- Episode Topics
- Board Gaming with Education Holiday Promotion – 0:00
- Welcome Grace back to the Show – 1:28
- Sponsor: The World Game – 3:49
- Who is Jake Michels? – 3:12
- Defining “Teaching Games” – 4:28
- Scaffolding by Introducing Games to New Players and Your Students – 11:02
- Breaking Down the Teaching Process and Introducing the Learning Objective – 16:14
- Keeping Players Engaged When Teaching Games – 22:36
- Grace Rejoins the Conversation – 30:17
- Dustin, Jake, and Grace Play Snake Oil – 49:32
In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education Dustin is joined by co-host Grace Withmory and guest Jake Michels to talk about best practices for teaching board games. Jake shares some amazing insights into teaching board games! Both Jake and Dustin discuss the implications of teaching games in a learning environment and also talk about some things you should keep in mind when you teach your students or other players a new board game. With Jake’s expertise, Dustin and Grace continue the conversation by looking back on some of the things Jake mentions in the episode.
Games from this Episode [Links include games in our Board Gaming with Education Store or Amazon affiliate links]:
Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Soul Train” and “Retro Gamer” for our Sponsorship and Interview Segments. These songs can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Game Segment.
Our Facebook Group for Educators: Games-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education
You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts (or any other platform you get your podcasts):
Board Gaming with Education Holiday Promotion – 0:00
Be sure to sign-up for our holiday promotion by joining our email list. You should receive more information on how to redeem your holiday offer in a follow-up email.
The World Game is a very interactive Geography game for 2 to 5 players that’s easy to learn. A fast playing adventure full of excitement. Leave home to embark on a race around the world. Pass famous landmarks on your way and win by having a stronger country fact.
Challenge others with world flags knowledge and by finding locations on the map. Pick up your action cards on the way to get ahead of or slow down other travelers. It is super engaging for kids and adults alike.
The game’s objective is to be the first player to finish the race around the world and cross the finish line. You move forward by winning with strong country facts or by answering geography challenges correctly.
Who is Jake Michels? – 3:12
Dustin introduces Jake Michels!
Defining “Teaching Games” – 4:28
Jake lays out some context for today’s discussion:
…a little context of, where I come from, I write and direct all of our How to Play episodes for Geek and Sundry, and a show called How to Game which is on Good Time Society… of taking rule books for games and transitioning them into scripts for Becca to read on camera to explain to people and largely like a 10 or 12 minute format. But for our purposes of today’s discussion, I guess teaching a game is kind of laying out the boundaries and the rules for which the game is going to take place. And that’s really the one of the most important things I think it might even be the most important thing about a game is the boundaries, right? Like what we are allowed and not allowed to do.
Dustin and Jake look at the “magic circle” of games and how these sets of norms can be applied to a learning environment. They also chat about your role as a facilitator and your audience.
Scaffolding by Introducing Games to New Players and Your Students – 11:02
Breaking Down the Teaching Process and Introducing the Learning Objective – 16:14
Jake shares his strategy for how he breaks down the teaching process. He talks about first introducing the objective, being sure to set up the game board in some way to give the players a visual component, and then going step by step and breaking down the major components of gameplay into smaller sequences. Dustin and Jake then go on to a discussion about introducing the learning objective if you are using the game as a part of your learning environment.
Keeping Players Engaged When Teaching Games – 22:36
Jake shares some tips for keeping players engaged while teaching games such as using visual cues, asking questions, providing examples, and asking for players to demonstrate specific game rules.
Grace Rejoins the Conversation – 30:17
Grace rejoins the conversation with Dustin and they chat about some of the insights that Jake had to share. Three particular topics they really dive back into is knowing your audience, scaffolding games, and using games as a part of a theater or drama program.
Dustin, Jake, and Grace Play Snake Oil – 37:06
Transcript of “Tips and Tricks for Teaching Board Games feat. Jake Michels from Good Time Society – 114”
Transcript automated and provided by otter.ai. [Using this link helps us continue to use this transcription service for future episodes.] Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript and may have errors in grammar, wording, and/or word choice.
Dustin Staats 0:00
Dustin here and just a reminder that our Board Gaming with Education holiday promotion is live check out some of the awesome board games we have on our site at Board Gaming with education.com. We have some games like cytosis, a game about cell biology, where words are really fun word game that you can play with your family at home and virtually. And feel free to send us a message if you have any questions about the games that our site or how to play. And we’re here to help you learn how to play the games and find a great game for your game group, family or learning environment. So again, Board Gaming with education.com
Board Gaming with Education 0:33
Board Gaming with Education, a podcast for anyone curious about how games and education mix, we explore various topics like game based learning gamification, and board games and the impacts they have on learning. here’s your host, Dustin Staats.
Dustin Staats 0:54
Today, I’m joined by my favorite person in the world.
Grace Withmory 1:01
Am I supposed to say something,
Dustin Staats 1:04
my wife Grace
Grace Withmory 1:05
reaction to that.
