School Gaming Night: Moderate Success

We had the first school game night over at my daughter’s school. Attendance was light but dedicated. There were four adults and five children. We wound up playing for five hours, with various games being explored.

Games played

Munchkin Treasure Hunt: Easily picked up by all comers, and my 5.5yo explained the rules to everyone. So pros were simple game and the no-direct-competition thing was good. Kids place funny values on things, so there was a lot of horse trading like “I’ll give you my +5 Sharp Sword for your +5 Fancy Balloons” and stuff like that, which we dutifully ignored. It was the first time I’ve ever seen play with more than two on the board, and it’s a much better game – with more offers of help tendered and accepted – with more people. Cons were that it tends to run a bit long because you have to drain the entire deck of treasures. That could be solved by, for exampling, doubling treasure hauls.

We Didn’t Playtest This at All: I didn’t observe this one for long. It seemed delightfully random, but the cry of “that’s not fair” accompanied by a heated exchange suggests that it’s good to explain that the game is designed for fast play, quick resolutions, and the card-game equivalent of a frequent TPK.

Pandemic: Surprisingly accessible, even for my 5.5yo.

I should note that this is a school for gifted kids. They’ve got 8-10yos who have to go to University of Minnesota for calculus. So my not-quite-6yo is in 2nd-3rd grade math and 4th/5th grade reading/language, and she’s on the lower end both in age and progress of those there. So be warned of whom I’m speaking.

Pandemic is a long game, and some of the rules need to be patiently explained. But the cooperative nature and the desire to have all the players collaborating on what’s the next move makes for a great play experience for a mixed group.

Munchkin (plus a few supplements): I brought it, thinking “well, maybe.” Well, the kids one-upped me, and brought a whole bunch of different games. Clerical Errors, expansion packs, etc. That game was towards the end, and the kids didn’t explain it well to the one adult who was playing. So attention span kicked in (the oldest was, after all, about 11) but it’s clear that most of the kids can handle the basic concepts involved. More next time. And the Munchkin game board was cool. A lot of SJGames fans in the few people that showed up.

Kung Fu Fighting: I was given this a while ago, and never played it. That was a mistake. This game is fast to set up, fun to play, and simply explained. Again, it’s a direct competition game, so it requires a bit of maturity to play.

Magic: The Gathering: I’m not sure a game actually got played, but one was set up and the 7-11yo contingent – and their parents! – were ready to rock here.

Dungeons and Dragons, 5th Edition: Again, this was eagerly acclaimed but not played due to setup time. I’m sure I could get a regular campaign going here, either as a player or GM, and as Game Night gets better established, this will probably be a go. The Monster Manual was eagerly devoured by one of the younger kids, who would randomly call out monster stats through the evening. Many stories were told about current campaigns and characters by one of the families, who has a regular RPG night of their own.

Parting Shot

Lots of fun was had, hot dogs were grilled, chips were eaten. Shields were not splintered, but martial arts moves were demonstrated. The kendo stick of discipline was not requred this evening.

Next week there’s another one, a prelude to watching the lunar eclipse next Sunday night. So I expect that attendance will be much better. But with only a few more present, it’ll be a great way to spend the evening. We started at 3:30pm, and I got my daughter back home around 8:30, and games were being played the entire time.

Can’t wait for the next one!

3 thoughts on “School Gaming Night: Moderate Success

    1. Those that showed up enjoyed the heck out of it, so that's a win. But we didn't pull any from beyond the faculty's children yet. I blame myself for relying on the Google Group rather than a direct email from the Administrative Coordinator for the school. This coming Sunday I won't make the same mistake.

  1. Kung Fu Fighting (along with its expansion, More Kung Fu Fighting) is one of my go-to quick games. The expansion also opens up the possibility of team play.

    If you ever need more games, I'd also recommend Smash Up (quick to learn, lots of permutations and replay value), Sentinels of the Multiverse (can get a little complicated, but a great coop game), and, obviously, Castle Panic, particularly with the Wizard's Tower expansion.

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