Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alternatives to chess club

Chess club has always been a good way to get students (typically boys) to think ahead before making a decision or committing to a particular path of investigation. Unfortunately it is seen as the forefront of nerddom. With some students nerdiness is seen as a badge of pride, but students today are very socially conscious and if we seek to capture students with ability in lower years we need alternatives to foster this skill.

There are a range of alternate games, not as elegant as Chess, but have similar outcomes. The ones that I have been investigating are Caracasonne, Ticket to Ride, Portabello market, BattleLore and Small World.

The last two BattleLore by FFG and Small World by DoW seem to have the most promise as they are infinitely replayable (like Chess) but have a different level of appeal. The main issue I am having is that they require a permanent home as a game tends to take longer than 45 mins.

BattleLore is a fantasy war game that takes about 30 mins to learn and up to two hours to play. It runs through different missions and lends itself well to a leader board type scenario. The downside is that it is only played by two players at a time. This is the main factor I rejected it as a possibility for the entry point game.

Small World is different in that it has up to 5 players and takes between 40 minutes and 80 minutes to complete a game. Its humorous and requires thinking ahead and is quick to learn (less than 5 minutes)

We have created a web server and found six desktop machines. We aim to create a mathematics lab for key senior school topics. One of the kids is formatting the boxes. Maybe we could even use my personal cals for AOE or RON to increase a session size to 10-15 students!

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