26 October 2007

Household chores meet online gaming: Chore Wars

This takes the advice to "turn work into game!" to new heights. From Sarah:

I wanted to let you know of a cool website I found that helps my husband and I get work done around the house without arguing about who does what. Chore Wars is an online game that lets you choose a character and complete household chores for "experience points". When you complete a household chore, you log on and get your experience points and then you get to go on a quest, where you might meet monsters and/or win treasure (monsters are optional-you can skip them for the little kids). You tailor the chores (and monsters and treasures) to your own family. It's really fun and would be a great way to provide incentive for kids or teens to clean. You can even use the amount of experience points they gain as currency to buy things in real life (kind of like allowance with a twist). And best of all, it's free!

Has anyone else tried this? It looks incredible.

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We tried it for just DH and I since our kids are too young at 18 months, and it worked well for about two weeks. Our downfall was getting the time to update the system with our chores. Since (at the time) Chore Wars didn't have a good way to report doing a chore multiple times, it was a lot of work to keep the system going.

The major plus: During those two weeks, it became clear that the WOH parent (me) was doing nearly as much of the work getting done as the SAH parent - at least during those two weeks. That didn't match our expectations or desires - so we made some changes. I put more of an effort into spending time with the kids when I'm home now, and DH has taken on more of the housework.

I think this would work even better with kids. I just checked out the site again, and they've added a few features they really needed before: Deleting adventures and one-shot adventures. I still don't see a good way to claim an adventure (their word for chore) multiple times, though.

I'll see if DH wants to try it again. The one-shot adventure thing would really have helped before.

My family (2 adults and a 12-yo) has been using this for maybe two months, and I continue to be shocked by its usefulness. I really thought by now the kid would have seen through the facade of XP and gold, but he remains committed. We've made the exercise a little more motivating by allowing him to "cash out" gold at 1000 pieces for certain treats, but overall I just think he's into the whole logging and competing! :)

We just started using this, and I like it, trying to get my husband hooked - since he is an avid WoW'er I found another review that pointed out how this can increase inportant wife faction.. :)

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