Style Over Substance
"In loving memory of Mariel."
I bought this game for my school because it seemed very easy for children to pick up, and allowed players to jump in between classes. I'm detailing here a typical "session":
Second grade. As a teacher I get to relive it--and let me tell you: It beats first grade by a long shot! These little people have calmed down a bit, figured out school and studying and friends and playing and all of that just enough to actually start emerging as people. Anyway, the fun started fifteen minutes before my second graders arrived.
Y-girl (no names) came early, as usual, and regarded the HUGE box seriously (she's quite serious). She'd seen it, I was sure (hard to miss), but we'd played other games. She grinned when I opened the box.
I showed her the dice and rolled my cubes. Oh-no! Two blues! She only nodded, taking my word for it.
I asked her to draw two truck cards and I drew two trucks, and then we flipped our trucks on a count of three (well, after three, not on three). I grabbed her truck and attempted to stack my cubes. I showed her the point penalty. Then I tried stacking the cubes on the other truck that I could have gotten from her--showing her a much bigger penalty.
Y-girl grinned. OK, she said, and I handed out our point tokens and she rolled up her cubes and we played two rounds.
M-girl came in with a big HELLO, and watched that second round. Y-girl pointed out the points mechanic. I pointed out that you could only grab a truck from someone else. M-girl got two trucks, rolled in, and I gave her points equal to mine (I was in the lead).
R-girl and R-boy came in about the same time--and with only seven minutes to class! M-girl delt them trucks (which I now said we could only have one each) and M-girl eagerly explained the points and grabbing and rolling and stacking rules in a mad jumble (Y-girl was determined to win now and happy to leave the talking to someone else). I gave R-girl and R-boy some points and reminded them to grab someone else's trucks.
We were now five. One, two, three--FLIP! Grab, oops! Grab! Oh, no! Stack. M-girl was happily humming today's song. Y-girl had her game face on. R-girl looked a bit lost, as usual (but interested); and R-boy was ready to invent rules if we'd let him.
We got three rounds in.
I won, but only barely: M-girl, R-girl, and R-boy all lost their points at the same time. Y-girl and I got in an extra round as the chime for class sounded. And then we all quickly put everything in the box. Y-girl closed it up while I grabbed my books.
"Did you like it?" I asked.
"Yes, I did," Y-girl answered seriously.
Second grade. Wow. I don't think I'd like to live it again, but I'll tell you: gaming, teaching--it doesn't get much better... Yes, I did, she said--she just learned that a couple weeks a go.
Life is good. Games make it better.
Nice review! Y-girl sounds like a hoot. I love little kids that are serious like that.