Category Archives: Origins Game Fair

EDL 290T: Origins, Trailers, and more!

Yesterday something awesome happened that relates to the class and I decided I would blog about it today. I’m glad I didn’t last night, because something new happened today that I also need to share!

Last summer I blogged twice about my experience at Origins Game Fair and how I could relate some of the things to the class. I later blogged about how a connection I made there helped to improve the class.

Bethany and I discussed things earlier this semester and decided we wanted to try something new. We know Origins does educators passes and wants to start doing more educational programming. So we decided to submit a session about how we use board games for leadership. Well, in short…we were selected and if you look in the event grid you can come see Bethany and I presenting at Origins! For us going to one of the largest board game conventions in the world and talking about this little class we created based on a dream is just amazing. The question remains: will anyone care and want to see what we have done based on a NASAGA dream and Bethany forcing it into reality…but just the fact we are part of the program amazes me.

Origins Session

So as I was preparing to write the blog a student from when Aidyn taught a session of the class emailed me. His name is Jeremy Gunsett and he came into class when John and I were teaching to film things about our class for a class project. He created a preview for the class and gave me permission to use it to promote the class! So…in addition to the awesome news about Origins, I can also now present a video showing what EDL 290T is like! The video showcases the game demo day where students last semester were showing the games they created for the class and letting others play them. Jeremy did an excellent job of capturing exactly what makes this class such a special experiment. Check it out!

Too many people I could thank that keeps the train rolling on this class but thank you to everyone who continues to make this class a reality!

Queen Games, Escape, & RECON!

A huge thank you to Queen Games!

Last summer at Origins I met Travis from Queen Games and we started discussing the class. I showed him a list of games we used. His response: “I see a big problem with the games you have…none of ours are listed.” I told him I wanted to add Escape: Curse of the the Temple for the class but didn’t have enough money in my grant I received to purchase it. Fast forward to today and the copies arrived in my office!

Queen Games: Escape: Curse of the Temple

Escape is a game I wanted for the class because I think it shows many key aspects of leadership. One I want to focus on right now is the urgency and quick decision making that are often required in leadership. Frequently in leadership snap decisions must be made. With those decisions come consequences. Escape simulates that with the real-time frantic dice rolling mechanic and the decisions that must be made. “Should I dive deeper to get more treasure? Should we all stick together or split up? What will be best for the team to succeed?” Tied to that is a risk taking element which is also critical to leadership.

They also donated a copy for RECON. RECON is the annual convention for the League of Geeks. The League is an umbrella student organization working with 16 other student organizations to bring together people of many different geeky interests. RECON celebrates all things that make being a geek awesome. There will be board game areas (including a Play-and-Win section, video games, anime, pro wrestling games and viewings and much, much more! The highlight of the weekend for many will be a performance by hit musician Jonathan Coulton. RECON will be held Friday, February 22 through Sunday, February 24th in the Armstrong Student Center on Miami’s campus and is free for all to attend!

Origins Game Fair 2018 and Roll Player

As I mentioned in our last blog I recently attended Origins 2018. I attended this with the mindset less about me personally this year but much more about how I could use this opportunity both for the EDL 290T class as well as for the various student organizations I work with. We have made several connections that will be beneficial for one or the other (or, in the case of a couple I’ll be blogging about soon beneficial for both.)

Today, however, I wanted to continue blogging with a second game I found that could be an awesome addition to the class. While walking around talking to different companies about the class I got almost fully positive reactions. (There was really only one negative reaction my whole time.) One of the best was from Keith Matejka from Thunderworks Games.  Keith is the designer of Roll Player.

Roll Player

Roll Player

Roll Player is a dice rollin game for 2-4 players where you create a character for a Role Playing Game. I’ve played some RPGs were that is the most fun part, so I was intrigued by this game. In Roll Player you choose (in player order) your race and are randomly dealt your class, alignment, etc. However, Tom Vasel can do a much better job explaining the game in the following video than I could.


Back to Origins. I told Keith about my class and he told me “you should consider Roll Player for your class about “building your character.” In that class we talk about the basic building blocks of what makes you who you are-setting up the following two classes on values and identity. Keith offered a copy of the game to try to see what I thought about using it as an addition for the class.

I think Roll Player could very well be an excellent addition to the class. Students have to make very strategic choices based on several aspects of the game. They want to get their values aligned. They have a class with requirements they want to match and a character history to match. These basically show the goals, values and the aspects of personality they need to have. What is important to you and what do you need to let go to accomplish a more pressing goal you may have? What is important to you and what do you need to do to accomplish that goal. The use of the cards in the card drafting portion of the game again exemplifies these. This is an excellent way to look at “what are the building blocks of your character” and transition into the much more in depth look at values and identity over the coming weeks.

In short-I think Roll Player may be an addition that we may be making if things work out for the future in EDL 290T.

Origins Game Fair 2018 and The Mind

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 Game Fair

Origins Game Fair

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

The Mind was one of, if not the, hottest games at Origins 2018.

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.