Thursday, October 2, 2014

Interesting New Ideas

It's been a busy, demanding return from summer vacation for me. I spent most of the summer doing some wonderful traveling, but it means I've had to keep scrambling to stay ahead of everything so far. Anyway, the Internet keeps bubbling with interesting ideas of all sorts, many of which link in one way or another to using role playing games in the classroom.

Kids Stuff, a post on, has thoughtful ideas about gaming with kids and more than half a dozen recommendations for systems to use with them. I have some of these game systems and will post reviews of them when I know them well enough to do so.

Ben Garvey has written a wonderful post about gamifying his kids' morning routines to make them more fun and efficient. I love his ideas, and this article should be a reminder to all of us of the fun that can be had with games in all kinds of situations, fantasy and real.

Have fun with these ideas and share what you think or have discovered in the comments.

Have fun!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fiftieth Post - A Short One

Bill Walton has all kinds of interesting and useful links on his blog. Click over and check them out.

I will have some new game reviews and a report from Dragon Con 2014 in the coming weeks.

Have fun!

Sunday, April 27, 2014


I recommend everyone check out Storium on Kickstarter. It looks like a great driver for writing, creativity, peer editing, and more. Designed for online setting creation and storytelling, Storium has wonderful potential for many classrooms. I have already spoken with several teachers about its possible applications as a classroom tool. You will probably recognize the names of at least a couple of the authors that have thrown themselves into this project. It is doing well in its fundraising and, as of this writing, has eleven days yet to go. Have a look. You may want to pledge support and receive various perks, or you may decide to wait and see what it looks like on completion. Either way, I would enjoy hearing what you think of Storium.

Have fun!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Game Day 2014

The first Sunday is New Game Day! This is a fun challenge to gamers and non-gamers alike. Check out the web site, as they are offering some ideas and even prizes.

Have fun!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fate Core

Earlier this year I supported Evil Hat Games' incredibly successful Kickstarter to produce a new edition of the Fate rule system. I have recently received four of their books, including Fate Core. While I used Fudge in my classroom for many years, I have been on the sidelines of Fate. I'm excited about the possibilities of this new, lean, flexible edition. While Heroquest is still, for now, my go-to system for running role paying games with kids, due to its foundational simplicity, Fate has many of the same qualities at hear, and with its clear mechanics and player empowerment, I think it does a better job of linking characters, plot, and setting into an interacting, coherent whole.

I will be testing Fate Core on my older players in the coming months, as I get a feel for it, and I will certainly try it with one of my kid games at some point too. Using Fate, it is certainly possible to begin quickly and simply and develop characters and connections as a game progresses. One issue that limits for me the power of Fate is that when I am running games with kids, I often have ten or more players, leaving little time for such exploration. Many kids want less yacking, more hacking, but I always have a few young people that want to dig into a game more, and Fate may be just the vehicle.

I have also recently received more than half a dozen kid-oriented games - like Camp Myth and Zorceror - and I'll be reading, testing, and reviewing these throughout 2014.

Happy New Year!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Teach Your Kids to Game

DriveThruRPG has created a page listing a large number of games they offer that are great for playing with young people. They are encouraging people to teach games to their children and play with their families. It's good for their bottom line, and it's also great for our hobby community. I think this page is a great idea, and they have many ideas, choices, and discounts. Since most of their titles are available in less expensive, digital formats, they're even cheaper and easier to manage.

I especially like Adventures in Oz, Argyle & Crew (sock puppet adventures!), Faery's Tale, Fate, Little Wizards, Mouse Guard, Teenagers from Outer Space, and YARR! Rules Light Pirate RPG, and they have many more titles I need to investigate. I'd love to know which of these games you've tried and how they worked with people, young and not-so-young.

Have fun!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Game Night 2013

Paideia School had its first elementary school game night this past week, organized and hosted by yours truly. I've run games in my classrooms for decades, but after attending a wonderful seminar at Gen Con Trade Day last year, I was inspired to do some more community building and game advocacy at my own school.

Several other teachers offered to lend a hand, so we had outdoor games, imaginary play in "Zombie Land," and domino games from Puerto Rico. I brought about a score options from my classroom's game library, including standards like Risk and Scrabble, as well as sets of dice and cards for all kinds of games. Several of my own students - fifth and sixth graders - came, and most of them brought or offered to teach a game or two.

We had no idea how many people would come out on a Friday night for games, and for the first thirty minutes, it was one bright-eyed six year old, her father, and four teachers playing dominoes. She cleaned our clocks! Soon after more and more families and kids arrived, and at the height of the evening we had around fifty people, all playing games. Some kids moved back and forth between Zombie Land and outdoor play, while other, older kids played a game for twenty to forty minutes and then switched to another. Everyone got to play. Lots. I required at least one adult for kids of any one family, and most of these joined the high-stakes Scrabble game.

One of my students, a long time role player, brought a tabletop fantasy adventure to run, but by the time he had gathered some interested kids, they realized they wouldn't have much time, so they played mah jong instead. I had an adventure ready as well, but I was occupied as the host most of the evening. I had fun, but next year I hope to coordinate better a few role playing games in the mix.

If you're a teacher or parent, I highly recommend organizing a game night at a local school. The game play was rich. I bought some snacks - candy, chips, fruit - for the evening, since food makes everything better, but the whole thing cost the school less than $50. It might be something a few parents could even donate to the community.

Have fun!