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Subject: Setting a boardgaming group up for the youth at church rss

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Paul Evans
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Advice appreciated!

As the title says - I am setting up a board gaming group for the youth at my church. I would appreciate your advice. I had thought to set up some polls, but think I might get better input if I just ask you to contribute.

I attempted to elicit inputs from the youth themselves via chats and an online survey. The results were not conclusive.

Some facets where your inputs could be useful:
- Is it a good idea to have a code of conduct?
- Should I include snacks?
- How late is too late?
- What sort of adult support is 'appropriate'?
- Best ways to communicate and co-ordinate
- Anything else

Thanks in advance.
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Dan
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This is a good podcast with some people in the States who have done exactly what you are thinking of doing...

http://dicesteeple.libsyn.com/the-dice-steeple-episode-8-boa...
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Paul Evans
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djn1981 wrote:
This is a good podcast with some people in the States who have done exactly what you are thinking of doing...

http://dicesteeple.libsyn.com/the-dice-steeple-episode-8-boa...
Great resource - thanks.
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Art Parry
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I asked a similar question of Sam Healy on his recent (September 2016) Geek of the Week thread.

SamHealey wrote:
CommandoBob wrote:
Congratulations, Sam. I have really enjoyed watching you interact with Tom ("Recognize Me!") and Zee ("Ten minutes is too long for a game, man, just too, too long. Five minutes and I'm done.") on the Top 10 lists.

01. What games do you think work well in a youth group / college church group? This could be specific games or game types. I would like to suggest some to our Youth Pastor but I don't want to just suggest "my-kind-of" games.

02a. Have you found any age group that is more open to modern board games than others?
02b. Or any age group that is less open to them?

03. How long does it take to film a Top 10 list, including all the starts, stops, retakes, potty breaks, etc.?

04. Which game have you had in your collection the longest? (Umm...mine is the American Heritage game "Dogfight" which I played as a kid (so about 45-49 years in my collection, though I haven't played it this century)).

05. How did you "build" your game storage area? Bookshelves, storage racks, something customized?

1. Games that have done well for me in youth group have been games like Say Anything!, Wits and Wagers, The Resistance, Bang!: The Dice Game, Celestia, Apples to Apples, and Cash & Guns 2nd Edition (but this one might be met with some resistance since you are pointing [albeit foam] guns at each other...but the kids love it!).

2a. Middle School kids are usually open to playing almost anything you put in front of them.

2b. High School kids are generally harder to get to play games...they're too busy trying to look cool, and if they have the slightest perception that gaming isn't cool, they're out.

3. No potty breaks, usually. It takes about as long as they are, no more.

4. Star Wars Monopoly Episode I Edition...it was the first game Tom bought me for a birthday...a long time ago.

5. Bookshelves...and a hodge-podge of them at that.

Thanks, Art!
Sam.
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Cool User
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Some quick thoughts:

--Does it really need to be youth only? You might have more success if you let the entire family participate. (I am actually facing this situation at my church where I am not welcome at the only boardgame night they have on the calendar. Restrictions are never nice for the people excluded.)

--One concern specific to a church venue is whether you will allow kids to bring their own games and, if so, what kind of boundaries can those games not cross (horror, violence, occult, sexual content, etc.) It's not likely to come up, but you should be prepared by talking to the church leaders before a problem arises.

--Snacks are always a motivator to bring people in, but you have to be clear up front about respecting game components.

--"too late" depends on the ages involved and their parents' judgment.

--the best "adult support" is getting adults who actually want to game with the kids. I am guessing very few adults would want to show up just to supervise/chaperone (unless they have a child attending).


Consider asking in the Christian gamers guild for issues specific to gaming at church.

I think there are some other guilds that specifically target gaming with kids, but since I don't game with kids I can't think of one off the top of my head. You would probably be saved from reinventing the wheel by checking those.
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NoFunAtAll
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Ryan Bohm
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Worked in youth ministry for over 10 years, playing games for much of the time.

Just a few thoughts for what it is worth.

1. Start simple and work your way up! I started with Dominion and Catan. Both flopped because they were a bit too complex for our group at the time. I held off on games for a while and then tried Resistance and that took. I slowly introduced more complex games as the group could handle it. Now Dominion and Catan are too basic.

2. What works for some, won't work for all! King of Tokyo and Love Letter have flopped horribly because it was too complex for some! As crazy as that sounds, some students will fail to grasp the most basic of games. I was shocked when a girl was stumped by Resistance and King of Tokyo, but was actually rather savvy at Deception: Murder in Hong Kong.

3. Keep things informal. Teach folks to respect the games and respect one another. Aside from that, have fun and handle issues as they arise.

