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Subject: Intro. to Historical Gaming, pt. 5: Semester 2 - Electric Boogaloo rss

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Chris Rush
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You've been wondering where my updates have been, haven't you? I apologize for the delay. It's been a strange time, what with snow disasters, Internet loss, and what I like to call "thesis season." It's the time of year in which I guide the senior class through their senior theses. I'm currently halfway through their rough drafts, so I haven't been able to do much playing or whatnot on my own. But enough about me.

This new semester of our Intro. to Historical (War)Gaming elective has an all-new cast. Last semester's seniors have been replaced by 6 sophomores and 2 juniors. We did have a freshman for a couple of days, but scheduling conflicts struck again. We started out with a refreshing level of enthusiasm for rule reading, which was quite enjoyable. It hasn't lasted, but it was nice for a time. On the whole they are a nomadic bunch: instead of sitting focuses on their own games, when their opponents are taking their turns the others are usually wandering around looking at the other games in motion. This is partially a good thing, in that it helps maintain their enthusiasm for the hobby and allows them to see other games quickly - but I don't think it is doing much for their concentration or strategy skills. In due time, I suppose.

We have also had a lot of piece losing and game crashing. "I" have lost a few pieces (and though the losing was performed by the students, I get to feel the eternal effects) to Blue & Gray, D-Day, The Battle of the Bulge, and War of the Ring. At least so far. Ah, well. At least the games are getting played by a new generation of gamers. We've also had about 4 games kamikaze to the floor off our "storage shelves." Once was my fault, I admit, but let's not quibble. Fortunately, the times when it happened the game was usually just about over, and the students didn't mind too much. I just hope the custodian's vacuum cleaner enjoyed digesting the unfound pieces. So it's been a goofy semester thus far, for a lot of reasons.

One other noticeable difference this semester is in the height of the students. I've gone from being the shortest person in the class surrounded by six 6-foot-tall seniors (mostly) to the tallest person among mostly 5' 3" sophomores. I've become designated game storer and retriever from the shelves, since most of the sophomores are too embarrassed to get on chairs to reach. We do what we can.

We started off with the "usual" intro. games: Napoleon at Waterloo (and some pieces were lost for that one, too), a few dabbled in Blue & Gray, others did some the early AH classics I own: Waterloo, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge. Battle Cry was quite popular for a time for many. Two brave sophomores started Fury in the West but got distracted by others playing Star Force Terra #1: Contact!. Others played Feudal and the "Crete" game from the S&T Paratroop. The juniors dabbled in War of the Ring and Hunt for Red October. Not the most "wargaming" games, true, but the diversity they are experiencing is a victory in itself.

At the recent Parent-Teacher Conferences, a number of the dads of the sophomores were quite enthusiastic about their sons' reactions to the semester. One father had played a lot of the S&T games back in the day and lamented how his collection was long gone, though now thanks to the course he is looking forward to getting it going again so he and his son can do more than just play chess together. Another victory, indeed.

We'll see how it goes through the rest of the term. I think the many snow days has helped keep their enthusiasm, since they haven't had too many weeks of gaming, and the paucity has helped more than it has hurt. Even though I'm not a fan of carrying the games down the hall from my room to their administration offices for the weekend, and the loss of pieces is admittedly painful, on the whole I'd say we are scoring more positives than negatives this time around. Certainly getting 8 kids exposed to the hobby and restrengthening father-son gaming times will win out every time.
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David Dockter
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Tossed a link to this post in the "Recruiting the Young Guard" thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/15507082
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Chris Rush
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Thanks! I know I need to do another one, but we haven't been able to do much lately, with Spring Break, college visits, and another week of no electives (Battle Cry Week). Everyone is now playing Civilization.
 
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