Monthly Archives: May 2018

Games in Schools and Libraries Podcast

This is going to be the most casual, conversational blog I write most likely. Just because…well…I am blown away.

I won’t lie…in 2012 when I had the idea for this class after attending the NASAGA conference (which you should absolutely attend this October) it was little more than a dream I thought was a cool idea. The EDL department (and in particular Dr. Kathleen Knight Abowitz) supported the idea. It was really Bethany MacMillan who made the idea a reality. Dr. Bob De Schutter and the IMS Department supported us as we got started in making it happen. It couldn’t have happened without CTE and the grant we received through them. Thankful for Jennifer, my wife, always supporting what I do. However…all of that said it still feels like a dream that this is a thing we did…even though the class is very much a reality that around 70 students have taken so far and another batch is prepared to take this fall.

It seemed so weird to me I still have the screen shot when the course list first came out and I saw the class listed. I had been teaching classes for a decade but this was something totally different.

Course Listing

This is the original course listing for EDL 290T for the first time.

I was surprised when the university wanted to send in a photographer to take pictures for use in marketing materials to show the awesome classes we have at Miami. Now another step that seemed dream like but isn’t: at the end of March Bethany and I were recorded as guests for the Games in Schools and Libraries podcast. Really…why would anyone care about this little class we created? But people seemed to and now we were being recorded for a podcast.

That podcast is now live. Which just doesn’t seem real to me. I won’t lie…it always baffles me when people consider me knowledgeable or an expert on any type of content…primarily because I know me and I don’t consider me an expert on anything, for the most part. People asking me for advice or looking to me as this great wise person just baffles and humbles me. However, I’ll ride this train (I have a Ticket to Ride!) for as long as I can and enjoy it while I can.

Games in Schools and Libraries Website

Feel free to follow the link/click the picture to go to the GSL website to hear our podcast.

Thanks to all those that have taken the class, helped make the class possible, and that have believed in me! Don’t worry…this is just the beginning!

Who’s Hitler?

For the second week of class, we played Secret Hitler. Much like Avalon last week. Secret Hitler is also a hidden role game pitting liberals against Hitler and his fascists in a bid to get their party’s policies through government. Having previous experience with this game, the hardest part for me was trying to lead my team to victory without drawing too much attention to myself lest I risk getting killed. If I’m too outspoken, the other party would view me as the figurehead and by getting rid of me could bring down my party. This is also a part of leadership, knowing when to talk and when to hold your tongue. Leaders need to be able to motivate through their words and actions but also need to be able to sit back and listen to others. For much the same reason as last time, my friend Josh would like this game and in fact he owns his own copy.

Choose Your Own Adventure – The Day Hike

Hello world! I just finished up this choose your own adventure story using Twine. Twine is a really cool tool for building choose your own adventure stories, or even for building simple games. A little programing skill goes a long way, but it by no means necessary with this tool. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy playing through this story as much as I enjoyed writing it! Enjoy!


Week 9 – Sonar

Last week we played Captain Sonar, a quick and loud game.  Two teams of four face off in a submarine hunt, with each member filling a different role.  This game was fairly challenging in that you need to be able to focus on not only your role but also what the rest of your team is doing and how it will affect you.  This is something leaders have to deal with everyday, understanding what they need to do and how others can help them along the way. My friend Ben would like this game as he always had his mind turned towards the ocean if that makes sense.

Week 8 – Werewolf

We played Ultimate Werewolf this past week which is one of the classic hidden role games, up there with Mafia.  The hardest part of this game was trying to read other players to figure out what team they were on. This ties to leadership with figuring out how to get people to trust you and see from your point of view, of course the opposite is also true.  I already know my friend Natalie likes this game, she’s told me about playing with a huge group at a comic-con type event.

Week 7 – Free Play!

This week the class broke into smaller groups and got to choose their own games to play.  My group ended up playing Linkee in which teams write down answers to trivia questions and then try to figure out what links all of those answers.  The hardest part of this game was to not yell out the answers when I figured out a clue. As far as leadership and this game go, leaders need to be able to use everyone’s strength to properly function as a team.  Some people are good at trivia while others are better at the logic puzzle of figuring out the link. My whole family would like this game as we’re fans of trivia.

Week 6 – Ladies & Gentlemen

This week we played Ladies & Gentlemen.  As the name would suggest, there are teams of 2, a lady who shops for outfits and a gentleman who tries his hand at the stock market.  I did not particularly enjoy this game as the two roles had very little interaction nor did there seem to be much skill involved, more luck in picking the right cards or going to the best store.  My friend back home, Stephen, would probably like this game though as it is very fast paced. This game relates to how leaders need to balance different groups of people who may not interact in order to achieve a goal.

Week 5 – Survive

Last week we played Survive Escape from Atlantis.  Everyone tries to evacuate their tribe from the sinking island of Atlantis only to run into more trouble at sea.  For me, the hardest part of this game was dealing with all of the randomness that would happen on everyone’s turn.  A new part of the island would sink, boats and sea creatures move about, people fall into the ocean all while you are trying to keep track of which of your people are worth the most points.  This is very similar to what leaders, especially management and upper levels, have to deal with, unpredictability of the economy, what the rest of their field is doing, ect. I think my friend Nathan would enjoy this game with how much you can mess with other players.

Week 4 – Mysterium

We played Mysterium for the fourth week, a game where the players are psychics trying to solve a murder by following the clues of a ghost.  The most difficult part of this game was one of it’s core mechanics, trying to understand the intent of the ghost who can only give very vague hints.  This can be related to a manager trying to proactively solve issues in their workplace by interpret subtle cues from their employees. My cousin Tara would enjoy this game as it is similar to one we played this past Thanksgiving.  I don’t remember the name of the game but it was like Apples to Apples combined with the images from this game.

Week 10 – Pathfinder

We played the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game this week.  To me it was a more restricting and confusing version of D&D.  The hardest part of this game was actually just figuring out all of the rules as there were so many potential card interactions that just confused my team.  This game also ties into team and resource management that leaders have to deal with in getting a team to work towards one goal even if everyone has different tasks.  My friend Aidan would like this as he already runs D&D campaigns and this could give him and his group some variety.