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Subject: 45 minutes, 16 kids, bright 5th graders, which games? rss

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Sue Hemberger

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My darling daughter just reminded/informed me that she signed up for sharing on Monday afternoon and that she'd like to give her classmates a sense of the variety of games that are out there and a chance to play a few.

Two of her classmates ("the Noahs") are already gamelovers and potential helpers and she's allowed to bring in a parent helper (aka me). So we'll certainly have two explainers and maybe four.

My temptation is to divide the group in half and have two different games (with two copies each) going at once, and also to edit games, whenever possible, so kids can get a taste without playing the whole game but also without feeling like they stopped in the middle (and didn't get a feel for the end game).

So, for example, we might have 2 four-player games of Ubongo (scored after 4 rounds of puzzles) going on, while 8 other kids played Animal Upon Animal in two groups of four. Then they switch games.

Alphabet Race (played with the variant maximin scoring and a timer) strikes me as another likely prospect, with Hit or Miss being a possible alternative (especially if it can play 8 (maybe with some teamwork).

Any advice re a more strategic game in the 15 minutes or under category? All I can think of that naturally fall there are 2 player games and that's just not feasible with a group this size. My next thought was a think-y card games. Is there a viable way to shorten No Thanks! or Wildlife Safari by taking out cards and chips?

Other suggestions? Advice? Warnings? Is four games just too many? It means each game has to average 10 minutes or under.
 
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Tim Seitz
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Diamant plays 8, is very fast, and you if time is a factor, you can quit after X number of rounds, instead of doing all 5.

I have it on good authority that Dominion is an excellent classroom game. Very fast, new-everytime, deck building game.

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Tim Benjamin
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Take it Easy!..... As easy as Bingo but with strategy and application of some math skills. Multiple sets can handle any size group.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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I'd forgotten that Diamant goes up to 8 -- and I have two copies -- so there's one the whole class could play at once. My daughter may veto it, though -- she's not a big fan.

Re Take it Easy -- is the 20 minutes really accurate? It's always seemed longer to me and that's one where you need the endgame. Along similar lines, I was thinking that Finito! might work -- it also say 20 minutes but it seems shorter to me. Maybe I'll time both tomorrow, LOL!
 
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Sue Hemberger

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ced1106 wrote:
I'm just wondering why you have to teach four games in forty minutes.


Yeah, that's coming from my daughter who is eager to broaden their sense of what's out there. I tend to prefer playing something through. If I can pull off speed versions of games with simple rule sets and interesting decisions, variety might work. But the more I think about it, anything more than 3 games just seems insane/doomed to failure and 3 is pushing it.

Luckily, this is a group of kids who probably already know Appes to Apples. Which means I can ignore your otherwise very good suggestion! I hate Apples to Apples with an inexplicable passion. But kids do seem to like it.
 
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Matthew Jones
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smithhemb wrote:
Other suggestions? Advice? Warnings? Is four games just too many? It means each game has to average 10 minutes or under.


I think you're gonna be hard-pressed to explain 4 games in 45 minutes-unless maybe you were doing some kind of centers and rotating kids through the games. Even then, I'd only take 3 games. 1 for each center and explanation per quarter-hour. However, I think that you should be prepared not to have kids be able to play the games, because some of these take at least 5-8 minutes to explain the rules, plus another 5 to show any examples. Then you have to factor in a group's travel time between each center.

In my classroom of 3rd graders (who do centers every single day of their lives and are fairly well trained at it), I still lose about 5-8 minutes out of a 45 minute period for traveling between the different centers.

I mentioned earlier that you probably won't get through full games of some of these things with the kids. A potential work-around for this is that you use the instructional time to teach them the games and then you stay to play the games at lunch or after school (whichever is coming next). That would be what I would do.

I tend to choose games like Go, Hnefatafl, Nine Men's Morris, or Kalah? I like having a small history piece of each game to go with my talk/rules description. The best part about those kinds of games is that you could potentially send each kid home with a version of those games to teach to their folks/siblings. Most of those games have a print and play version that is available and you can use something cheap like a couple of bags of white and black beans for markers for each. Heck you print a 9x9 board, and you can get Hnefetafl and a small version of Go in one swoop.

Edit:
I play Rat-a-Tat Cat and Coda on a consistent basis with my 3rd graders and they love 'em.

I like your choices too, just was providing a little alternative. Hope it goes well on Monday, please come back and let us know.
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Rebekah B
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Labyrinth and Crazy Circus are both quick to set up and teach, and they're easy to shorten. Another advantage of Crazy Circus (or something similar) is that essentially any number of players can participate at once, as long as they can see the cards.
 
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Will Green
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Hi Sue,

The trick to getting the timing right, (explaining the rules, while kids don't get to restless to begin playing), is to have two copies of very quick games to explain...such as Hey That's My Fish!

