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Subject: Teacher using Settlers in classroom - opinion rss

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Brian Zollinhofer
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mdornbrook wrote:
There are a great deal of protections for educators, though this may not be one of them. Just a note, you could make 8 different preset boards so that the kids can switch them up a little bit so that it creates a randomizing effect.

We think along the same lines... I created 8 of the exact same board to teach the students on so that we could all follow along on our own boards instead of trying to see what I'm talking about on one up front.

Then on the other side of the board is 1 of 8 different boards. That way they can play on different ones without having to see the same set up each time.
 
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Brian Zollinhofer
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jugglingfool wrote:
I am also a teacher and I have used Settlers in the classroom. However I took a different route. I made a whiteboard version out of scrapbook paper for the hexes and construction paper for the pieces. I bribed the librarian to laminate it all, which was a chore, but a few brownies make the world go round. Then I put the kids in six groups. One person for the group would come up and roll the dice. I would put the resources out on a piece of paper that matched their color so I wouldn't have to run around the room passing out resources. To trade the groups would have to send the resources to "market" in the front of the room and then could only trade with the active player. Put all the pieces on fridge magnets and it worked like a charm.

Since I teach high school resetting it for each class got a little hectic, but it was well worth it. Normally I would never put people in groups for a game of settlers, but in this instance it wroked because everyone in the class seemed to get pretty animated about the trades. I was in a block schedule school so we had 90 minutes per class, but fun was had by all.

One copy for the class to see on the whiteboard may alleviate some of your misgivings about copying the game. But I don't think that Mayfair would have a problem wiht you using a homemade set for a classroom. Plus many of the students who played actually went out and bought a copy for themselves or their families. Sounds like you could be doing some good marketing for them.

Very interesting way of doing this.

1 copy vs. 8 copies vs. 30 copies has no bearing on my conscience. If you think copying 1 is fine, then copying 8 for the same reason would have to be fine too. The question would be is copying 1 okay? And just so you know, I didn't photocopy anything. I actually went through a lot of trouble, and it isn't the most fun to play with my created version (which is a good incentive to go out and buy the real one). I created my own board with plain colors (no nice artwork), development cards (laminated pieces of paper that say 1 v.p. or Road Building - very basic), resource cards (this one was the biggest pain - Popsicle sticks with different colors on each side - that's right... that's close to 800 sticks. And they aren't very fun to hold), the boards are laminated, so instead of having pieces, the students use overhead markers to color in the roads or cities they build.

Like I said, it works, but it is messy...
 
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Brian Zollinhofer
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Mariana wrote:
You could just use the paper & pencil version of Settlers - see
http://www.info.catan.de/paper_and_pencil.html (in German)
and in particular
http://www.info.catan.de/download/?PPCatan_Regel-Material.pd... (also in German). That should sort out any legal issues, given that this version of Settlers is freely available.

1. I didn't know this was available. And yes, this is what I want to do.

2. What is the difference of me creating my own (just like this one, but a bit more not-so-nice) and using this one? I would have probably used this one if I would have known about it, and if it would have been in English. My students have a hard enough time with English. If I throw German in the mix their heads may spin around and explode...
 
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Brian Zollinhofer
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Neontek wrote:
russ wrote:
wafflestomper wrote:
1. Do you see anything immoral about this?

Haha, I see from the replies you were talking about the morality of making your own set. When I first read this, I thought you meant the morality of using class time to play boardgames, and I was going to say it depended on what the class was about... For a class about math, geography, psychology, culture, economics, history, etc, sure. For, e.g., a music class, well, maybe not.

no, it has zero percent educational value. To prove my point; what's historical about Settlers? (Yes, even the 'historical' variants.)


Obviously you aren't a teacher. Of course it has educational value. It teaches students how to socially interact with each other in an appropriate way; to get along in groups. It deals with probability, and gives them an applicable way to understand it. One of the topics I have to cover is the difference between theoretical probability as well as experimental probability. I think Settlers does an EXCELLENT job with this. How many times has your 6s not produced the way they should have. You could talk about supply and demand. "Why doesn't anyone want my sheep!?!?"

I could stretch it to include a lot more, but I don't have to. It does what I need it to without ever having to try very hard...
 
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Brian Zollinhofer
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Neontek wrote:
wafflestomper wrote:
Neontek wrote:
russ wrote:
wafflestomper wrote:
1. Do you see anything immoral about this?

