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Subject: Please help me think of ideas, rss

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andrew staines
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I have already posted this on my university games society website and so it will be easiest to paste it into here, sorry for not tailoring it more to this website...

Heres the deal, I am currently doing a teaching placement in a local secondary school as a maths teaching assistant; while I'm there I would like to look into the possibility of starting a gaming club for the kids. My thinking is thus; if I suggest setting up a maths club nobody will turn up, if I suggest setting up a games club loads of people will turn up and I can run games that improve mental arithmatic (though I probably wouldn't reccommend banning any games other than those directly related to gambling, eg poker)

Everywhere you look in games there is maths... some games you have to perform simple multiplication, sometimes even division and most games involve varying degrees of addition and sometimes subtraction; whether thats in the form of fake money, victory points or just scoring a turn. Similarly games which involve rolling 2 dice gets people starting to think about probabilities ect ect ect...Maths is everywhere, but most people don't notice it! My thinking is that if I can offer to set up a gaming club then maybe I can give the kids a healthy dose of mental arithmetic practice without them even knowing it, and they can have a fair bit of fun in the process.

What I need is a list of games which are cheap to run, last less than an hour (at the very most!) and contain some maths or logic

So far I have thought of;

Dice games; Krunch, Yahzee, bluff

Card games; pokemon? or similar (they all involve character hit/attack points ect) but card games really isn't my area

Board games; Cluedo, scrabble (would certainly help people with english but I doubt it would be a massive hit)

Others; Chess, connect4, naughts and crosses (tic tac toe), squares, 'Countdown' (would be very easy/cheap to run but again probably not too popular

Beyond this I'm a bit stumped for ideas that don't involve spending lots of money... good games seem to cost a fair bit and I have no idea whether the school could afford to put the money in to buy something like ticket to ride which I would have thought would be popular. I'll run the idea past them, but in the mean time throw me suggestions! Thanks

Please try and keep the suggestions reasonably simple, they need to be played by ages 11-16
 
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Neil Whyman
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My wife teaches 11-14, and also runs some games for the kids when their schedules allow. So I have a small idea of the problems you will face.

Problem 1 is that your games club will appear so attractive compaired to other offered activities that there could be several kids there who are just trying to avoid everything else. They will be potentially disruptive and destructive.

To protect your investment I recommend that you weed these out as fast as possible and exclude them. It is pretty soul-destroying to have to pick through a pile of damaged game components to try and salvage a single working copy of a valuable game.

Problem 2: even the genuinely interested kids will not be too gentle at times. I recommend that you try for games that are either physically robust, or constructed of parts that can be remade or repaired without impacting the play of the game.

Problem 3: Even with the age range (11-16 in your case) there will be a gulf between the highest and lowest abilities in the group. I suggest you keep some advanced games in the top draw for when you perceive boredom setting in for those at the top end. Those games, of course, are restricted to your personal choice of players, so you can break the robust/replicatable rule with those.

I don't want to be too negative so here are a few suggestions:

My absolute number 1 favourite game for teaching mathematics is Hare & Tortoise. This has arithmetic progression in it, plus the mundane need to add and subtract when paying for your move. It will play with 2 to 6, but is best with 3 to 5. The components are wooden discs (very robust), purpose-made cards (game plays just as well even if you have lost some of them), an aid for dealing with the arithmetic progressions, a die and a board.

Another game with arithmetic progressions is Roll Through the Ages: The Late Bronze Age, the components of which are practically indestructible.

For multiplication you can try Acquire, though the weakness of that is the time it takes, and the fact that the loss of a card can affect the game. And Take it Easy! needs multiplication at the scoring stage.

Another (possibly a candidate for the top draw) is Modern Art.

And for the least advanced I'd suggest Ka-Ching! in which the multiplication ranges no higher than 5x6.

For division and remainders I'd suggest Diamant. It will play with 3-8 players.

For a truly indestructible game how about Hive? This would also be a good one for that top draw as it can be played to a chess-like depth.

If cost is a problem then my two suggestions is to look for "Print-and-Play" games, or to go to Cheapass Games.

The PnP route means that you will have the files from which to make more components if some get damaged. One of my favourites is Black Death v1.01, which has bags of theme, but not much mathematics.

The Cheapass route leads to games like Kill Doctor Lucky and The Big Idea.

Good luck indeed.
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Ingo Immer
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nwhyman wrote:
...

For a truly indestructible game how about Hive? This would also be a good one for that top draw as it can be played to a chess-like depth.
...


Also add the John Yianni games:

Army of Frogs
Logan Stones

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Russell Martin
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You might also consider Button Men. It might be possible to pick up actual physical copies of Button Men in some shops on the cheap. (Of course, you don't really need the actual buttons to play the game, just the stats...)


