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Subject: Whole-class creation of worker placement game rss

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Jeremy Avery
Canada
Kamloops
BC
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Creating two separate posts for two separate issues in the classroom.

So I've never done anything quite like this in a classroom, but I'd like to use the creation of a board game to motivate my 3rd/4th graders to research our Social Studies topics this year. Our curriculum looks at traditional ways of First Nations (Native American) peoples, including technologies, social structures, ways of life, as well as first contact with settlers including fur trade, treaties, changes to traditional ways of life, etc.

Good stuff!

After playing several games that come closer to these topics, like Greenland and (to a certain extent) Stone Age, the ideas of game-creation really clicked when I played A Feast for Odin. Ideas like boat-building, hunting, trapping, etc. work so well for my curriculum.

Of course, that particular game is too long and cumbersome for my age group, but I wouldn't want to use it wholesale in any case. But the framework of worker placement, resource collection and conversion, etc., all of it would work well.

So now we need to work on creating the game. This is where I need help. I need to think through the steps of how to teach this too the class, and how to walk out the design process. Here is what I have come up with so far:

Teach the idea of worker placement: This part shouldn't be too difficult. One thing I love about worker placement is how concrete and thematic it can be. I will teach the mechanics of placement, costs/requirements, and then carrying out actions.

Game balance:The next thing I will do is talk about game balance (using the AFFO mechanic of multiple workers for stronger actions). We'll talk about how this will be part of the ongoing process of design, making sure nothing is too strong.

Ideating for places: So then we will need ideas about what our workers can do, and of course that will come from their research. It will be my job to find appropriate resources, and then get the class started with one or two examples of possible worker placement options.

From there things start to get a bit hazy. The goal isn't really to have a playabale, balanced game, so much as have fun with the worker placement design process, thinking about requirements of resources or technologies, etc.

So, jump in! What else do I need to be thinking about? I'm an open book.








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Phil Hendrickson
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Seward
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Thinking of the harvests in Agricola or the need to feed workers in Stone Age, usually a WP game includes some mechanism that provides a structure of sub-goals or requirements that players have to meet. What are the reasons that drive the players' decisions of where to go? If the game is simulating a culture, when necessities and challenges faced the members of that culture?

Do they need food to eat? (We all do.)
Do they need weapons to defend from attacks? (Some do; some don't.)
Do they need to build shelter?
...

For your game design, how and when will these challenges/necessities be evaluated? (Seasons, years, at specific events like an impending invasion,...)
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