Haha, I see from the replies you were talking about the morality of making your own set. When I first read this, I thought you meant the morality of using class time to play boardgames, and I was going to say it depended on what the class was about... For a class about math, geography, psychology, culture, economics, history, etc, sure. For, e.g., a music class, well, maybe not.

no, it has zero percent educational value. To prove my point; what's historical about Settlers? (Yes, even the 'historical' variants.)


Obviously you aren't a teacher. Of course it has educational value. It teaches students how to socially interact with each other in an appropriate way; to get along in groups. It deals with probability, and gives them an applicable way to understand it. One of the topics I have to cover is the difference between theoretical probability as well as experimental probability. I think Settlers does an EXCELLENT job with this. How many times has your 6s not produced the way they should have. You could talk about supply and demand. "Why doesn't anyone want my sheep!?!?"
I could stretch it to include a lot more, but I don't have to. It does what I need it to without ever having to try very hard...

Yes, but the time you would waste playing boardgames could be used more productively by explaining all these things faster.

You're just using this boardgame stuff as an excuse to play games and get paid to do so. American education is going down the drain because of these "ideas". Stop playing, start teaching.

You are so right. I play board games all year and never teach anything.

Try teaching students something the last week of school when all their grades are in and they know that what you are teaching them won't count.
 
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wafflestomper wrote:

Try teaching students something the last week of school when all their grades are in and they know that what you are teaching them won't count.

Haha.. I know the feeling. I'm not a teacher but me and my wife are very involved with the school (she's there almost every day helping). The kids basically mail it in the last week of school. They're bouncing off the walls. I think teaching games like Settlers is a fantastic idea for the last week. Gives me an idea for my son's 4th grade class next year though I'd probably go with 4-5 decks of Loot or Bohnanza instead of 8 copies of Settlers. But I admire your ambitiousness. :-)

From the above posts it sounds like it's a go. Be sure to come back and post how it went.
 
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Neontek wrote:
Yes, but the time you would waste playing boardgames could be used more productively by explaining all these things faster.

You're just using this boardgame stuff as an excuse to play games and get paid to do so. American education is going down the drain because of these "ideas". Stop playing, start teaching.

Maybe we just have a different philosophy of education...

Tell me, and I forget;
Show me, and I remember;
Let me do, and I understand.
Chinese Proverb

PS. No one else in the world tries to educate the range of children that we do. There are lots of statistics that show how America is falling behind. Well, we test EVERYBODY under No Child Left Untested, er, I mean Behind. How many other countries can truly say that? Most countries' stats come from the top percentages of students.

If you gave an American child the Iowa State Exam from the 1950's he would score at his grade level, whatever that may be. If you give today's child that same test, they score 1-2 grades above their grade level. American education isn't failing. It's simply the media's portrayal of American Education.

MJ

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How many did you say you needed? I have my copy sitting around that I haven't played in years. If we can get enough people to commit to donating a copy to meet your needs, I'd be willing to donate it to the cause if shipping were to be paid for. Would that work for you?


 
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Brian Zollinhofer
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UvulaBob wrote:
How many did you say you needed? I have my copy sitting around that I haven't played in years. If we can get enough people to commit to donating a copy to meet your needs, I'd be willing to donate it to the cause if shipping were to be paid for. Would that work for you?

Wow, that would be great! I'll keep a running count.

Donators of Catan = 1

Donators of Catan needed = 7

I can only pay for shipment from the US. I'll have to go to the post office and see how much it would cost.

I agree though, I'd like to get commitments from 8 sets of games before having you send it to me. No reason to donate you game for me to not use it...
 
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Immoral - no.

Illegal? Technically, yes. Though it would also be expensive, travel editions are cheaper, especially from Newspiel.com (I think like $17.50 apiece). Even so, that could be pricey. Try to find other gamers in your area and see if they'll let you borrow their copies. If you can take them to a computer lab, they also have settlers of catan online which they may be able to play. I understand what you mean about teachers being creative, though. I'm about to student teach and I'll have to plan things like this without even getting a paycheck to suppliment it.

Something you may be able to do a little easier than Popsicle sticks, though, would be to just get colored stones from hobby shops. Bags of them are usually pretty cheap and you'd be able to reuse them for tons of other things without fear of splinters or wear and tear.

Also, I would not recommend at all sharing these pdfs with other teachers. Give them the idea and if they like it, let them find their own way of doing it. But for you to provide these materials on your own, that could be a big legal stew you don't want for dinner.
 
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dumwytgi wrote:
Immoral - no.

