Why We Chose What We Chose

So-we had a concept for a class. As Bethany discussed we used the spider web concept shown in her post to come up with the original concept and the grid to come up with the layout. Part of all of that was what leadership concepts do we want to cover and what games work to get to those concepts?

We had a few key things we were looking for when we started discussing the games. (We discussed the games without any idea if we would have money to buy them.  Bethany will discuss that in a future post.)  Most importantly the games needed to fit the concept we were looking at for that week. Some were easy and immediate. I knew that Ladies and Gentlemen was what I wanted to use to discuss identity. (Interesting note-I’ve only played as a lady in the game, and have no clue how the gentlemen’s side operates.) Not all games would be as easy as this one to fit with topics.

Ladies & Gentlemen Box Art

Ladies and Gentlemen was an easy selection for discussions of identity.

The games needed to be engaging and, for the most part, they should be part of the modern board game renaissance. There wasn’t going to be Sorry or Trouble or Uno. We wanted more modern games. As a matter of fact, our oldest game is Survive: Escape From Atlantis (1982) and only one other game (Once Upon A Time 1993) was released before 2004. We also wanted games that weren’t too complex (Twilight Imperium: Third Edition is a great game and you can discuss a ton about leadership, but there is a bit much going on for it to be accessible to a larger audience.) Speaking of TI3, we also needed the game to be completed (with time to discuss and for anything else we wanted to do) within one class period, which for us was an hour and forty minutes. Two games push this…but for those two games if people don’t complete the games, it works to the nature of the lesson for the week.

Speaking of those games, those two were the hardest ones to choose. We had a topic we wanted to discuss. We named the session “House Rules and Victory Points” but the overall concept is that even if you accomplish a goal in leadership, that isn’t the end. You may celebrate your success, but then you are on to what is next. There is no “end game” in leadership. You just have new goals and something new to accomplish. Dane actually came up with the game options for that week. We were struggling (and looking towards a role playing game like Dungeons & Dragons where even if you complete the quest the next one lies around the corner) when Dane gave us the two games that fit exactly what we were looking for (T.I.M.E. Stories and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game). With both games just because you accomplish your task that doesn’t mean you are at the end of the line. Both have more stories and the option to keep trying if you fail the first time. Those were perfect for what we were looking for.

T.I.M.E. Stories Box Art

T.I.M.E. Stories perfectly illustrates that leadership never ends and is a continuous quest.

Some games we put on the list got cut. An example is Escape: Curse of the Temple was a bit too expensive for the number of copies we would need for 24 people. Others were cut for various reasons. We also were not concerned with how much we liked the game-none of our favorite games made the list. (Mine is Battlestar Galactica-too long and too complex; Bethany’s is Carcassonne, which we didn’t even discuss as a potential that matched the class.)  We wanted a good variety of mechanics, even though no games with one of my favorite mechanics (deck building-though Pathfinder is similar) made the list. We also needed some games for what we called “Collective Game Play” days, which were days where people chose any game they wanted to play and then discussed the topics they had covered over the past few weeks in relationship to those games.

We decided for most weeks to have options for what games to use (with the other games being available for collective play weeks). This was important in case we saw that the class responded better to certain types of games, as well as to give the class options. If the class does not respond well to hidden role or hidden information games, we have other options on a future week, for example. Another is one week we have Secret Hitler as one option. With the nature of that game I did not want to force people into playing it, so there is an option for those who don’t want to play a game with that theme.

Overall, I think we did a good job of choosing a good variety of games. You can see our list with BoardGameGeek rankings, play time, and release year if you would like. It should be an interesting year.