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Subject: For Sale in the classroom rss

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Martin B
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This term I'm teaching a class called "Closed System Economics." Really it is just an excuse to play different games with economic based mechanics, such as auctions and commodity valuation. For the first class I chose to start with For Sale.

I began the class by explaining the goal of the course and the requirements for passing the term. I'm having them write some session reports for writing practice and having them make a video review at the end of the course. I brought three copies of For Sale so had three groups tying the game out.

First, I showed the students one of the video reviews, I believe the one with Tom Vassel. The talking was much too fast for their understanding. They got some of the patterns from the video and some familiarity with the basic cards.

Next I handed out the decks. There were twenty five students in the class and only three decks so some watched for the first game and some acted as a banker, collecting the money.

In the beginning I had to go around to each of the groups and explain some about how to play. They got the setup and the basics of getting the cards out there but not sure about the auction mechanic and getting half your money back. All groups figured it out pretty well.

Each group played twice so everyone had a chance to play. The winners scored in the high forties and low fifties. The dynamics of the groups were interesting since they were diverse. The boy group were very chatty and having fun while playing. I had to remind them to use English more than once. The other two groups were primarily girls. The one in the front were the good students who had a very orderly game. The ones in back didn't seem to know each other as well as the other groups so they were more reserved.

Afterwards I showed them a different video review of For Sale. I'll be showing many of them because I want them to see different styles and quality levels.

When the students signed up for the course they knew nothing about it except for who the teacher was and the title of the course. At the end many of them came up to get copies of the video reviews. I had no one complaining and no one asking to not be in the course so, so far so good.

I got the idea for the course from playing Container with some students and I wanted to build up to playing that game. I thought it would be good at first to try some of the mechanics to see how well they do. For Sale has both open auctions and closed auctions.

The next game will be Saboteur, because I have three copies of the game and it is a good example of secret information. Since it plays ten it will be easy to get everyone playing next time.
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Elizabeth
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Wow, how fun that you can teach a class focused on games! I love For Sale--that seems like a great way to start them off.

What age are the students?
 
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Martin B
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The students are all university students in a four year program here in Shanghai. Seems to be a popular elective so all of them are second and third year students, so around twenty years old.

I also tutor on the weekends and play games for that too. Those students are younger, however, eleven and fourteen. It's good when you can set up getting paid to teach and play games.
 
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