Illegal? Technically, yes. Though it would also be expensive, travel editions are cheaper, especially from Newspiel.com (I think like $17.50 apiece). Even so, that could be pricey. Try to find other gamers in your area and see if they'll let you borrow their copies. If you can take them to a computer lab, they also have settlers of catan online which they may be able to play. I understand what you mean about teachers being creative, though. I'm about to student teach and I'll have to plan things like this without even getting a paycheck to suppliment it.

Something you may be able to do a little easier than Popsicle sticks, though, would be to just get colored stones from hobby shops. Bags of them are usually pretty cheap and you'd be able to reuse them for tons of other things without fear of splinters or wear and tear.

Also, I would not recommend at all sharing these pdfs with other teachers. Give them the idea and if they like it, let them find their own way of doing it. But for you to provide these materials on your own, that could be a big legal stew you don't want for dinner.

I'm not sure that it is illegal, although that is a debate for a different thread (and has been thoroughly discussed in another one).

I actually thought about the colored stones, but the price of 800 stones vs. 800 Popsicle sticks was very different...

About sharing pdfs... I think it is a moot point now since I found out about http://www.info.catan.de/paper_and_pencil.html. Now if someone (ie. klausteuber.de) could make a version of that in English, that would be awesome.

So, I believe the conclusion I've come to is:

I'm going to use the games I've already created to teach my students. If I can gather enough people to donate 8 games, I'll use those instead. That one may have to be for next year...

I won't distribute my own creation (since the above site has an even better creation than mine). I would recommend laminating it and using overhead markers though for re-usability.

If anyone else wants to be added to the Donators, let me know!
 
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wafflestomper wrote:
About sharing pdfs... I think it is a moot point now since I found out about http://www.info.catan.de/paper_and_pencil.html. Now if someone (ie. klausteuber.de) could make a version of that in English, that would be awesome.

So, I believe the conclusion I've come to is:

I'm going to use the games I've already created to teach my students. If I can gather enough people to donate 8 games, I'll use those instead. That one may have to be for next year...

I won't distribute my own creation (since the above site has an even better creation than mine). I would recommend laminating it and using overhead markers though for re-usability.

If anyone else wants to be added to the Donators, let me know!

There are english language rules for the paper & pencil version on BGG. If you want to use them, and find that there are ambiguities in the translated text, PM the translator to check. Or I'd be happy to check it, too, as would any of the german-speakers here (I am sure).
 
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And here's where I'll step in.

As Educational Outreach coordinator for Mayfair, we absolutely believe that there is a time, place and value for games in educational settings. For the last four years, I have taught a weekly games elective course at a local middle school, and the longevity, popularity and praise that this program has gives us a warm fuzzy feeling at providing something useful, but also gets us actively looking for ways to replicate these successes elsewhere.

I've provided Brian a response (short version: almost certainly yes, go ahead). Note that this is a case-by-case thing, as we vastly prefer to work with educators to provide them with actual sets and/or staff to assist with programs like this, based on the number of students, the long-term use of the game, et al. Making homebrew sets certainly exposes students to the game, which we like; it also exposes them to the concept of making a game they want with whatever they can find, which we are less happy about. We do have a responsibility to protect that with we do not own, but have a right to use (remember, we are a licensee of Catan). Obviously, we're not going to put artificial roadblocks in the way of educators who have a legitimate use for any of our games. The Teachers' Zone of the Mayfair website, though small, will, in the future, have materials like this available for educators to download.

In general, we want to work with teachers and educators to give their students the best experience possible. We have a lot of experience teaching these games, and have slowly been building up materials and plans that we can share with teachers, when we know about their programs and their audience. We usually ask for whatever teaching materials or lesson plans that are created, in order to share with others; we also like to have a post-session report and/or photos for our use. By asking that educators contact us beforehand (which Brian did), we can help him give students the best Catan and Mayfair experience possible!

If you have more questions, I'll watch this thread for another day or so, or contact me at ayeager@gmail.com .

Thanks!
Alex Yeager
Mayfair Games


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Brian Zollinhofer
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Thanks again for responding. I'm excited the see the possibilities for my classroom, and the excitement my students will have about playing a "non-math" game (even though it really does have quite a bit of math in it)!
 
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AlexYeager wrote:
almost certainly yes, go ahead

As a special ed teacher myself, I can tell you how rarely one encounters that kind of generosity and common sense from private companies. Most seem hellbent on making access and interest in whatever product they sell remain as low as possible.

