Frequently asked questions

Are all the stories from the Bible?

The characters and life-and-times of the world of Ancora are not from the Bible. When the player accepts a quest to find a ‘lost story’ and bring it back, that story is authentically from the Bible.

Are there any associated resources or products?

As an introduction to the theme of 'light', Firebugs of Ancora is a free-to-play app for your iPad, available now from here.

The Guardians of Ancora app will be updated regularly with new features and more content to enjoy; and new Guardians of Ancora-themed products will be released during 2016.

How much will it cost?

At Scripture Union we don't want cost to be a barrier for any child wanting to play Guardians of Ancora, so the app will be free to download and to play. There are no adverts or in-app purchases. 

Will there be a subscription?

No. The Guardians of Ancora app will be free to download and will continue to be free to play. At Scripture Union we want to minimise the barriers to children playing the game.

Are there different language versions available?

Yes! They are coming soon. We are currently working on several language versions including German, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic and Welsh. More details on the release dates for these versions will be made public soon. 

Can Guardians of Ancora be played on a desktop computer, laptop or netbook?

No, not currently. Guardians of Ancora is being launched first as an app, as tablet computers are so widely used by children in the 8-11 age range.

Can I be sure my child is going to get good Bible teaching from the app, as well as having fun?

Guardians of Ancora has been designed as a fun, positive place-and-space where children can explore their relationship with God and the Bible. The biblical material comes with Scripture Union’s 150 years of experience in helping children meet God and engage with the Bible in child-appropriate and child-friendly ways. The creative team behind Guardians of Ancora includes world-class games designers to ensure the game is enjoyable as well as highly-experienced Christian writers, theologians and practitioners.

What age is the game for?

Guardians of Ancora has been planned for children aged about 8-11 and has been widely tested with boys and girls in this age range – but people of any age are welcome to play, if they wish.

Can my six-year old play Guardians of Ancora?

In creating Guardians of Ancora, we’ve been thinking about children in the 8-11 age range so the look of the game, the amount and level of words to read and the type of activities have been developed with them in mind. That’s not to say a younger child can’t play and enjoy the game but they may appreciate having others around them – maybe the opportunity to sit and play with someone who can give that extra support.

What does 'Ancora' mean?

The name comes from the Latin word 'ancora', meaning 'anchor'. It is an ancient word, going back through Latin and Greek to the era of the Hittites! A secondary meaning for 'ancora' is 'support' or, sometimes, 'hope'. The name brings these positive qualities to the game and to the city of Ancora, where players are introduced to positive Biblical themes and values.

What does Guardians of Ancora play on?

Any recent branded tablet running recent versions of either iOS or Android should be able to run Guardians of Ancora. This includes tablets such as:

  • iPad 2, 3, 4 Air
  • Sony Xperia Z2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1
  • LG GPad 8.3
  • Tesco Hudl2
  • Amazon Kindle Fire
What is the connection between the Guardians of Ancora app and the website?

The Guardians of Ancora app is a game environment, designed to give children (aged 8-11-ish) a safe, fun and positive place-and-space where they can explore their relationship with God and the Bible.

The Guardians of Ancora website is to provide information, support and resources to adults who are connecting with those children in families, churches and schools.

Who decides which Bible stories are used?

A team of theologians and children’s ministry specialists has created a ‘Bible story arc’ of 30 or so individual stories, telling the big story of God’s encounters with his people, from Genesis to Revelation.

These stories will be made available to players as the app is updated over time. Each story will be recorded on a ‘Bible timeline’ within the app, so players can gain a sense of how the Bible fits together.

Will my child be safe playing Guardians of Ancora?

We take online safety seriously and are following the most recent legislation and guidelines for ensuring players are as safe as they can be.

Guardians of Ancora complies with the COPPA (US) regulations for child online safety and data protection.

www.coppa.org/

At registration, players will be guided to select a user name other than their real name, to choose a password carefully and keep it to themselves. When ‘friending’ others, players will only be known by their user name and there is no player-to-player free speech or contact. The player can choose whether to make their posts public on the community newsfeed (at the Creative Hub, bottom-left of the screen); public posts do not include free writing or content.

