The Many Educational Benefits of Ninja Hope

Lee Watanabe Crockett

Lee works with educational institutions all over the world, giving workshops on how to create learning environments where students will realize their wishes and potential.

Many of his best-selling books, such as Growing Global Digital Citizens, have won awards and are used in universities around the world. Lee is a popular international keynote and TED presenter.

Lee is the founder of Wabisabi Learning and the Global Digital Citizen Foundation

Skills needed for a successful life

Schools today around the world have made it a top priority to nourish their students in order to develop the skills they need to thrive in the future. These include:

1) problem-solving
2) creativity
3) creative thinking
4) cooperativeness
5) patience
6) intercultural understanding.

NINJA HOPE is a game in which you can develop these skills. The rules are very simple, but are expressed through keen strategy that includes elements of luck.

The game first progresses as if it were happening in everyday life. Then the player (student) will face a sudden crisis situation in the game, and this results in that player having to create strategies that lead to success.

During a game of Ninja Hope players can connect and enjoy interacting with others. Therefore, when a school participates in a Ninja Hope international game competition, a coordinated and unique school community is created. Arranging for a Ninja Hope game club at school creates a great field in which to foster healthy and friendly relationships.

Ninja Hope is a game that teaches not only high-level thinking skills, but also coordination and empathy.

Decision making and insight

Many of today’s games do not require thinking skills — a player constantly reacts throughout the game.

However, in the Ninja Hope board game, events that might occur in a player’s life manifest during the game. A player will therefore gain the ability to envision, anticipate, and manage upcoming circumstances.

Other current games are intentionally designed to keep players moving at a fast pace, and the purchase of items (such as better weapons or magic powers) is frequently offered as a guaranteed way to win.

On the other hand, although Ninja Hope’s rules are simple, it is a game of high strategy with an element of chance.

Because this game is played with an opponent (another person), players need to finish the game. Even if a player is close to losing, the game can’t be quit and restarted for a better outcome.

Students (players) must accept their strategies and the results of their decisions and actions. The processes experienced in the game help players to develop higher insight skills, better decision-making capacity, and enhanced resilience.

Creative Thinking

Many games, in general, can be played without the interposition of thinking skills. However, Ninja Hope requires creative thinking.

Creative thinking involves the reduction of wholeness into its elements, with consideration of the elements’ strengths, merits, and potential, and the taking of action to bring about a new possibility.

A strong characteristic of Ninja Hope is the use of creative thinking that includes an element of luck. Students analyze the strategies that lead to success and hone their thinking skills through sudden crises as they occur during the game.

Problem-solving and creativity

Every move an opponent makes presents a new problem and challenges a player’s strategy in Ninja Hope.

For instance, the opponent may set a clever trap. In that situation, it requires a creative strategy for how to move forward to avoid defeat, respond aggressively, or change the momentum and gain an advantage.

This is how a player enhances problem-solving and creative skills.

Cooperativeness and intercultural understanding

Ninja Hope is a game in which students can connect and enjoy interacting with others. Students experience how playing with others is essential to having fun; moreover, they can make friends all over the world. The game is designed so that players can learn about other players’ countries.

Let’s learn other languages!

In the online version, you can choose the words you want to say to your opponent player from these five choices:

1) The words the opponent chooses will be in your language.

2) The audio will play in the language you choose.

3) The word you choose for your opponent player to hear will be played in your chosen language.

4) You can update the words you wish to use from the NINJA HOPE dictionary.

5) Let’s find out about other countries! When you click the flag of your opponent’s country, it will link to that country’s Wikipedia entry so that you can learn about the history, economy, culture, and so on of their country.


School community

When a school participates in a team battle in an international competition, it’s a great opportunity to create a unique and cooperative school community and culture.

Students develop healthy and friendly relationships by working together in a Ninja Hope club.

Ninja Hope is designed to equip players with not only high-level thinking skills, but also the capacity to be cooperative and have empathy for others.

Comments from educators

Ninja Hope is great educational material for students to develop thinking and judging abilities, and also is good for mathematical and intellectual training.

U Koshall Bidya Elementary, Bangladesh – Uaye Tun, Principal

Watching kids learning to play Ninja Hope is a great life observation.
You can see that their thinking ability is deepening.

First, it looks simple, but it is not. Next, the kids get aggressively active and try to wipe out the other troops because much of life is about beating other people. After they get beaten by someone who is actually playing to the objective, which is to capture the base, they become more timid, more anxious when they learn they are not invincible.

Last, the best learning is driven by what is variable and out of your control. You cannot strategize around this, you must be fluid and flexible with your thinking and approach. The learning is organic and you don’t really need to explain it to kids. I love watching my own child develop his thinking and reflections when he plays Ninja Hope.

Simon Vaughan, Principal 


Response from students

I’m interested in the Ninja Hope because Ninja Hope is one of the only games that have a combat cycle like rock, paper, scissors (paper surrounds rock, rock smashes scissors, scissors cuts paper).

I also appreciate how well the game characters are designed and drawn.

I enjoy Ninja Hope because of the inclusion of luck and strategy game mechanics. An example of the luck and strategy incorporation could be: rolling a pair of die and strategizing accordingly.

I’m sure there was a lot of time put into this incredible, entertaining and well-thought-out game.



The game has simple rules with various strategies, which makes me happy. This is brain exercise that feels like I’m gaining wisdom when building a strategy. Playing Ninja Hope enhances thinking skills and you will discover a new side of yourself!

Nai Nai – Dhaka University student


Before I played the game, I thought it was a difficult game, but it was super easy after all. What is interesting is building strategy with the power of my thinking abilities and changing a strategy flexibly according to the other player’s moves. The timing of when to break through with my pieces is an excitement that I can’t taste with chess.