I had a bunch of kids who were having trouble grasping integers until I whipped out No Thanks!, which proved to me how useful games can be for teaching; maybe I'll try Catan next.

Alex, you guys are definitely doing the right thing, and it's something to see. You've just won one fan for life, anyway.
 
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Neontek wrote:
wafflestomper wrote:
Neontek wrote:
russ wrote:
wafflestomper wrote:
1. Do you see anything immoral about this?

Haha, I see from the replies you were talking about the morality of making your own set. When I first read this, I thought you meant the morality of using class time to play boardgames, and I was going to say it depended on what the class was about... For a class about math, geography, psychology, culture, economics, history, etc, sure. For, e.g., a music class, well, maybe not.

no, it has zero percent educational value. To prove my point; what's historical about Settlers? (Yes, even the 'historical' variants.)


Obviously you aren't a teacher. Of course it has educational value. It teaches students how to socially interact with each other in an appropriate way; to get along in groups. It deals with probability, and gives them an applicable way to understand it. One of the topics I have to cover is the difference between theoretical probability as well as experimental probability. I think Settlers does an EXCELLENT job with this. How many times has your 6s not produced the way they should have. You could talk about supply and demand. "Why doesn't anyone want my sheep!?!?"
I could stretch it to include a lot more, but I don't have to. It does what I need it to without ever having to try very hard...

Yes, but the time you would waste playing boardgames could be used more productively by explaining all these things faster.

You're just using this boardgame stuff as an excuse to play games and get paid to do so. American education is going down the drain because of these "ideas". Stop playing, start teaching.
I apologize for the rant that is about to follow. As a teacher myself, these types of comments really burn me. Education and educators is an easy target simply because everyone has been through it before, and, therefore, they feel they have license to criticize. The truth is that not everyone can teach, and there is a special skill set required to become an effective teacher. I have seen it numerous times when parents come into present lessons, and they figure it will be a breeze because I talk to kids all of the time. It is just not that simple.

Tobias your view is completely unenlightened. There are so many educational rewards that can result from learning and playing a boardgame. Currently, I have been working on creating a multi-disciplinary unit focusing on Settler's of Catan. Many ideas have been mentioned before, but these are some of my focuses:

-probability
-collaboration
-decision-making
-resource shortages
-placement civilizations
-necessity of trade
-reading functional text
-using organizational structures of functional text to find information

Whether or not the game itself teaches real authentic facts is moot. The fact that it can stimulate conversation, incite comparisons, provide motivation, and serve as a reference point all illustrate the value of playing a game in class. After playing the game, we can launch into our study of ancient world civilizations.

Realistically, it is more difficult, time-consuming, and labor-intensive (mostly for the teacher)process to base a set of lessons around a game like this. However, the experience and learning that would take place from an activity like this would be amazing. Not to mention, one of a teacher's most difficult jobs is to interest students in learning. If you are not incorporating these activities in the everyday classroom, you have resigned yourself to the mode of simply trying to force students to do what they do not want to do. It is a simple fact that lack of interest mitigates learning to a point of futility.

Cheers Brian. We need MORE people like you in education. I would love to hear any insights you have from teaching the game. (My one piece of advice...ditch the colored popsicle sticks and go for glass beads. They are inexpensive and a lot less work. I learned this one the hard way.)

Cheers Mayfair for supporting education.
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thumbsup to Mayfair for having the vision to see that a willingness to cooperate with educators will go a long way in transforming kids (and adults) into gamers instead of video ad computer game drones. The more opportunities we can give kids for using their brains and thinking about education in interesting ways... the better.

Also a huge thumbsup to the teachers who take the time to go out of their way to create interesting lessons plans (whether using boardgames or not) that helps remove some dreariness out of education and actually gets kids enjoying being in class and learning about new concepts in a "hands on" and practical way.

There are many skills and concepts that boardgames can help teach... not the least of which are the cooperation aspects, language comprehension, math and abstract strategic thinking that occurs n boardgames. Anything that makes a mind work and process information in various ways IS stimulating and educational. That's what education is all about.

I agree that people who object to putting some fun and creativity into education are basically unenlightened. It certainly IS NOT easy trying to teach children these days and I actually don't envy a lot of what teachers are put through in the school systems. I think they certainly should be allowed to have the flexibility to be creative and teach with methods that actually get results with their students... and if that means occasionally using boardgames or other mediums that are "outside the box"... then so be it.
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Donators of Catan = 2

Donators needed = 6

Thanks to the two who were willing to donate their games. Again, if you have an old copy that has been well loved and you would like a good reason to get a new one, let me know. I'll take it off your hands and make sure it has a good home with lots of new family members!
 
