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Using Tabletop Games in Class feat. William Brown from The Hungry Gamer – 145

Episode Overview

In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin is joined by William Brown from The Hungry Gamer to discuss how he has used tabletop games in the classroom. He talks about several examples as well as dives into one specific example of how he used Thousand-Year-Old Vampire to teach writing. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get more content from Board Gaming with Education!

  • Episode Topics (timestamps are for podcast episode | video time stamps are available on YouTube)
    • Board Gaming with Education – Board Gaming with Education Store – 00:00
    • Who is William Brown? – 1:50
    • Defining Tabletop Games – 4:13
    • Examples of Games for the Classroom – 7:07
    • Benefits and Pitfalls of Games in Class – 14:23
    • Thousand-Year-Old Vampire a Creative Writing Game for Teaching Writing – 17:45
    • Board Game Project- 38:14
    • Dustin Challenges William to a Game of Wavelength – 40:31

YouTube Channel: The Hungry Gamer

Email: hungryreviews@gmail.com

Games/Books 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

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Board Gaming with Education – Join Our Newsletter – 00:00

Who is William Brown? – 1:50

William Brown is an actor, producer, teacher, and passionate board game player. He runs Hungry Gamer where he creates reviews, previews, how to play videos, play throughs, and a bevy of other content. Additionally he is the Lead Board Game Reviewer at G33K-HQ.

Defining Tabletop Games – 4:13

Dustin and William define tabletop games for the context of the conversation in the episode and the larger conversation in the field of using tabletop games for learning.

…game-based learning is teaching using an actual game. And then in contrast to that gamification was taking, it’s not identified as a pure game, but you’re using game elements in a non-game context … just to differentiate there.

William from Board Gaming with Education Podcast Episode 145

Examples of Games for the Classroom – 7:07

William shares some initial examples of games he has used and his colleagues have used in his classroom. He also talks about his board game club.

Benefits and Pitfalls of Games in Class – 14:23

William shares some different examples of some of the benefits he has seen personally from using games in class. One major benefit games have provided in his class is the opportunity for students to build peer-to-peer relationships. He also shares one pitfall and the negative connations games still have in some learning spaces that “games are for fun and games are not for learning.”

Thousand-Year-Old Vampire a Creative Writing Game for Teaching Writing – 17:45

William talks about the game Thousand-Year-Old Vampire and how he used it in his classroom. He talks about how he taught the writing process, put the onus on students to do their own research about their characters set in different historical periods based on what the students were learning in history class. Be sure to listen in or watch the conversation to learn about some great insights from William and how he encouraged his students to write 70+ pages and improve their grammar!

Board Game Project- 38:14

William also gives his students an option to create a board game as their final project for class too. Check out some photos from a project this year!

Dustin Challenges William to a Game of Wavelength40:31

Dustin challenges William to a game of Wavelength. Check out our YouTube Video for a visual representation of the game.


Using Tabletop Games in Class feat. William Brown from The Hungry Gamer – 145

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
Welcome to another episode of Board Gaming with Education. Today I’m joined by William brown from the hunger gamer check out his YouTube channel, he does different board game reviews, he covers a lot of really cool games. Check it out, I’ll leave a link below. But today, we have him on the show to talk about the games he’s used in his classroom. We specifically talk about this vampire game where he took the mechanic from this game, and use parts of the game to teach writing. So really excited to share some of these tips and insights with you. So let’s get into today’s episode.

Board Gaming with Education 0:35
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 0:52
With education is a online community and webstore. We carry different board games from several different publishers. And we also specialize in carrying games for learning. So we have some science based games, some math based games. And some of our games also come with additional supplemental learning materials to help you with using different tabletop games in your learning environment. So check out our webstore at Board Gaming with Education calm, and also thank you for checking out the channel and watching this interview. It goes a long way by liking and commenting below on the video. It really helps YouTube’s algorithm we’re a new channel, we can use any help we can get with the algorithm out with the algorithm. So again, thank you for being here. And let’s get into the chat with William.