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Murray Lewis
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Perhaps a little advanced for the lower years (7, 8, 9(?)), but Power Grid has a fair amount of mental arithmetic going on.
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Johan Pettersson
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I would like to suggest Zendo.
Load down the rules and make up your own equipment.
You can also adjust the difficulty acording to your gaming group.
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午餐先生
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The private school I teach in let me do a games elective.
Yay! I thought. But it's turned into a very mixed bag for the very reasons that folks have brought up earlier.

I needed to go cheap as well and have been working on trying to do some PnP stuff.

Risk Express has some simple push your luck elements to it and there are some nice files for printing on its page. This has been pretty popular.

Also, there are the fold it yourself of Treehouse sets. 60 pieces for about $5 US. The nice plastic ones are $12 US and there are 15 pieces. There are a lot of games for this system out there, from the complex to the simple. I introduced Tic Tac Doh! in my foreign language class and it was simple enough and accessible enough. I wrote review about using it in class here.

As far as Cheap Ass Games, I think Enemy Chocolatier fits well as there are all sorts of decisions based on 2 specific goals.

Good luck!
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Russ Williams
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swedgamer wrote:
I would like to suggest Zendo.
Load down the rules and make up your own equipment.
You can also adjust the difficulty acording to your gaming group.

First game I thought of.

This review http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/154012/zendo-as-a-tool-for-t... explains well why it is a good educational game.

And indeed you don't need pyramids. Use colored cubes, coins, whatever.
 
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Nathan Bergom
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nwhyman wrote:
To protect your investment I recommend that you weed these out as fast as possible and exclude them. It is pretty soul-destroying to have to pick through a pile of damaged game components to try and salvage a single working copy of a valuable game.
Seconded. Been there, done that. Don't bring anything in there that it would break your heart to see destroyed.

nwhyman wrote:
If cost is a problem then my two suggestions is to look for "Print-and-Play" games, or to go to Cheapass Games.
Again, seconded. It would be well worth your time to go through the list and print up some free stuff on the school's computers. If you're hoping to use them to help teach math, I'd highly recommend Reiner Knizia's Decathlon. And for that age group, Delve: The Dice Game looks like it could be a hit, at least for the boys. All you need for either game is standard six-sided dice.

If you've got a bit of a budget from the school, the first thing I'd go for is Can't Stop. You'd also do well with Knizia's other games, but for that age group, I'd go for Queen of the Cupcakes
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Susie_Cat
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It's really sad that the first thing that springs to people's mind is how destructive kids are. I'm going to assume that the kids are nicely behaved well trained kids and suggest a couple of games they may like (but trying to stick to readily available, cheap, robust-ish games).

Bohnanza - Lots of hidden counting and statistics in this one.

Catan - First one I thought of, but perhaps a little long. Teaches about the probability distribution of two dice though.

Carcassonne - More hidden counting and lots of very obvious counting at the end too. Good thing is that if when you lose a tile or three you can play on.

No Thanks! - One of my favourites for cheap and quick; dead, dead simple too.

Hey, That's My Fish! - Hidden counting again and quite robust.

For Sale - Lots of hidden counting here as well.

Good luck,

Susie_Cat.

EDIT:
Greed - You can either find it cheap or fiddle the rules so that it works with standard d6. Very cheap.
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Peter
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Skunk Very simple game which literally takes only a minute to teach. Lots of simple addition. Cost is only a set of dice and some chips / tokens

I second Acquire, just scan the hotel cards prior to playing. You can print out new ones if old ones are lost. A bit more of a problem if you lose a numbered board piece.

Axis & Allies or any wargame for that matter. adding and subtracting. For advanced players they will begin calculating odds of success on attacks / defense before taking actions.

Battlestations Lots of math for calculating hits/misses and personal and ship damage by weapons. Counting and calculating targeting difficulty. And even has non violent scenarios.

Vegas Showdown simple arithmetic, though may be a little close to your no gambling rule.
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Brian Franzman
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Might I suggest digging up the old Sim City: The Card Game? The biggest complaint I have heard about it is that there's too much counting going on! Players take on the roles of city planners, laying out city blocks much like the computer game it was taken from. It's non-combative, fun, and unlike many other CCGs out there, all players draw from the same card deck (meaning no time lost as players build their own decks). Cards should be easily had in bulk on ebay for a song.
 
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Neil Whyman
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nbergom wrote:
nwhyman wrote:
To protect your investment I recommend that you weed these out as fast as possible and exclude them.
Seconded. Been there, done that. Don't bring anything in there that it would break your heart to see destroyed.

Factor in the possibility that your school admins just MIGHT force you to retain the destructive kids because they think that nobody else wants them either.

I have seen the Pirateer board ripped in two. Some kids stole components just to show that they could. Perhaps it would be best to advertize it as a mathematics club after all!
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Neil Whyman
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nwhyman wrote:
The PnP route means that you will have the files from which to make more components if some get damaged.