The player has access at all times to a ‘report’ button, when they are sharing their posts on the community newsfeed. This is shown as a red flag, on each public post.

More information and advice on online safety can be found here.

More information and advice on online safety can be found here.

Online safety and data security for Guardians of Ancora is monitored by an independent legal consultant specialising in child safety.

How do players ‘friend’ other players in Guardians of Ancora?

When a player goes to the Creative Hub (bottom-left of the screen), they have the opportunity to see public posts from other players and may choose to ‘follow’ them. This is a ‘friending’ action. The player will then be able to see their friend’s game character name in the districts of Ancora.

What gets shared on the community newsfeed, at the Creative Hub in Guardians of Ancora?

In the Creative Hub, players can create posts in response to what they have been discovering in the game, using writing, drawing, stickers, audio and/or photographs. If they wish, they can make ‘sticker posts’ public by posting them on the community newsfeed. Other players can then view these posts.

The community newsfeed is also a place where players will hear news about the game from the Guardians of Ancora team, including announcements about videos to watch. New videos are usually released on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

What’s the difference between private and public posts in the Creative Hub on Guardians of Ancora?

A player can create as many posts as they wish and collect them in their own Creative Hub (bottom-left of the screen). These will be saved on their device and can be shown and shared, face-to-face, with other people.

For reasons of online safety, within the app experience, only ‘sticker posts’ can be made public and shared on the community newsfeed.

Can a child play Guardians of Ancora without a parent having an account?

Yes: it is not essential for a parental adult to have an account in order for a child to use the app.

Setting up a parent account, though, is a great way to be more involved in your child’s play, by receiving updates about what they have been experiencing in the game, plus ideas and suggestions for building on their game-playing beyond the digital device.

Are there rewards in Guardians of Ancora?

Yes. Players are rewarded in various ways, throughout Guardians of Ancora. These include collecting firebugs, finding or being awarded new content and things to discover, and the ability to ‘rank up’ as a Guardian. The best way to find out, though, is to play the game!

How do I collect all the sheep?

Collecting sheep is one of the fun challenges in Bible Quests and we sometimes receive frantic pleas from players asking how they can find ‘the one that’s missing’! Of course, we can’t know which one that is!

But here are a few general tips to help you search:

  • As you play through a Bible Quest, the path often goes in two possible directions, which rejoin later in the game. You may need to explore both routes to find all the sheep.
  • Sheep may be hiding under archways, on platforms and in holes!
  • When your game character ‘lands’ in a new location, it will be facing in a certain direction. It’s always worth turning round and going a little way in the opposite direction, in case there’s a sheep ‘behind you’.
What are the ‘story objectives’ in a Bible Quest?
  • When you start a Bible Quest, you will get a list of objectives.
  • One will always be ‘completing the quest’.
  • One will be collecting a number of something, often sheep (which have a habit of wandering off…).
  • The third may be a person, an object or a hidden scroll. Sometimes you will happen upon this item as you play the game. Other times you may need to search more – and even venture underground!
  • The more objectives you achieve, the more firebugs will be attracted when you light the Spire.
What is a PEGI rating?

PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) is a rating system for many types of entertainment, including computer games and mobile apps.

A PEGI rating is an indication of the lowest age-suitability (not of the complexity or level of difficulty).

On Google Play, the store for Android apps, Guardians of Ancora has a rating PEGI 3.

To find out more about PEGI, go to www.pegi.info/en/index/id/952.

Will my child be bombarded with adverts in the app?

No. Guardians of Ancora does not carry advertising and there are no in-app purchases or hidden ‘pay walls’.

Guardians of Ancora complies with the COPPA (US) regulations for advertsising, child online safety and data protection: www.coppa.org/.

Can I use Guardians of Ancora in church?

Yes! Many churches are using Guardians of Ancora in their church services, in children’s groups and many other ways. For ideas, look here.

You might like to:

  • create a session for a Sunday morning group, midweek club or cell group, using Guardians of Ancora;
  • have a chillout zone at any event or session;
  • include Guardians of Ancora in a prayer room or as one of a number of activity stations for children to visit;
  • project the game on to a large screen so everyone can be part of the play;
  • include the game in your regular cycle of activities;
  • hold a themed event;
  • host a Light Party;
  • run a Guardians of Ancora holiday club;
  • give away copies of the Easter Bible Comic and Christmas Bible Comic to children in the church, community and local schools;
  • present an all-age service.
Can I use Guardians of Ancora in schools?