Dustin Staats 1:06
So we are going to talk about teaching games. And I’m excited to have grace here with me, because a lot of times, I want to say maybe almost all the time, we’re the ones responsible for teaching players how to play the games. We have a lot of friends over a family over and we’re usually introducing new board games to them. So I’m excited to chat with Jake today. And then have a follow up discussion with grace about the conversation that Jake and I get into about teaching games and how we can think about teaching games to our students in the classroom too. So let’s get into the episode and I’ll be back with grace after our chat. Before we get into the conversation with Jake, a word from our sponsor. This episode of Board Gaming with Education is sponsored by the world game of fun and educational geography board game, exciting and fast playing game for everyone. It is on Kickstarter right now. I highly recommend checking it out. I know I will be backing it because it makes for a great, fun educational game that everyone can play, as well as an amazing classroom resource. As you explore the different cities countries flags, you’re doing it on this really cool colorful board that comes with the entire world map. Again, it’s on Kickstarter. So you’re going to have to go onto Kickstarter, check it out for yourself, the link will be in the show notes. And again, that’s the world game on Kickstarter.
Welcome to a topical episode with Jake Michaels. So I’m super excited, we kind of chatted about what this topic is going to be about. And I’m excited to be joined by Jake, who is a director and producer in LA he is the co founder and producer of the show. Good time society. So I’m excited to have him on the show and, and learn a little bit about his insights about deciding what to include in teaching games, because that’s a lot of what he’s doing with with his channel too. Jake, would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself for our listeners?
Jake Michels 3:12
Hi. Yeah, thanks for having me. Dustin. My name is Jake Michaels. I am a writer, director and producer here in Los Angeles. And as you mentioned, I just started a production company with my good friend, Becca Scott, which is called the good time society. And that’s where we cover board games, video games, strategy things and also a little bit of nerdery with our Star Trek, our Star Trek podcast called to boldly watch.
Dustin Staats 3:36
Oh, super awesome. I’m not a Star Trek fan. I mean, I do love. I like the movies for like a movie sake. But I’m sure there’s some other listeners out there that are Big Star Trek fans. So
Jake Michels 3:46
I’ve never heard I like the movies for the movies. But I’ll take it because I like the movies, too. Yeah, yeah, you should watch it. It’s for all levels of Star Trek listeners for those who are way in deep. And also people who never really dip their toes in. It’s a good entry because we start with the next generation, which is we don’t go with the original series. We start with the one that actually started in the 80s. Because it’s a little bit of a reference for people our age, but people of all ages listened. So yeah, you should come check it out.
Dustin Staats 4:10
That’s awesome. Yeah, I don’t want to get too involved in discussion because it would be probably way over my head. But I know. My wife had taken a university course that looked at Star Trek, and I guess like classism, and race maybe
Jake Michels 4:24
I don’t know. Ooh, that’s, uh, Oh, man. I wish I went to that university. Yeah.
Dustin Staats 4:28
All right. Cool. So we’re going to talk about teaching games and what makes a good way of teaching games and looking at maybe some tips and tricks we can use as teachers or parents or just, I mean, maybe just board game hobbyist in teaching games. So what is the term teaching a game quote? unquote?
Jake Michels 4:51
Who what is the term? Yeah, well, for a little context of like, where I come from, from it, I write and direct all of our How to Play episodes for Geek and Sundry, and a show called How to game which is on good time society. So I’ve been doing this for, I think about like three or four years now of taking rule books for games and transitioning them into scripts for Becca to read on camera to explain to people and largely like a 10 or 12 minute format. But for our purposes of today’s discussion, I guess teaching a game is kind of laying out the boundaries and the rules for which the game is going to take place. And that’s really the one of the most important things I think it might even be the most important thing about a game is the boundaries, right? Like what we are allowed and not allowed to do. And that’s not to say that the rules are holy, or they can’t be changed or anything like that. But it’s important for everybody that’s involved to be on the same page. And the only way that can happen is if there are clear outlines of what’s going on.
Dustin Staats 5:47
Oh, man, this is this is already awesome. Because I was just chatting with someone about playing a game as the first thing you do for the school year. And talking about how a community in the classroom can look very similar to the structure of playing a game. I’m excited to kind of talk about this topic.
Jake Michels 6:05
Well, that’s true for kids, but also for adults as well. Because like, even in classroom environments for adults, like people come in with trepidation and not really sure what their what they’re going to be learning. And this goes for, like vocational skills or secondary education or or just even just like a yoga class. I mean, you wouldn’t open a yoga class with a game, I suppose. But you would open it with some like, how you doings and like, some get to know you sometimes. So like that can be really helpful for setting the tone of a room
Dustin Staats 6:36
rent, right? And some of those things are very unconsciously established norms in the classroom or in group. So what would you say? This is maybe a really tough question to answer, but I think it’s a good springboard to our topic. What makes a good way of teaching games?
