J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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I am looking into possibly starting an afterschool gaming club at the school I work at. While I have been playing chess for over 30 years, and other boardgames for almost 25, and have a vast and valuable game collection, I am trying to find games that would be more suited for the students I would be leading.

This would be at a middle school in suburban Los Angeles. The students would range in age from 12-15. Many are minority students, with many from immigrant families. Several would be from low income homes, and would not easily be able to afford games like Power Grid, or even lower cost titles like Puerto Rico or Settlers of Catan.

While I certainly believe that the students would be able to grasp the concepts of the games I've listed above, I would also like to be able to introduce the students to games that would be more affordable to them and their families. Something other than CCG's, which are affordable on an individual pack basis, but expensive in a collector's sense.

I am already a Bunny Patrol member for Playroom Entertainment, so I'm familiar with their catalog, and will likely be using their titles as a launching point. But are there other games, or game companies, that can be recommended to me to share with my school's students?

My thanks to any and all who can help.
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Nate Straight

Covington
Louisiana
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Gamewright has a ton of card games that come in a scaled-down "Wal-Mart" version (even the standard versions are relatively cheap, but these are like $4-5) and are usually available for sale at the same. There's Loot (which is a great game), as well as many many others.

Old stand-bys such as Chess, Checkers, Dominos, Cribbage, Backgammon, Mancala, etc ad infinitum would also be good, as there are usually very respectable budget versions of all of these available at nearly any store. There's just as much game in these as in the typical BGG games.
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Gregor McNish
Australia
Melbourne
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There's lots of print and play games, which would be affordable if they were printed at school. Also many abstracts can be implemented quite easily, there's Piecepack, diy Icehouse and the possibilities in a pack of cards shouldn't be underestimated. Especially if it's a Sticheln deck.

I'd think it might be easier to hook people with nicely produced versions, but once people have the idea, a less produced version would work fine.
 
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Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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You know, the CCG route might be OK. Most are pretty cheap if you get just a base deck, and some are a lot of fun even with just that. If you emphasize "base deck only play" and de-emphasize the collecting aspect, it may be a good bet.

Or you can do blue moon, which has a bunch of base decks, but you really only need *one* of them per player to play, and they're pretty cheap.
 
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Jason Sample
United States
Pelham
New York
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Sounds great. What about a Piece Pack. There are lots of different games to be played with it and it is relatively portable. How about Werewolf? You don't need anything to play it except your imagination and a deck of playing cards.

That may be a good place to start.

Peace,
Jason
 
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Greg Hacke
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Contact Alex Yeager at Mayfair Games. He's their Education Outreach guru. I'm sure he could work with you and provide some recommendations. He's active on the forums here (especially in anything related to education) you can geek him here at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/AlexYeager
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Ryan Full
United States
Vienna
West Virginia
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At the after-school club I run the pyramids from Looney Labs have been popular because you can play so many games with just the pyramids.

I also recommend looking into Go. The AGF supports school Go programs with a decent donation of plastic boards and pieces and it is a game the kids could play for their entire lives and never master.

-Ryan
 
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Matteo Badinelli
Italy
Lonato
Brescia
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My first choice for this situation is: Mancala (Oware, Awelè, Mbao, whatever you call it).
Simple, zero components cost and an incredible game that by the way could help teach mathematics.
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Ryan Full
United States
Vienna
West Virginia
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Mancala I play with one of my classes (I'm obviously a teacher) and we use egg cartons and a big bag of dried black beans.

For Go when we didn't have enough donated boards I have even hand drawn grids on posterboard and used 20 oz soda bottle caps for the stones.

-Ryan
 
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Cliff
United States
Western Great Lakes - Owashtinong Aajigaaning
Michigan
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Perhaps you can also encourage children to design new CCG cards and CCG game systems. Or design their own games, too. Not everyone would want to but it could be another facet.

And with the subculture of BGG thrift store shoppers here, maybe various gamers can be on the lookout for used games.
 
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Michael DeFrancesco
United States
California
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For what it's worth...

I too am a teacher of economically disadvantaged students in California. I teach middle-school and high school students in a court/community school. Here are some of the games I have played with my students that they have liked:

SET - We play online for free at www.setgame.com and www.reed.edu/~mcphailb/applets/set/ and students have made there own decks as well.

BLOKUS - My students have fallen in love with this game. You can get the travel version for $20. You could also have students make the boards and pieces, though this could be a bit challenging. There is also a free online version at www.blokus.com/

GOBBLET - My middle-school students like this game. It is pretty expensive at $30 but could easily be played with different sized plastic cups.

You could probably improvise make-shift pieces for many of the abstract strategy games. But on the other hand, the aesthetic appeal of the game can really help with student buy-in.

Lastly, like all things school, the student buy-in depends greatly on the teacher's attitude. I would suggest picking games that you yourself love.

 
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Lynette
United States
Richland
Washington
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TransAmerica and TransEurope. Both under $20 and teach some basic geography.

Bonanza and many card games like Coloretto are fairly cheap.

Good Luck.

 
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