Homeschooling and Board Gaming

Adventures in homeschooling with board games.

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Archipelago Video Review

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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Added a video review of Archipelago dealing with homeschooling/learning tools and skills. Enjoy!
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Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:27 pm
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Socializing, Reading, and Math with Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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I feel like I should apologize for not updating this blog more often. Well you can't make me devil. Sorry(I hope you're happy), we've been busy with a bunch of non-gaming activities. I know, gasp! In our defense, the activities are geek and homeschooling related (First Lego League and some programming projects). Nevertheless, we have managed to fit in some gaming fun in our busy homeschooling schedule. The current favorite game in our home, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (PACG from this point on for brevity and sanity's sake), is getting the most table time recently and is what I'd like to focus on in this post.

Gameplay Overview- feel free to skip if you know how PACG plays

PACG is a cooperative adventure game in which players take on the roles of typical fantasy class characters (wizard, fighter, monk, etc.). The players send their characters on an adventure path that includes many scenarios. These scenarios represent one gaming session. Each scenario has a set amount of locations, each with their own decks that the players travel to and explore. The location decks have anything from weapons and armor to monsters and barriers. These "encounters," as they are called, are dealt with using a player's hand of cards that are drawn from their character's deck, which is built before each scenario and can consist of items gained from previous scenarios and encounters. The player uses their hand of cards to help gain encounters like weapons and items, or to overcome barriers and monsters. The goal is to explore each location deck in hopes of finding each deck's henchman or villain. Defeating a henchman lets the player attempt to "close" the location, which in turn prevents the main villain of the scenario from escaping when he/she is defeated. Defeating the villain and not allowing them to escape wins the scenario for the players. Not defeating the villain within 30 total turns or if each character dies (runs out of cards in their deck) means defeat for the players.

Typical game setup


I have always approached pen and paper RPGs like I do camping. It sounds like a great, fun time, but ends up being more hassle than it's worth. PACG does away with the pens and paper and much of the time necessary to play a rpg and replaces it all with a concise, quick card game. But does it do away with the role playing aspect, the creativity and imagination soul that is the stuffing of any great rpg turkey? Well that depends on how you play. My two boys and I naturally add these elements into each of sessions even though the rules never explicitly call for it.

Here they are adding role playing and story elements into the game after encountering a Giant Gecko and a Yeth Hound



PACG taps into their imagination, forcing them to create a scenario for what their character has just encountered. This can work as a socializing element in one's homeschooling curriculum too. RPGs were already a great way to get kids interacting with one another, practice empathy, and let them become comfortable with speaking in front of group. This is still possible with PACG, only it doesn't have to take all day to do so (though it can if one wants). I envision them inviting other kids over and doing just that...and since geek is the new cool I won't have to worry about the "cool" kids picking on them for playing geek games. Unless the cool kids are the geeks which means my kids might be making fun of non-geeks for playing sports and such? Oh, this new world is so confusing

There's so much to read!


For a homeschooler, all the text on the cards alone should be reason enough to love this game like a near mint collection of D&D rpg books found at a library book sale. The boys and I take turns reading the flavor text of the scenarios and locations as we move to them. The kids also read aloud each card they encounter and play from their hands. My oldest is a pretty well practiced reader already, but there are a few new words that pop up from time to time. Often times when we encounter these words (like "smuggler" and "blessing" from cards above) I'll use it as the perfect excuse to do some teaching and learning. Not only will I give a definition for the word, but some context too, often historical. I know they are motivated to learn at those moments because of their investment in the game, so they are bound to remember anything I say, muhahahaha.


Oh, and there's maths in it too



They came to "16" at the same time, ahhhh math can be so cute. PACG hasn't killed off the dice rolling element you come to expect in your rpgs. Multiple dice are used and quick adding of single digit numbers becomes rote. There is a bit of statistical work included when trying to determine which combination of dice works best in a given situation. For example, one may have to decide if 4d4s is better than rolling 2d10s. It's a nice introduction to logic and statistics that I know my kids hadn't had much exposure to.