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Quote:
we also like to have a post-session report
So do your fellow geeks here
 
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nexttothemoon wrote:

I agree that people who object to putting some fun and creativity into education are basically unenlightened.

I think Tobias - not being a teacher himself, presumably - doesn't recognize that standing in front of the class and lecturing is a less productive use of time than giving students something to do. Without experiential learning, the very few of us who can tolerate endless talk end up at Harvard, while everyone who has any desire to see the real-world function of what they're learning fall asleep. In special ed. in particular, we're confronted with the need to interest students all day long, because if we don't do the song and dance all the time, we lose the kids, period. Experiential learning is a much more efficient way to use a period than chalk and talk.
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Neontek wrote:
But I doubt playing boardgames is very productive. You might call it experimental, but I would play historical wargames instead. Settlers is like playing Monopoly.

I feel like I'm buying into a potential disaster here, but I will speak up for boardgames as well.

I don't know what the OP is planning for Settlers, but let me tell you what we do when we play it with our 8 year old.

We track the dice rolls, and look at the pattern (does it approximate the expected rolls?).
We look at the total number of rolls for the game and compare it to our average.
We have a fantastic time & spend time together as a family.
We trade and negotiate with one another.
We discuss relative value.
We review strategies, sometimes re-playing the same map over to see whether different strategies might make a difference.
We discuss the likelihood of a particular roll coming up (and therefore, the merit of the different spots you can place your settlements on).
Did I mention having fun together and enjoying it?

If my daughter were doing that at school, I would be delighted.
 
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melissa wrote:
Neontek wrote:
But I doubt playing boardgames is very productive. You might call it experimental, but I would play historical wargames instead. Settlers is like playing Monopoly.

I don't know what the OP is planning for Settlers, but let me tell you what we do when we play it with our 8 year old.

We track the dice rolls, and look at the pattern (does it approximate the expected rolls?).
We look at the total number of rolls for the game and compare it to our average.
We have a fantastic time & spend time together as a family.
We trade and negotiate with one another.
We discuss relative value.
We review strategies, sometimes re-playing the same map over to see whether different strategies might make a difference.
We discuss the likelihood of a particular roll coming up (and therefore, the merit of the different spots you can place your settlements on).
Did I mention having fun together and enjoying it?

If my daughter were doing that at school, I would be delighted.

Glad to hear it. You pretty much hit the target. We will be tracking dice rolls and talking about theoretical and experimental probability. We'll talk about whether or not the tracking of the dice rolls should affect where you will be building to (which numbers may be rolled in the future more). We'll talk about how to make the game "more fair" - a deck of dice type idea. We may even use a deck of dice and see if it changed their strategy.

I live in Virginia, and we have end of course tests called SOLs (Standards of Learning). These are put out by our state to make sure the students have learn what they have deemed "important and necessary". All the students grades are done once these tests have been given. We'll be finished giving these tests on June 6 or 7 (depending on the student's courses). School is finished June 15th. That is a week and a half of school left that doesn't effect the student's grade. As you can imagine, this week can end up literally being hell. In my mind, a game is SO much better than worksheets that don't matter, coloring pages (mindless) or watching a movie (which a lot of teachers are doing). I feel like it is the best option.
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Neontek wrote:
I don't know. I've had bad teachers doing "experimental" stuff and I've had bad teachers doing "chalf & talk" methods...

But I doubt playing boardgames is very productive. You might call it experimental, but I would play historical wargames instead. Settlers is like playing Monopoly.

However, if the year is already over in the USA, (in Belgium, kids are still at school), I guess having some fun isn't a problem.

It seems however that this is another one of those Belgian/American things.

Here's a nice video:

Yeah, I'm not going to take the time to talk about this video. There are so many things that are wrong about it. There are so many ways to spin so many different issues.

You made a good point.

Neontek wrote:
I don't know. I've had bad teachers doing "experimental" stuff and I've had bad teachers doing "chalf & talk" methods...

It is up to the teachers, the students, and the parents. But telling me that there is no benefit to playing a board game in class is ignorant.
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Brad Andrews
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Texas
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OCD with the Letters in the Right Order!
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You could reduce the number of games needed by adding the 6 player expansion game or equivalent.

Brad
 
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Paul Springer
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andrews777 wrote:
You could reduce the number of games needed by adding the 6 player expansion game or equivalent.

Brad

Which I would also be willing to donate.
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