The Vineyards of Yavneh Await!
The fun and quirkiness of your favorite farming and city-building games meet the richness and vibrancy of Jewish ritual, history, and thought. Run a profitable homestead, observe festivals, learn Torah, and experience life and community in ancient Yavneh, the birthplace of modern Judaism.
Kerem B'Yavneh (Vineyards of Yavneh or KeBY) is a casual, social, religious education, homestead-simulation, world-building game. There’s even some cooking involved! Our story unfolds in ancient Yavneh, a small agricultural community that was transformed into the center of Jewish life and learning after the destruction of Jerusalem’s Second Temple by the Roman Empire in 70 CE (the subject of our first game, Sparks of Eternity). You, a budding scholar-farmer, are leading this transformation. In KeBY, players must adhere to traditional Rabbinic law, culture, and practice while raising a family, growing crops of increasing diversity and goodness, trading in the marketplace, and helping Yavneh flourish.
Never before have there been Jewish games both so cutting-edge and so well-adapted to use in an educational setting. KeBY makes history come alive, brings con-text to Rabbinic literature, and provides a deeply interactive vehicle for critical thinking, discussion, and classroom debate. The game, which can be played by each student concurrently as a classroom community, provides in-game rewards for out-of-game work in school. Instead of using a pay-to-play model, KeBY promotes study-to-play, collaboration, and friendly competition amongst players. It enables the teacher to create customized content within the game to enhance and reinforce classroom learning and motivate players to truly engage in the material.
Plant, Grow, and Harvest Crops
- Grow a vast array of beautifully rendered crops and harvest their produce
- Using a trusty donkey, sell produce at the market to earn shekels
- Buy and plant new types of crops as you level up
- Specialize and earn 'crop mastery' in growing specific crops
Craft and Sell Valuable Recipes
- Increase the value of your produce by combining different ingredients to create delicious recipes
- Learn new recipes by completing quests and leveling up
- Choose what crops to specialize in to best fit the needs of your community and the expertise of your kitchen
Complete Quests and Daily Orders
- Endeavor to complete a smorgasbord of quests and objectives
- Unlock unique power-ups and increase your crop-cultivating efficiency
- Earn valuable rewards to help grow your community
Observe Jewish Lifestyle
- Observe Shabbat and its sacred rituals
- Take part in the splendid traditions of Jewish festivals
- Become acquainted with the rhythms of the Jewish calendar
- Set aside a portion of your field for tithing (peah)
- Learn Torah with the Talmid Chacham and visit the glorious study hall, the Beit Midrash
Upgrade and Expand
- Build up your home
- Purchase undreamt-of acres of fertile green land
- Start a family
An innovative approach to blended gaming
Many casual games use a monetization strategy called “Free-to-Play.” The games can be played completely for free, however, the gameplay is often an addictive grind, involving time and resources. When players run low on resources or wish to speed things up, the game offers them power-ups or additional resources for real money. This microtransaction-driven model has proven extremely effective, especially for quality games on which players feel justified spending money because they spend a substantial amount of time with the game.
Kerem B’Yavneh is charting new territory by tweaking this model to suit students and classrooms who would rather not reach into their pockets, but whose thirst for learning is limitless. The first step is the same as Free-to-Play, which is creating a deeply enjoyable and immersive experience—one that players feel invested in and want to continue. But instead of acquiring power-ups and additional resources through paid microtransactions, players win them by partaking in educational content embedded in the gameplay. In Kerem B'Yavneh this content is even custom-izable for educators, allowing them to fluidly integrate the game into their class-rooms.
In short: the more students learn and show their knowledge, the further they will advance and the more of the game they can discover. It is truly a 21-century embod-iment of the Jewish proverb, “Toyre iz di beste skhoyre” — our greatest asset is To-rah learning!
Seamlessly weave your classroom content right into the game
It takes a village to...well, build a village. Band your classroom together in a community and harness the full power of Kerem B'Yavneh's educational potential! Players can contribute towards the advancement of their community. As the community levels up, new sites within Yavneh are built. Some locations, like the magnificently columned Beit Midrash, can be visited upon completion and unlock additional gameplay features for everyone.
The wise scholar known as the Talmid Chacham offers quizzes for players to take. If players do well in the quiz, they earn “Sparks,” a special resource with a variety of uses that will aid them during gameplay. Kerem B'Yavneh offers plenty of interesting default questions, but the real power of the Talmid Chacham is allowing educators to create their own custom question pools for their players, building a link between the game and whatever is being taught in the classroom. Toggle varying question pools (each concerning a different subject matter) between “Active” and “Inactive” to guide what content students are being tested on, allowing the in-game quizzes to harmoniously follow your course curriculum.
Educators can also utilize the Beit Midrash to issue 'real world' challenges through the game. Students check the Beit Midrash within the game to see all current challenges. Once an educator feels a student has completed a challenge, the educator can check it off as completed. The next time the student checks the Beit Midrash, she collects a ”Spark" reward for completing the challenge. The content of the challenges is entirely up to the the educator and can be anything, helping to flexibly integrate the game with course curriculum and assignments, whatever they may be.
So go, grow, and grasp the new frontier of blended gaming as we usher time-honored Jewish learning toward the demands and delights of the computer age!