I'm sure there are other aspects of PACG that can be incorporated into homeschooling that I'm missing or didn't have time for. Feel free to add anything I missed in the comments.
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Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:09 pm
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Exploring Mage Knight

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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My wife is using some new iPad app for making presentations/videos in her classroom. I saw it and wanted to give it a go too with a blog entry about Mage Knight. So here it is. Raw at times, but I can only get better at making them. Hopefully more to follow in the future.

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Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:31 pm
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Descending into Descent

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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A little while back I purchased Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) after the boys had been begging me to get another game with miniatures. Miniatures are their weakness. If a game comes with a little plastic guy or gal, or monster, they want it. Regardless of how good it is. Since we've got the game, my boys have been absolutely Descent crazy. Practically no day has gone by without at least one encounter played. Our youngest just turned six last week and the thing he had at the top of his wishlist - Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) – Lair of the Wyrm. Second was a mold making and casting kit (for making more miniatures, of course). Just how crazy for Descent have they been? Their Legos have gone practically untouched for the last month, gasp!



I think the only thing they enjoy more than playing the game is creating new cards, heroes, monsters, and versions for it. This is where the main homeschooling element comes in to play for us. Anyone who has read previous entries in this blog know I love games that inspire my kids to create and thereby giving them the motivation to do some academics without even realizing it. They've made a TON of cards and heroes. All of which contain quite a bit of text. Sure, said text often contains spelling and grammar errors, but I'm more than okay with that as long as they keep the writing and creating going. I help with corrections from time to time, but as soon as I get too hands on or overbearing I can see their eyes gloss over and the motivation drain away. So I keep my spelling and grammar "lessons" to a minimum these days. Thankfully all that seems to smooth out on its own. One day the oldest is misspelling "attack" and the next he's got it right, having managed to glean its correct spelling from somewhere. Then I pat myself on the back for my awesome homeschooling skills. whistle



As an aside, while the math skills required to play Descent are not much (adding and subtracting hit points and gold), the little that is required does seem to go a long way to helping younger kids develop their own math skills. I bring this up, because I figured games like this one and others that have such simple adding and subtracting involved probably didn't amount to much in terms of helping kids learn math. I may have been wrong. Our 6 year old recently started doing actual math lessons from a curriculum and we had to skip a bunch of lessons that he had already mastered. This isn't meant as a, "wow, look how smart my kid is," comment (though he is ). No, rather I noticed the math he had mastered all dealt with grouping strategies for adding. For example, when one is taught to add 8 and 6 in their heads they are told to imagine 2 being taken from 6 and given to the 8 to make 10. You are then left with 10 and 4, making the adding easier. This is exactly the type of math board gaming had been "teaching" him over the years. You have 28pts on the scoring track and just received 16 more? Let's move you up 2 pts to 30, leaving us with 14 more to add to 30. Have 8 damage and need to take 4 more? Here take this 5 damage chit and give me a 1 chit in return. Simple strategies that we take for granted eventually became rote for him too. It was really amazing to witness because I didn't fully realize until then just how much board gaming had contributed to his education.

All the pictures shown are of their Descent creations.

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Thu May 2, 2013 7:06 pm
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Writing an Ora et Labora Story.

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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I received Ora et Labora for Christmas and had only one play under my belt. It hit all my Euro love buttons, so naturally I was looking for an excuse to play it some more. "Why not play with the boys and make it into a homeschooling lesson?", I asked myself. Now some might think me crazy for trying to play OeL with a 5 and 8 year old. While the accolade fits for many reasons, wanting to play a dense Euro game with kids is not one of the reasons. With patience, clear explanations, and a little help, any young child can grasp how to play OeL or really any other complex game. The key is interest. Without interest from them, kids won't be motivated to learn how to play or learn. Theme goes a long way for this. That said, OeL isn't exactly dripping with theme. In an attempt to generate theme/interest and also as a way to incorporate an academic element, I decided to have us make the building and managing of our OeL cloisters into a story. For every action we took we wrote a sentence or two in a continuing "story." I use the term loosely seeing as our stories don't really have a beginning, middle, and end per se. Next time we do this I plan on emphasizing good story mechanics and better sentence structure. For this play-through, though, I was more concerned with having them spell a few words they used and just keeping them interested in the game. We played the game in 5-6 sessions over 3 days. This helped my youngest from growing bored with it. What follows is each of our stories and our final boards. Not riveting reading, but enjoy nonetheless.



