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Subject: For Special Needs Kids... rss

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Introduction
Hello there.
Yes this is another Carcassonne review, with a difference. For the purpose of this review I will be reviewing it with regards to its application and ease of use for students with mental, learning and motor skill impairments. Some are Autistic, others have other problems.

Some Background.
After 3 weeks of being in this particular class and seeing these 16+ year olds playing connect 4 and Uno, I had had enough. So I went out and got Carcassonne. I have NEVER played it. Ever. I mean it. So I got it home, had a look at a few how to play vids on youtube, sat down with my wife and played a game or two.

Oh, what a great game But I digress. You see this is not about me.

Game Play With The Kids.
Group 1.
I took the game to school on Wednesday. I got a group of 4 students. Now these guys are what you would call middle range kids. They can DO, but not well (with regular day to day stuff or some school stuff). Well I got my tail kicked and they understood the game in under 10 minutes. I was thrilled. Mind you, I introduced the rules in dribbs and drabbs.

For a few turns it was all about making cities and placing your meeples on the correct part of the tile. Then it was all about roads and thieves. Then it was about churches. We did not cover farms. Too complicated to be truthful. That will come latter, or not.

So Group 1 had a great time with the game. So, on to group 2.

Group 2.

So these guys could very well be in a regular school, however there are issues that lay under the surface. So these guys got all the rules but the Farmer rule at the very start. Well, I got my tail kicked again (much to their delight) and the score shot up to over 100 for one of the students...who does not talk and is very shy. This got the student laughing and gesturing and really interacting with the other students and me. This was just great.

Edit: I did not mention that one of the guys in this group had a few problems with the tiles that had a road and a city marker. In situations like this I reminded the student that green goes with green, brown with brown and lines go with lines. It took most of the game to get it right, but in the end, the student managed to get a tenuous grip on the rule.

Why This Game Works For Kids Like This.
The game is simple. It is also complex. For anyone. That is what makes this game so fantastic. It just works well for anyone. Can't read? No problems. Have poor cognitive skills? No problem, just get the person to team up with someone for a little help. Or not. You can help them. Give them the options of where to place a tile and let them pick where to put it. Then, as the game moves along, offer less help till you find a point where they can not play, then stick with that level of assistance. The aim is to get the making decisions on their own as much as possible.

A bit of independent thought. You see, that is what is key with this job. IT is not all about teaching maths, language or communication (all of which are vital and do get taught) but it is also about teaching these guys independence.

The tiles are clear and printed well. The roads are clearly roads. The kids can see that. The cities (once built) are clearly cities. Churches are Churches. There is nothing abstract about this fantastic game...aww who am I kidding. You have been reading reviews on this game already. You know how it plays and you know the average score. But did you know how it played with this type of student or individual?

That is the reason for this review.

I went and got this game off my own bat. I did not get the school to fund it. Why? Well, I did not want them to buy this game and have it fizzle out. It was better if I buy it. That way if it was not a hit, then I would keep it and still get a good game. But as it stands now, it is sitting on the middle shelf at the back of the classroom. Guess what?

The Uno deck and Connect 4 boxes are behind it
Guess what? We still had a game of Uno today


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Patrik Eden
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Wonderful review!

I have noticed Carcassonne is excellent for young kids (not with special needs). One important reason that you touch upon: there is no hidden information, so you can tune your aid. It is great! Against young it can be good to let them win a fair amount, and in this game it is easy to play sub-optimally (e.g. wasting meeples on many roads) without being caught.



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Sylvain M
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Very moving testimony, good job !
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Paul Whitaker
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I might just take Carcassonne into school with me on Monday. Great review, really made me think, also I like your comment about Uno at the end, because I still like that too...
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Thank you for the kind words folks. I really can not suggest this game enough for a school environment. It is just soooo politically correct it's disgusting

There is next to no chance that anyone can be offended by it, so there is no problems there. Regarding the teaching of it, I would suggest you sit down and have a little think on what rules will best apply to the group you will play with.

You see I have been working in special schools for a year now (not long at all) but I have almost finished my Bachelor of Education. This gave me a good idea of how to best let these guys approach the game.

See what I said there. Let them approach the game. I found that letting them warm up to it was the best way to get them to learn how to play it. I asked them at different points of the game if they wanted to learn extra rules. They always said yes.

Again, except when it came to the farmer rule. I did not mention that at all.

Thanks heaps guys.
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Man thinks, the river flows.
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Armatige wrote:

You see I have been working in special schools for a year now (not long at all) but I have almost finished my Bachelor of Education. This gave me a good idea of how to best let these guys approach the game.

See what I said there. Let them approach the game. I found that letting them warm up to it was the best way to get them to learn how to play it. I asked them at different points of the game if they wanted to learn extra rules. They always said yes.

Again, except when it came to the farmer rule. I did not mention that at all.

Thanks heaps guys.


    THIS is the key post in this thread.

             S.


 
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Anna Banana
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Great review, I'm so glad it worked well. I really enjoyed your description of how to teach the students this game.
 
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Thank you very much Anna.
 
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Darren
Australia
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Wonderful to know. Thanks for sharing.
 
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som1unoe wrote:
Wonderful to know. Thanks for sharing.

You're very welcome mate.
 
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Pawel
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Really nice review and fun that you showed these kids they can learn while playing
 
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