Yes! Guardians of Ancora is already being used in after-school clubs, in Christian groups in schools and for RE lessons. For ideas look here.

I have three children and they share one tablet. Can they all play?

Yes. Download the game on to your tablet and start to play. Set up an account by tapping the Settings icon in the top-right of the screen, or by opening the Notifications bar to the right of the screen (tap on the little light-red arrow). You will then be able to register each child with their own player name and version of the game.

Each time one of them wants to play, they will then be able to log in and play their own Guardians of Ancora.

I’d like to tell my grandchildren about this game, but I’m not a games-player myself and I’m finding it hard to work out how to use it. How can I be sure the game is going to be all right for them?

We hear from concerned adults, now and again, who would like to be able to play the game before showing it to children. That’s a sound principle. Guidelines about children’s online safety urge parents and carers to take a much more active role in monitoring children’s online activity – not just in game apps, but in other games, social media sites (high numbers of underage children use these) and what is viewed on video-sharing sites.

If you are not used to playing games, we hope that these credentials will give you confidence in the app:

  • At Scripture Union, we take our responsibility to children very seriously. Guardians of Ancora is offered with 150 years of SU’s expertise in working with children, theological exploration and resourcing churches in mission. You can find out more about Scripture Union at www.scriptureunion.org.uk.
  • Guardians of Ancora is built by Dubit Limited, a company specialising in children’s games and research: www.dubitlimited.com.
  • Guardians of Ancora complies with the stringent COPPA regulations (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998): www.coppa.org/#.
  • We are working with industry experts and a wide-ranging number of independent consultants in theology, ministry, faith formation, technology and business. Check out ‘Who we’re working with’ and ‘Credits’.
  • The game has won awards for ‘App of the Year’ and ‘Most Innovative Use of Digital Media’, giving recognition to the product.

Remember too that, even if you are not familiar with playing games, the children are likely to be! Why not sit together and explore and play the game? That way, you can be sharing their experience, seeing what happens in the game – and finding many opportunities to chat naturally about God, the Bible and the stories of Jesus.

Can someone come to my church to talk about Guardians of Ancora?

That may be possible! Email info@guardiansofancora.com with details of your location and we will see if one of our Champions could visit you.

If it’s not feasible, we can equip you with printable cards, leaflets and so on, to share with those in your church and beyond.

How do I get out of the running-around Bible story part and back into Ancora?

When you are playing a Quest, there is a ‘pause’ icon (like two upright lines: ‘ll’) at the top-right of the screen. Tap this and a menu will appear in the centre of the screen: you can then choose whether to continue or leave the Quest.

How do I get out of what I’m doing so I can do something else?

When you are in the Creative Hub (where you can make prayers and post pictures), the Theatre of the Saga (where you can watch videos), the Profile Area (where you can customise your character), and the Timeline (where you can find the Bible passages), there will be a cross ‘X’ in the top-right of the screen. Touch this to return to the city of Ancora (the main ‘Menu’ screen).

Why do I keep seeing a blue screen?

As you move between features, the game needs to ‘load’ the data necessary to run the next part.

Since an update to the game in January 2016, these loading times have become much quicker and you should not need to wait many seconds while the white loading circle (bottom-right) revolves.

The game gets to a blue screen and stops: the white circle doesn’t go round.

If the circular arrow symbol next to the word ‘Loading’ in the bottom-right of the screen stops turning completely, it may be that your device can't access enough RAM (random access memory) to run the game.

RAM is what a device uses to run processes or tasks from things such as apps and games, as opposed to storage memory. Check if other apps or programs are still running in the background: closing them might give you the extra RAM space required to run Guardians of Ancora at the optimum speed.

If a game does freeze or crash, closing the app completely and then opening it again (so that the logo splashscreen appears before asking you to choose your character) should safely restore the game. Please do let us know if the game does repeatedly freeze, and on which particular points (for example, loading a Quest or accessing a certain part of the City of Ancora).

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