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Subject: 7th Grade students gaming series: Zombies!!! rss

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Keith Creighton
United States
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The following is a refection of one or more sessions of the game. The intent of this session report is to reflect on how this particular game worked with my seventh grade students. The focus for this report will be on the student reactions and learning. The focus will not necessarily recount a blow by blow description of the games. It is meant to be a general overview of my experience with my students.

Components: The students really liked the miniature zombies. They loved that the female sculpt was holding a severed head and that the male zombie could have another zombie's hand shoved through its abdomen. The modular board worked nicely, although we sometimes had to modify our placement due to lack of room on the classroom gaming table. We also used the military base expansion. The only complaint we had was the fact that there were not enough zombies to go around once the bloodshed began. As a result we began using the ZombieKillTokens posted by dougiehowitzermd. We also used some of the various house rules posted to speed up play.

Playing the Game: This game was very interesting to watch. The students had to choose between two different winning conditions, kill zombies or run for the helipad. This initial choice often confused the students. Each of them began to run from the zombies, until they saw the teachers running towards them. The students would then immediately change tactics. When the helipad came in play I saw the students evaluate their progress in the killing winning condition, and most of them chose correctly to pursue the kills or "Get outta Dodge". It was my experience that most of my students were all or nothing when it came to the killing condition. There was no moderation. There was no long term strategy. There was no calculation of odds. They just ran in with guns blazing and tried to rack up as many of the kills as they could. As a result, I often heard grumbles about "luck" in the game. The students would complain about their cards, the dice rolls, and about other people getting lucky. After a play or two on the game the students would slowly begin to change their tune. It was really cool to see them thinking about upcoming moves. It was interesting to see them begin to watch each other and counter the moves of other players so that no one would win in a landslide.

Final Thoughts: The game was very easy to introduce to the kids. The theme and bits alone (in true Ameritrash style) was enough to get them interested. The house rules really helped to speed up play, and since we played this over our half hour lunch this helped greatly. The down time between turns was almost unbearable when playing with six people. Also the amount of zombies on the board at any given time made for some very boring turns. We always had a very hard time with remembering the phase and turn order. I will be sure to find or create a cheat sheet when we play this in the future.

What did they learn?: They began to choose between two alternatives and revaluate that choice. They began to develop long term strategies. They began to develop counter strategies that would help them while hindering their opponents.
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