A Gnome's Ponderings

I'm a gamer. I love me some games and I like to ramble about games and gaming. So, more than anything else, this blog is a place for me to keep track of my ramblings. If anyone finds this helpful or even (good heavens) insightful, so much the better.
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Creative Kids R&Ws part three

Lowell Kempf
United States
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Yup. Still working my way through these. Looking at them as a gamer and as a substitute teacher.

Block Craft

Despite the obvious reference to Minecraft, this is another game about drawing shapes on grids. Which is a great genre so that’s not a knock.

You have six numbered 4x4 grids that have gems and holes scattered on them. You have six numbered shapes.

Block Craft lasts eight turns. Each turn, you roll one die. You can either chose a grid that matches that number and draw any two of the shapes on it OR you can pick a shape that matches the number and draw it on two different grids.

You get points for covering up gems, ‘mining’ then. You get bonus points for collecting every gem of a type across the six grids and for collecting every gem on a grid. There’s also a bonus for not covering any holes.

But it f you cover three or more holes in a grid, you’ve destabilized it, collapsing it. You can’t draw on it and you lose any points you’d have gotten from it.

I have to admit that I like Block Craft. The decision space is wide open. You have a lot of options and it is fun.

That said, I can see students being confused by having that many choices. I also wonder if the broad decision tree makes it too easy to do well


Seriously, there couldn’t have been a better name than Words?

Words is an acrostic word game. That’s where you have words interconnected like in a crossword puzzle or Scrabble.

The player sheet is a grid with some letters already filled in and some filled in spaces. You have six categories: names, animals, food, items, colors and wild. Roll the die to get the category and write in a word.

You don’t have to make it an acrostic but you get extra points if you do. You lose three points if you can’t write in a word but it honestly takes some bad play to do that. Ten turns and you’re done.

It’s an okay word game. If you like word games, it’s a good little filler. But, as long as I’m working with kids who can spell, Words is really promising. It’s clearly educational and acrostics are a concept that should be familiar and easy to pick up.


One thing that I really like about both Block Craft and Words is that they have broad decision trees. I play them with a room full of people, kids or otherwise, every sheet is going to look different.
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