I have been attending Origins Game Fair this year with several students-three of which have taken the class (one of those, John, is teaching with me this spring) and one who taught the class with Aidyn this spring. While we are primarily attending simply because we love games, as I mentioned in an earlier post it is impossible for me not to make connections and ties and such while doing things. Because of that, while at Origins we have been looking for ideas and consider things in the lens of the class as well.
Origins is a game convention in Columbus, OH. This is my second time attending and it is fantastic to get to come to a fair that is actually so much about the games and keeps the focus exactly there-the games. We got to playtest a large number of games over the weekend and discuss with creators and others the games while we were here.
I want to briefly discuss one of those now. The first is a game we played (and John is one of the few who got to buy because it was just on pre-release) and that we are considering adding in to the class in week two when students currently play Hanabi (as a second option, not a replacement). That game is The Mind.
The Mind is a cooperative hand management game by Wolfgang Warsch and published by Pandasaurus Games for 2-4 players. It is a card game where the primary component is a deck of 100 cards numbered 1-100. The Mind takes place over a series of rounds or levels, depending on the number of players. The number of the level corresponds to how many cards the players get. The goal each level is to play all of the cards in your hand in ascending order. So say a person has card number one and another card number 2-the person with number one would have to play before the person with number 2. (This is a rare case, as the deck is shuffled so it is more likely someone has number 3 and another number 11.) The challenge here is that the players cannot talk, hint, or in anyway indicate what numbers they have in most ways through the course of playing the cards. This particularly gets hard at higher levels when, for example, in a four player game on level 4 you have 16 cards you are trying to play. This is a very simple explanation, and I believe people want to watch more than listen-so here is a video from our friends at The Dice Tower that explains more on how it works and gives you their opinions on the game:
This game has many similarities to Hanabi in the discussions we could have, but adds new and different layers to things. If we end up adding this to the class we would ideally have everyone play both games (which would be a rarity but they are both shorter games) and then discuss the concepts of the day. This day we are talking about how teams and groups work and the challenges of leading in teams and groups. The Mind would be an excellent addition to that and I believe will help students see how some of the concepts that week come to life. One of the two supplemental readings that week is Kouzes and Posner’s Student Leadership Challenge and this game will really help bring to life some of the five practices and ten commitments of exemplary student leadership. As an example the third practice is Challenge the Process and the two related commitments are “search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve” and “experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.” This game exemplifies those statements and really will help students discussions go far in those areas.
I look forward to bringing you more of these snippets and short reviews of how I see leadership lessons learned through the class.