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PAX Unplugged: A Board Game Convention as an Educator – 77

Episode Overview

  • Episode Topics and Interviews
    • PAX Unplugged Introduction – 1:30
    • Austin from Dr. Wictz – 10:23
    • Tom from Kosmos – 16:40
    • Jesse from Quackalope – 19:21
    • Jessica from IKantKoan – 23:22
    • Dustin and Dave Catch Up – 28:30
    • Scott from North Star Games – 28:30
    • Tabitha an English Teacher – 41:06
    • Dustin and Dave Recap – 43:26

In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin attends PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia with his convention sage Dave Eng. They embark on this journey to get answers about attending a large board game convention like PAX Unplugged as educators. Dustin talks to Dave about his experiences going to conventions and together they navigate the ins and outs of attending the conference. Dustin also interviews several attendees included publishers, designers, panelists, and attendees.

PAX Unplugged Website: https://unplugged.paxsite.com/

Dave Eng’s Site: University XP : https://www.universityxp.com/

Dr. Witctz: https://dr.wictz.com/

Kosmos and Thames: https://www.thamesandkosmos.com/

Quackalope [YouTube Channel]: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkWKBx-tu7D7JZIlQnlIrmQ

IKantKoan Games: https://www.ikantkoan.com/

North Star Games: https://www.northstargames.com/

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Work It” for our convention-themed music. This song can be found in full on this music archive.

Our Facebook Group for Educators: Games-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education

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PAX Unplugged Introduction – 1:30

Dustin and Dave sit down and chat about PAX Unplugged and how they plan to tackle the convention. They discuss the question they plan to ask each interviewee: “What is your favorite educational game?/Name one educational game.” They also discuss the semantics of defining an educational game. What do you think? What is your favorite educational game? Drop a comment below or find us on social media Twitter and Facebook.

Dave and Dustin also share their experience exploring the expo hall from day 1 and some of the awesome projects they found on the floor like Blinks, an interactive hexagonal tile board game where different games can be programmed into the system. Oh… and Dustin got “con crud”… on day 1.

Be sure to check out Blinks by Move38.

Austin from Dr. Wictz – 10:23

Austin is one half of the game design team Dr. Wictz. Dustin and Austin start off their chat talking about the Unpub room (Collaboratory Room) where game designers playtest their upcoming game designs. Austin shares his educational game from his youth, “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego.”

Austin shares a bit about his game design company and how he and Aaron teach economic theory by hiding different theories in their game designs through various mechanics. Definitely check out some of their work and expect to see them on the show again soon!

Tom Wetzel from Kosmos – 16:40

Dustin meets Tom on the expo hall floor and talks about the learning potential that a lot of Kosmos products can provide. Kosmos is part of a bigger company “Kosmos and Thames” that develops a lot of great science toys and kits. The educational game he talks about is called Dimension [afflaliate link] which comes with a curriculum for the game. Tom and his company Kosmos Games would make an excellent guest on the show and we hope to have them on Board Gaming with Education in the future too!

Jesse from Quackalope – 19:21

Jesse produces super high video quality board game content like reviews, unboxing, and documentaries. Be sure to check out his YouTube Channel Quackalope.

He shares two excellent board games as educational games: Wingspan and Parks [affiliate links]. And you can trust Jesse knows his games! Jesse talks about how these games are great for bridging the gap between playing a game and engaging more in the content behind the game in the real world. Be sure to check out these two games!

Jessica from IKantKoan – 23:22

Jessica was part of a panel at PAX Unplugged called “Game Design Resources that Changed my Life.” She is also the founder of IKantKoan which is “dedicated to creating games and experiences that help players break apart outdated rules of society and reimagine our relationship to uncertainty, chaos, agency, and play.”

She shares an educational game called “Undertale” [affiliate link] a video game that has future ramifications and teaches us that our actions have consequences.

Jessica is a game designer and immersive theater artist. She takes complex items and turns them into playful items. She currently has a show running in New York called “Chaos Theory.” If you’re in the New York area, this show has received some tremendous reviews and is worth the experience!

Daniel an elementary ELA teacher – 25:57

Dustin talks to a fellow teacher, Daniel. It is always great to meet fellow teachers at different conventions! Daniel shares a game called Mission US that is an online choose-your-own-adventure game. It is so amazing to talk with educators and learn from them to learn of more game-based applications like this one.

Daniel also talks about how demoing games and teaching parallel. Another great interview! Be sure to check it out!

Dave and Dustin Catch Up – 28:30

Dave shares his favorite educational game called “Typing of the Dead” that helped Dave learn typing skills.

Dave and Dustin catch up about the conference and briefly discuss some concepts about anxiety and flow state in games. They also talk about how board game conventions are great at sparking creative ways of implementing different games or game ideas in their classes or in other learning environments. Dave talks about the potential of mega-games (live large tabletop games). One mega-game at PAX ran by Dave’s friend Scott was called Helios.

Scott from North Star Games – 28:30

Scott Rencher, the president of North Star Games, shares Evolution [afflialiate link] as his favorite educational game. Evolution was developed between a biologist and a professional Magic player to perfectly mesh the educational aspect of the game with some strategy . North Star Games recently released a digital version of Evolution on Steam. The game was deemed by Nature Magazine as the best example of evolution in a game. Definitely stay tuned for more educational games from North Star Games like Oceans [affiliate link] and their line of interactive family games for kids called their “Happy Planet.

Tabitha an English Teacher – 41:06

Tabitha shares her favorite educational game, Subatomic [affiliate link] by Genius Games, a company solely focused on science-based games and puzzles. Tabitha had the opportunity to exhibit games with Pandasauras Games. She also shares how board games have worked well with her kids and students.

Dustin and Dave Recap – 43:26

Dave and Dustin recap the whole con before Dave drives back up north and Dustin gets back on a plane to Los Angeles. Overall, they really enjoyed the show and felt it was a great way to have fun, consider different opportunities for games in education, and network. One thing they recommend as the show concludes is to include more educator spaces at events like PAX for collaboration and networking.

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