Students applauded and were visibly moved in the game's final moments
November 25, 2014 11:28 PM   Subscribe

The best learning games are always fun. Try playing them yourself and see if you enjoy them. No matter how advanced your understanding of the subject matter, a good game should still be fun. I've understood algebra and number partitions for decades, but DragonBox and Wuzzit Trouble are still challenging puzzlers that I like to fiddle with on long airline flights. All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways. In fact, this is the reason games work so well for learning: Players are intrinsically motivated to identify and succeed at understanding the game's mechanics.
The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning provides a basic introduction to the use of video games in education, gives several thought-provoking examples, and points to numerous sites with related goals, including Edutopia's articles on game-based learning and Graphite's reviews of digital games with educational content. Meanwhile, this being what The Guardian has just called "Board games' golden age," resources such as Play Play Learn, BoardGameGeek's Games in the Classroom, and The Dice Tower's recent countdown of "Top Ten Games for the Classroom" offer interesting options for the tabletop as well.

The Dice Tower's top ten lists counted down as follows with some disagreements among the participants about the merits of the choices: The Dice Tower has also done a recent episode on games that teach logic, the top tens from which are listed on their site.
posted by Monsieur Caution (5 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
I would add Qubic (Wikipedia)

It's 3D tic-tac-toe. You already know the rules. It develops spatial awareness. Unfortunately it hasn't been commercially available since the 1970's.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:48 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I remember playing an old Qubic game at my grandpa's place, when I was a kid! They may not be manufactured anymore, but it looks like old ones are on Amazon for 12 bucks.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:39 AM on November 26, 2014

One more thought. If you are short of hobbies, take one of mine! I collect board games.

Not "Collect" with a capital C. I just buy up games I find in thrift stores.

People buy a game, play it once or twice, then forget about it. So it's easy to find board games for a buck or two in thrift stores or garage sales. And there have been tons of board games. It's a really easy hobby.

Sometimes a few pieces are missing, but usually I can add them after a short Internet search. My kids are willing to give up their video games for a few minutes if I have manipulable pieces set up for them to handle.

We have games of strategy, trivia games, simple race games, chance, wordplay, roleplay, imagination games. Lots and lots of games. Each one a little microcosm you can climb in to and have fun with for an hour or two.

Great hobby. Try it!
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:44 AM on November 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

In 1990, I was intrigued by Blockhead (invented 1952) because its first rounds of play are competitive, but culminates in a cooperation when two persistent players defeat the game by using up all the blocks. How cooperation and competition can be framed and structured has been an interest ever since.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 1:18 AM on November 26, 2014

Excellent, and useful, post. Thanks.
posted by Wordshore at 12:47 PM on November 26, 2014

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