Quinn's

Supreme overlord Quinten sent Calvin II to get some coins at the Cloister Office. With the coins Quinten got from the Cloister Office, he used all his effort to make a garden. Corkscrew, the magical demon prior with special harvesting powers, gathered grapes and grain from a farmyard next door. Quinten went to collect some dead plants to make peat. Quinten sent Hobbes II with an invisibility cloak to steal some clay for free from the clay mound. Little did he know, he didn't need to pay anyways. With his magical growing powers, Corkscrew made a giant beanstalk to climb up over a wall in front of the peat coal kiln. When he got to the other side, he gave the person that was by it a clay for a bunch of coal and one coin. Quinten bribed Calvin II,II to give him some coins and a loaf of bread from his market so that he'd have enough money to build a coastline for his fishing village. Quinten used some bread and butchered some sheep and used some coal to make the walls of the houses of the fishing village. Quinten bribed Calvin II, II, II to get stone at his stone merchant. He only had one left. Quinten was so happy about bribing Calvin II,II,II that he chopped down some trees. Hobbes II came to the fast growing garden to fetch some grapes and saw a cloister office nearby to get some coins. Corkscrew made a harbor promenade so he could plant vines that grab enemies that come past. Hobbes II went to the garden to get some grapes and while there bribed the Joker to give him some grain. Quinten saw that they were running low on sheep for a building they wanted to build so Calvin II got some at the farmyard. Corkscrew saw all the coal the cloister had in the warehouse, so built a fuel merchant to sell coal and get rich. Magically an Artist's colony appeared next to the fuel merchant. Quinten went to chop some wood. He got thirsty from work and wanted something fruity so he built a winery. Hobbes II went to the winery without Quinten's permission. He was very thirsty and Quinten wasn't sharing any drinks. He was also without sandals. Calvin II went to the farmyard. On the way he got a corkscrew for a head. The farmer cut and gave him some grain because he couldn't see since he had a corkscrew for a head. Quinten went to gather some dead plants, but his royal sandals ran away from him. He had to step into swamps barefoot to get the peat. Quinten wanted to get some coins by building a hamlet. He thought it would make him less poor. Quinten told Hobbes II to get some money from the fuel merchant. He turned a bunch of peat for 10 gold. On the way back he lost his sandals. Quinten wanted to get rid of some gold so he bought himself a palace. Quinten wanted more room to build stuff, so he cut down some more trees. Quinten wanted somewhere to stay, so built an inn. Quinten went out to chop more wood, but his sandals ran away from him. Quinten chopped peat. Calvin II went to the clay mound to collect some clay without his sandals on. Was a good idea because he six clay blocks. Quinten found a bunch more people so built a village for them. Somebody went to the farmyard and got some sheep. Quinten wanted to make a hilltop village and knew the people would be super hungry. So he had Calvin II, II slaughter some sheep for him. He also cut down some trees for more room. Quinten then made Alvin I would give him some wine in return for a bunch of grain. Another somebody, without sandals, walked along the harbor promenade gathering goods. Corkscrew built a forger's workshop using all the sandals he had secretly been stealing through the years. Corkscrew really wanted to build a hilltop village so visited the farmyard to get some sheepfor food. Quinten then built hilltop village. The lost sandals were never found.