It just occured to me that you could call it a craft club, and have the kids actually make the games from the PnP source files (it's never as simply as literally print it and play it!). Then they would definately have some personal attachment to keeping them in good condition. Playing them would, of course, be the ultimate objective still, but it would be concealed behind the "craft" label of the club.
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Nathan Bergom
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Susie_Cat wrote:
It's really sad that the first thing that springs to people's mind is how destructive kids are.
I'm not trying to scare anyone off from doing something like this, just trying to be cautionary. I vividly remember a first-year English teacher in tears from finding some of her personal collection of books vandalized. I taught science, and I've had students steal and break lab equipment just because they could (there's also the possibility that some of the equipment was stolen for drug use). A couple of months ago, I subbed for a teacher who kept over a dozen copies of Monopoly in her room so she could always be sure of having at least 4-5 workable sets.

The vast majority of the kids will be respectful and reasonably careful, but it only takes one to destroy something.

On the positive side: if a decent number of kids get invested in this, they'll make sure stuff doesn't get damaged. They can be rough on materials, but if the group has come together and agreed that the club is worthwhile, they'll help weed out the destructive element. The hard part is getting to that point.

nwhyman wrote:
It just occured to me that you could call it a craft club, and have the kids actually make the games from the PnP source files (it's never as simply as literally print it and play it!). Then they would definately have some personal attachment to keeping them in good condition. Playing them would, of course, be the ultimate objective still, but it would be concealed behind the "craft" label of the club.
I both agree and disagree. Having them make their own games would certainly be a great way to get them invested in the group, but calling it a craft club wouldn't serve your purpose. You'd disappoint the kids who come there to crochet, paint, etc.

You've likely already thought of hitting the garage sales and flea markets. However, auctions can sometimes be a source, too. Ask around in your school to see if anyone goes to them, and approach them about checking the auctions for board games.

I can't believe that in my previous post, I neglected The Farming Game. Pure mathematics.
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k harris

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I suggest in limbo, it has a good evil theme and is math and strategy that is easily played. I picked up a copy at the half price bookstore for $5. You can check there for other stuff.

I like the print and play and making it there own idea. You will get much more respect for stuff. Look at the "do it yourself" forum

I just want to mention that you can look at the "files" and "photos" section and see what has been uploaded. You can find components and instructions for homemade games. I just saw a thread about making games too. But you can get great pictures for Santiago (I like them better than the ones in the game) and instructions. So essentially for some of the newer games you can find a type of print and play.

Ra is a great game, there is also a dice version that has a high rating. I have not played it, but there is a home made board in the picture section.

Oh, I forgot "math dice." It is from thinkfun, but you can do it yourself. 2D12 roll and multiply. Then roll 3D6 and use whatever method you can think of to come closet to the 2D12 number.

Also, think about tons of playing card games. Books have tons of them. Coup d'tate (?) have regular card instructions in the file section on BGG
 
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Ryan Full
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Your club reminds me of an elective I taught for a year. It was called HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills through puzzles and games) and it let me teach a bunch of games as well as have the kids do their own game design.

I picked up a big trunk and set it in my classroom. Then I hit up yard sales, thrift stores, etc. and bought ever game for under 50 cents I could find no matter the condition or completeness. I bagged all the components into manageable amounts and filled the trunk. Then when we did game design the kids could pick up the items that inspired them creatively and go to town. I had all kinds of play money, coins, little plastic farm animals, zoo animals, pawns, dice, etc.

It worked out pretty well and if you wanted I might be able to find some of the rubrics I used when designing the class and grading the work.
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k harris

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Ryan,
I would love a copy of the rubrics if you found them. Great idea.
 
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Ryan Full
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I found some of them. I use Rubistar pretty regularly to house my rubrics online for this very reason. Please excuse some of the grammar - I just noticed a subject verb agreement issue on one of them. :lol:

Game Design Project: They had to use my trunk of pieces to create a game. http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen=ShowRubric&mo...&

Game Design Project 2: Similar but was done later in the year. http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen=ShowRubric&mo...&

Session Report Rubric: This was actually one of my favorites. Every Friday the students were to play a game from my collection. Then the homework over the weekend was to write up a session report about their game. These were discussed and analyzed at the beginning of the next week and provided my documentation that higher order thinking was taking place. It also allowed the students to own their thought processes. To be honest, this exercise worked phenomenally well some of the mildly mentally impaired students in the class. They got to see how various people planned out their strategies, shifted based upon new information, and learned. After just a few weeks I saw some marked improvements in how well some of the lower level kids were playing games. Speaking with their special education teachers I was told that some of that confidence and improvement was transferring to other subjects as well. http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen=ShowRubric&mo...&


Hope that helps!


edit: Also bear in mind, I had compiled a glossary of common game terms. We had already discussed various mechanics, categories of games etc. Some of the rubrics would obviously need a little groundwork laid first. I will dig through my hard drive and see if I retained any copies of those handouts and such as well.
 
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k harris

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These are awesomecool
Thanks
 
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Ryan Full
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harrisk1 wrote:
These are awesomecool
Thanks


No problem. I also found some of my other files and would be happy to email them to you. PM me your email address if you would like them.
 
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