Jake Michels 6:52
Um, well, I think first you kind of need to know the context of what you’re teaching it, right. So if you are a hardcore gamer, and you’re playing with other hardcore gamers who have played many games, you know, you know, all the different tropes that come with the game, you know, all the different strategies that that come with the high level stuff that has really in depth rules, we’re talking like the rule books that are 30 pages, and like phases, have steps and sub steps and all that other stuff, then you’re probably comfortable just going through the rules by bullet point, or even having those players teach themselves on their own in some way. And then before starting the game, kind of having a rules review. But that can be very different. If you are a brand new gamer yourself and you’re intimidated by this new game that you got no matter what level it is, and you want to teach it to perhaps maybe your family or some friends who are not as experienced in board games, that’s going to take a much different approach. Right. So I think the most important thing is knowing who what the game is that you are doing and the people that you’re teaching to, I would say the other thing to consider is like when you’re teaching it and like the environment, because I’ve taught games at like a board game brunch before. And it’s been very successful with that group. But I’ve thought that same game starting at 10pm on a night when we’d already been drinking, and that was not as successful. So like, it kind of just depends on your environment as well. Right? You
Dustin Staats 8:09
gave me gave me some flashbacks to when we picked up gloom Haven and that’s a big, like, massive, yeah, hundred hour board game that played. It’s played over various times. And I brought that rulebook to bed with me a couple nights to kind of get a foundation of how to play so that when I did come teach it to our group, I kind of at least knew the basics and knew how things operated within the game.
Jake Michels 8:34
Yeah, well, and that’s important for those in depth ones, right is you need to have one person who’s the rulebook guru, at least, sometimes it helps to have multiple, but usually someone has to, quote unquote, take the burden. And being the person who can teach the other people is important because you are the facilitator of not just the actual game, but the event that you guys are that you all are getting together for
Dustin Staats 8:56
right. And I think that’s super important too. Because whenever I think about using games, and then applying it to either a classroom education, as a facilitator in the classroom, you should be knowledgeable about the game you’re teaching. So you should definitely prepare before bringing it to the classroom.
Jake Michels 9:12
Well, that’s that’s true. But sometimes I will say, you don’t always have a lot of time to prepare or like there might be a situation where you are, maybe you’ve got new students in a class or you are asked to teach something kind of last minute, and you haven’t had time to put things together. And it’s important to like, be comfortable, like improvising a little bit and actually having games in your back pocket or other tools that you can have in your tool belt to warm up a classroom, or to make it create a game environment without necessarily having done all the prep. I used to I actually I realized in talking to you now, I’ve actually been doing games a lot longer than I thought in terms of my professional career because before I came to Los Angeles, I worked in children’s theater, and I worked in the education department and one of the classes that I mainly taught was improvisation which is largely games. So even in the classroom environment, Like, everybody really liked coming into that class in the first day, because they kind of knew that it was going to be game based. But there were a lot of people that were intimidated by improvisation because it’s a very intimidating art form. So I had to balance those people that were really enthused, and those people who were super frightened and find a middle ground for both of them and game, like warm up games and name games and other word games were the best way to do that. Definitely. And
Dustin Staats 10:25
now I have a couple follow up comments, one, we can have you on the show to just talk about improv games and using those in the classroom. But also, I’m kind of thinking maybe I need to change the game we’re gonna play at the end of the episode. Oh, okay. More improv style game, maybe?
Jake Michels 10:40
Well, I’m totally, I can improvise whatever you need. Like, What game do you play? It’s
Dustin Staats 10:44
fine. Right? Yeah. Awesome. So would you say there are games that are better suited for teaching people how to play? Like, is there a game that’s maybe something that you would prefer bring into a group of people that aren’t familiar with board games, or vice versa?
Jake Michels 11:02
Yeah, I definitely. Again, like going back to what I said earlier about, like, I kind of, if I’m gonna pick a game, I’m picking the picking it based on the people I’m playing with, and the environment I’m playing. So if it’s just four of us, and it’s like my wife, and me and another couple, and we just want a casual thing, where we can still talk over it, that’s gonna be and like Converse over it, that’s going to be a very different experience than me and four of my college buddies who want to sit down for a six hour galactic diplomacy game or something like that, like the baseline games of people. I’ve met a lot of people the past few years, who want to get into board games, but are intimidated by the depths of them. There are a certain amount of games that I kind of walk people into. So the example that I’ll give is a one of my, one of our couple friends, they got viticulture, I don’t know if you know viticulture, it is a worker placement game where you own a vineyard and you take your workers to different parts of the vineyard and you grow grapes on your vines, and you mash them up into wine and you sell the wine for points. It’s much more complicated than I am summarizing now. But they were super intimidated by this game. And they asked me to come over and teach it. And we did it at a big dinner party where everybody had already had a bunch of wine. And it was again, it started at like nine o’clock. And it’s a really long game. And not everybody was super into I mean, they were excited about the board game, but they weren’t into this level of depth. And so we struggled through it for a couple hours. And we ended up abandoning it. But it was totally fine. Because every set a good attitude. Because they had fun doing it. But it was just too much, right. So what I went did after that was I went back and said, Okay, let’s just the four of us, my wife and you and another couple let’s let’s just play these board games that have basic worker placement. And let’s get more and more complicated as we go. So like I started them out with like a non worker placement game, like point salad, and like lords and ladies or stuff like that. And then we progressed into like lords of waterdeep, which is like a very, it has very basic things you can do on your turn, but it has a lot of complex strategy. And then we moved on to something like architects of the West kingdom, which that has a lot of you have way more workers than and you have to spend them much more carefully. So they started learning about worker management. And then after the pandemic is done, I plan to teach them finally their own game of viticulture. So it’s like kind of creating a stepping stone of mechanics ideally, if you know what their end goal is,