Alright, so welcome to another episode of Board Gaming with Education excited to be joined by William brown today from hungry gamer. And we are talking about board games in the classroom. So or tabletop games in the classroom, I guess we’ll talk about what what those things mean why we use either term. So you are a sixth grade ela teacher and you do board game reviews. So you kind of seeing your worlds collide, and you’re using some tabletop games in the classroom. Before we talk about that, would you mind introducing yourself a little bit more?

William 2:15
Yes. So thanks for having me on. And hello, all the 1000s of people that are watching live, I’m sure, someday, someday that 1000s of people who are thinking about watching someday Hello. So yes, I teach sixth grade language arts I teach two sections of literature. When we read several books, we read a shortened Odyssey we read the hobbits we read a Julius Caesar and Tale of Two Cities, and then also all the grammar and composition as well to those students. And then I run the student council for them as well. Outside of teaching, I also run a theatre company called perspective theatre company here in the Bay Area we do Shakespeare and then a non Shakespeare after we do Shakespeare every time. So we do that as well, which is based off of theatre, but either taking Shakespeare and viewing it from a different perspective. Preferably a voice that is not given the spotlight as much I don’t like to say given the spotlight because that means it’s very much. Let me give you a thing. But kind of that that idea. And then of course, I also do the run hungry gamer. So I write reviews. I do video reviews, and previews and play throughs and unboxings and how to play videos and everything except for live streaming. So anything you want board game content related. I do it and you can easily find that on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram. That’s awesome. You’re busy man. Yeah, I try. You know, everyone comes to the channel just because they can see the board game dog be just the board game is the most popular thing I do.

Dustin Staats 3:54
It’s like those Reddit subreddit, the animal subreddit always comes to the front page, because everybody loves the pets.

William 4:02
Yeah, the only thing I actually follow on Instagram outside of some some friends or other board game stuff is we rate dogs. Yeah, the best thing.

Dustin Staats 4:11
That’s it? That’s funny. Cool. All right. So let’s let’s jump into the topic. And I mentioned before coming on, I really want to try to broaden our approach with introducing more people to tabletop games, and even more specifically, how we can use them for learning in the classroom. So could you tell us what is a tabletop game and kind of like what that means using it in class?

William 4:36
So so when you drop this question, I was like, Oh my god, what is the difference between a board game and a tabletop game? And in truth be told, I would say it’s having a board I guess is the difference between those two. But the idea of a tabletop game is it’s where you’re, in my mind. You’re meeting around a table and you’re playing a game with components On the table now, I hesitate to say it’s non digital because the digital world and the board game world are very much kind of meshing and coming together, there’s a lot of games out there using using digital apps to to help play the game or give you all the narrative, and so on, so forth. But for me, it is playing a game around the table together, where you’re looking at each other, you’re talking to each other, and then probably rolling dice, or playing cards, or something like that, though, I would also say, role playing games, like your Dungeons and Dragons, and all of those different variants that also falls into tabletop game is just a different a different beast than the type of thing that I’m that I use in class that I’m talking about.

Dustin Staats 5:44
Right? And it’s Yeah, I started thinking about this, because of just I think, for an aside, it’s like marketing. For me. It’s like, what Where do I use? Do I use board games are used tabletop games. And like, we use them off to say the same thing, usually. Right. But if you drill down into it, we can say, Yeah, like you mentioned, the board is the difference, technically, as a technicality. Cool. So what what does it mean?

William 6:10
What does I think about I think, in some ways, using the term tabletop game is possibly more useful for a wider audience. Because most people who aren’t into the hobby like we are, would think of monopoly, the game of life, Chutes and Ladders, parcheesi, sorry, those kinds of games, which is not to say that they are board games, whether or not tabletop games. But I think what we’re starting to talk about, and some the games that we’re going to talk about today, are so much beyond that style of game in terms of what’s what’s happening. And so it’s kind of a different world that we’re talking about. So perhaps tabletop games is a better term.

