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Subject: Board gaming inside a mental hospital? rss

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Nikosu Oyama
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I am planning to start a boardgame club inside a mental hospital. It is an open unit without closed doors.

Do you have any recommendations/suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Daniel Danzer
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Any more info or thoughts abut why not any game would be appropriate? I mean, "mentally ill" (or whatever the current PC expression might be) are as intelligent, open minded or whatever as anybody else. I would just ask them, what they know already and take a bunch of different games ("gateway" games, but also some not too deep abstracts) to show the interested people.
Probably some of them know chess, so "chess-like" games with a twist would be a good start for these.

If from your experience, their time for concentration is reduced or as a result from medication they are slowed down, I would take rather short games with not too much downtime ...
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Nikosu Oyama
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I agree that mentally ill people are generally just normal people with a specific problem that hinders their lives.

I think I'll try the same games that I run in the prison last spring i.e. basic gateway games.
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Nikosu Oyama
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Gaming in prison:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/383609
 
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robin goblin
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It kind of depends on the types of mental illness we're talking about. If we are talking about people living with mood disorders (depression, anxiety...) then you may well be able to play most games without too much worry, though I would start out with short games (lets people play a game and get it done in time to go take a break if they're finding it hard to sit in once spot for a while). If we're talking about people who are a little more other worldly it may be more of a challenge.

I think I would start by asking what games people are familiar with and try playing those. Later you can introduce other things. Card games especially are likely to be things people are familiar with....

Robin
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Chris Broggi
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dave boulton
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i would stay clear of specifically backstabby games though (deffinatly no diplomacy!) just keep things nice and friendly, perhaps concentrate on co-op games where everyone is working together rather than against each other

im not saying mental patients are volatile or anything (hell i almsot was sectioned once) but i find in general with a group of completly non gamers its best to start off with co-ops it stops us gamers looking liek a bunch of cut-throat confrontationalists

good luck with your endevour though
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Louise Holden
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When I spent three weeks in one I'd have played pink themed Monopoly, I was that desperate. I did play chess with one of the junior doctors but mainly I did jigsaws endlessly.

In general- rules-light. Anti-psychotics and heavy loads of anti-depressants play hell with absorbing complex rule sets in one go. Doesn't, in my experience, affect strategic thinking that much, but really does make listening to explanations hard work.

Most of the gateway games would be good. And maybe Puerto Rico- I'm always surprised at how fast people pick up the rules to that, and it's a better strategy game than most of the gateway ones.

Are you planning to leave the games around or just bring them to sessions? If the latter you might want to leave a couple of cheapish cardgames out permanently.

You might consider graveyard humour (Gloom?). Bright and chirpy is just annoying when depressed.



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Konrad Anft
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Well The Looney Bin might be a bit too much on the dot...

So let's try something else:

Co-op games might work... Ghost Stories and Pandemic come to mind... but maybe ghosts are too spooky(or the game too hard), and diseases too much to fear.

So... maybe "simple" logical games: Hive, Robotory, Axiom, or Cities and Eggs maybe?

Easy to learn, and still fun games are The Simpsons Horror Show, Café International, and Marrakesh... Personally I would try these first.


Of course Scotland Yard might be a mix between co-op and easy to learn.
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Sean Shaw
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Something that doesn't make the depressed ones feel even more depressed, so probably not a game where there's such heavy interaction that the one that's losing feels like they are doing terribly...

Just a thought.
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Nadav Abramovitz
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Perhaps it is best not to regard people with certain mental disorders as handicapped retarded children, and rather let them pick the games they like and play them like "normal" people?

And for your information, I am on anti-depressants and the like (got OCD, Social Anxiety, Tic Disorder and more to boot), and I have no problem with any games at all.

Yes, not all games might work best for all the patients there, but then again, not all games work best for any group of "normals".

Just experiment with bringing in games, and see what goes popular.

And I don't know about you, but playing board games always makes me feel great (hence me being on BGG) .
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Bobby Doran
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