Egen's

I built a stone merchant and sent my prior there to trade in some food and some peat for two pieces of stone. The next day I decided to build a market so people would pay me for my goods that I have. I noticed I was running low on goods so I sent Calvin II's brother, Calvin II the II to the farmyard to fetch some sheep to eventually eat. Calvin II the II's brother, Calvin II the II the II, went to my office to fetch me some gold. I sent my demonic overlord to scare some trees out of the ground. He was so scary I got four whole trees. I needed some new land for a fishing village. So I decided to spend all my money to buy some new coastline. Luckily, I had an emergency supply of coins in my office which I sent Calvin II,II,II to get. My prior went to the clay mound without his sandals on because he heard it was a good idea from lay brother Alvin. He brought back 3 bricks of clay, more than Alvin did. I butchered some of my sheep and sold some wood to build and feed a fishing village. I'm very mad at Calvin II, II, II. I'm retaliating by fetching some sheep at the farmyard to smell up his room. I bribed Alvin to fetch me some grain from his farmyard because I was getting hungry. I decided to build a cloister chapter house because we didn't have a place to worship God. I was rewarded with clay, wood, sheep, grain, and being rich. Calvin II,II,II had so many sheep stinking up his room that he decided to build a slaughterhouse to slaughter them and get more food. The sheep looked skinny so Calvin II,II,II decided to go to the farmyard to get some grain. Calvin II, II, II asked Calvin II,II to slaughter some sheep because his room was getting stinky again. I thought since we had a market, that it would be appropriate to build a market town next to it. The people there ate a lot. Good thing I had lots of meat. I decided I needed a variety of goods so I sent my prior to the chapel house to pray for some. It worked! I saw that I didn't have much room to build since the forest was everywhere. So I sent my demon and brought back three pieces of wood. Less than last time. Probably because the Joker tricked him. I held Alvin's sandals hostage until he went and gathered grapes at the grapevine for me. So he went barefoot...again. Calvin II,II,II decided to visit his brother at the stone merchant and while there picked up some clay at the clay mound. I sent the prior to my office where he found 4 coins to add to my supply. For my new settlement, I decided to get the best possible. So I built a hamlet. I found a new mountain to place my quarry I plan on building. My fires were running low. I sent Calvin II,II,II to the courtyard to find some energy. He found a small bog that had some peat. People had been using my stone merchant so much that I should be using it too. Calvin II,II went and traded for 5 pieces. Yet again I was running out coins. So, again, I went to get all the coins that had collected in my emergency funds. I didn't have much room to build and my demons needed a good scare. I sent them to scare out some more trees. I saw I needed some more energy for the village I planned on building. I sent my demons to the bog where they used claws to cut peat out of the swamp. They brought back 5 pieces so the work must have been efficient. I needed a place for all my people to stay so I built a village. But, they ate A LOT and I had to give them all my food. Calvin II,II,II went to the chapel house and saw a sign calling it the chapter house. He came to tell me we had been praying at the chapter house, not the a chapel. But, he still managed to get some basic goods there. My prior decided to visit the courtyard to trade 3 of our new basic goods in for 6 sheep to go towards a hilltop village. Calvin II,II,II newly known named, chapter house, to get some coins and other goods because we were getting poor. I bribed Frank to fetch me some grapes at the grapevine. Now I'm poor again. I went to my emergency stash of money in the office. I then built myself a castle in the mountains. Calvin II,II,II decided to go to the farmyard and brought some sheep back for me. My prior used the castle to build an artist's colony and I still had enough to build my hilltop village. It wasn't enough for me to be voted best cloister though.