Dustin Staats 6:49
Yeah, yeah, I’ve started using that term more when I think about it. I mean, we’re Board Gaming with Education, I use that to kind of, you know, use that term board game that everybody’s familiar with, and then to real men to introduce them to other awesome games. So what does it mean to like, what does it look like, from a large, broader perspective, using the tabletop gaming class? Well,

William 7:15
it’s really evolved for me the past couple of years, and it really came along with the starting of the doing the reviews is really what started to shift it for me. So it started out with, I would pull out a game for students every now and then just as a reward. And on a Friday, when they been well behaved. That week, we were done with a workout, we’ll play some kind of a game. And then I started getting a little more into the hobby. And then I started a, just a board game club. And it was again, it was used, not necessarily to advance their education in class. But as a mother carrot, it was, I would meet once a month at lunchtime, I’d bring in something quick and simple, like a castle panic or something like that, that we could play over the course of lunch. And I would limit it to four or five students. And I’d set up a game in itself where it was to be allowed to come play, you got to jump through these hoops. One can’t have any homework outstanding in any of your classes. That’s number one. And then it would be something they had to do. So when we played code names, they had to make up their own code and write me a message in their code and include the cipher that said, I want to come to the board game club, and put it into the hidden folder I had somewhere in the classroom. But it was all really a reward and a way to get them to do what they’re supposed to be doing anyway, kind of that extra carrot, you know. And that’s where it started. But then, as I started doing reviews, what started happening was I got a couple games that I needed 10 plus people to play. Like, what I don’t have 10 friends, I’m lucky to have three friends, right? I mean, we get older, it’s hard to have 10 friends. And so then I took one of them into the classroom, I said, Well, we got some new, let’s try it. And they were just so excited to be trying these things. And then as you get more into these hobby games, the connections you can make to learning is shockingly easy to make connections and so it started out blue, start bringing in games, like two rooms in a boom. Which because we try to teach soft skills, and the idea of working together and communicating and then kind of reading cues and being able to read body language and all these kinds of things. And I was trying to review two rooms in a boom, which for my students, it’s a glitter bomb. It’s a glitter bomb is gonna go off which, for me is worse. Like just give me a good reason. You’ll bomb me, please, I don’t need the glitter. But they were so into it. And they started talking to each other, and kids that they never talked to their start communicating with, and we’re so excited about it. And then that led into some puzzle games, I started taking the very first game I reviewed on the channels, a game called Dr. eskers notebook, which is a single deck of cards, and it’s just puzzles. And you’ve got to figure out how to manipulate the cards. And I would put those up on the screen with the document camera, and I explained the rules, and I gone through and solved the puzzle that they’re going to do. So they really needed clues I could give them to them. Yeah, yeah. And now it’s about critical thinking. And again, working together, because then I would assign a student that maybe isn’t the most confident, that’s okay. You’re the one who’s in charge of calling on people. And you’re the one who’s in charge of manipulating the cards, because it’s a game where you have to, if you manipulate the cards right on someone, like suddenly, oh, you see the path, or, you know, whatever it is, and it just slowly been evolving from there, on and on and on. It’s, we’re now one of the other teachers will play just one with our students in history class. But it’s not just one where for those who don’t know, just one’s a game where you’re all working together, and you have a word that everyone’s trying to make someone guess. And so the word is burrito. Everyone else around the table knows that’s the word, they’re going to write down one word that’s going to make Dustin or Dustin, guess, burrito. But if anybody has the same word, they get erased. So if two of us put tortilla, then tortilla gets erased, so that makes people start putting down like, you know, they think oh, we’ll beans, or maybe someone or salsa or meat or whatever it is. And so that he sees all the words that are left and tries to guess burrito. But now that’s being done in history class. So there’s john Locke. And they have to come up with single words, make them guess, john Locke. And so now suddenly, these games are starting to build up and grow these and get them excited about learning. in a way that’s just different. And it engages different part of the brain. We’re going to talk later about big project I did all year with a game called 1000 year old vampire, but I’ve been going on for a minute, but we’ll know that.

