Teaching Out Loud

Putting something out there, and hoping to get something in return

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TID – Day 30 – Bananas to Oranges

Name Apples to Apples
Players 4 – Lots
Play Time As variable as you want
Game Style Matching Nouns to Adjectives

Apples to Apples is a wonderful little game that takes word knowledge in a whole new direction. Each round, one player is determined to be a judge and overturns an adjective. Each other player then selects a noun from their hand that best matches that noun. The judge then chooses the noun they think is the best match. The game is fast, fun and makes for some interesting pairings. You really need to know what your judge is looking for. Me, for example, I look for the funniest matches that I can. My mom, on the other hand, is looking for the most appropriate match. Play your cards carefully. I do find that the replay value diminish over time, as familiarity can breed a little boredom. Expansions should be added in every so often to keep the game fresh.

Direct Curricular Applicability: High
– Word Choice
– Understanding Audience
Time to Play Quick
Even getting through one round is satisfying, and that can take as little as 2 minutes.
Tangential Learning: High
The noun cards provide a ton of subjects to dive into. Also, learning new adjectives becomes a great way to expand vocabulary.
Gameplay Complexity Low
The game is quick and easy.
OVERALL: As a fairly popular game, Apples to Apples generally has lots of students who know the game before they even hit the classroom. That is with good reason, this is a unique game that is fun for everyone.

TID – Day 29 – It’s Rile Tummy!

Name Rummikub
Players 2 – 4
Play Time 30 minutes
Game Style Number Collection

Rummikub is a nice little tile collection game. Played like Rummy, you are collecting and laying tiles until all of yours are gone. This is a cottage game that translates quite nicely to the classroom.

Direct Curricular Applicability: High
– Number Sense (Ordering)
– Number Sense (Addition for entry)
Time to Play Medium
Some time needs to be taken in setup. It is also a game that is not easy to stop halfway through.
Tangential Learning: Low
Just lots of numbers.
Gameplay Complexity Low
I would see the addition as the hardest part.
OVERALL: This is another nice game to play and chat with. While there is something to be done while it isn’t your turn, it doesn’t require complete concentration.

TID – Day 28 – After a Long Day of Raiding

*Warning, this game is NSFS (not safe for school)*

Name Red Dragon Inn + Expansions
Players 2 – As many expansions as you have
Play Time 30 – 40 minutes
Game Style Attack and Defend Card Laying

I’m going to take a step back from my role as an educator, and just share a game that I really find fun. While I’m not going to do my usual school analysis (while there is a ton in here, it just isn’t a game I would bring to school), I am going to say that you could set up the context with your own kids and decide on what is appropriate.

Who doesn’t love drinking/gambling/tipping all without actually spending money or waking up with a hangover? Red Dragon Inn (and it’s subsequent expansions) puts you in the role of a magical being (one that wouldn’t be out of place in a WoW game) at the end of a long day. You sit down with your pals and some pent up aggression, and you commence a subtle (or more overt) competition to be the last one standing at the end of the night. You are eliminated in one of two ways – you run out of money (through gambling or paying for drinks), or you pass out (when your alcohol meter passes your fortitude meter). In the middle you have attacks and defenses for your character as you attempt to be that last person around. The art is well done, and the whimsy of the attacks/defenses means that it pays to play with people who shout out the name of their card as it is being laid. This game is a lot of fun, and the people I have played with get really attached to their characters.

TID – Day 27 – Do You Suffer from Anomia?

Name Anomia
Players 3 – Many
Play Time 10 – 20 minutes
Game Style Card Laying/Duel

The word association version of Jungle Speed, Anomia is a hoot and a half. Each card has a category and a symbol. If, when you play a card, your symbol matches someone else’s on the table, you have to be the one to yell out an item from their category. It is a lot simpler than it sounds, and each duel gets loud and exhilarating.

Direct Curricular Applicability: Medium
– Language
– Counting (scoring)
Time to Play Quick
Easily played in a nutrition break. Game does not need to reach completion to have some satisfaction.
Tangential Learning: Low
Students can explore different items within the categories.
Gameplay Complexity Low
Can you read, and yell? Then go ahead, and play!
OVERALL: This game is a lot of fun. The original game has some categories that will be too complex for younger grades (who knows a list of rock operas?), but even a paired down deck is fun. Replay value gets diminished as people get to know the categories in each deck.

TID – Day 26 – A Complicated Boxing Day

Name 1960: The Making of the President
Players 2
Play Time 90 – 120 Minutes
Game Style Strategy

Possibly the most complicated of all the games I will look at this month, this is also, if you have the time, the best two player game I own. As a closet history geek, and being married to one, this game is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in a culture and a historical turning point. I love the idea of playing within an alternate reality where the outcome has yet to be determined. Like playing as the Zombie in Last Night On Earth, I love playing this game as Nixon, and seeing if I can outmaneuver Kennedy.

Direct Curricular Applicability: Medium
– High School History for the Win
Time to Play Long
Be ready to sit and learn for this one.
Tangential Learning: High
So much history here.
Gameplay Complexity Massive
Be ready to read. And read. And then read some more.
OVERALL: Don’t be scared of the complexity, this is truly a wonderful game. It is currently ranked #97 on the BGGs big list.

TID – Day 25 – A Calm Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all celebrating today!

Name Shut the Box
Players 2 – As Many As You Want
Play Time Variable
Game Style Dice Roll

Does this day get you stressed? Do you need a nice calming activity? For my game/meditation needs, I reach for shut the box. While there is a way to play that eventually has a winner declared, I prefer to play with the only goal to shut the box (only has happened once as long as I have had this game). To shut the box, *all* you need to do, is roll combinations that allow you to remove the numbers 1-12. After each roll of the dice, you can remove any numbers that add up to the total pips on the dice. For example, if you roll a 5 and a 6 (for a total of 11), you could remove the following numbers = 1+10, 2+9, 3+8, 1+2+8, 4+7, 1+3+7 and so on. With each roll comes anticipation and a sense of completion.