Mine

Supreme monk commander Daniel recklessly sent lay brother Alvin to the clay mound without his sandals. Thankfully he managed to bring back two pieces of clay. Seeing that the forest was much too thick for Daniel's liking, he sent his troop of invisible gremlins to chop some trees down. They brought back only two logs of wood - they must have been hungry. Lay brother Frank took a scythe to chop down some grain only to see that it had already been done by Corkscrew. He visited the mysterious Joker of Jokedown who just so happened to have some grain. Paul the very Ordinary Prior, without Daniels permission, built a windmill because he wanted to get some flour. He was mighty tired of eating raw grains. Frank, now familiar with the Joker's practice, went back to his hideout in Joketown to procure some black market clay. Using Frank's recently procured clay, Paul built a bakery giving the much suffering brothers a chance to make some tasty breads. Paul, being a great greedy mind, decided to sneak away a few loaves to the black market to sell. Daniel summoned his peat gremlins to cut some peat. They only came back with three pieces, but they did manage to find some new coastline. Although Daniel had to pay them 4 coins to reveal this information. Daniel, tired of all the smelly villagers near the cloister, sent them along with some supplies far away to start a new fishing village. With the smelly villagers gone, Alvin was no longer afraid to go to the farmyard and harvest grain. He was able to bring back five grains to the cloister. The forest gremlins got hungry again and took it upon themselves to eat and fell some trees in a newly acquired forest to the southwest. Ordinary Paul saw an opportunity to become less...ordinary by building a workshop that specializes in pottery and ornaments. For his trouble, he helped himself to two pieces of pottery. Frank, staring at the grains in the cloister warehouse, decided he was getting quite hungry. He took said grains to the windmill to be ground into flour. Upon hearing that Frank was preparing to make more bread, Paul thought it best to build a grapevine in an attempt to have some wine with the bread. Peat gremlins continued their destructive ways claiming another section of peat. Frank finally made his way to the bakery where he helped bake some bread with some flour. He promptly turned over half the bread to Daniel in order to feed the newly created market town. Frank is still hungry and now overworked too. Alvin forgot his sandals yet again on his way to the clay mound, but it seemed to work because he brought back 6 whole pieces of clay. Daniel twisted Calvin II, II's arm, literally, to get him to go to the stone merchant for him. Frank, being the greedy guy he is, snuck into the cloister office and made off with 6 coins. Paul had to do some gremlin research for Daniel so built a library and then bought a few books. Soon after he realized one of the books was on the Kremlin, not gremlins. He traded it in for meat and wine. Making room to expand his cloister's reach, Daniel sends the gremlins to chop down another forest. Within a matter of moments, a new Hamlet springs forth in the now cleared forest. Paul looking for a little place to call his own, builds a town estate south of the hamlet. He finds a magical fireplace in the estate that turns pottery into coins. Greedy Frank saw that the farmyard had tons of sheep. He gathered them all for himself. Alvin visited library on an errand and couldn't help but buy a few books while there. Paul visited the stinky fishing village, saw they were a bit underemployed out there, and therefore built a brand new shipyard. Frank was thinking some mutton from his herd of sheep would be tasty, but first needed to gather some grain for the slaughterhouse. Frank had Calvin II, II do his dirty work at the slaughterhouse. Now he had lots of mutton to feed a future hilltop village. Alvin visited Paul's estate to use the magical fireplace. Wow, so magical! Paul, now dedicated to seeing the betterment of the stinky fishing villagers, built a pilgrimage site next to it. Having all his monks being bribed by other cloister, Daniel turned to his gremlins to take down few trees. Daniel had a plan, but first he needed Frank to gather some more grain. The next step called for Alvin visiting the shipyard, it was a stinky job. Finally, Daniel plan came together as he had Paul build and use a hospice in order to trade in a bunch of old junk lying around for a wonder! Oh, then he built a hilltop village and his cloister was voted best in region.
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Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:17 pm
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Homeschooling with some Classics

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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I decided it was past due to bring out some classic designer board games for the boys to try. Ones that introduced me to the hobby years ago - Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. One went over pretty well, the other not so much.

Carcassonne was first. Both boys had a blast playing it. They loved the mystery of what tile would be pulled out next from the bag. The agonizing wait for dad while they tried to figure out the best placement for said tile was not so fun (for me). That said, it definitely lets them practice their spatial dimensions skills and I'm all for that. There's also a decent amount of basic adding involved when scoring. The math was a bit too basic for my 8 year old to gain anything from it, but was just about right for my 6 year old.