Dustin Staats 12:14
Yeah, I love the just one example. Because it makes me realize too, there’s those moments you mentioned john Locke just going off your example. I don’t know. I mean, I remember reading about him back in the day. So I don’t know if I can remember some stuff. But it was very important when you were in middle school. Let me tell you, yeah. I feel like I studied a little bit about him in university to you for for law.

William 12:37
It’s kind of one of those things like, you know, it could be Thomas Jefferson. You know, independence. Monticello, slaves. I mean, you can pick all the different words, Hamilton, you can see, oh, somebody might say Hamilton, because of the musical. And so just all these things, but now they’re bringing in their knowledge, what’s interesting to them about whoever it is that they’re learning. And in the case of Jefferson, you like pop culture. And so it’s just really starting to we like to talk about whole brain learning. I don’t know if you’ve used that in your classrooms, but it’s more than just as memorization and regurgitation. Which is why that’s a I wish I did it in my class as the history class thing. But it’s Yeah, it works.

Dustin Staats 13:21
Yeah. And like you have those you gave an example of Thomas Jefferson. And there might be a moment in that game where there’s a particular fun moment that comes up, and you’ll never forget that experience playing the game that’s tied to learning that you’re doing in class to Yeah, I

William 13:40
played it just just played just one with them the other day, because it was been particularly hard week of testing, and whatever it was, and the word violin came up. And they just laughed so hard, because the clue that could they everything was getting erased, because everyone was saying the same thing strings are, except for the one kid. Only one person putting music, which was amazing. And then one, someone said, a student that doesn’t even go to the school anymore, who was apparently a violin virtuoso. And they just laughed and thought that was a greatest thing. And I lucked out on what she is talking about, but hey, you got it. Good job.

Dustin Staats 14:17
That’s funny. That’s funny. So before we go into maybe sharing a little bit about like your major project, what are what have been some other benefits, and maybe then we can go into some challenges with using tabletop games.

William 14:33
So I think the biggest benefit, the bad side of the larger project that we’re going to talk about, has just been getting the students to break out of their cliques, their groups, because to succeed and the types of games that I that I bring out for them, they have to communicate and they have to communicate with different Students, they might not normally. And then they all have to, at some point, take center stage, which for some kids is very challenging. But it’s a safe way for them to be in the spotlight because it is literally a game. And it’s not even like they’re playing basketball where there’s a loss and people were there as a big deal. It’s we’re playing a game and the last 20 minutes of class, or whatever it may be, until it’s a confidence builder. And it’s a way for students who I want to say, learn differently, where they have just their their this connect with things in different way, rather than the traditional lecture and worksheets and testing, it’s a way for them to suddenly shine a little bit because usually, the kids who are excellent a lot of these games are not the ones that are excellent at everything else. And I don’t know, if everyone’s just listening, I’m doing the air quotes on excellent. But it’s usually someone that they get an opportunity to, to shine in a different way. And so for me that that’s the biggest thing. And then I guess the big pitfall is you’re playing a game. And games aren’t education. And as you put that in air quotes, right. And so it’s always a delicate balance. And I know sometimes when I first started doing this, sometimes I would have to, I was always very prepared to say if it came down to to tell a parent, yes, we played a game, but this is why we’re playing the game. This is what the actual purpose is, and making sure that the students know why we’re doing it. It’s not just because Mr. Brown doesn’t want to teach today, there’s actually a purpose behind it. And being there prepared to if someone from the home office comes into class that day and sees this what is going on. So being able to combat that potential misconception that you’re just playing games, like you’re just Oh, you didn’t wanna teach, you’re showing a movie today. So to kind of battling that, and making sure that the kids are locking into what they’re actually learning here, and they don’t just get lost in playing a game. So I think those for me are the biggest challenges.

Dustin Staats 17:16
Yeah, yeah, you make a really good point is about framing students for understanding why. And then also, on the back end, or even throughout the game, debriefing, I guess on the back end, that would be debriefing on what you learned. But throughout the game, you can kind of have some stopping points where you’re kind of requiring them to show what they’re learning or show what they’re doing. That is the process of maybe what you’re teaching in class too. Awesome. So you mentioned you had a project, I think, million year vampire.