Dustin Staats 13:23
right and that again, like going back to the classroom, that’s perfect example of how we can introduce games to our students who are not familiar with a lot of modern board game mechanics or even as a teacher kind of learning your way through the hobby because I know for myself playing board games I’ve I’ve always used games in class as a way to engage my students but I was using very games very much on the face value like I remember using like a rolling right game or rolling die and then they would answer a question their partner would ask a question and answer the question role diet partner answer the question asked question, which isn’t super engaging, it works. But then playing a lot of board games, I’ve learned that there are a lot of other mechanics I can use. Like I had developed a negotiation game where each group had a company and they had secret agendas they needed to fill what their company I would have never thought about that game unless I hadn’t played some board games with those secret agenda mechanic or secret rolling
Jake Michels 14:22
like the games that we like are so cognitively like, intensive that of course they are learning they are applicable to a learning environment. I mean, not just the games that require you to count points are applicable to math, which feels like the obvious answer but like social deductions, a good one, in terms of just interacting with other people or having objectives and like building a strategy to like build an engine for a game or something like that. Like they are so applicable to learning that I’m I’m kind of surprised we don’t incorporate more games just flat out in curriculum in schools, like always, and for for students who really struggle with Subjects it’s a great way to bring them in. I can’t I can’t stress enough how kids will easily go for a game that involves math, but will be terrified of math if it’s on just a worksheet.
Dustin Staats 15:11
Right, I think, I don’t know if I wanted to my own horn. But I’ve had started tutoring in a student in Taiwan when he was five. And I had brought in some of his interest in one of his interests were was Pokemon. And now he’s eight or nine. And he loves English. And I wonder, I wonder if part of that is because of that nurturing environment that English, that subject of English created for him, versus maybe math, or he didn’t get that, you know, that added layer of Pokemon and math.
Jake Michels 15:43
Oh, I see what you’re saying. Yeah, because of like him even playing so much Pokemon, which he played it in English, because it was written in English, the cards he had and stuff in the game.
Dustin Staats 15:51
Yeah, essentially, I would just, it was even more simple than that. We started learning the alphabet. And instead of just showing him letters, I showed him Pokemon that were attached to letters using pokey ball. So he would use a Pokemon.
Jake Michels Speaker 16:04
That’s so good. Like, who wants to look at a flashcard with just the letter or like, yeah, we know A stands for Apple, who cares? We’d rather it starts for what’s the aardvark one? I get?
Dustin Staats 16:14
Yeah. So we kind of talked about bringing, introducing players to new mechanics. And that is a way of maybe teaching games from a simple game to more complex game, how would we break down the teaching process like teaching a game a certain way.
Jake Michels 16:31
So I always start teaching a game by starting with the objective. I think it’s too easy when you’re teaching a game to like, look at the rulebook and kind of go through it sequentially. But a lot of rule books nowadays, not all of them, but a lot of them for some reason, don’t put like the winning condition, or the whole game objective until the very end, there’ll be like, once someone has a 12 crescents, the game ends, and that person is the winner. And we learned that after four pages of other rules, it’s like, people need to know first off what they are trying to do before they need to understand how to do it. It’s kind of like teaching someone to build an Ikea, like an Ikea piece of furniture without them even seeing what it was at the outset. Right. So I always start with the objective. And then I’ve generally, I’ve already set up the board in some way. So there’s a visual component as well. So I can easily point to stuff. And then I try to organize it in a way that’s not too that’s not too detail oriented, so we can kind of go step by step. So once you’ve explained the objective, you kind of can skip the setup unless it’s important. And and then you can get into gameplay. Sometimes setup is important because some games like their strategies depend on the things you do at setup, or certain players get certain things so that that’s a stipulation. But for the most part, if you can get right into gameplay and tell a player what they do on their turn, and how the game is made up of either terms, or phases, or does everybody go sequentially? Or does everybody go at the same time, once you’ve outlined that, it’s easy to kind of like diverge into subsystems, like if there’s like, you can go to the market, here’s all the things you can do the market, it’s easy to stop it, it’s better to stop and just say, Okay, here’s what we can do on your turn, you can go to the market, you can go to the quarry, you can go to, I’m making this game up, you can go and or you can go do all these other things. But then instead of like, every time you explain those, then explaining all the things within it, it’s easy to get the broad picture. First, make sure your players understand then get specific either when they ask or when you have time to go into the details. That’s kind of my main strategies for teaching a game no matter the depth of the game is like objective, a little bit of setup if it’s necessary, and then what happens in a turn. Right? I
Dustin Staats 18:41
think that that’s a good breakdown of the process. And then kind of looking at it from teaching a board game for learning maybe or bringing a board game to class, when would you say is an important part or important time to introduce how it ties into the course objective or the curriculum as a teacher?