After Carcassonne, I brought out Settlers. This one was not loved by all. My youngest quickly lost interest and it was a struggle to keep him involved. I think the game is just a bit too dry theme wise for them. Not a big deal seeing as there doesn't seem to be much in the way of math, reading, or anything else involved in the game. Maybe when they get a bit older we could do a fun statistics project involving the game, but I don't see potential for much more. Sure there's a degree of manipulation, deception, and bartering skills involved, but I'm not sure those are things I need to teach my kids - only because they seem to have been born with those skills already.
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Mon Feb 4, 2013 6:46 pm
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A Legendary homeschooling game

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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Legendary, a Marvel deck-building game!? You had me at Legendary. I ordered the game, told my boys, and they proceeded to consume everything Marvel. Our oldest(8) immediately renewed his love of the classic X-Men comics and now has made his way through the first 6 or 7 trades in the X-Men Masterworks collection. The only thing holding him back is how slow/fast the library can process our holds. Meanwhile, our youngest(5) dived right into making expansions for the game. All before we even played it.

The game itself, while not doing anything really new in terms of gameplay, combines three elements known to get any geek excited - a comic theme, deck-building, and lots of cards. They could have had just those three components and been fine. But no, they combined them to make a more than satisfying experience for both child and adult alike.

We've played it no less than a dozen times in the week or two we've had it. In that time I've even been inspired to do a few homeschool "lessons" with it. I've given our boys each a few lists of words I wanted them to use in the creation of their homemade expansions. The morning after I gave our oldest his first list, he excitedly gave me a whole sheet of hero cards. He had spent the night before, in bed before sleeping, making the cards using the words from the list. He spends a few hours in a bed every night reading, creating expansions, or various other things. The pic shows his bed in a rather clean state a few months back.



Our youngest has got most of his "learning" out of actually playing the game. It's amazing how quickly he can add up his recruit points and attack power. Not to mention his ability to build and manage a deck effectively, completely on his own. My proudest moment was after a game in which he had clearly dominated the rest of us in taking down villains. He was so excited and immediately grabbed his stack of villains to count up victory points earned and within moments had his total calculated(39 pts). I didn't believe for a second that he had already counted it up and had done it correctly (I still hadn't finish counting mine). So I double checked and sure enough he had it right.



Homeschooling is SO much easier when your kids are already motivated to learn. Sometimes one can gain a little traction in the motivation department when they tie learning to students' interests - comics and board games in our case. Not rocket science, I know, but I think it's often looked over for a more traditional approach (ie. textbooks and worksheets). People laud me on my success as a homeschooler thus far, but my little secret is that I don't really have to do all that much. All I do is take advantage of their interests and Legendary is a fantastic example.
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Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:42 pm
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Homeschooling and Board Gaming, a Perfect "Smash Up"

Daniel Meyer
United States
Springfield
Minnesota
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I'm a big fan of the Totally Rad Show. When I saw they had done a review (http://revision3.com/trs/smash-up) of the new board game, Smash Up, I gathered the boys to watch it with me. They fell in love with the game immediately and proceeded to beg me and their mother to order it. Well it certainly didn't take much to convince me and my wife didn't stand a chance against all three of us devil

Not surprisingly, the game was a Smash hit. Teaming up dinosaurs with aliens or ninjas and zombies is like a dream come true. The rules are simple, but there's enough tactical choices in the game to make it more deep than it appears at first.



Before the game even arrived my boys were creating some of their own cards. They even got to try some of them out after we received the game, but quickly found out their factions had way too many "destroy minion" cards in them to be functional. They are currently revising them.

Smash Up has a lot for a homeschooler to find useful. The cards typically have a good amount of text one needs to read. Also, math is needed continually as one is required to keep track of the total power of the minions at each location. I found that the text was difficult enough to challenge the reading of my oldest(8), but the totaling of minion powers was quite easy for him. However, the adding was at the perfect level (adding up single and sometimes double digit numbers) for my youngest(5). He's just begun to read, so I had to help him with that at first. Eventually he go to know what the cards did by look and learned to recognize a few of the more frequently used words.

