Game Club at Parkside Junior High
John Peterson
United States
Normal
Illinois
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My son attends Parkside Junior High School in Normal. In January, he brought home a permission slip to be able to participate in their Game Club. As a Game Geek Dad, I immediately e-mailed the teacher who runs the club and volunteered to join them, bring games, and teach the kids.

Now I'm in the second school year volunteering with them. There are 70+ kids signed up for the club and it draws 30-40 kids per session (once every two weeks for about 1 hour and 45 minutes). The majority of the kids gravitate to computer games like Minecraft and Civilization, but I get somewhere from 8-12 card/board game kids every week (and not the same kids week to week).

The following Geeklist is a list of games played and the general reception from the kids. I'm open to game suggestions, but since I'm using this list to track the interests and experiences of the kids, I'd ask that any additions be made in the comments (either of a game or at the end) rather than adding games to my list.

Thanks!
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1. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:322] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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This was one of the games that was talked about when I started volunteering. I brought my copy once and taught it to positive reviews (kids didn't want to leave at the end of the club day until they were done). Also played it on our one Saturday game day.
 
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2. Board Game: Snorta! [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:3425]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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This is always a good one (I've had a lot of success introducing it to a wide variety of people) and the game club enjoyed it as much as I expected.
 
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3. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:359]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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A good abstract that was well received. There was some struggle with the scoring, but we managed.
 
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4. Board Game: Circus Flohcati [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1495]
John Peterson
United States
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Illinois
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I like this one and it worked once we got through the explanation. It probably needs more plays with the same group of kids for them to form strategies, though.
 
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5. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:866] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Can't overrate the draw of model airplanes on the table. I'm pretty sure I got 6 roped into the game simply because the planes looked cool. Accessible, simple to follow rules made it that much easier...
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6. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:74] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
John Peterson
United States
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Illinois
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If Wings of War was a winner, X-Wing was a given. This one was quite popular...
 
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7. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:1834]
John Peterson
United States
Normal
Illinois
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I went with a "dice themed" day with games. This one was fun, especially with the "push your luck" element.
 
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8. Board Game: Bears! [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:6199]
John Peterson
United States
Normal
Illinois
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Another dice game for my "Dice Themed" game day...
 
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9. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:723]
John Peterson
United States
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Illinois
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This one wasn't as tough as I thought it could be....the kids seemed to be quick studies, which is good, but I've seen adults struggle to "get it" the first few plays.
 
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10. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:187]
John Peterson
United States
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Illinois
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Brought this one for a Game Day Saturday. I figured with the luxury of more time, it would be good for lengthier explanations and a slower pace of play. Ended up playing it with a teacher for one game and a father and son in another game. Both were surprised at its depth and strategy.
 
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11. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:274]
John Peterson
United States
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Illinois
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Another quick game that doesn't have a lot of rules. The kids pick it up fast and really enjoy the game.
 
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12. Board Game: Car Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:15770] [Average Rating:5.46 Unranked]
John Peterson
United States
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Illinois
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One of my son's favorites (and I usually lose him to the computer games...argh!), I bring it in and rope him into teaching it....
 
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13. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:253]
John Peterson
United States
Normal
Illinois
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This one is always a hit. It always follows the same pattern...everyone races for the safe islands until someone discovers you can use the sharks, whales, and sea monsters for EVIL. Then it turns cutthroat!
 
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14. Board Game: Drakon (third edition) [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1658]
John Peterson
United States
Normal
Illinois
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I brought this one in because it had theme, plastic fantasy miniatures, and the ability to screw your neighbors. This one has become the favorite game for Game Club. I bring it every time now and, half the time, they just grab it and take it to a table and play without supervision, the other half of the time I get a group of all new players who heard from their peers during the week that it was a "cool game" and they "had to try it".
 
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15. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:257]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Had this one in the car for another game group, but brought it in because I thought it might work. It was quite the hit (if, for no other reason, the complete lack of volume control from the group). It became the second game that was taken and played without supervision or teaching (like Drakon) the second week I brought it in.
 
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16. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:837]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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This one was a little bit of a struggle. I had one player who was special needs but no one informed me. He was very quiet, but seemed to be having fun and, at one point, one of the other kids jumped in and helped.
 
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17. Board Game: duck! duck! Go! [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:4337]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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I thought this one would be a good draw. Who doesn't like rubber duckies. It drew a full table (5 players), but I think the strategy was lots on the players. One of the kids really focused on planning (and ultimately winning), but there others seemed to be randomly picking cards out for their plays.
 
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18. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:659] [Average Rating:6.85 Unranked]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Picked this one up on clearance at Target and donated it to the club. Didn't see any play last Spring, but I brought it out first off in the Fall and everyone really seemed to enjoy it.
 
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19. Board Game: Formula Dé Mini [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2580]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Probably my only "fail". Too much counting and didn't seem to click for the kids who were playing.
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20. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:235]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Brought my new copy and played for the first time. It seemed to go over well. One of the kids remember the rules I had just explained better than I did and kept the game moving, which was good.
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21. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:122] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Appealed to the club members due to theme, but limited to 2 players (I don't have an extra copy to make the D-Day scenario work) prevents broader play.
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22. Board Game: Rivet Wars: Eastern Front [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1913]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Kids seemed to enjoy it, but another 2p game. Cool pieces were the draw. Got one of the rules wrong and it made the game draw out (didn't realize the "objectives" were in the center, not at the sizes).
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23. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1513]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Cool pieces brings them to this game and they excel at the memory aspects (at least better than my brain does). Frequently played at the club.
 
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24. Board Game: Escalation! [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:6922]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Usually a filler as the end of club time approaches and we don't have time for something longer, but it is easy to teach and everyone enjoys it.
 
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25. Board Game: FITS [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1384]
John Peterson
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Illinois
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Appeals to the "tetris"/puzzle crowd. Kids really seem to enjoy it when we break it out.
 
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