William 17:50
This came out in to me in the summer and or maybe last spring I died. tangentially heard of it’s a single, it’s a solo role playing game called the 1000 year old vampire. And I want to say the designers, Tim Hutchings. I believe that’s it, and Well, hopefully, future Dustin can correct that and poke that that if I refer to got that wrong. And it got a bit of a bit of press on shut up and sit down, they actually did a video review on it. And that’s not my personally my kind of game. It’s a role playing game. It’s a it’s really a creative writing game is what it is, you’re creating this diary of this vampire who lives for 1000 years. And kind of the conceit of the game part is you have certain skills that you have. And sometimes the you get a new prompt and it says use a skill to solve this problem, which is what’s guiding your your narrative. So if I have the skill, swordfighting lying and baking, and it says here’s a problem, Dustin’s angry at you solve it. Well, depending on which skill I choose to use is going to be a very different entry of how I felt, you know, clearly, I’m going to bake you a cake, and I’m going to lie about it at the same time. And so that that’s kind of the conceit of the game, the other conceit of the game is the mortal memory is finite. And as you go through, you record these memories and experiences, but you can only keep five. And so you literally, if you have five and it says record a memory, you have to forget part of your existence. And then you can never use that moving forward in your diary and sometimes someone might come back into the story that you’ve forgotten about. And so again, that will change your it’s going to inform your story. So that’s the kind of the core of this and it has, I don’t know 100 different entries and a bunch of different endings and so on. And each time you roll a die and that jumps you forward X number of entries into the into the story So someone had told me about it I, you know, I wasn’t interested about it. But I got to thinking over the summer, because I really been enjoying doing games with the kids. And I thought, well, what if? What if I use this with the students? Who could I do that? How can I make that work? So the first thing I did was I reached out to the designer and said, Hey, I’d like to use this, but I need to change it. Because I can’t do something where all these kids are vampires, because of the inherent violence and darkness that goes along with that, and presenting that to the kid. So I need to change it a little bit. And I would need, and I can buy a copy of the game. But I can’t buy 50 copies of the game. So are you okay with me? buying one and then making copies of stuff? and using that? Does that okay with you? Because I don’t want to take advantage of this guy’s work? And he got? Absolutely Don’t you know, Here, have a copy that don’t even buy here. Take it, do it. That’s awesome. And what we wind up doing was I made it to where I called the immortal student. And the very first day I checked with the history teacher, and I said, Well, where do you start the year? Ancient Greece? Great. And the very first thing was the students their first entry was, you are living in ancient Greece. And some students said, well, do we have to be Greek? I was like, can be Chinese? Because I have a look, sure. But go do the research. Because you’re starting history in ancient Greece. So what would be the situation if someone from China or India, or wherever was in ancient Greece? Like what how could they be there? You know, use your imagination doesn’t doesn’t matter fully to me, but you know, figure that out. And then how did you become immortal? Whatever you want. And so some kids got bitten by something, some drank from a fountain, some are fighting a monster that bled on that, like all kinds of wacky stuff. And so it already ignited this imagination, they’re trying to tell a story, great fun. And then throughout the year, I think we want of doing 17 different entries throughout the school year. So about every other week, we would do one, I would check in with history every now and then, at any time they move forward in history to a new era, we moved forward through history with the immortal students. So there’ll be an interest Okay, guys, you just went from ancient Greece to