All in all, Smash Up was another successful homeschooling/board gaming mash up for us.

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Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:34 am
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Kingsburg and Expansion

Daniel Meyer
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Springfield
Minnesota
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We've had Kingsburg and the expansion, Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm, for awhile now so my boys are pretty familiar with the game. I suggested during our most recent playing that they each create a governor card, a row of buildings, an event, and a horde card to use in the game. I really just wanted to play some Kingsburg, but figured I should probably attach some sort of formal learning to it. They were more than happy to comply.



The youngest wanted to base his governor card on Einstein. I explained to him as simply as possible Einstein's Theory(s) of Relativity. I think he understood most of it or at least the relativity of time aspect of it. Enough to base the card's power (Player fights invading armies two turns later than usual, except for last battle) on it anyways. The oldest used Romulus as his governor card inspiration (he's really into Greek and Roman culture right now, I blame Percy Jackson). So they got some writing and spelling practice in before we even started and with that taken care of, we were free to play.



Of course there's a lot of dice rolling in Kingsburg. Along with the rolling of dice, there is also the counting of dice. Not brain burning for older kids, but for younger ones, like our youngest, it's great adding practice. They then have to figure out the multiple ways to combine their dice in order to reach their resource(s) target. Plus, it's dice rolling and what kid (and parent) doesn't love that?

Kingsburg offers some good learning opportunities and is simple enough to make for a great family/homeschooling game. My one nit-picky complaint, however, is that it can be deceptively long. Our games often last longer than 90min and test the patience of both boys by the end. Not enough to keep us from playing though

Edit: Here's most of what they created.
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Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:37 pm
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Cities Expansion, a Great Excuse to Revisit 7 Wonders.

Daniel Meyer
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Springfield
Minnesota
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We finally received our preorder of 7 Wonders: Cities. I had been talking it up with the boys for awhile now. Suffice to say, they were quite excited to play it. I decided I wanted to make a more formal homeschooling lesson out of our session though. So before we got started, I had them pick out the wonder boards they wanted to play with and we read up on the history of said wonder. I had done this same thing previously when playing 7 Wonders and knew they had enjoyed learning about the wonders. They are also super into the Percy Jackson series currently, so anything related to Greek history and mythology fascinates them.

We then played the Cities expansion. We all enjoyed the new stuff the expansion brings. I think it would be better with more players than just 3, but it was fun nonetheless.



I made a point of having the youngest add and subtract on his own whenever needed. Even had him read the words on the cards I knew he would be able to sound out on his own. The level of reading and math is for the most part well below what our oldest is currently at. The exception being the adding up of the science score, which even stumps me from time to time . I have noticed a huge leap in his strategic thinking though. Before he use to go in with a plan and not divert from it one iota no matter how the game unfolded. Not so much anymore. It's quite impressive, and depressing at the same time, to see him able to counter my "grab all the science cards" strategy and pull off wins without my help.

After playing they browsed through some of the leader cards from the Leader expansion. Any they found especially interesting, we read up on. They got a kick out of some of them. I think they found the leaders more interesting than the Wonders because they reminded them of characters from a book. My hope is that games like these will motivate the boys, our oldest especially, to want to read more non-fiction. As of now they have no interest in reading non-fiction on their own.

Of course, since playing the expansion they also have been spending a lot of time making their own wonders and leaders to use in the game(no pictures yet). Wanting to use new wonders and leaders in their creations, they asked me for other structures and people from history they could use. So we looked up pictures and info for each new wonder/leader (Statue of Liberty and the Great Wall of China were a couple they did). Perfect opportunity to take advantage of their motivation and sneak in a bit of learning.

7 Wonders continues to be a hit with the boys. The Cities expansion only increased their desire to play the game more. In turn, it keeps giving me easy homeschooling opportunities. We will be coming back to 7 Wonders again and again.
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Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:25 pm
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