Jake Michels 19:01
Man, it’s, it’s kind of better if you don’t like the best things, the best experiences I had as a teacher is when the students told me when they saw how it applied, especially with improv games is like you would teach them he would teach them these absurd games where they were just making you know, theater is sometimes really hard to explain on an audio format. But it’s very hard to explain in an improv format, too, because warm ups are sometimes so for lack of a better term hokey or silly, because you’re doing like hand gestures or weird sounds and building on those sounds. But people don’t immediately understand why we’re doing that. But it’s a communication device. And once they started realizing that, Oh, I’m picking up on signals that aren’t necessarily verbal, then I I’m getting body language and when I didn’t want to have to tell them that I wanted them to tell me that because that means they are learning it on their own. So I kind of dodged your question by saying never but I mean, they really like that’s the whole point is like if you don’t tell your students That this is part of the class, they’ll just want to play the game all the time. And then if they want to play the game, and they’re still learning, then it’s a win win.
Dustin Staats 20:07
Right. And I think it’s important for, for students to, to be able to see in the game where the learning ties in to.
Jake Michels 20:16
Yes, and I think they will see that, like, especially if you are good about picking your games and, and and seeing how that applies. I, I have a neighbor friend whose child is really struggling with math, and I’m planning to give them point salad,
Dustin Staats 20:30
do you know point salad I know of the game? And I know there’s a lot of ways you can score points. And I know it’s mappy. Yeah,
Jake Michels 20:38
yeah, yeah, it is mathy. But like, it’s, it’s mathy in a pretty simple way. And again, like lords of waterdeep, it’s a game that you can’t do much on your turn, you only have like one or two options. So it’s not overwhelming for the gamer. But where the strategy come in is trying to optimize your points. And I don’t know if a salad is the most appealing thing for kids. But I will say like in the context of a game, it’s way easier for them to want to do multiplication, if they are trying to do something leisurely than they are if they’re doing it on a worksheet.
Dustin Staats 21:08
Right. 100%. Yeah. And what would you say, as a teacher, or maybe a parent using a game like point salad? How would you suggest teaching that to a student or their kids? What are some like tips you might give them?
Jake Michels 21:23
Um, well, something simple like that is just sit them down and tell them that it’s a it’s a game and like, take it out of the context of school. Like, take it out of the context of learning, especially, I would say not all kids like dislike learning lots of kids love school and are eager for those things. But there’s, there’s kind of a attention when it comes to school, especially like right now with the pandemic, where there’s a lot of, there’s more homeschooling, there’s more parent interaction with with kids homework right now, which is super great. And also really stressful. And I totally understand that. So maybe taking it out of the school learning context, when you at the outset, and going right into explaining the game, just as that is as a game. And then you, they’ll see that they’re doing math, like they’re going to struggle to count at some point. So they’re going to get the connection, you don’t need to you don’t need to brief them too much about it. I think it’s more important to go into it with a an aspect of fun, because when people are having fun, they are more open and when they’re more open and more receptive to learning.
Dustin Staats 22:22
Make a good point is they’re doing math, but and when it’s in a game context, there’s, there’s the desire to do it, because it’s a game versus because it’s math.
Jake Michels 22:35
Dustin Staats 22:36
When you’re teaching a game to new players, what are some ways you can keep them engaged? Because when I’m thinking as a teacher, I’ve taught how to play board games for English language teaching, and I’m teaching to non native English speakers. So some things I’ve done is used like visual cues. And also examples throughout the, throughout the process of this process of teaching. What are some ways that you would suggest to keep players engaged?
Jake Michels 23:02
Yeah, yeah, visual cues are the best one, I think if you hit it on the head there, especially with like, if you have a lot of components in a game, don’t give them all to them at once. Like don’t hand them all of their things and say, Okay, I’m gonna explain what each one does. Give them one thing at a time and explain what it does. And then you’ll have something else to reveal later is like, Ooh, there’s a surprise you also have a market board. So like, you can, yeah, you can. visual aids are really good. And examples are really great as well. But I think it’s I don’t really have trouble keeping people in gauged unless it’s a it’s too many people, you know, I’m saying like side conversations are happening, or they already kind of know the rules. And some people don’t need a recap and others do. But really where my struggle can be is making sure making sure people understand, right? Because some some people who, especially in the classroom environment who don’t want to look like they don’t understand or are self conscious about that will say they do and then don’t. And it’s really important that everybody gets those concepts. So rather than necessarily calling one person out and saying, Do you get it, it’s helpful to just provide examples on your own to make sure it clicks in other ways. But I mean, asking questions and having people speak back to you is the best way of engagement in a lot of forums. Right. So asking them if, if they understood what you can do when you’re at the market and how they spend their money before moving on to the next session is kind of the best way
Dustin Staats 24:23
for sure. And it you kind of hinted at something too, that there are different types of learners both for learning and board game and in the classroom. And I’ve done analysis in my teaching that I’m explaining something, and maybe I didn’t explain it for that type of learner when they’re asking me a question later in the game. I know for me, I’m very, I’m not very picky at all. When I play a board game, I just want to dive in and just do it and see how it interacts with one of the moves I’m making, how they interact together with the game, but I know other learners kind of really need everything before they can get going with the game.
