I went to Recon during the last couple of hours which was my first mistake. The League of Geeks had taken over a good portion of Armstrong and filled the table with board games of every type. I ended up only playing one game with Aidyn and it was based on Robinson Crusoe so it was pretty challenging. That being said, it was nice to be able to try out a bunch of different board games that you would not usually get the chance to play. As I was walking around I saw a cool scenario based zombie game where your group has to accomplish various tasks and if done well, you’ll avoid the zombies. Unfortunately I missed out on most of the events and different clubs that were happening over the weekend. Overall though, I learned that there are way more people at Miami who are into board games than I thought and the League of Geeks is taking good care of that community.
Last week we played Betrayal at House on the Hill. I like to explain Betrayal as D&D lite where you explore a haunted house with friends until one of you is overcome by evil and betrays the party. As this is one of my favorite games, I didn’t have any mechanical difficulty playing the game but I did run into one big problem with my group, a language barrier. I was playing with mostly international students and it didn’t seem like they had prepared for class by going over the rules so I had to find ways to easily communicate what the goal of the game was and how we were supposed to accomplish our (survivors/traitor) goals. Being able to clearly communicate with others is a hallmark of a good leader. My friend Steve would enjoy this game as he likes to come up with his own stories and Betrayal is very much a game that you make up as you progress.
Hello fellow readers,
I am humbled and overjoyed by the wonderful game designers of Two Rooms and A Boom. On their Tuesday Knight Games Podcast, Alan Gerding and Sean McCoy answered a multitude of questions about themselves and about their interpretations of leadership. Alan and Sean are full of quirks and wit, yet had such beautiful and astute thoughts, especially about increasing diversity within the game design industry. They believe there needs to be more inclusive hiring and that it needs to be more publicized by men that there are not many women in the game design industry. Employers need to go beyond believing in empowering women and actually taking action in the game design industry. Overall, they believe we must be more inclusive even when playing board games and get out of our comfort zones to invite women and people of color more into the conversation. Be kind and invite others to the game table!
I am so grateful that they chose to answer an email from a college girl at a small town university. They were super excited to answer my questions and I am ecstatic that they chose to put the interview in their podcast.
Check out the podcast to learn more:
(If you are pressed for time, they start answering my questions a little before 19 minutes)
P.S. Always remember to invite people to the table. People want to be chosen and loved. You can help others feel wanted and loved and chosen just by inviting them to play a game.
One of the most innovative pieces of this course is the fact that students largely decide their own assignments, and as such, grades. The only assignment that is a required part of the course is the final game submission. Altogether there is approximately 40 different assignments for students to chose from to self-design their learning outside of the classroom.
We did make minor adjustments to the grading scale between the first and second offering of the course based on student and instructor feedback. This is the current grading scale which the course syllabus refers to as the Experience Point (XP) Chart:
776+ XP Level 5 (A+ 97%)
720 XP Level 4 (A 90%)
640 XP Level 3 (B 80%)
560 XP Level 2 (C 70%)
480 XP Level 1 (D 60%)
0-479 XP Level 0 (F 59% and below)
The assignments range from 10 point weekly reflections (some of which you can read on the blog) to 150 point escape room designs. The assignments were created to balance learning within game design and leadership topics. This allows students to lean more towards one topic than another, but requires dabbling in both to reach the 5th Level.
But, wait… do students actually do the assignments if they’re not actually *gulp* assigned?
We had a relatively even curve of the grades ranging between Level 0 to Level 5+ last semester. Similar to last semester, however, a majority of the students have waited until the middle to end of the semester to submit the larger assignments. As of our week 10 of the 14 week semester (15 weeks if finals week is included), these are our current experience point standings:
Many of our students have been submitting weekly reflections as well as working on other projects, but the submission process seems to take a bit longer. At a week after this picture was taken, we have seen a significant uptick of submissions and movement in the levels. We put this data on the board for the class to inspire the feeling of playing a game with the grades. As someone who loves data, I would love to gain insight from the students as to why they wait so long to submit the assignments… but I suppose that is a research topic for another day!
Something to also keep in mind is that the final is worth up to 200 points if full points are awarded. The students have 1 week to discuss their game idea and get feedback from the entire class, then the next week is devoted to play testing their game in class. This is then followed by a class period discussing and defending their final game submission where a final grade on the project is assigned. This gives the students time to take the feedback, think about it, and choose whether or not to implement it before they present their final project.
