A Place at the Table Blogs

A Place at the Table: Board Games at School

Today, we have a guest writer for A Place at the Table. My teenager, Janeway, has written about an experience she had on a group project at school.

Captain’s log. Stardate 72634.4. Janeway here. I know my mom has mentioned my a few times and already done a piece on who we all are, so let’s get to the point of this. I’m currently in Econ in high school. We recently had to make a board game covering everything we’ve learned so far, as a way to study for an upcoming test. I was ecstatic; after all, I’ve played a good deal of board games and had a great idea for a worker placement game. My partners, however, shot me down by saying it’d be too hard. After two days of arguing, we split the group, and I made the worker placement game. Everyone else had made a Monopoly style game or some other variation of rolling a dice and moving along a path. Every single one.

Now, I’m not saying those types of games are “inferior” to worker placement games. A lot of people had really good games, and I’m up for playing Life now and again. But with a “roll-and-move” type of game, you can’t choose what to do. You have no control over the outcome of the game. And you don’t have to apply the concepts that you’re trying to learn. You could play one of the poorer made games from my class and walk away not knowing anything about economics. But when you have to place your meeple, and decide how to use your money, you can understand the concepts a lot better. You can see how your choices determine the outcome. It makes sense when you can see what’s going on, rather than just reading it off a card.

Not only can these games be suited for studying, but they’re also really fun. The worst part, aside from my group not wanting to go out on a limb with a new idea, was that no one knew what I was talking about when I was giving examples from other games. Terraforming Mars, Lords of Waterdeep, even Ticket to Ride, no one had heard of them. NO ONE in my class, not even my teacher, knew what these games were. I’ve played these games so many times, that it’s just mind-boggling that no one knows about them. Please, feel free to bring your kids, your teens, and their friends to game night. It gets lonely having no one within a 15 year age range of myself. And, hey, maybe it’ll help them get some extra credit on the next board game they have to do in class. Janeway out.

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