So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Educational Games – An Incomplete Grade!

This past Sunday was the monthly meeting of our gaming group, 3rd Sunday Gamers.  Several of the members teach at my son’s school.  One of them brought a new game, Numero, and we played 10 Days in the USA.  I realized that I missed a few great games that really need to be mentioned when talking about educational games.

Photo by Tony Archer
Numero was very interesting and very good.  Essentially, players are attempting to lay down numbered cards into multiple piles from their hand to make matches.  Once a match is made, the matching player takes that pile and set it before them, sort of like taking a trick.  Rather than create a new pile, players can change the value of the pile by adding numbers to it.  There are also “wild” cards that allow you to perform other arithmetic operations to a pile.  In this way, the value of the pile can be matched and taken.  Not only were there the basic operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing), but with percentages and a cube root thrown in, this game was a math refresher in a box, yet actually was a lot of fun.  It could be tuned to younger players by taking out some or all of the wild cards.  I had never seen it before, but it definitely bridges the “educational” vs. “fun” divide.

Photo by Nathan Morse
To start things off, though, we played 10 Days in the USA, which is part of a larger series of games that I should probably write about.  I actually gave this game to my wife for Christmas a few years ago because it reinforces United States geography, so I really had no excuse for missing it.  In this game, you are attempting to create a trip throughout the states by walking, driving or flying.  Walking and driving requires you to know which states touch or are close together.  A map board is provided.  This game not only bridges the gap, but builds a autobahn between “educational” and “fun”!

Photo by Z-Man Games

We closed the night with Pandemic, which thinking about it, also has a map board as part of play.  It shows the major cities around the world, and therefore would also be educational to some extent.  I miss that because this game is so much fun!!  Honestly, this is one of my favorite games.  It is also a big hit in our group, with roughly 20 plays in the group.  Beyond geography, it really teaches teamwork.  I won’t go into it more; I will put a link to my previous review.

We also played 7 Wonders.  While thematically based on history, game play really doesn’t teach history.  There might be some background on the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World somewhere in the box, but then I missed it.  It was a very good game; everyone liked it.  I had prepared much more than the last time I tried to teach it, which was a disaster due to lack of preparation.  We managed to get in two plays, a learning game and a real play.  I will review it in the future.

Playing four games, and one of them twice, made for a great day.  Any of these games would be great in a family or casual setting.  I’d love to be able to tell you who won what, but we really don’t care that much.  Hey, we have enough trouble keeping track of who’s turn it is!  But now,

It’s Your Move!

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