Anatomy of a Kids' Game Day
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Last year, our local library was holding a "turn off the T.V." event involving family games. My wife mentioned it to me, and thought maybe we should get involved. So, I dropped by the library and asked if they would like a little assistance. Of course, they were eager to have it, so I trundled over with a bunch of games. It was a great success.

The library had contacted me earlier in the year about a repeat performance. I decided to try a Saturday before our ususal club session. We had another great event. The librarian said she stopped counting after the 44th kid showed up.

This year I was able to raffle off some spare games that I'd picked up. Every time you completed a game, you filled out a ticket for the raffle.

I definitely need to thank my wife, Vonda who is a long-suffering trooper for events like this. She was an immense help. Also my children Eliza and Owen, who helped teach games, and were great throughout.

Furthermore, I need to give a shout-out to Phil Bauer, a member of the DC Gamers, who provided some very necessary game-teaching-cavalry. I am creating this list in hopes that it will be useful to others who might attempt such an event. I want to let you know what worked for us, and thus, what might work for you.

The general principle that I followed this year (which I did not follow last year) was to teach games that are more readily available in the US. That way people could play them, and then go buy them. I gave out a fact sheet with the names of the games, some online shop addresses, and a 10% off coupon from the good folks at NOVA Comics and Games.

My thanks, also, to the librarians and their able assistants who made the whole show run like clock work.

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1. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:683]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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OK, this was the hit of the show, and was in constant play. Its nice because it is fast and could be played with kids from any age group. The adults happily joined in as well. Yes, the kids will bang this a bit hard, and it can be a bit loud, but we had plenty of room, so this was not a big issue.

I gave out a copy of the Loopin' Louie remake Boppin Bumblebee as a prize.
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2. Board Game: Giro Galoppo [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:2580]
Jason Matthews
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Alexandria
Virginia
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I was thinking I kinda needed a game that would appeal to little girls. What appeals to little girls more than horses? Nothing I can think of. Three or four games of this were played. It seemed just about the right depth for the 6-8 year old crowd. Little kids played along with parents. This was a keeper.
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3. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:948]
Jason Matthews
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Alexandria
Virginia
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I had high hopes for this game. I love to play it with my daughter, and she is great at it. Its a very nice dexterity game where kids tend to defy gravity and ham fisted adults tend to lose.

However, it just did not work as intended in this context. The game was a little long for our crowd. Its about 45 minutes, and the attention span of some of the younger kids (who were understandably attracted the game's visuals) began to wander. I think kids inculcated to game playing would do better.

In general, though, I love what Zoch puts out and Chicken-Cha-Cha-Cha worked very well last year.
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4. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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I was sure this was going to work, but it just fell flat. The kids had a very hard time flicking around the posts, and most times we just had to clear off the pieces. I walked a group of 4 kids through one round, and they immediately wanted to play something else.
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5. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:606] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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I wanted to bring one more "complex" Euro in case we had some older kids show. What better than last year's SdJ? Well, it was a great success. I walked a family of four through the first game. They had come looking to play chess, so I was sure they could handle it. The boy said it was the most complex game that they had ever played, but he was hooked. They were going out to buy it.

The second group were elements of the local math club, that happened to also be meeting in the library. Naturally, they took to the game like ducks to water. They wanted to know if there were more games like it, and I was able to refer them to my handy, dandy sheet and provide some suggestions for next steps.
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6. Board Game: MixUp [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:7275]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Phil brought this nice connect four variant from Out of the Box games. I taught my daughter this game last year, so I was pretty sure it would work. Phil always seemed to have a playing partner at his table, and they always seemd to be having fun.

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7. Board Game: Hula Hippos [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:4332]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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This was not originally on the agenda, but I pulled it from the bag for one of the kids who did kinda like Crokinole. Maus flicking fun as always. This went down better than Crokinole.
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8. Board Game: Blokus Trigon [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:896]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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This was the one I intended to teach, as we did give a copy away. Unfortunately, I was not able to get to it. Last year, regular Blokus was a hit.
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