Boardgames at a Therapeutic Community
Tim
Australia
Kilsyth
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I am currently working for a Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation residence facility.

For those that are unsure of what that means. As an oversimplified explanation, it is a place where people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can take some time to beat their addiction and get their lives back on track. Obviously, this occurs at various of success, depending on where each individual is at. Some stay for a couple of weeks and some stay and graduate through the program after staying anywhere from 8 to 18 months.

I have talked to the other staff and they were very excited about me providing a boardgames session for residents. So, I packed a bag of boardgames and headed over, with my 9 year old son on Good Friday to play some games.

The first three games of this list are the games that I played with some notes about how it went.

The staff seem to think it was a great idea and want me to do it again. So I have been thinking, how am I going to make this work...

and the best thought I had
was... ask the boardgame community and find out what other more experienced boardgamers might be able to offer.

So please add to the list and give me suggestions and / or other like experiences.

ps. My role at the facility is not therapeutic in nature and the playing of boardgames is not intended as therapy. It may uncover issues that may be examined in therapy but the intention is to have fun and break up the routine of living in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
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1. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:481]
Tim
Australia
Kilsyth
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My son and I turn up and talk to the coordinator of the day who then makes an announcement, boardgames on for people who are interested.

5 minutes later and 5 people show up. The first question I get, "Is this Compulsory?"
'No it is not' I reply
3 people then leave. I sit down with the 2 residents and my son and start thinking about what game to pull out of my bag when a third resident shows up.

Ok 5 people, lets try Coloretto.

Seems to go ok. We play a practice round and then have 2 rounds of the real game. No real laughs but they all seem to 'get it' and enjoy themselves.
 
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2. Board Game: Pass the Pigs [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:15211]
Tim
Australia
Kilsyth
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Let's try something else.

Next is this little luck fest.

This time there seems to be more laughs and I get a comment at the end of the whole session that this was the best game from one of the residents.

At one point I say, you have to know when to stop with this game and one of the residents replies with. 'Yeah, well that has always been tough for me...'

One of the residents gets called away so we are down to 4 players.
 
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3. Board Game: Wildlife Safari [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1299]
Tim
Australia
Kilsyth
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We get one explanation game and one real game in, before lunch time is called. The residents say thanks and talk a little about which game they liked the most, but I wouldn't say there was a great response to the session.

So where to from here?
I would like to run another session and if it works, maybe go for something more regular, like monthly.

Some questions I have are:
What games do you recommend?

and

How should I promote it?
(I am going to stick a flyer up on the wall, but if I say boardgames sessions are people going to think pictionary and trivial persuit, which I dont really want to play, unless you all think that might be what works)

If you have any questions for me to clarify anything, please ask.
 
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4. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:3152] [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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While Apples to Apples is far from one of my favorite games, it can certainly elicit a laugh, and I think that's what you want in your situation. It also supports a large number of players. The fact that you can teach anyone to play this in about a minute is also a great bonus.
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5. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:672]
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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I would go for light and fun games. Something that can cheer up the residents. If someone mentions that they would like deeper gameplay, then by all means bring something next session. Hey! That's my Fish is a light filler type game, but still full of strategy. It's a lot of fun, but just for 2-4 players.

I would promote your event as relaxing and fun. A break of pace. Have a couple of laughs, test your mettle against friends, etc.
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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Apart from party games and fun, light fillers, you may want to try some classic gateway games. Carcassonne is easy to get into for anyone that has experience with puzzles. It is also easy to teach to other newbies.
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7. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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Settlers of Catan is another classic gateway. The fact that it's a negotiation game might also show people how different these games are from Monopoly, Chess, and Trivial Pursuit. This might work quite well for you.
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8. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
Yoki Erdtman
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Okay, I just thought of another fast, fun filler; For Sale. This game is good for laughs, easy to teach, plays fast, and something you can play a few games of in a row. It can play 3-6 people.

Now I'll sit back and see what the rest of the BGG community recommends.
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9. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:381]
tiger tiger
United States
Lexington
South Carolina
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Good party game, not sure if it suffers from "Americanism". Cooperative. A crowd attracts a crowd, esp. a noisy, laughing one.
 
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