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Subject: Suggestions for Euro game community class rss

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Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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I thought I'd tap into the experiences of other BGG members who have done such things. I'm interested in teaching a class on Euro games at my local adult education center. I'll need to submit a course description, maximum number of students, etc.

I thought that I'd spend 20 minutes or so of each class giving out information on Euro games and resources (BGG, podcasts, etc.) and explaining rules, then letting people form groups and play. I'd also like to tap into the local game store and see if they would be interested in co-sponsoring the class (e.g., providing games, etc.)


1) Class size. I'm thinking that much more than 8 is going to be hard for a single person to deal with. That would allow two tables of four.

2) Games per class. Ideally, I think it would be easier to teach one game per class, but that means having multiple copies of the same game. It's possible that students may want to play a game from a previous class. Teaching two games would give people a choice. How have other people done it?

3) Games. Ideally, I'd like to do a series of games that aren't too difficult, yet give students a flavor of the various mechanics (tile placement, area majority, abstracts, etc.) and designers. Examples:

route building: Ticket to Ride
Settlers of Catan
tile laying: Carcassonne, Samurai, Entdecker
abstract: Ingenious
card games: Coloretto, Category 5, Res Publica, ...
auction: Medici?, Modern Art?
 
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J. Green
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I had thought about doing this, and the idea I had was to do an introduction class, with a bit on the history of boardgames starting with Scrabble, Monopoly and Risk, which most people are familiar with. Then categorize the new eurogames as either more like Scrabble (Tile Laying: Carcasonne, Fresh Fish, E&T); more like Monopoly (Economic and Engine-building: Settlers, Acquire, Power Grid); or more like Risk (Risk 2210, Struggle of Empires, Memoir '44).

That way, the folks have a context and it doesn't seem so bewildering. If you say, Ingenious by Reiner Knizia is a lot like Scrabble with shapes instead of letters, they grok it more quickly and can add the unfamiliar elements with less emotional risk.

As you describe the new games, talk about 'game mechanics' like 'roll and move' versus 'draw a tile, place a tile'. Talk about how that gives you more choices and makes the game more interesting.

Then for the rest of the class sessions, pick a game mechanic and several games that use that mechanic to introduce to the class so they see the common theme: the mechanic, used in a variety of contexts and they begin to see that hey, most of these games are the same under the hood, so I can pick the theme I want and after learning a few common mechanics and how they work together, I can more quickly understand lots of these eurogames.

You might do a schedule like this:

1) Introduction
2) Tile laying games
3) Auction games
4) Action point games
5) Area control games
6) Role selection games
7) Dexterity games
8) Deduction games
9) Building/Conquest games
10) Wrap-up

For the wrap up session you could go back and re-visit Monopoly and other classic games and talk about adding new rules, replacing mechanics, spicing up those old games by adding or changing a rule or two using the new mechanics they've been learning about, and talk about game design and the importance of playtesting to the process of producing a finished game, since it's a good bet that many of the excited new gamers will want to start using the mechanics to design their own games.
 
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Mark Goadrich
United States
Conway
Arkansas
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You'll find some good discussion of this topic over at the teachbg Yahoo Group started by Ben Baldanza about his Beyond Monopoly classes.

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/teachbg/
 
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