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My fiance and I are looking to create a 5 day workshop for high school students focused on board games! Right now, we are thinking about a combination of playing board and card games, discussing and comparing strategies and having students form groups to design their own games (that we will play towards the end of the intersession).
Posting this to see if anyone else has ideas about what we could focus on. Currently, seems like strategy, design and interaction. Other proposals we have found online focus on how board games reflect current cultures or comparisons between classic games (Monopoly, Go) to newer Euro games (Catan, Bang!).
Any ideas are appreciated!! We are in the very beginning, brainstorming phase of creating this awesome intersession for the students
I use board games to help students improve their explanation skills. What you could do at the start is try and teach them all a basic card game they might not know. Then get each group to write down explanations of another card game they know and once finished send it to the other groups. The groups then read these explanations and try and play the game without being able to ask for confirmation on the rules etc. The groups then note down what rules were misleading or not written (just assumed) and give the rules back to the original group who can then re-write and improve their rules explanation!
Sounds like a great idea.
* Understanding why people play games. (Yes, fun! But what makes fun?) Decision making, optimization, engine-building, competing, immersion, story telling etc
* Understanding games - mechanics, theme, complexity, competition, decision points. How do these relate to the gamers?
* Play games - describe them and the key points. Who would play this game? Do you like the game? Why/Why not? What would you change?
* Generate strategies for a game - come up with multiple strategies to win a game. Try them out and reflect on how they went
* Vary existing games - Create new cards, powers, rules. Ask others to critique these changes.
* Decide on a specific way to change a game (e.g. more/less complex, greater theme, more competition etc). Generate variants to meet that. Play with these changes and get feedback. Reflect on whether the changes achieved the goal. Reflect on the feedback. What else could be changed.
* Select two/three game mechanics from games you like. Create basic mechanics (from blank cards and dice with stickers). Try basic rules to to try out very basic games. What themes do these mechanics suit?
* Describe a game theme as a story. What happens during the game that people would retell? What mechanics might suit this story? What mechanics would not. What thematic elements would help - what kind of art etc
* Come up with 3 or 4 ideas of theme plus mechanics. Add some detail, pick the preferred option and create. Have others play and give feedback.
Creating anything involves feedback, so trying out things and reflection are good activities. Good lessons in the persistence to achieve a good result.
Take a look at Advanced Search up top here at BGG. Notice the huge quantity of mechanics. Present games or reviews of games with a large variety of mechanics. Hmm, it seems like people ought to be able to say something (compare/contrast) about different mechanics and how they fit different kinds of games, either from a design perspective or from a player perspective.
If you want to go cheap, you might look at the PNP games, so that you could present a variety of games without having to spend a huge amount of money. I also think that it is worthwhile to involve the kids in the act of crafting those games, as this is similar to the prototyping process. Which just goes to show, there are lots of different lessons and directions you can go and still involve games.
A lot of the suggestions are very good and also part of the Boy Scout Game Design merit badge. Try looking up how merit badge counselors teach it
I'm working on a similar experience, although we only have 2.5 days. We did a version last year that aimed to do a session on game design, only to be outvoted by students who really just wanted to keep playing, so we're making some changes for this year.
Our current plan, for what inspiration it may give you (either positive or negative :
Day 1: Discussion on why we (universal and personal) play, and a connected conversation on gamer culture -- we'll probably watch a little Tabletop, look at the forums here, and reflect on our own needs/desires when it comes to gaming. We'll then do a round robin of a couple of short-ish games with the goal of examining mechanisms; a few experienced gamers will be the teachers while other students rotate. I'm still fine-tuning which games we'll use but probably Forbidden Island, as the simplest of the co-ops; Ticket to Ride for set collection (I could also use Coloretto, but TtR seems to grab new players better); Carcassonne for tile laying; and Dominion for drafting. I'd like to get something with role selection in there too. After each game, students have to fill out a form that asks for basics (game name, playtime, how many players, main mechanisms), strategy/critical thoughts (chosen tactic, lesson learned, and thoughts for tweaks or epansions), and basic ratings (interactivity, replayability, components, rulebook).
We'll talk about mechanisms after the round robin, and if we haven't filled the day yet we'll let them free play from our whole collection at the end of the day.
Day 2: We'll go to a local game cafe/shop and play; this will build on the conversation about game culture and introduce them to way more mechanisms and games. But mostly this day is about having fun and supporting our local game economy.
Day 3: The wildcard. I'd like to do something about design but I'm underqualified, so my colleague and I are trying to learn as much as we can and looking for a way to do some sort of meaningful design sprint, maybe with options -- retheme, expand, or build from scratch, and kids can self select. If anyone has ideas for this I'll happily take 'em!
Looking forward to hearing how your intersession goes!