Explain the game to 8 kids, which can be done in about 4 minutes. Then get a group of 8 and teach them something like Ingenious. Have them play in pairs, or have four play, then teach the last four yet another game...such as the silly little game that is chess for four people....the name of the game is escaping my thoughts at the moment....

Then when the chess game ends, have them sub in for the Hey That's My Fish! crew. When others want to play something else, break out Blokus. This game can be taught in about a minute.

These four games can be played quickly, (Ingenious in a 45-minute segment, then the next time you have game time, have the kids who played game x teach it to group B that can then teach group C game y.

It has worked pretty well in my classroom over the years.

Cheers,

Will
 
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Sue, I would make sure to include a dexterity game in there, which may well need no explanation at all and tends to go quickly. Perhaps Loopin' Louie or PitchCar would fit that bill--in a pinch, I suppose you could also do Attacktix Battle Figure Game: Star Wars or Attacktix Battle Figure Game Marvel Superheroes.

Also, at this level I would strongly be tempted to do Werewolf or some such social game. Most kids that age get a real kick out of it once they play a time or two.
 
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Rob
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Sue, here's an excellent geeklist by Mark Casiglio where he was in a similar situation:

So I had about half an hour to impress a bunch of 11 to 17 year old boys with my boardgames...

It may give you insights for your presentation.
 
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Julie Taylor
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I took a look at your collection, and holy crap, Sue, you have 722 games!!!!!!!! Where do you store all of those? I have half that and I'm starting to run out of living space.

Anyway, I wanted to see if you had Tsuro, which of course you do. blush I'd recommend it due to the simplicity. The kids will only need two minutes of explanation and then can play a couple of rounds in 15 min.
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Sue Hemberger

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Thanks, this is really helping. Another thing I realized is that we should choose easily procurable games if DD's mission is recruitment. Luckily, the local toystore carries Ubongo, Tier auf Tier, Loco!, No Thanks!, Hit or Miss and basically almost anything in print in the US that is kid-oriented as well as lots of Euros (don't know about the FRED games though, but can easily check).

But that leaves out Finito, Word Whiz, and Loopin Louie (which was a huge hit at DD's game party a couple of weeks back). Some of our game-lovingist kid friends, delighted in whatever new thing they've just played here, will then turn to me and say "Please don't tell me it's another German import!" (That said, one Mom delightedly told me the other day that she'd found Loopin Louie in the US (at funagain) after looking for a couple of years -- we gave her kids a copy back then and she wanted to give another to a nephew. But I don't think anyone puts out that kind of effort before they're hooked!)

Re where I store the games. You're supposed to store them?! Mine just sort of inhabit the house. They've thoroughly infested a few closets and one wooden sideboard, but lots are piled on any available flat surface (tables, shelves, floors, seats) and they seem to move around when I'm not looking.
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Sue Hemberger

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Turns out that my daughter (a) wants the kids to have fun (b) doesn't care if each kid plays multiple games but (c) wants them to see a variety of different games.

I think we've settled on an all-dexterity game format with Loopin Louie, Hop Hop Hooray, Klondike, Trump-efants (if I can make it to a party store and find blowouts tomorrow), Tier auf Tier, and maybe Mause-Rallye as candidates.

Good thing I don't drive or I'd be schlepping Pitchcar, Crokinole, and Passe-Trappe in too.
 
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Matthew Jones
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smithhemb wrote:
Turns out that my daughter (a) wants the kids to have fun (b) doesn't care if each kid plays multiple games but (c) wants them to see a variety of different games.

I think we've settled on an all-dexterity game format with Loopin Louie, Hop Hop Hooray, Klondike, Trump-efants (if I can make it to a party store and find blowouts tomorrow), Tier auf Tier, and maybe Mause-Rallye as candidates.

Good thing I don't drive or I'd be schlepping Pitchcar, Crokinole, and Passe-Trappe in too.



Pitchcar Mini is the way to go.
Excellent! Have a great time!

Let us know the results.
 
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Beef It's Whats for Dinner
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Try Sorry! Sliders. WORD!
 
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Sue Hemberger

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RE Sorry Sliders -- thanks for the reminder -- we have that, but it's new enough that I don't always remember it.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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In the end, she had less than 1/2 an hour and introduced 3 games: Loopin Louie, Hop Hop Hooray!, and Klondike. LL was the biggest hit, but everything was in constant use and the teacher suggested that we do it again some Friday when the kids would have even more time to play. A good time was had by all.
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James Stubbs
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Another one you might want to consider, Sue, that I've had great success with here at the library is Tsuro. Its got strategy to it (but not too deep!), looks really pretty and you can literally be done with a game in ten minutes or less and the darn thing can be explained in less than two minutes.

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Kevin Larkin
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Last year, some of my 6th graders would visit my classroom at lunchtime and play games.

Hits:
Coda, Scattergories, Apples to Apples, Loco, Bucket King, Tutenkhamen

Misses:
Transamerica, Fairy Tale, No Thanks!

 
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