Direct Curricular Applicability: Low
– Probability (dice rolls for attack/defend)
Time to Play Variable
Pass, play and chat.
Tangential Learning: Low
Could they make their own box?
Gameplay Complexity Low
Can you add? Then you have the rules down pat.
OVERALL: I find that this is one of the great pass and play games. A great conversation and a great game is a wonderful combination.

TID – Day 24 – One Last Sleep… On EARTH!

Name Last Night on Earth
Players 2 – 6
Play Time 60 – 90 minutes
Game Style Survival/Attacking

Do you more closely relate to the hero or the zombie? In this game, you play on a team as Heroes trying to survive, or as the zombies trying to attack. There are many different scenarios to play, but the basic one has the Heroes attempting to survive 15 nights until help arrives. It is surprisingly difficult. The boards in this game are interchangeable, making the map different each time, as well as many different heroes with their own special ability. Replay value is high. Needless to say, this is a game only for the higher games, as the content is a little mature for the younger grades.

Direct Curricular Applicability: Low
– Probability (dice rolls for attack/defend)
Time to Play Long
It will need its own space to play, as once started, there is really no way to end in the middle.
Tangential Learning: Medium
I could see some great writing coming out of this game, but not much else.
Gameplay Complexity High
There are lots of little rules for each encounter during the game. First play should be done with an experienced player.
OVERALL: I really enjoy playing as the zombies. They are underpowered and slow, but they creep and swarm really well.

TID – Day 23 – Wanna Bet?

Name Wits and Wagers
Players 2 – A Whole Bunch
Play Time 20 – 30 minutes
Game Style Trivia Challenges

Wits and Wagers is a twist on the old trivia formula. Each question has two phases, the guess and the wager. During the guess, a question is asked, and everyone secretly writes down their answer on a little white board. During the wager phase, each answer is placed from lowest to highest, and everyone bets on which answer they think is closer. Chips are awarded in 2 ways, one for having the closest answer, and ones for having bet on the right answer. Once you have gained chips, you can continue to increase your bets by adding extra chips. I like that the questions are obscure/large enough that getting it exactly right is extremely rare.

Direct Curricular Applicability: Medium
– Number Sense (realistic guesses to questions)
Time to Play Medium
A full game takes a chunk of time, but each question provides a conclusion in itself.
Tangential Learning: Medium
It depends on the interest of the questions asked.
Gameplay Complexity Medium
Betting takes a little to get used to, but after that, it’s easy-peazy.
OVERALL: This was a party staple for awhile. It does need some extra packs once questions begin to repeat themselves.

TID – Day 22 – And Canada Day Reverts Back

Sorry for the delayed post again. Today was Christmas Cooking. As penance, I have put my Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe at the bottom.

Name Dominion + Expansions Players 2-4 Play Time 45 – 60 minutes Game Style Deck Building

Whatever I was expecting Dominion to be, it definitely wasn’t it. And that is fantastic! In this game you are a lord trying to gain as much land in your fiefdom. You do that by buying different abilities for your deck each round, and then using these abilities to gain more gold, and more victory points. There is tremendous variability in the game, as the original box has about 30 different cards, and you only play with 10 at a time. Each successive expansion adds cards and functionality to the game. In fact, Dominion: Intrigue, is ranked higher on BGG’s big list than the original. Although the difference is between Intrigue ranked at #19 and the original ranked at #24.

Direct Curricular Applicability: Medium
– Reading
– History (lots of medieval themes)
– Economics
Time to Play Medium
It is definitely one that requires a bit of set up time before playing, but should be easy to pause and come back to.
Tangential Learning: Strong
There is so much content in this game, that I think anyone could find something of interest.
Gameplay Complexity Medium
Once you understand the mechanics, the game becomes easy to follow.
OVERALL: It takes a bit to get in to, but Dominion is well worth the effort. It provides near endless variation, and students can really develop wildly different strategies.

1 Can Tuna
1 Can Peas
1 Can Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 Box Macaroni
Half a 500 g Brick of Cheddar Cheese
Curry to Taste

  1. Cook Pasta
    While pasta is cooking:

  2. Shred Cheese
  3. Combine Tuna, Peas, Cream of Broccoli Soup, Half your shredded cheese, and curry to taste into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Drain Pasta, and add into large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Spread mixture into a oven safe casserole dish.
  7. Take remaining cheese and sprinkle over the top, spreading over entire dish.
  8. Lightly sprinkle curry onto the top.
  9. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes.
  10. Let stand 7 minutes.
  11. Enjoy!

TID – Day 21 – How to Woo Santa

Name Love Letter and Letters to Santa
Players 2-4
Play Time 20 minutes
Game Style Deduction, Guessing

Here is a great, quick game. You are a trying to woo a princess (or get your letter to Santa). In each round, you attempt to gain influence by being the “closest” to the princess/Santa. You draw and trade cards to climb the ladder, and, at the end of the round, the person holding the highest ranking card gets one of the letters to their desired target. This one is fun and fast, and requires very little in the way of set up.

Direct Curricular Applicability: Low
– Reading
Time to Play Quick
One round can be as little as 3 minutes, giving students a meaningful playing time.
Tangential Learning: Medium
depending on the version, you can explore the history and traditions surrounding the era/tradition.
Gameplay Complexity Low
Draw a card, do an action, try not to get out..
OVERALL: A quick little game that is ranked 89th in BGG’s big list. I find that, for the simplicity of the game, it has a really high replay value.