Although their heroic visions are of Hercules dying tragically at the hands of mythological research, the four creators of the board game Ha Ha You Mythed Me remain optimistic.
They hope Ha Ha will make a strong showing at the national TOYchallenge scheduled for April 29 in San Diego.
"It's about Greek mythology and it's a fun way to learn about myths and gods and goddesses," said Wendy Howard, 10, a student from Seeliger Elementary School. "And we have clay figures. I don't think any of the other games will have clay figures."
To make their board appealing, the team of four girls shaped mythological figures, such as medusa, the sphinx, cyclops, Zeus and more, from clay as decor for the board.
The object of Ha Ha is to be the first to finish the game, but each of the spaces along the board features a specific instruction, some that direct players to draw cards from piles entitled Fate or Hercules or that are illustrated with a lightning bolt.
Depending on the card, players move forward, backward or even act out one of the 12 Labors of Hercules, who the girls were horrified to learn, murdered his wife and children.
"Most Disney movies say he's a good guy," said Briseida Hyatt, 12, who attends Bethlehem Lutheran School. "But actually he wasn't."
Liz Howard, 12, Mariah Young, 11, Wendy and Briseida have a chance to win a trip to the Sally Ride Space Camp. More than 100 finalists are expected to compete in the nationals. The contest is open to students in fifth through eighth grades and is meant to promote engineering among girls.
Giving the "Mythtics," as they call themselves, confidence is the fact their game made it through the preliminary round. Since learning in March that they would advance, the team has redone the board, one that neatly folds over and closes - it's made from a pizza box.
The marble-colored contact paper on the exterior disguises its origin. Players move by rolling a die or dice???, one or two.
"It's kind of hard (designing a game) because you have to see how many spaces you want and what you're going to do, but it's fun too," Mariah said.
The girls, who all wore white T-shirts with their names on the front and the board game's name on back, put the final touches on Ha Ha on Tuesday.
"This game is really interesting," Briseida said. "I thought I'd never learn that much about Greek mythology."
• Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.