Adventures with Games

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Do you have any game lovers in your house? I have some here and providing an Adventure Box full of games and their history along with activities would be a great challenge for any game loving child.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Playing Games:

No Adventure Box of Games would be complete without the frequent opportunity to play games. I would definitely choose some new games to add to our repertoire for this theme. I might add a large board game and a smaller game like a card game. Remember you can choose what to add to the Box and when. Surprises are always fun!

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Games

How about a List of Great Games?

  • Ticket to Ride (US & Europe versions)
  • Settlers of Catan (and all its variations)
  • Dominion (and all its add ons)
  • Carcasonne (with add ons)
  • RISK
  • Axis and Allies
  • Merchants & Marauders
  • The Amazing Labyrinth
  • 10 Days in Africa (as well as Europe, the Americas, USA, and Asia)
  • Great States of America (and the Junior version)
  • Monopoly (and variants of the original)
  • Clue
  • Rivers, Roads, and Rails- great game for younger kids
  • Scrabble
  • Equate
  • Boggle
  • Yahtzee

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

That’s a partial list of the games we own and I’m sure your family has its favorites. Sometimes we pick a game stick out of a jar and play that game…when you have a lot of games it’s a fun way to keep variety in what you play. You might try game sticks in the jar for your Game Themed Adventure Box.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Making Your Own Games:

Making your own games is a lot of fun. E14 loves to make his own games and he likes to make them complicated…just like he likes to play them!

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

We get our game making materials from Bare Books. You can find several styles of blank boards along with money (blank or printed), game pieces, timers, and dice. The boards make a fabulous starting point for creative game makers!

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Most of our home made games coincide with something going on in our homeschool, but it’s usually not my suggestion. My oldest, for example, likes to choose his own projects and will usually choose a game. This NY Monopoly-esque game was E14’s idea. He wanted a game that would combine Monopoly type play with state trivia. At first he did his cards by hand, then he learned how to use Microsoft Word to make all his cards. It took him a bit to learn, but the results are fabulous. This won a blue ribbon at the NY State Fair in 2010.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

In this game, you are trying to buy improvements for your city including monuments, campgrounds, and parks. In order to build you have to have a building permit. All of these actions require answering NY State History and Geography as part of the turn. So, the basic game design is like a Monopoly game but it has some fun twists.

The key to great homemade games is allowing your kids the time to get imaginative. Summer time adventures offer kids the time. Your job is to provide the materials and fodder for ideas. My kids know they can always print on cardstock and typically we have game boards on hand or another way to make them such has poster board.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Games

Last spring 14 worked on creating another game. This one is called Conversion and is a culmination of his studies of the early Church and Paul’s missionary travels. Again, this was his idea and he worked on it for a long time. He wanted a game that was based on converting the people to Christianity and he included much of what he learned while studying the early Church. He did a fantastic job coming up with scenarios where you’d encounter people and then another scenario based on what decision you made from the scenario card.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

In the end, he came up with a nice game which plays relatively well. After the county fair last summer, we worked out the game’s playability before sending it on to the NY State Fair where it earned a blue ribbon. Playability is key! We found out we were lacking resources to start the game. We didn’t have enough to do much and we couldn’t save a lot quickly. The directions were adjusted to give the new play a chance. This was a great exercise in reliability and whether or not people enjoyed playing the game.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

The hallmark of this game is all the creative scenarios missionaries could walk into…all of them a potential opportunity to make converts to Christianity. If you’d like to read more about the game play of Conversion, I blogged about it last summer.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

Some games are a lot simpler like the pictures of animals all laminated. I used this game to practice animal classification as we encounter the animals in our studies. It’s mostly a sorting game, but it has a few variations.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures in Games

Books for Game Makers and Players:

Journey to Gameland– a book about how to make a board game based on your favorite book written by a boy who make a game based on the Harry Potter series. Fun for creative ways to turn your favorite book into a game.

The Monopoly Book– Strategy and Tactics of the World’s Most Popular Game. My kids loved this book. It has a history of the game along with ways to win!

The Game Makers– The Story of the Parker Brothers. Fun history of the gaming brothers’ company

The Game Inventor’s Guidebook– all about how to create and sell board games

Game Design Workshop– A playcentric approach to creating innovative games

Scrabble Puzzles– for playing alone

Bananagrams for Kids– a puzzle book for kids

Bananagrams: The Official Book- a puzzle book for all ages with facts about words and bananas

The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games– this one has great reviews for providing an overview of the past in great illustrations

The Usborne Complete Book of Chess– chess strategies and how to’s of the game

Chess Puzzles– great book for chess fans. This one is for kids who already play and want to improve their game. Our kids have enjoyed it a lot.

Blog She Wrote: Adventures with Games

A Game Themed Adventure Box full of games to play, materials to create his own games, and game themed books will provides hours of creative play time for a game loving child.

Have you made homemade games at your house? Tell us about them here!

Hopscotch-With-iHN-Spring-Collage2Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are sharing a series this week through iHN’s Spring 2013 Hopscotch.

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  1. I love this! My 15 yo is especially into games. We have Catan, Carcasonne, Ticket to Ride, Risk, Axis & Allies, a whole bunch of history-based ones like Gettysburg, Hammer of the Scots, Napoleon’s Triumph, the list goes on. He really seems to like the ones manufactured by Columbia Games – how could I have forgotten West Front, East Front, and EuroFront?

    Last year I got him a playing mat that had squares on one side and hexagons on the other. He uses non-permanent markers for making his own playing board and often uses parts of other games to make up his own. (I believe the mat is made by Chessex).

    I’m going to check out the game designing links that you have included. What a great idea for the summer.

    Although I would suggest you preview it, we have enjoyed watching TableTop at Geek and Sundry. Wil Wheaton of Star Trek gathers a few friends and tries out different games. One was Ticket to Ride which we have, another was Pandemic, which we don’t, but after watching may consider for the future.

    Thanks for the idea and I think the homemade games are fantastic! Great job.

    1. I haven’t heard of Table Top, but I will check it out. Maybe my husband has heard of it- Will Wheaton…that’s great!

      Your son sounds a lot like mine. They’d have a great time playing games!

      Dominion is a great card game and the different sets give a different sort of play to the game.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. I just came home from my state homeschool convention and was so tempted to buy some game making materials from Miller Pad and Paper (another great resource for that) but I didn’t. Now, I wish I had. Great post, Heather. Love this series!!

    1. That’s right! I’d forgotten Miller carries those too. Bare books is cheaper if that makes you feel better!

      Thanks for reading Jamie!

  3. Thanks for the supplies link. I have a little game maker here and I am thinking a game making kit for his birthday will be just the thing!

  4. I really need to remember to order some bare games to make our own.

    You’ve got a lot of the games we own, but many my kids aren’t quite old enough for yet, but I’ve adapted a few down to their ability (Catan and Carcassone). Great minds must think alike because I’m featuring a lot of these games in my series too 🙂

    1. Thanks Ticia!

      I’ve been watching your game posts. I thought making games would be a terrific summer Adventure for game loving kids. I should probably add to our list here…a lot are missing! LOL

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