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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Calkins and Tabletop Gaming - Day 2

Today, I provided the students with folders for their groups. I put them all in groups of 4-5 students at a table-cluster for later gaming (only 2 students per design group). I asked the students to come up with a "Publisher" name for their group and write it on their folders. I shared with them some of the names of popular Game Publishers: Fantasy Flight, Flying Frog Games, Paizo, Tasty Minstrel Games, Stronghold Games, AEG, Rather Dashing Games, Mayfair, Rio Grande, AsmOdee, Days of Wonder, IELLO, GameWright, DiceHateMe,  etc. Then they were to also write their name on the folder. In the 3-prongs of the folder, the students put the introduction worksheet with the deadlines, so that they can always find it. Then I gave them a vocabulary reference sheet. It explains the different types of games, the different types of materials, and the different types of mechanics. This way they can reference the domain-specific vocabulary for the project and sound knowledgeable about what they are doing.

Next, I instructed them to be investigatory with their game and I gave each of them a reflection worksheet they needed to fill out for each game that they played. The point of this is to 1) become familiar with different types of games and 2) find a mentor game. Calkins using the idea of a Mentor Text, so it seemed fitting to provide the students with a Mentor Game. They could use the Mentor Game any way that they wanted to help guide them in the process.

On the SMARTboard, I put the following steps:

1. Examine the Box
  • Look at the title.
  • Look at the recommended time.
  • How many players can play the game?
  • What is the recommended age limit?
  • Read other information on the box.
2. Open the Box
  • Examine the contents.
  • What comes in the box?
  • How is it organized in the box?
3. Read the Directions
  • Locate the directions packet.
  • Walk through the pages, noting headings and pictures.
  • Start at the beginning and read through the directions.
4. After Reading the Directions
  • Once the group is comfortable with the directions
  • Play through using the directions.
  • If there are questions, have a question, not "I don't get it."
5. Throughout the Process
  • Take notes on your Game Reflection Worksheets.
  • Discuss questions, comments, or reflections with the group.


I gave the students 50 minutes to begin the process. By the end of the 50 minutes, there were several frustrated students and some whinning. They didn't want to read the directions, they just wanted to jump in and play the games. I can understand the excitement, but there were so many mistakes and bold-faced lies about having read the directions that it was rather frustrating for me.

The day ended with not a single game having been fully played, but that's why there's a whole week, so that by the last day the students will be able to understand games and the process of being someone who plays different types of games. The whole point, again, is to become familiar with different types of games, see the different types of mechanics, and to find a Mentor Game.


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