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Subject: Games for an after school program. rss

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Rob B
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Our school is starting an after school club for board games and I was looking for suggestions. I need a good mix of games for different grade levels that teach different things, e.g. fine motor, logic, math facts. We have between $200-$300 initially but if this goes well, we can get a lot more. Also, since this is for a school program, we have to be aware of appearances so games that have guns, drugs and other questionable content need to be avoided but if they can be tied to a school subject, it is a much easier sell.

Below if the list I came up with but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Roborally
Ticket to Ride
Formula D
Seven Wonders
Terraforming Mars
Junk Art
Pandemic
Codenames
Set
Power Grid
Secret Code 13+4
Sumoku
 
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Germany
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Two players:

Hive Pocket

Morels

Two to four players:

Splendor

The Voyages of Marco Polo

One to four players:

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island plus Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island – Voyage of the Beagle (Vol. 1)

 
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Daniel King
United States
Franklin
Kentucky
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I run a gaming club at my school and I have to say that many of your games seem a bit ambitious. For example, Terraforming Mars easily takes 2 hours with 4 players and that's if everyone is committed to the game. I have found that lighter games tend to do well. For example, the two games that get played the most at my club are Love Letter and Tiny Epic Defenders. It might just be my modest collection, but I find that students don't really look at the longer games too much. This gets complicated by the fact that often a student may come and go. I think Ticket to ride, junk art, pandemic, and codenames are all good choices. Good luck with your club, just remember that while you might have a smart group of teenagers, they are still teenagers.
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Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
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Chess, Sequence, or Monopoly.
 
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Daniel King
United States
Franklin
Kentucky
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+1 to chess. Your school might have a separate chess club, but there are always a few students who enjoy playing it.
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Pierre C
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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When you say after school club, what age ranges are you talking about?
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Rob B
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Thank you for the advice and great ideas as well! I will definitely add chess, hive, love letter and chess to the list. I haven't heard of the others (which is the point of this thread) so I'm looking them up now and they look great as well.

The main grade levels are 7-10 but if possible, we would like to try younger students as well. Maybe something like Dragonwood and Pina Pirata? Older students are welcome too but we don't seem to get that many of them.

Again, thank you all for the help!
 
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John
United Kingdom
Southampton
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DentBloodpool wrote:
The main grade levels are 7-10 but if possible, we would like to try younger students as well.

Is that ages 12-16?
 
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John
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Some suggestions:

Two player:

Connect Four
Pentago
Mancala
Backgammon
Checkers (can play Breakthrough and many other games too)
Go (probably 9x9)

More players (many of these are good 2p too, some are best with 2p but fine with more):

Hey, That's My Fish! or Battle Sheep
Bananagrams
Citadels or Citadels
The Resistance or The Resistance: Avalon (The Resistance has guns on the team tokens, you could easily replace these with something else)
Bohnanza
Carcassonne
FlowerFall
Gemblo
Qwirkle

Playing cards!
 
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Rob B
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Yes. Although the 3rd grade (9 years old) teachers are interested now as well.
 
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Setratus
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Though not exactly educational, you may actually want to try out the old-school wrestling card/dice game, Champions of the Galaxy. When I was in 9th grade, I had a lot of success with this and actually had most of my homeroom playing in a league.

Also, Sorry Sliders, Ingenious, Splendor, and Blokus.

If mobile/tablets are allowed, Space Team. Free and up to four players. While great fun (well, usually!), it does teach communication and teamwork skills.
 
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Mauricio Montoya
Colombia
Medellín
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From my experience playing with my now 9-year old daughter and her firends when they come to visit, and teaching a good bunch of games to my non-gaming family members, here are a few recommendations:

Sushi Go is a faster (and cheaper) alternative to 7 Wonders that may be more appealing and easier to teach to young students, while keeping the same core gameplay.

Takenoko and Tokaido are also very approachable and attractive to all genders and ages, and won't take more than an hour to play. Dixit is also a very good and attractive game for all ages. As ugly as some gender stereotypes are, try to stay more gender neutral or even girl-friendly in your game choices if you want more female students to get interested and feel included. My wife loves space marines and medieval trading simulations, but that's not very common at a younger age.

Also, some quick co-ops like Forbidden Island or Flash Point Fire Rescue will surely be well recieved, as the possibility to play and win together in a game is still a new and surprising concept to many, and it's also easy to justify as a didactic tool for teaching teamwork and cooperation.