Jake Michels 24:57
Not only do they need everything they sometimes need Everything multiple times, I think we forget the like those of us who are super experienced in board games, we have done something unconsciously that I don’t think we always realize, which is that we learn the mechanics of all games in a lot of ways. Because after you’ve played 100 of these board games, you start to see a lot of the similarities in the way they are built. Like, like, Oh, this is a worker placement, and it has these mechanics similar to these five games I know, or this is a deck builder, which a lot of these are super built alike and have follow the same basic principles. Well, for someone who’s playing their very first deck builder, it’s kind of overwhelming, so they’re going to need to repeat, it’s going to need to be repeated to them that Yeah, you discard your whole deck at some point, and then you shuffle it and start it over again. And you if you say at once you think, Okay, well, they now have that information. But that’s not as we all know, that’s not how learning works, especially when you are learning a lot of things at once, and you don’t have an opportunity to you know, take notes or write it down. So it’s key to be altruistic or empathetic about other people’s understanding and make sure that it’s okay to repeat things. And even though you may have explained what you do, when you go to the market several times, it’s good to go over it again, to make sure that they are still fully on board with it because they can forget, especially when they’re looking at all the other things that are happening on a big old board game,
Dustin Staats 26:14
right. And then I have a kind of a follow up question more of a personal preference as far as what you think about sharing. So I know when I’m teaching a game, and there’s kind of this idea that, Oh, I know how to play, and I’m the best at it. Because I know how to play. Often times, that’s not the case. Do you teach as someone’s going through the game optimal strategies as they’re learning the game?
Jake Michels 26:36
Um, rarely. Unless it’s like kind of an obvious thing? Well, like, if it is obvious, I will point it out. Because sometimes, if it’s like an optimal strategy that everybody does, it’s like, oh, well, you don’t want to be the new person who didn’t pick the, from the fastest racecar have in the pit, you know, because everybody else did. So like, if there’s like a convention, that is generally you want to do this, I will point it out. But that can get really overwhelming really quickly if you’re giving tips and tricks within the rules too. So generally not think that applies to, again, the classroom where as a teacher, we don’t necessarily want to share with them sometimes how to exactly play the game, because that’s part of the exploration process.
Dustin Staats 27:21
Yeah, both the game and learning.
Jake Michels 27:24
And also, if you’re super good at the game, and you’re teaching it to three people who are brand new to it, and you’re probably going to crush them like to go ahead and mention some of the optimal stuff. And then don’t necessarily play optimally. I’m not saying sabotage the game or give them the win or lose intentionally, I’m saying try an alternate strategy where you can win in a more impressive way to make it harder for yourself and even the playing field a little bit. Because also, you’re going to want these people to play the game with you again. And if you murder them at it, they’re just going to think, Oh, it’s because that person knows the game. So well, they’ll always do that, which isn’t necessarily true, because once they learn it properly, they can do the same thing.
Dustin Staats 28:01
Right, right. Awesome. So do we have anything else to kind of chat about before we move into the game, anything, anything you want to share? Maybe last word before we move into our game?
Jake Michels 28:12
I mean, I just I think in in having this conversation with you, I realized how like how much I want to push games in general to be in the classroom and to have a more game like environment in all learning. And that doesn’t necessarily just limit itself to board games, I think. This, it’s what it’s what a lot of people call the open mode is when you are in kind of game mode and willing to play and you’re less self conscious. And you’re more open to creativity and new ideas. Well, that that generally happens during games. And then when we go back into the analytical mode, which you know, you kind of shift in between it a lot. And when you’re analyzing either your rules or your your strategy or afterwards you’re and you’re thinking about what you’ve learned, that’s the closed mode. And so that’s what’s valuable for taking in that information. But for actually sorry for processing that information. But for taking in initially you want to be in the open mode. So play a game and do it as much as you can.
Dustin Staats 29:12
Yeah, that’s awesome. I didn’t kind of didn’t think about well, I didn’t know about that. But I had maybe no one about the idea when my students would play a game and they were more of the shy type in class but then when we would play a game they were the ones that were kind of leading the game and the most vocal guy
Jake Michels 29:33
yeah, it’s because they’re comfortable. They’re not self conscious about any well I mean, they’re self conscious for sure. But like they’re they’re not as self conscious about learning or about whatever they are self conscious about. There they are. They can let down their guard a little bit and they can just immerse themselves in something that is not important because game that’s what I love about games is like they don’t matter. That good and as an advocate for games, I think they’re so important. I think they are truly important in terms of our interaction, but the actual game and effects. It’s not, it’s not important, and we can take it super seriously. And we can like, have a lot of intense battles with our friends about them. But like at the end of the day, it’s just a game. So I love that we can get into something that is so not real that it doesn’t matter, but we can get it in such a way that we can still learn a lot from it.
