Halloween 2013 saw the first meeting of the “nerd out” club at the local high school, which I have volunteered to help with. While the kids are talking about watching movies and sharing other nerdy fun at future meetings, the first meeting was all about board games.
And since it was Halloween, costumes were welcome! I went as a minion from Despicable Me.
When I arrived, the “meeting” was already in full swing. There were about 20 kids on hand, plus the teacher who is supervising the club. I spotted a game of Settlers of Catan getting underway along with a war game that I didn’t recognize. I had brought a stack of games like Carcassonne and Ra, along with a box containing my own designs.
The teacher introduced me to the class as a local game designer, and I had about six kids come over to the table where I was sitting, interested in trying out a game with the designer. I taught a bunch of them to play Chaos & Alchemy.
A couple of kids had to leave after a few minutes, while some others drifted in, so we had a bit of a fluid composition of players at the table. It turns out that Chaos & Alchemy was an excellent choice in that environment, since it’s easy for a player to leave and have someone else take their place (or just continue with fewer players if need be).
We played once with the base game, and then a couple of times with the Apprentices expansion I’ve been working on. It went great!
After that, I was down to just myself and one guy who wanted to play more of my games, so I broke out my super-early prototype of a game I’m calling Otters. It’s a quick and very simple card game, and I had only tried it solo before this, but it played pretty much the way I wanted it to. I’ll be writing more about this one soon, I promise; I think I might make it my National Game Design Month (NaGaDeMon) project.
The club meeting only ran from 3:00 to 4:30, but that was enough time to meet a bunch of the kids, share some love of gaming, and get some play testing done.
Next time, I’m probably not going to bother bringing games aside from my own designs; that’s what the kids seem most interested in. I’ll also go with a more structured plan in mind next time. I was expecting that I would be going around to different tables and teaching people to play different games, but the kids were already doing their own thing in many cases. I’ll go with the plan to teach / play test one particular game and let the kids who are interested in that game come to me.
Michael Iachini – Clay Crucible Games
@ClayCrucible on Twitter