4. Allow for conflict. It's ok for your students to get a bit heated. Let them work through their frustration with one another. If things get too heated, jump in. I've found though that it is always best to give them space to work out their issues...if nothing else, it helps make them better adults down the road. We also have a saying in our group that helps mellow things out. I occasionally say "Remember, we sorta like each other." That simple line often helps.

5. Be careful about adult "help." Some adults aren't great at winning...or losing...or competing with people younger then them. High expectations about who helps goes a long way here.

6. Food is good. But we rarely game and eat at the same time. That's my preference and the students have never been bothered by that.

7. Don't game with tired teenagers. A thousand times this! Although, a game of Resistance at 3:00 am might provide a few chuckles....or tears.

8. Don't pressure people into games "C'mon play, we just need one more" is the recipe for disaster. I've seen it a billion times. I even witnessed it tonight with the college group that had a game day today. Everyone now and then it works, but often it fails, and it leaves a sour taste in people's mouths. Playing a game with someone who doesn't want to play rarely works out.

9. Many teenagers love games...they just don't know it. Do your diligence to find the games that they like. Find games that are good for a variety of folks in your group. I have students that didn't know how much they loved games like Space Alert or Dominant Species while others are still content to play Catchphrase and Pit. It's all good! As long as they are having fun together.

10. Champion your students when they beat you. They will be gunning for you. It can be annoying for sure. They will make sub-optimal moves just so you lose....but alas, you will get the best of them often. Be humble...but when they win, tell them they did a great job. Don't be a jerk, don't tell them they got lucky (even if they did!). You don't always know what it means to that lil bugger who won a board game...especially when they take you down on the way to victory.

Happy to answer any further questions, but that's all for now. It's late and sorry for any typos.
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Chris Dragon
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Always have a written code of conduct. It just sets the expectations, and you'll have something tangible to fall back in if you need to correct someone for inappropriate behavior. If it's too nebulous, it's hard to tell someone "Don't bend the cards" or "Don't swear" if you don't have it.
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Paul Evans
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All,
I really appreciate your inputs here.
I have become tempted to open it up to the church as a whole. I'm thinking - 'for the youth, but open to all'.
I have a website coming together for a bit of social media integration.
Notice prepared for the church bulletin.
Need to work on a poster for the notice board.
Cheers
Paul
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Paul Evans
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All,

So this is going ahead. First night set for Saturday 8th Oct.

I have made a wix website (http://evanswhanau.wixsite.com/tictactoe).

And crafted a code of conduct (http://evanswhanau.wixsite.com/tictactoe/code-of-conduct).

One of the youth has fed back that it is too prescriptive, and would take away from the fun/social aspects of gaming. really appreciate all your inputs.

Thanks.
 
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Lynette
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PaulEvans wrote:
All,

So this is going ahead. First night set for Saturday 8th Oct.

I have made a wix website (http://evanswhanau.wixsite.com/tictactoe).

And crafted a code of conduct (http://evanswhanau.wixsite.com/tictactoe/code-of-conduct).

One of the youth has fed back that it is too prescriptive, and would take away from the fun/social aspects of gaming. really appreciate all your inputs.

Thanks.


I think your code of conduct it too long for most teens to bother to read.

Brevity and Bullet points are your friend.
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Cool User
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A lot of the specific points you cover are pretty advanced for a casual group. Concepts like a game being "broken" or being an "alpha gamer" probably don't mean anything to most people who haven't gamed before.

A lot of points could be condensed into "be considerate of others" and then take offenders aside to suggest ways to act more appropriately as the need arises.

But I definitely like the section about Respecting the Cardboard! Even though I've been gaming for 17 years, I still riffle-shuffle (gently) and I have no idea what those other shuffling terms mean - so neither will most kids. You'll need to explain/demonstrate. I would also add: When packing up a game, scan the table and surrounding floor to make sure you didn't miss anything.
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Chris in Kansai
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I think your code of conduct works fine with just the "Respect" headings and no lists of examples.

For the inaugural event you could talk through the list to explain a little more if you think it's necessary.

You could also put a poster up with just the Respect points, nice and big, so that it catches the eye. Seeing it often enough might stop the red mist from descending on occasion.
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Guido Van Horn
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PaulEvans wrote:
Advice appreciated!

As the title says - I am setting up a board gaming group for the youth at my church. I would appreciate your advice. I had thought to set up some polls, but think I might get better input if I just ask you to contribute.

I attempted to elicit inputs from the youth themselves via chats and an online survey. The results were not conclusive.

Some facets where your inputs could be useful:
- Is it a good idea to have a code of conduct?
- Should I include snacks?
- How late is too late?
- What sort of adult support is 'appropriate'?
- Best ways to communicate and co-ordinate
- Anything else

Thanks in advance.


A good brief code of conduct is....Respect others, respect the games, respect yourself. If you have to have discussions on what it means to have respect, I suppose you could do that sometimes, however spelling it all out becomes TLDR pretty quick.
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