I can’t remember the one two next, but those 600 years they jumped? As okay. So what does that mean for all these people that, you know, well, they’re all dead. That’s sad. Well, hey, I didn’t make history, right. But now you have to start thinking about that, and putting that into their story. And so they’re advancing on through this story, and that I think, the sixth graders, they lived on a 5000 years, you know, forever. But they’re bringing in stuff from history. And they’re in these different eras, as they’re taking them there, then they’re having to describe what the world was like, in these different eras that they’re learning about in history. And then at the same time, we’re learning about plot structure and the story of a plot. And then they’ve had to take their whole story, English wise. And as we got to the end of the year, is it okay guys, if you haven’t gotten to your climax yet, of this life issue, you need to get there, because we only have this many entries left, because then you go after other falling action, the resolution and the epilogue and all these things that having to keep that in their head, the story structure, and what the great thing about the story is, or the game is, it has fun prompts. And I would take them that would let them get some dice, and they’d roll some dice it Okay, this class, you’re moving head three. All right, Group A. And sometimes it would be lovely and nice You. You. There’s one I can think of when they were still in ancient Greece, you find a lost child and you befriend them. What do you do together? Where do you go? Oh, that’s nice. There was another one where there was in Athens, there was a plague at some point. So we’re talking about how this happens. What’s going on how to start? Some kids like yeah, I started it. I started the plague. Wow, you’re a monster. Yeah, it’s great. And so as we got to, yeah, but they were excited about it, which is kind of the the core of that is at the end of the year. Now they’ve just finished they’re turning it in on Wednesday. Some of them wrote 7080 pages story. And they were excited about an every time we would do a new entry, they would get excited. And they’d Roll, roll the dice, and I’d go Oh, god, oh, that’s bad. Oh, guys, I can’t that’s bad. I can’t believe you did that. And they get all worried and excited. And all these things are happening. And mostly its history and most of the internet but it’s a lot of their own story in their imagination, the bringing in and there’s a supernatural that comes in from the game itself. And they have All of this agency within this story that they’re writing, but the parameters of the game guided them. And they had, because it’s, you know, if I just said, you’re going to write an entry in your diary, they, some wouldn’t do it and or they wouldn’t know what to do. And the other thing that I used for my class is, I turned it into their grammar tests. So every so often for an entry, I would say, Okay, this one’s a test guys. And your entry must include for verbal phrases, and five subordinate clauses, or whatever it was that we’ve been learning about, and then boom, they’re all there. So now they’re showing that one, they can write a story, too, they can take these things we’ve learned and use them and identify them. And they’re mostly having fun while they’re doing it. Because they get to tell whatever story that they want to do, there was one student who really doesn’t write much. It’s just through the years, he when he has to write something he did, he writes as little as possible. And the first one of these tests that we had, I I’m not messing around, he wrote seven and a half pages, about skeletons in his story. And, you know, he did he did did pretty well and thing, but he wrote seven and a half pages. And now the old, every single kid has a book that they have written at the end of the year, and they’re excited about and

the whole, I kept thinking I was gonna stop, but every time they will get so excited about doing and we finally got to the end, and the end has. And the 1000 year old rapper has I think, two, quote unquote, good endings. And maybe before not so good endings, because it’s 1000 year old, so it’s finite. Yeah. And watching the students as they randomly wind up with whatever is that they have, and what’s going to happen. And the ones like one of them was they were imprisoned and you’re now stuck in prison somewhere. What do you do for the next 1000 years is like, by yourself that way? What are you going to do? And then we will do it Mr. Brown, can we is there Can we escape? Can we Is there a way we can escape because I don’t want this to happen? Hey, the entry says 1000 years, you can tell me what happened to the epilogue. But there were so invested. And the last thing I’ll say about it, which was just so funny, somewhere in the middle, one group, there’s four different groups and the two classes, one group found some magic relic. That said, if you still have this, at the end of the game, can choose your ending. And the last entry, they rolled their dice, and they started losing stuff. So you have to lose your oldest item that you have. And then this happens, you have to give away this other item. And then you decide that material things are stupid. So throw away your third oldest item. And all the two of them right before the end threw away this thing that let them choose their future. And they are just so devastated. And crestfallen. But laughing about it in a way that I don’t see anything else I teach. And that was like a 20 minute exposition about what we did. Yeah. But it’s, it was it was great. And I’m absolutely going to do it again. And I’m going to try to present it to the English department as something this might be worth checking out. Because they wrote 70 pages of stuff. Which are sixth graders big.