Dustin Staats 30:17
I like that. Yeah, for sure. So Jake is gonna stick around for our game and Grace and I are going to talk a little bit more about teaching games.
Grace Withmory 30:29
Well, one thing that stood out from the conversation you had with Jake was what goes into preparing or teaching games. Keeping in mind both context and environment. I, he was talking about how his experience of teaching a game to a group of people drinking late at night didn’t quite work. So well, kind of reminded me of when I first played food chain magnate, he started teaching me at like a 11pm. And we didn’t get to start playing to like, one or two, and it was just not the best time to start a game. But taking into account who you’re teaching the game to and what the environment is like, is really important. And it can be transferred into the classroom, in terms of what level your students are at how familiar they are with playing games in the classroom. Actually, one thing I noticed when I was introducing games and in my classroom was a lot of the stuff that I was preparing for and thought might be a little harder to understand, was actually clicking a lot faster because of my students and their familiarity with not so much board games, but video games, I had a lot of video game players. So one thing I realized, after getting to know my students a little bit more was there were certain things that I could not necessarily skip over, but not necessarily have prepped like a 10 minute explanation of like, a certain concept, which was nice. But then thinking about what other areas in my explanation I might need to emphasize.
Dustin Staats 32:28
Right. And I think piggybacking off of that, if you are a teacher that is just using games for the first time, you’re going to want to start with an introductory level type of mechanic or game, not get too crazy. But eventually you can ramp up the types of games you bring into the classroom, because you can build on those things. And that’s one example that Jake brought up with introducing his friends to work replacement games. If you’re not familiar with that mechanic, well, you can introduce players to something very similar and kind of build your way into different types of worker placement games. I mean, there’s a lot of complex ways that game designers have built on that mechanic now to where you can kind of capture play capture workers in different areas. So
Grace Withmory 33:15
in education, we always talk about the importance of scaffolding and not just throwing kids in the deep end, so to speak. But working the little by little like first you learn numbers before you go straight to adding numbers. And that’s, that’s the only example I can think of right now. But just working them slowly into the topic. And the same thing goes for games, because some games are a little more complex. And depending on your classroom size, and how much time you have things won’t work the same in your classroom. So starting off small, allowing students to kind of have an idea of how this the game would play out. And then introducing more complex games is a great idea.
Dustin Staats 34:10
Right? And I want to ask you to because you and Jake kind of share some similar teaching background experience where he had taught drama and you taught either at your school. This was now what a year, two years ago, maybe
Grace Withmory 34:27
yes, I also taught drama like drama class in high school in Taiwan, and I did something very similar to what Jake was talking about, of how you start off with basically like a warm ups or improv at the start of class. And they are essentially games that students are able to not only become comfortable with each other but also with expressions and things like Like that. And I definitely enjoyed those classes because we became a lot closer as a group and as a class, because students were kind of coming outside of their comfort zone. And those games really allowed them to be creative and allow them to not take themselves so seriously or not really focus too much on the social norms in high school. And I don’t know, we had a lot of fun.
Dustin Staats 35:36
I think that’s one thing that Jake had mentioned too, right is building relationships through games. And that opportunity to do that is very strong when you play a game to build those relationships.
Grace Withmory 35:49
Yeah, and one thing He also mentioned was, he likes to have students Nanos, not necessarily the teacher, be the one to tell them what they should be learning from the game, but the students kind of take ownership of their learning and express to the teacher how they can connect it to the subject they’re learning. This doesn’t work for all classes, but definitely saw that in my drama class as well. With different games we were bringing into the classroom, I didn’t necessarily have to say, like in this, in this warm up, you’re going to be learning the importance of facial expressions or something like that, I didn’t really have to lay it out that way. Of course, as a teacher, we always circle back and try to reiterate the learning. But a lot of the times, students can connect the dots. So allowing them whether it’s an open discussion after the game or an exit ticket, to internalize what they were doing and how they can apply it to your normal. classroom learning is really important.
Dustin Staats 37:06
And speaking of improv, in theater, we’re going to jump into our game that is based off of improv, it’s called snake oil. And using Jake’s logic to teach the game that we talked about today on the show, I want to start off with the kind of background of the game and the goal, which is you are a snake oil salesman, which is based off of the old Western kind of idea that these quote unquote, doctors would sell snake oil to help with a lot of different cures, maybe you had wanted to have softer skin, while they would sell you the snake oil, which was actually a placebo to help you have softer skin. So the game is based off this idea of the snake oil salesman. And in the game, you are trying to sell a product to a different customer. And you get a hand of five cards that are random words, and you’re trying to sell it to a different customer that might be a cheerleader, a bank robber, or anything else. So grace, you are the customer, you’re going to listen to the sales pitch by myself and Jake, and the customer that you are going to be is a rock star. So let’s listen to I’m excited. Let’s listen to the pitch from myself and my product and from Jake.
