Do you collect and play games?
Many homeschoolers naturally collect books. They visit the library, thrift stores, book stores and somehow end up with an endless supply of books. Well now is a great time to start a new collection. Games!
The paradigm for how I view games has just gone through a transformation. In the 80's, when I grew up we all had the same games. Many of us have memories of playing Monopoly, Clue, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry and Life. Today, there are as many games to choose from as books. Ok, well maybe not quite as many, but the number is rapidly increasing.
Have you recently visited a unique Toy and Game store and wondered why you have only heard of a few of the games? I have, and have felt very overwhelmed by the variety of choices. Fortunately, many stores now offer the opportunity to try out the games during their game days, but an even better way to try out a variety of new games is to attend a gaming conference.
Over the weekend, we (my husband, son and I) attended our first gaming conference to promote my skip-counting card game Speed! While there I was stunned to find there are gaming conferences all over the state giving gamers the opportunity to participate in conferences many weekends of the year.
It turns out there are five primary interests of gamers; board and card games, role playing games, minitures, collectables, and comics. Many of the gamers have interests in more than one area, but others stick to a focus. Because my game and interests fall into the board and card game category, that is the area we explored.
At gaming conferences, attendees have the chance to try out a variety of games. Very reasonably priced tickets can be purchased for one day or the entire weekend. The tickets grant access to the convention's library of games as well as game tables set up with a "game master" that instructs first-time players in the rules of a game. In addition, game designers attend the conventions with their prototype games seeking advice for tweaks before production.
It didn't take long for my husband and son to decide I would be taking care of our "Speed!" table, while they would roam the conference exploring as many new games as possible. Since this was our first experience at a gaming convention, they decided that their favorite table was actually a promotion table. There were over 30 unopened games on the table. Anyone attending the convention could play those games. If they played an entire game from start to finish, they could put their name into a raffle for that game. Well the boys ended up playing five games from the table and winning two of the games they played. The $70 win value, more than covered the $30/person ticket price for the entire weekend. They were all smiles.
Before attending the conference I knew there was a bigger variety of games available than when I was a child, but had no idea of the extent. I was blown away by the choices and a little overwhelmed at first. But approaching a new game like a new book was key. You will not read everything in the library in one day and you won't play all the games either. That's the fun of it. Playing or reading something new and then sharing your experience with friends discussing a book at a book club, or playing a game during game night.
If you have an opportunity to attend a gaming convention, I highly recommend the experience.
Check out these great blog hops for more educational activity ideas.