Dustin Staats 28:43
Yeah, no, I’ve got I’ve got a few notes here. One, this is the one that I share with everyone. And it’s play more games, because that’s you mentioned, it’s not really your game, your style of game, but you had heard about it, you checked it out, and you’re like this wouldn’t be perfect for my classroom, perfect to use in class. And then if you hadn’t played some other games that you don’t normally play, you would have never stumbled upon that. So that’s I mean, that’s super awesome. And then, also, I love how the so I just recorded an episode not too long ago, I think it will probably be out before this episode with you with Jenny. And we talked about game based learning gamification, and it’s not the topic of the episode, we kind of got into that conversation about the differences. And I think you have a really unique thing and it makes my brain hurt sometimes trying to distinguish the difference between them. But I think you have a unique thing where it is game based learning because they’re going through the process of learning about plot and they’re learning about how a character develops throughout a story and climax and all that great stuff. And then also, you’re using it to, I would say maybe use it to gamify their grammar tests kind of in a way too. I don’t know if you would call that Asian,

William 30:03
I mean, and then gamify, the the grammar test because in years past, it’s, it’s, you know, circle the subordinate clause in the sentence and they don’t care. They just want to get it done as fast as they can. I mean, it’s arguable if they still care, but they were at least engaged to it because they had to use this thing to support this story that they’re writing, that they really cared about. Something that I should I should have thought about, I sent the designer an email, because I asked all the students, okay, what is the coolest thing your immortal has done? And what is the worst thing that they’ve done? It’s funny, cuz a lot of them, it was the same thing. The one was like, I punched the Emperor of China. We’re both like, Oh, my gosh, and some of the kid, I caused a plague that killed all of Athens. But another one, the worst thing that she did was, I lied to my mother and told her I wasn’t immortal. And so seeing the spread of things that these students are coming up with, like, what they think is amazing what they think was horrible, and then being able to talk about it has just made for a whole bunch of exciting things. And I think, and you know, we shall see how it goes next year, but I would argue that my students this year, learn the grammar and structure of writing better than any of them have in the past. I’m not saying that they’re all brilliant at it. But I think the overall quality of their writing and structure is better. if for no other reason than they wrote all these pages. And to be fair, I haven’t read every single page of all of this that anybody teaching out there. You don’t have to grade everything. Let me just saying because you know, that if we did 70 pages each right, you know, yeah, that’s so. But as I go through, and as I read them, you can see the difference. And then of course, some of them are going back and fixing early stuff. Which again, I’m not telling them to do that, because they want it to be that good.

Dustin Staats 32:09
Yeah, that was that was another point I wrote down. There’s that huge intrinsic motivation to want to write in do well with the writing and understanding plot and understanding how a character fits within a story and that kind of dynamic character that they developed to. Yeah, that’s so cool. Um, I was I had another point or another question. Oh, maybe. So I’m gonna give a tip and then you can maybe offer some other tips to teachers. So one thing that you did that I also did with Sherlock Holmes consulting detective is I took that theme, I took that game. And I built my course my semester around that. Sherlock Holmes conduct consulting detective was like the overall theme for everything we did in class, like, I was flipping my classroom. So Google Classroom was called London. We got into detective groups, and they worked in detective groups throughout the semester to solve the puzzle in the game. I’m not going to go into too much detail, I’ll leave some links, maybe below, because I do want to make a video about how I did that. But maybe you can share some tips to teachers on how they can get started, or some things that help you and your process. Yeah,

