Thursday, August 25, 2011

Games Games Games

Hey everyone, for this week’s guest blog I would like to introduce an important member of our library Daniel Ajoy, an Ecuadorian volunteer who comes to the centro regularly to play games with the niños. Daniel brings a variety of games that teach the kids valuable lessons and also give them a break from the standard choices at the library. The kids really enjoy playing with him, and always ask for him when he isn't around. Here are a few words from Daniel himself about what he does:

Hi, my name is Daniel Ajoy and I go to the Manna library at Rumiloma as often as other obligations allow. I enjoy very much playing and teaching board games to the kids there, because I remember the times when I was bored at home when I was young, as these kids are, and I didn't know how to use the game pieces I had, to play with my brother and sister.

The library has a few board games the kids are free to play with. I imagine that all of the games were donated with all of their components complete. They are in shelves accessible even to the younger kids, but through the months of use and exploration, many of them have lost pieces or have broken ones. From what I've seen, the most resilient games are the ever popular Uno, and Othello, because the board is sturdy and the pieces are identical and abundant, so if some of them get lost the game is still playable.

I usually go with a bag that contains:

· two Piecepacks, which are generic sets of pieces: numbered tiles, numbered coins, dice, and pawns.

· two bags of many nice-looking glass beads

· one bag of buttons in four colors

· a white set of Dominoes

· a deck of regular cards

With the pawns we have been able to play a few games of Candyland, changing the rules a bit so that it's not just a matter of taking a color card from the top of your stack and moving you pawn to that spot in the track through the Land of Candy, but having each kid manage a hand of three color cards, and make decisions about which card to play next. This rule change was suggested by Tom Vasel in this video.

With the glass beads we have played Breakthrough on the Chess tables, I think it is a very nice simple game to play with the kids, but the problem is that it is just for two players. I'm trying to find games for more players that use the Chess tables and we have tried Pente and Halma with the colored buttons. The kids have enjoyed both. Also with simple buttons, glass beads and pawns, we have played other multi-player games like: Veleno (which we call "Help your friend"), Poison Pot, Pandora's box and Yavalath. For those a simple printable board was needed.

We have a nice set of thick black Dominoes... but it lacks three pieces. I realized that the incomplete black set of Dominoes had enough pieces to play an adaptation of Raj, we use those pieces and a deck of regular playing cards, and each player gets all the 13 cards of a suite, so with one deck up to 4 players can participate. Playing cards are relatively cheap here, and I'm still trying to find simple, yet novel games to play with them. We have played Army Ants, Sequence, with a printable board; and Eleusis, but in its Express version. I think kids would benefit from playing more Eleusis (which I presented to them as "Nature against Scientists") but I suspect they don't appreciate my representing Nature every time, and they don't yet have a sense of what good rules are, to play as Nature themselves affectively. However, their favorite card game is Egyptian Rat Slap.

With the Piecepack tiles we have explored games like Hey, That's my Fish!, Penguin and The Secret Door. With the Piecepack dice we have played: Can't Stop and Pickomino (which they usually just call Worms). And lately we have tried more sophisticated adaptations like: Way of the Dragon, Forbidden Island, Royal Racers and Cloud 9 (which we call "7 Heaven" and we assemble with Piecepack components, a Dominoes set to indicate "cloud points", and origami dice)

The idea of using origami dice came from the desire of playing fun games with what we have at hand, paper for example. We use origami dice to play Sushizock im Gockelwok, and regular notebooks and pencils to play Dots and Boxes which in Ecuador is called "Galleta" and Sprouts. I still want to show them how to play Racetrack with more than two players, but that looks like an all-boys game, so I'll wait for the right opportunity.

It would be nice to have generic sets of Dominoes, dice, cards and color tokens at the library, so that kids can play the games rules we learn on their own.

Thank you Daniel! The PDs and the niños genuinely appreciate your help!

Daniel playing with some of the library regulars


Anonymous said...

Hey, I found this list of List of indestructible games, which shows which games can be used in the environment of the library.

Anonymous said...