We are so excited to see how much the students have grown this semester through their final presentations, play tests, and and defenses. Many of them will be presenting their final projects and other assignments they have completed throughout the semester at the expo on May 11th from 1-2:30pm in McGuffey 322!
Today we played Mysterium. The hardest part about it was trying to decipher the message from the ghost in the form of “dreams” which were just abstract pictures that were supposed to relate to your next move. I was the ghost at one point also so it was hard for me when I had a bad hand dealt to me and had to guide my people. The ties that it has to leadership are that you must all work together towards the common goal of winning and the ghost has the most leadership by guiding people with the best clues without being able to say anything. We actually didn’t end up winning the two times we played, but we got closer the second time when I was the ghost. I think that my friend Montana would enjoy playing it because she loves art and analyzing masterpieces. She would’ve taken it to a whole new level if the ghost handed her a dream card.
This past week, we played the board game, Mysterium. I found these game really entertaining and interesting. I liked how the “ghost” is given a lot of responsibility and he, in a way, dictates the game. At first I struggled only because I usually was looking too far into my clues. The important clues were often quite obvious and I was going to far into depth on the cards. I think that around the second or third time playing I was playing much better because we kind of got it figured out what we were looking for. For example, a common clue that the ghost would give is something that relates color. I think this game incorporated a lot of leadership skills because of the player roles. As the ghost you have a lot of responsibility as you choose the clues to give to each player. As a player, you have to be able to infer about a picture and be decisive about your choice. My group also used communication in order to help each other while picking a card. I have a friend, Carter, who told me his interest in games of this genre, i think he would enjoy playing Msyterium.
Today in class we played Survive. The hardest part about it was being mean to the other people playing in order for me to win, for example, putting a shark or sea serpent on a spot that other players occupied. The ties that it had to leadership was going after the players who had the most surviving people and trying to take them down which involved some plotting with other players. I think my housemate, Meredith, would enjoy this game because she loves the ocean and exploring and would find it amusing trying to save her people and bring them to shore.
In class this week we played, Avalon. I felt that the hardest part of the game was remembering the various characters that were in the game and distinguishing who was good and who was evil. I was able to recognize that different characters played different roles; for example, Percival is able to have insight as to who Merlin is, however remembering throughout the game which characters were always good and bad was confusing at first. I had also never played a role play board game before, so getting used to this type of game was more difficult than expected, however I began to become accustomed to it pretty quickly. In regards to how it relates to leadership, I feel that someone who really takes charge has to communicate with the group on who they believe is good versus bad. Some people took charge of the group, and some people stayed a little more quiet, like many other situations. I could see my three older brothers really enjoying this game. They really enjoyed playing the children’s game, Mafia when they were younger, which strongly correlates with many of the elements of Avalon.
This week in class we played, Secret Hitler, another role play game where the Fascists are against the Liberals and visa versa. At the beginning, all players are assigned to be either a Liberal, Fascist or Hitler. The hardest part of this game was trying to strategically figure out who you felt was a fascist when you were a liberal, and more importantly, who Hitler was. I really enjoyed playing this game, despite only being a liberal all three rounds that my group had played. In regards to how it relates to leadership, Secret Hitler requires and individual in power to decide who becomes the President as well as the Chancellor. It really tests how well someone trusts another in their group, so that they don’t pick Hitler as the Chancellor and automatically give the Fascists the victory. I believe that my Psychology Professor, John Kunstman would like this game because I am currently enrolled is his course on power and leadership, which heavily relates the amount of power that some players have in Secret Hitler.
Escape from Atlantis was my favorite game that we played all semester. I really enjoyed that there was some sort of skill involved in the game, however it was part luck as well. We were able to play two games and by the second game, I started to better realize the more strategic ways to place my characters on the board. However with that being said, it all depended where the other players in game decided to place the various sea creatures, that would ultimately kill your people. The hardest part about the game was not having any control over the outcome of what the other players decided. Also it was difficult to decide what land piece to pick, because you never knew if there would be a whirlpool or a red card that could benefit you later on in the game. I can see this game tying into leadership because it shows how you don’t always have control over every situation. Different scenarios can play out in a multitude of ways, and you have to overcome the hurdles (i.e. getting hit with a whirlpool) as they come and go. It also really made me reflect on the values that I had written down on my note card, because throughout the game I realized that the values I mentioned were truly being tested throughout the game. I could see my housemates really enjoying this game. Every week we spend time playing some sort of board game, and to be honest I think they would have a lot of fun trying to find ways to get their characters to rack up the most points.