This is a gravity of canoe that you will can take on to your world to or you go on as you share your music with the world. And not only can you take this gravity canoe across the ocean, it also transforms into a vehicle that you can ride across the US to perform your shows. And not only that, you can also take the gravity Can you onstage with you as you ride the waves of different fans that are enjoying your music to Whoa, sign up now for an early offer of the gravity canoe.
Jake Michels Speaker 39:11
Oh, that’s good. So you can not only take it on waterways, you can take it crowd surfing as well.
Dustin Staats 39:15
Yeah, crowd surfing right.
Jake Michels 39:17
Yeah, gravity is a great word. That’s a good choice. Well, I have a I have quite a product for you today, though the veal ball grave, you’re gonna need one of these. So if you’re a rock star that likes to drop things from the ceiling at the end of your show, like most rock stars do after your either your pyrotechnics are done or your flashing lights or your strobe effects or any of the awesome videos that you have playing on the big screen behind you. You’re definitely gonna want to drop some balls from the ceiling much like it was like, I don’t know, like an election celebration or something. But what do you do with all those balls on the concert floor once the concert goers have left? I mean, you’re gonna have to rehang them again, right? Not if you have a ball grave. That’s right. There is a funnel system below the concert that we can install, which is called the ball grave and it funnels all the balls down into a hole and then ships them out through a vacuum system back to the top of the concert hall. So if you want to have a tidy crew list by the way, crew this device that gets your balls back up to the ceiling, go ahead and get ball grave. You can sign up now for 100% off your first ball grave installment. Go to ball grave.co
Dustin Staats 40:26
awesome. I’m all in for less work and more automation for rock stars. Awesome. Gravity
Jake Michels Speaker 40:33
was such a good one to get. I was like
Dustin Staats 40:37
yeah, I kind of Yeah, it just kind of looked like it when it was
Grace Withmory 40:40
between that and gravy motor, which was just like, it feels like a fondue fountain but for gravy and then I want to have to go down that route.
Dustin Staats 40:49
Alright, so those are some pretty awesome products. And you now have to choose, you only have enough money to choose one. You can’t buy both things to add to your world tour. Oh, man. Do you want the ball graveyard? Or? Or do you want the gravity canoe? Yeah.
Grace Withmory 41:27
So okay, the gravity could use sounds interesting, except I am very bad at just balancing in general. So I feel like at some point, if I try to stand or something, it just wouldn’t be pretty. Oh,
Dustin Staats 41:47
man. I forgot to mention that as part of the product features.
Grace Withmory 41:52
Yeah, I tried riding a skateboard once and immediately fell. And then maybe it’s just because I’ve been recently like cleaning that the ball What was it? All graveyard?
Dustin Staats 42:09
You don’t even know the name of the
Grace Withmory 42:11
I don’t need to it’s just work so well. It’s only without the name. I think that would be super helpful on the operation side of the rock star but I guess yeah, yeah, just be faster as a rockstar to be able to wrap up and quickly move to the next city.
Dustin Staats 42:31
Yeah, I was I was watching you listen to our sales pitch. I knew you were gonna pick the ball graveyard. Alright, Grace, they
Grace Withmoruy 42:40
allows me to go to more cities and rock out more faster.
Dustin Staats 42:51
Well, Jake, thank you so much for coming on the show. If someone wanted to find what you’re doing or reach out to you, where might they do that?
Grace Withmory 42:59
Yeah, you can find me personally on social media at the Jake Michaels. And my last name Michaels is spelled without an A. So it’s the Tg JK e m IC H e LS. Additionally, I make some awesome board game video game and Star Trek ish content on good time society, which is at good time society. And we have an awesome YouTube where you can check out our videos with myself, Becca Scott and are many of our friends. That’s youtube.com slash good time society.
Dustin Staats 43:27
Awesome. Thank you again so much, Jake.
Jake Michels 43:29
Yeah, thank you, Dustin, I want to talk more.
Dustin Staats 43:32
All right, Grace, thank you for coming on the show. If anyone wanted to reach out to you, I know they can check you out. Or they can reach you through our website. I’m happy to afford any other information on to you. But do you have a different way that people can reach you?
Grace Withmory 43:50
Yeah, I’m just reaching me on the website or on our Instagram as well. I was originally taking over Board Gaming with Education, Instagram, but had to stop recently. Kind of working on my own ceramic venture. So
Dustin Staats 44:15
that’s what what’s the name of the Instagram account?
Grace Withmory 44:19
Oh, for some of my ceramics, it’s gv W. dot studios. But kind of unrelated so you can reach me at Board Gaming with Education. If you comment on that Instagram, or also our Board Gaming with Education email, I’m sure dusty will be able to forward it along.
Dustin Staats 44:40
Alright, Grace, as always, thank you for coming on the show.
Grace Withmory 44:44
Yeah. Thank you all as well.
Board Gaming with Education 44:47
Thank you for listening in this week. If you like what you heard, be sure to let us know you can find us on social media as Board Gaming with Education or PGE games or email us at podcast at Board Gaming with education.com If you want to support our podcast Be sure to check out our support page on our website. As always teach better learn more and most importantly, play more. Thank you for listening and until next time
Transcribed by https://otter.ai