Family Game Night Course: Selections and requests for a few alternates...
Matt Anticole
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Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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While I'm a partner in the spunky game company, "Eye-Level Entertainment", it isn't my day job. I teach high school science in a public school district outside of Pittsburgh.

Recently, I've been given an opportunity by the school district to share my passion for games with the larger community. They are experimenting with a new program where teachers offer a sort of 'night school' to the community with courses that focus on healthy habits and overall wellness in the community. They sent out a call for courses to the teachers in the district, asking us what we'd like to teach.

I, of course, think games are a great way to share quality time as a family so I proposed a course titled "Beyond Monopoly: Family Game Night". My idea was to run a 6-week course for an hour and a half each week. Each week, I'll introduce a new game and give the remaining time for folks to try it out. Last week is open gaming.

The course was approved by the district and they agreed to purchase the games needed for the class. Awesome! So what follows are the games that I selected based on the following criteria (with the assistance of repeated game searches on the 'Geek).

At least 4 players, ideally more. (Planning for course size of 20)
Low 'weight' - less than 2
Gameplay generally 45 minutes or less.
Not too expensive (I think my costliest game was $29.95, most were less)
Appropriate for ages 8 and above (2nd grade), BUT enjoyable by adults
Highly ranked on the 'Geek (Around 7 or above)

Now the problem is that a few of these games are out of print right now and I might need alternates for them. So for those, please list some suggestions of other games I could swap in if needed.
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1. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:613]
Matt Anticole
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Week One: Incan Gold

Game Mechanic: Press Your Luck

Nice choice for week 1. Easy game. Great theme. Good times.

PROBLEM - Out of print as I understand in current addition. My FLGS is looking into this for me, but it may not be available in the new edition until later this spring and the course begins in February!

Any ideas for simple 'press your luck' alternates? I thought perhaps 'Cloud 9'?
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2. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:391]
Matt Anticole
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Week Two: No Thanks!

Mechanic: Bluffing

Another simple game but fun and quick to play!

AVAILABLE - No alternates needed here, but if you've got others that are good feel free to list them... maybe I'll be able to teach a sequel to the course.
 
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3. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
Matt Anticole
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Week Three: For Sale

Mechanic: Auction/Bidding

I've heard lots of great stuff about this game and it seems to fit the bill perfectly for a light game that introduces a new mechanic to the class.

PROBLEM - Scheduled for a re-print, but looks like it might not be done in time for the class (which begins at the start of Feb). Any suggestions for a light 'auction' themed game? This is looking like one that I will probably need an alternate selection for... but hope springs eternal, eh?
 
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4. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:369]
Matt Anticole
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Week Four: Bohnanza

Mechanic: Set Collection / Trading

Another game I don't have personal experience with yet, but everything I've researched said this is a great fit.

AVAILABLE - This one is a go! But as before, feel free to list some other games that would fit the bill (or the bean).
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5. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Matt Anticole
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Week Five: Caracssonne

Mechanic: Area Control

I couldn't have a course without introducing the 'Meeple' to these folks! Perhaps a bit ambitious, but I'm considering skipping the 'farmer meeple' rule to streamline scoring. Would this make me a bad person?

AVAILABLE - Meeples are go! (Other games you like in this style are welcome.)
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Chris Ferejohn
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Mountain View
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Not sure what category to add it under. Set collection I suppose, but there's no trading. In any case, this is almost always a hit with non-gamers, so I would definitely consider it for one of your classes.
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7. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:948]
Chris Ferejohn
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Dexterity games are a good category that you've missed. This is a pretty fun one that's good for kids and adults alike. Sorry: Sliders is also a possibility, though I'd prefer to focus on introducing them to games they've never heard of.
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8. Board Game: Blockers! [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1375]
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Abstract Strategy

Really easy to learn, plays up to five, 45 minutes.
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9. Board Game: Things... [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:2966] [Average Rating:6.13 Unranked]
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Party/Creative Writing - also fits with Bluffing
-think balderdash without having to "know" the answer
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10. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:897]
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with Vexation (the expansion) - Route Building/Networking
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11. Board Game: Flat Acting [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
Matt Anticole
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You might be wondering, "Matt, does your company put out any games that would match your own standards for this class?"

My answer would be, "Not yet, but soon!"

'Flat Acting' is a light-strategy area control game with a fun story-telling aspect to it as well. We're still a couple months from release on this one, but if you're interested in games that would be good for a family game night but still scales great for a group of adults (and I'm assuming you are, otherwise why would you be reading this geeklist?), keep 'Flat Acting' in the back of your mind!

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