Definitely try to stay away from 60+ minute games because the attention span and time availability of students will make them very difficult to get to the table. That expected time works only when everyone already knows the game, but each time you teach the game with some new players present it will easily take double the expected amount. Don't ignore simpler party games and skill based games because not everybody wants a brain burner all the time, and for the time stick to light-medium games (at most) that are playable in under 45 minutes and don't take more than 10 minutes to setup, teach and get going.

As the group solidifies and there are some regular members that know how to play a lot of games and can teach them to the newcomers, you can slowly begin to introduce a few more complex games if there's enough people interested. Don't spend your initial budget in games like Voyages of Marco Polo, Stone Age or Power Grid (despite being all excellent) if nobody's gonna play them right now, while you can get 2 or 3 smaller and still good games for the price of one of those, and they will get played a lot more.

And lastly, reserve part of your budget to get a lot of cheap penny sleeves for all those cards (no need for premuim ones, but put something on them for Odin's sake). Those games are gonna be handled a lot, and not always by careful or clean-obsessed people (teenagers are far from that). If you want the group to last you will also need the games to last in playable condition for a good while.
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Tobi Wagner
Germany
Ludwigsburg
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I am running a after school boardgame club, too. Things our students love and I'd recommend therefore are:

Codenames
Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Love Letter
Sushi Go!
Camel Up
Dominion
7 Wonders
7 Wonders Duel
The Resistance
Splendor

Some of them prefer more strategic and heavier games we also feature. But the depends on how old your students are and how familiar they are with boardgames.
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Liz D
United States
North Carolina
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+1 to Splendor. The kids in my board game club love that one. Castle Panic has also been a big hit this year, as has Once Upon a Time. We're hoping to introduce them to Spyfall today. I suspect it will be a hit.

Good luck! Board game clubs rock.
 
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Alexander K
United States
Seattle
Washington
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If you haven't had a chance Tiffany B from the League of Nonsensical Gamers has a running segment on Board Game Blender every other Thursday about this very topic, but her Board of Education segments are also collected on the League's YouTube site as well.

She has some very cool and unusual picks that I wasn't aware of or never would have thought of.
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Linda Chov
China
BEIJING
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My after school board game club loves One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Hanabi
 
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Jacob Walker
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Idaho
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My experience with the after school board game club I run is that the best games are one's that are relatively simple and easy to teach, involve larger groups, and preferably that are easy to jump in or out of (not all students can stay very long, sometimes students show up a little later, etc.). In general, I think any game you pick should probably meet at least two of these qualifications.

To that end, Set, Codenames, and Formula D are excellent choices, meeting all three. I have also had a lot of success with Ricochet Robots, Crokinole (if you have it), Dixit, Concept (or PIX or any number of similar games). King of Tokyo is another game that isn't hurt terribly by the sudden loss of a player.

Games like 7 Wonders and Ticket to Ride meet at least two of the qualifications. You don't want to suddenly lose a player, but they are easy to teach, and handle large player counts.

As opposed to Pandemic (which I have had some success with), you might try Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert. I tried Captain Sonar the other day and it went pretty well, but took a while to teach. They can be a little more difficult to explain as party games go, but you might try Sheriff of Nottingham, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, etc.

As an experiment, I started off game club this year by having students fill out questionnaires, which I then used to create a custom set of Monikers. We haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I'm hopeful it will go over well, especially since it was created entirely with their input (and my editorial touch).

The most important thing to remember as you are choosing games is that this game club really belongs to the students, and not to you. You want to bring games that you are confident they will enjoy. Your enjoyment is secondary, so you should probably avoid bringing a game like Terraforming Mars. It's an excellent game, but probably not great for the setting. When the students request more complicated games, I often handle it by making it their responsibility to drum up interest, teach the rules and referee the game. I also make it clear that game club has a set ending time, and if they haven't finished their game by then, oh well.

But of course, any group will be different, and you might have a group of students that can handle and would enjoy Terraforming Mars. If that's the case, by all means, play away.

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Mauricio Montoya
Colombia
Medellín
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eagleeye42 wrote:
The most important thing to remember as you are choosing games is that this game club really belongs to the students, and not to you. You want to bring games that you are confident they will enjoy.


Can't stress this enough. I'm sure very few people here will recommend games like Munchkin or Werewolf, and most will tell you to actively avoid them. But if your students enjoy them and they serve as a vehicle to gather kids as a group and focus their attention away from their cellphones for an hour or two, go get them and play on!

Not every true gamer needs to be a heavy gamer, and you'll probably get more participation if there is a wide offering of gateway-level games that are very easy to teach and play, there is nothing wrong with that.
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Manuel David Cruz
Spain
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Do you know Ars Universalis?
 
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