitting to include a Skull Island on the game board.  I also hope Michael Phelps has a safe excursion on his travels to Africa.



















Island of the Apes


Tiwai Island on the Moa River

All of us are familiar with the Planet of the Ape movies.  I think there are three or four sequels to the original movie made in the late 1960’s.  The first was OK, but that is the only one I recall enjoying.  My favorite ape movie of all time was the original 1930’s King Kong.  More so than the 1970’s remake or even the more recent remake.  The original black and white captured my imagination.  The ship lost in a foggy mist as it approaches an unknown island somewhere in the remote corner of the earth near Indonesia.  My family watched the movie together on TV in the early 1960’s as dad shared with us he had seen the movie at the theater as a child.      


    Islands and their remoteness as well as exotic names easily are naturally intriguing to us.  Mysterious Island, Easter Island, Shark Island: to name just a few.  There is no island called Ape Island, but with a little search on the internet I found there is a place called Island of the Apes.  It is not located in the remote South Pacific but actually in Africa.  It is a small island located within the confines of the Moa River in northwest Africa that has a large congregation of primates and chimpanzees, as well as other wildlife.  Island of the Apes was something I wanted to add to the game board of TreasureTrove.  An exotic place that would be an adventure to visit.






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Colorful Maps

         I love maps.  I can look at a roadmap at length wondering what it would be like to live in this town or that one.  I have a good sense of recollection when I study a map, easily remembering the distances from one town to the next.  I have always enjoyed world maps.  I sometimes wonder if I would have enjoyed being a cartographer.  I think that is a cool word.  It comes from the Greeks: chartis=maps and graphein=write.

            When I was in the 8th grade my older brother returned from college one weekend with a friend who was majoring in cartography.  I asked him, “what is that?”  He responded, “someone who studies and makes maps.”  Over 40 years later I still have not met anyone else who makes a living making maps. 

            At the time I played a lot of the board game Risk and was intrigued with faraway places that had names such as Madagascar, Irkutsk, Siam, Argentina, and Northwest Territories.  It led me study the world map memorizing all the countries of the world.  Globes are also something I like.  My dad had one and I loved spinning it, placing my figure to stop it, and wondering what it would be like to live in that part of the world.  Or, what it would be like to be on the high seas.       

            I challenged my brother’s friend to a contest to see who could name most of the world’s countries.  He eagerly accepted asking, “do you what to name them in order?”  I quickly responded, “no, just name them.”

            I held my own through North and South America, Europe, Asia and most of Africa.  At that time a number of African countries were in the process of renaming themselves such as Congo to Zaire, so I had some trouble there.  It was in the South Pacific and the Caribbean that I was no match for him.  I had never heard of so many islands and unaware they were countries.  Places such as American Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Fuji, and so forth.  I sure enjoyed challenging him.  Whenever I’m in an office where there is a map hanging on the wall or a globe it is sure hard for me not to a moment looking, or take a spin.

            My favorite maps though are easy ones:  the ones that have a lot of pictures.  Like the ones you get when entering a theme park.  Some visitor maps to cities may have certain buildings highlighted, or the zoo, etc.  I have an historical map of Texas hanging on the wall of my office and I check it all the time.  I cannot tell you have many people also stop to study it.

San Antonio Zoo map

   When I created the board game TreasureTrove, I wanted to have a colorful map with lots of pictures.  As players travel the world collecting treasure it would create a sense of adventure.  It may look a little busy but I wanted the players to imagine all the exotic creatures, castles, temples, and fabled places our planet has to explore.


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black rhinoceros in Africa

            The rhinoceros is one of my favorite animals to look at.  I grew up in San Antonio and we visited the zoo often.  They have always had a good number of rhinos to view.  In the 1950’s they used to let us ride the elephants but I don’t think that is done as much today.  I also always liked the hippo exhibit.  They never did much but eat and poop, but I found them fascinating, even more so today.

            My favorite movie scene as a young child involving rhinos was one of the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies when boy Tarzan is charged several times by a rhino with an enormous horn.  He dodges the rhino several times until Tarzan comes to his rescue.  A few years later my family went to see the movie Hatari with John Wayne.  Excellent movie for a family.  If you have kids 8 to 12 years old they would enjoy seeing it.  There are several lengthy scenes involving rhinos that I think are the best I have ever seen filmed.  When I’m flipping channels and come across a documentary on rhinos it is always a must see for me.  Any zoo I visit that has rhinos I am always eager to get to that particular exhibit.

white rhinos in africa

white rhinos in Africa

  When I was making the board game TreasureTrove one of the situation cards for Africa involves rhinos.  It reads as follows:


                 The game includes 72 situation cards.  Some give you treasure, some give you money, some send you to various destinations on the game board, some cause loss of a turn, and some give the option to move to move 1 to 6 spaces on your pathway.  It is a good imaginative experience for players of all ages. 

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