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Subject: So my 8-year old son is learning about Romans at school and... rss

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Steve
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So my 8-year old son is learning about Romans at school and he asked me whether he could take Julius Caesar into school. He's played it with me about 4 or 5 times, but loves to show off anything relevant to the current class topic to his class mates. I ask why he wants to take it and he talks about showing his class the cover and perhaps the map and so on. I agree but make him understand that the individual blocks and components have to be taken care of and not to let anyone play around with any of them.

I got home this evening and first thing I notice is the game isn't where I left it. Ok, so he took it to school and put it somewhere else. I look in the obvious places... no sign. "Hi son! How was school today?" Where's my game!

"Hi daddy, it was good thanks."

"So, did you take Julius Caesar to school?"

"Yes." (Smiling cutely)

I can't keep it up any more. "And where is it?"

He looks over each shoulder, then seems to remember, "I left it in the classroom."

Must stay calm. Must stay calm. "Oh right, I see. Did you show anyone? I mean, did you show it to your teacher?"

"Yes I did. And I played it."

"You played it?" Ok - so he's a smart kid, and a gamer kid. And some of his good friends have joined us for simple games, King of Tokyo, Forbidden Island, Ticket to Ride, but none are really gamers (yet). "Who with?"

He names one of the boys in his class. I think he once played Forbidden Island with us, but he's not one we've gamed with much before.

Now last time I played with my son was about a week ago, and he did pretty well. I played with revealed blocks and gave him 10 extra levies to start and he only barely lost as Caesar, but held out the full 5 years. He only made one rules infringement, trying to amphibious move the same turn as putting his navis out to sea - an error I would forgive (once anyway) even if committed by an experienced wargamer; so he knows the rules. Fortuitous timing that they switched topics to "The Romans" so soon after we'd played the game, and probably the reason he asked to take it to school.

"He did quite well. He had 7 points at the end of the first year. But in the second year I managed to catch Julius Caesar on his own after he lost a battle and killed him. I won with 10 points at the end of year 2."

No wait...let me get this straight. You mean you really played this game with him. You, an 8-year-old, managed to teach this game to a fellow 8-year-old non-gamer, you managed to persuade your teacher to let you play this as an activity in your class's Roman topic education, and you're praising his skill in getting 7 points in the first year, while you finished him off with a leader kill in the second? I don't know what to say. "Right."

"He learned it pretty quickly. The rest of the class were watching and everyone else wanted to play too but there wasn't time."

But what about my game. "You'll bring the game home on Monday though, yeah?"

"If you want, but I did want to play it with the others too."

I'm starting to see this in a new light. "Actually, on second thoughts, you keep the game there. Just be careful not to lose any of the bits. No wait. How did you know how to set it up properly?"

"We used that sheet with the map." I printed one of the files from here on the geek with the setup and another with reinforcement locations, and the battle maps too, very handy.

He really did it. "You can keep playing it at school. That's fine. Keep it there for a week if you like and bring it back next Friday."

Only in a gamer household could you find a boy like this. I'm just glad his teacher found it an acceptable activity and look forward to introducing his class mates to this wonderful hobby and helping to find further educational opportunities through gaming.

Thanks Columbia Games for this wonderful game. I don't think I even care if the game stays at school forever now. I'd buy another copy just for the honey-in-the-veins glow of satisfaction of knowing that my old copy is educating very young children that history can be both interactive and interesting when experienced a game.

One thing really stands out above all else, and this I am going to have to teach my son to handle better in future. Yes, he's a gamer. Yes, he can even teach this game. Yes, he's competitive enough to beat down a new opponent on a first play. But, remarkable as those facts are in themselves, the real stand out part of this story is this: for his opponent's first ever play of the game, a young non-gamer boy... he made him play Caesar! Everyone knows you give Pompey to the first-time player!
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Jack Francisco
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Great story!
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Ken Takacs
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The best thing I read today. Thank you for sharing!
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Michael Collarin
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Awesome story Steve! You've got a great kid there - well done!
I shared the link to this over on Columbia Games Facebook fan page. Hope you don't mind.
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Steve
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MCOLL81 wrote:
Awesome story Steve! You've got a great kid there - well done!
I shared the link to this over on Columbia Games Facebook fan page. Hope you don't mind.

I am delighted, thanks. I really enjoyed hearing about Columbia's games and ethos on the recent I've Been Diced podcast.
 
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Angus Lee
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I was deeply touched by your story. I translated it into Chinese and posted it on my own Blog with a direct link to this post. Hope you don't mind but would gladly delete my blog if you want me to.
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Steve
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anguslee wrote:
I was deeply touched by your story. I translated it into Chinese and posted it on my own Blog with a direct link to this post. Hope you don't mind but would gladly delete my blog if you want me to.
Once it's on the Internet I assume no further control of anything I author, so no problem. Nevertheless, thanks for asking.
 
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Brandon
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That's going to need a thorough deboogering when it gets home.
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Herodian Smith
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Well done! I'd say donate it to the class and buy yourself a new one. #taxwriteoff
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