Boardgame club: games and reactions
Miika Miinin
Finland
Lappeenranta
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This is list for the people interested about the boardgame club I'm hosting for my schools 5th-6th graders (11-12 year olds). I'm going to update this weekle as long as the club is running and add all the games we played and how they liked the games.
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1. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:576]
Miika Miinin
Finland
Lappeenranta
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1st meeting
3 participants + me

I decided to start with simple enough game, so that no one would feel the learning curve too high at the beginning. I was prepared for a way bigger number of participants than three girls from the 5th grade... There were some cases of sickness, but I'm not quite sure if there are going to be many more participants than this...

Anyway, 6 nimmt was the game of choice and the reactions were a bit lame... "Numbers - is this like maths?" but they are really kind and nice girls, so they played it whitout further complaints... We played one game and I sensed, that this was enough... They considered the strong precence of numbers to be too much like school, so I opted for next game. I'm not going to get this on board at the club again - at least for a while.
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2. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:371]
Miika Miinin
Finland
Lappeenranta
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Even thou, I'm not a huge fan of Bohnanza, I considered it to be a safe bet, as I haven't met a girl, who doesn't like this game. First we went two training rounds with open hands and I explained the rules - soon enough we were playing and they just loved the game! For the first game I intentionally used some cheap tactics and played a bit rude, to get them cooperate against me. For example I told that "I don't have any soy, but I can take your Garden bean for free", just to play the Soy bean as my next card... I hardly ever gave 'em anything back while traiding and took a huge advantage that way... At the end of the last game they realized that they shouldn't give up that easily and prefered to give beans to each other and made some short term alliances to keep me from getting points... I had already collected enough points to win, but the idea of trading was understood. On the second game I tried to be even more unfair on my trade proposals and they didn't fall for it - I was at the joint last place with two runaway leaders. It was just amazing to see 'em learn the idea!

During the first game one of them said: "It's a pity that this thing ends at four" and others agreed - I told 'em that I'm in no hurry and we can play another game, even if it would take us overtime... They were excited about this - maybe even more than I, and thats a lot. I sowed the first seeds to make 'em boardgamers.

They told me that next time they want to play Bohnanza again, but I told 'em about Pandemic and how we could all cooperate to save the world and they were really keen to play it... That's probably the first game next week.

ALSO PLAYED AT THE 3RD MEETING
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3. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:607] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Miika Miinin
Finland
Lappeenranta
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2nd meeting
3 participants + me

I decided to go for Zooloretto, after I played my first games of it in the weekend before the club meeting. I knew that the cute animals and zoo building would be just the right thing for the pupils at the club. There were once again 3 participants and me, but one of the girls couldn't make it this time and the first boy participated this time. Actually, three more boys are coming next time, so we'll probably have 7 players for the next time!

Zooloretto was a hit, they loved the animal collecting and especially the baby animals - they wanted to get the parent animals, just to get the baby, even if it wasn't a good pick for their game. But they got the hang of the game and enjoyed playing it.
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4. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Miika Miinin
Finland
Lappeenranta
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As I wasn't quite sure if the boy attending the club would feel like Zooloretto was a "girly game", I decided to take a bit more "manly" game for the second half of the club - Pandemic seemed like a good choice and even thou they were playing terribly suboptimally we almost made it - just one more player card, and we would have beaten the diseases. They liked the fact that we were so close and wanted to play this again on the next meeting. Especially the boy liked this one and seemed to be making the most rational playes after the struggle at the beginning.

For the next week I promised some Bohnanza for the girls (they can play it by theirselves) and some "War gaming" for the boys... I'll take the Memoir with the extra board and set up a 4-player game - I cleared with the principal that it's okay to play a war game and I think they'll like the theme and mechanics...
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5. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:118] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Miika Miinin
Finland
Lappeenranta
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3rd meeting
7 participants + me

We used:
Base game
Eastern Front
Mediterrean Theater
Winter/Desert-board

To play a 2 vs. 2 game (the overlord scenario from EF) with some simplified rules: only non-text-command cards, no overrun/take ground actions and 7 cards per team. The four boys playing had a blast and insisted that I'd bring Memoir again for the next meeting. I think that briging Memoir this early might have been a mistake as it might be hard to find anything they might enjoy more: it has everything, a theme they like, miniatures that are ultra cool to them, interesting dice, feel of confrontation and simple enough rules... But on the other hand I can add rules little by little to get them a complete gaming experience on one game.

This time me and girls were playing Bohnanza, which they had so desperately wanted to play more - it seemed to be as good as before
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