Category: Board games
If you find games like Monopoly too boring, you might like to play the War on Terror board game. The object of the game is to defeat terrorism in any way possible, which includes invading other countries, funding terrorism to attack other players, and eliminating human rights for your own citizens. The goal is to dominate the world.
For anyone who thinks that terrorism is pure evil, you may need to do a bit of reading to learn that historically terrorists are often the precursor of official governments. By playing the War on Terror, you can learn that terrorism is just another form of politics that involves killing people in different ways than military forces usually do. Does that make it right? It’s your call, but play the War on Terror and see if it opens your eyes to all the nuances of different points of view that spawns terrorism all over the world.
Posted in Board games
Engineering professor Brianno Coller didn’t like math problems as an instructor any more than he had as a student. What he needed was animation and interactivity, and that’s when he decided to use video games as a teaching tool.
Now his third-year students at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb build virtual race cars, complete with roaring engines and screeching tires, that must maneuver an increasingly challenging course. Along the way, they’re exposed to computational math, a basic building block of engineering.
“I use games to, in some sense, throw away the textbook,” says Coller, 42, who played Lunar Lander and other video games as a kid. “My philosophy is that learning can be a burdensome chore or it can be an interesting journey.”
Around the country, pockets of faculty have been adding games to their courses as a way to stimulate learning. At Boston College, nursing students conduct forensics at a virtual crime scene. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a game called Melody Mixer teaches students how to read and compose music. Students at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., play World of Warcraft, a multiplayer online game, in a course on intelligence studies.
“The key driver is the need for ways to make learning more engaging,” says Larry Johnson, CEO of the non-profit New Media Consortium and co-author of a report this year that predicts an explosion of game-based learning in higher education within three years. “Games can open that door for many students.”
Game-based learning has become a new field and has even been touted as part of the U.S. Education Department’s new national technology plan, but games don’t have to be based on the computer. To help students grasp the psychological and economic impact of the Black Death, University of New Haven lecturer Matt Wranovix created a card game in which students left holding a Joker fall victim to the plague. And there is no software to download to play Reacting to the Past, a role-playing game developed a decade ago by Barnard College history professor Mark Carnes. The game, which has spread to more than 300 campuses in the past few years, relies mostly on classic texts and, sometimes, homemade costumes.
While some people are skeptical about using games as an educational tool, others are embracing it to make learning fun. The more fun you have, the more likely you’ll learn something.
Read the full article here.
Posted in Board games, College students and adults, Computer games
Before the popularity of video games, many military and war historians played paper war-games where pieces represented tanks, navies, armies, or airplanes. By creating rules for how each playing piece could move and attack, these paper war-games could help historians argue about the merits of certain battle plans or simulate future battles between likely enemies.
During World War Two, the Japanese made up a war-game to simulate the upcoming attack on Midway island. Based on what they thought the Americans would have at their disposal and what their own strategy would be, the Japanese attacked Midway Island in their war-game and lost when the American fleet ambushed their aircraft carriers and sank the Japanese fleet.
Outraged that the American could possibly win, the Japanese broke their own rules and allowed the Japanese team to win. When the Japanese sailed into the actual battle of Midway, the Americans wound up ambushing the Japanese fleet, ambushing their aircraft carriers, and sinking four of them, just like the Japanese war-game had predicted.
If you’re interested in both studying historical battles or simulating potential new ones, look at Decision Games, the publisher of various historical and modern war-games. These games can often be complex to learn and play, but they can give you a unique insight into the battles that changed the course of history so you can test out different tactics to see what might have been a better strategy.
More importantly, studying these paper war-games can help you better understand both geography and history while teaching you strategy at the same time. These war-games aren’t as precise as chess, but they can help bring history to life. If you think you could win the American Civil War for the South, conquer Europe back in the Middle Ages, or invade Iraq in the near future, a paper war-game can help you prove your skill as you learn.
Paper war-games more closely resemble the strategy, turn-based games of some video games like “Civilization.” However, don’t let the lack of fancy computer graphics turn you away from this fascinating aspect of gaming where history and military strategy can prove itself right before your eyes.
Posted in Board games, College students and adults, Pre-teen and teenagers
Vector 3 is a 3D space combat board game created and sold way back in 1979. Unlike many board games, Vector 3 requires the use of graph paper, dice, and a calculator because in order to play, you have to learn the basics of vector arithmetic and Newtonian mechanics. The game designer, Greg Costikyan, even states “On a number of occasions, people have told me they learned more about this from the game than from lecture courses. I could see using it in the context of a high-school math or physics course.”
By following the link to Vector 3, you can download a PDF file of the game rules and playing pieces. The game is meant for two or more players to control starships that try to blast each other to pieces using torpedoes and mines. For those used to the eye-hand coordination of most starship fighting games, Vector 3 will be a stark contrast that’s more similar to the mental strategy of chess than the fast reflexes needed to play a typical video game.
Despite its somewhat complex nature, Vector 3 is definitely an interesting game to learn about vector arithmetic in a fun and engaging manner. After all, noting helps you master vector arithmetic faster than blowing your opponent’s starship into rubble with a well-aimed torpedo.
If you’re interested in seeing how a game can teach a somewhat complicated topic like vector arithmetic, give Vector 3 a try. The game is absolutely free to play so get your calculators ready and start dogfighting in outer space using your imagination rather than your reflexes. You may find Vector 3 can be even more challenging than the latest video game.
Reason to play: To learn vector arithmetic and Newtonian mechanics.
Posted in Board games, College students and adults
THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition – Electronic Arts
One of the classic board games is “The Game of Life.” This game has gone through several changes to update the board, salaries, and rules, but the game remains the same. The object is to go through life, starting as a young high school graduate and choosing whether to go to college for a possibly higher paying job as a doctor or lawyer, or going straight to work and beginning a career as a police officer or an entertainer.
Besides forcing players to choose between going into debt to go to college or earning money right away, “The Game of Life” also shows the consequences of raising and paying for multiple children as you progress through life until you reach retirement age. Although the game is mostly chance, it does teach players about making decisions, handling money, and what to expect through different stages of life.
Although you can still find the board game version of “The Game of Life,” Electronic Arts now offers an iOS version of the game so you can play it on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. The iOS version remains faithful to the latest version of the board game while freeing you from handling money, remembering rules, or moving the pieces yourself. All you have to do is spin the wheel, play the game, and watch the computer take care of all the details while you get to enjoy moving through “The Game of Life.”
“The Game of LIfe” can teach anyone the basics of money management, risk, and the high cost of raising a family. If you want to kids how college can lead to a higher paying job, there’s no better way of sinking this point home than letting your kids slowly go bankrupt while other players, who did go to college, thrive with their wealth.
There’s a reason why “The Game of Life” has become a classic because it lets everyone explore the choices we all make going through life. Teach kids the value of making correct decisions that can alter their life forever and “The Game of Life” can keep kids from maintaining their short term focus and get them to think about the future, even if it’s only a game they can play on their iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad.
Reason to play: Teach kids how to make better decisions in their own life and see the consequences of making poor decisions.
Posted in Board games, College students and adults, iOS, Pre-teen and teenagers, Young children