William 33:23
I think the biggest This is so cheesy. But the biggest thing is, just do it. I mean, I didn’t. I didn’t ask permission to do this thing. Right? I just did it. And you know, credit to my administration, what words do they? They were fine with it? Just, you know, what is this thing that sounds strange? Oh, well, whatever, they’re happy, they’re learning great. But just kind of jumping in. And the but more in depth. I think the key is you just alluded to it is you have to make sure you adapt it to your community, and your culture that you are in. So for me, I knew if I presented that you were all vampires, ie blood drinkers. There’s gonna be pushback, some kids are gonna want just not want to do it. And some parents will certainly be upset by it. So it’s a matter of I took I said, Okay, you are now in charge of your own narrative here. And I want to remind them, so Okay, keep in mind, the principal may read this, your parents may read that. So make sure you’re going down that way. And so you had kids who were arguably worse than an evil vampire, the one who was thrilled he unleashed a plague on Athens. Um, I think the end of his story was he did something in eliminated a life on Earth, I think is how he ended so I don’t, you know, but that was where he was going with Then where he wanted to take it. Whereas the other one, as I said, the worst thing that she had done was lied to her mother. And so that was solely based around that. Okay, I know my parent and student community. How can we do this in a way to make sure everyone is happy with this. And so it took a little bit of reading ahead and the game book, because I didn’t, I had to change every single entry. Every one, I had to change it based on what they’re doing. So some again, it even says at the beginning of the 1000 year old vampire book that some of this is very dark, until you’re taking those and changing it. So it is less dark and violent. And it’s more ambiguous. And in some cases, I just said up, nope, you have to reroll guys that this is too dark. There’s nothing I can do about how dark This is rolled again. But if you’re teaching a course, to seniors in high school, or something, or you’re teaching a junior college course, or something like that, maybe that’s okay. And you can go down that path. So I think that’s the biggest thing. And then the other thing I’ll say is, also, and this is gonna sound weird, but remember to gain, like, it’s still should be fun. Because if they’re having fun, they’re going to want to do it. And if they want to do it, they’re going to put more effort into it. I think those are my two and a half tips. That’s awesome.

Dustin Staats 36:29
Yeah. So we’re gonna move into the game. But do you have any like last words, I know, you shared a bunch of great tips or final words of advice, anything else that we want to chat about, or any other, like parting words about this topic?

William 36:43
Um, not so much other than I did curse me the, I still also let them just play games for fun sometimes, you know, I think that’s the other side of it, you know, don’t take it and go so deep into the education portion of it, that you risk it becoming an assignment for the students. And always trying to keep that fun into a, I think is key, which is why i like that i didn’t i don’t read all the entries. And sometimes these right was okay, guys, you’re advancing your story, go do a thing. And we played just one just for fun, or we haven’t this year, play two rooms, or boom, because of COVID. But yeah, just playing those kinds of things, to kind of broaden their horizons and get them excited about all these games and stuff. And I also will say, more, I haven’t had a single complaint from a single parent. In the three years, I’ve been using games in the classroom. And a bunch of students have suddenly gone out and convinced their parents to buy games, so they can play them together. And I don’t I’m not a parent. Are you? Do you have any kids? No, no. Okay. But I don’t know, a single parent that is upset at their child says, Can we sit down and play a game together? Yeah, right. I just don’t know of that happening. And so I think that has really been a boon for some families all around. And I totally forgot. The other thing that I’ve done is the kids all have an option to make a board game for their final project on it all. They don’t have to add the rule is that Okay, guys, there’s two rules for this one. Like, I explained what this means, but it can’t just be Chutes and Ladders, it’s not rolling a die and moving, you have to come up with some kind of other mechanic that does something and you know, I’ll help you whatever. And someone who’s never read, The Hobbit has to be able to play this game fully. And they would now know the story of the hob and be able to answer a question about like that, that’s all thing and they don’t have to do it. They have seven different options. But an amazing number of them do want to do it by the end of the year. And they really do get their brains going and figuring stuff out. And truth be told, the games are not good. In the sense of, I’m gonna keep playing them because anyone who’s if you ever talk to a board game designer, it takes years of playtesting and refining and developing but the ideas are good. And they’ve made some they’re proud of it. We had one student once use a company called The Game Crafter, actually, has his game made. He said, Is there a way you can mess up when there is here’s a website, but it’s expensive. It’s no, no, we’re gonna do it. And he had a board made box made and apparently, he had something like 300 cards he wanted to have made and then he got his parents are Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s like, cards Hold up. But he made them all by hand. Okay, and he still has it. He says two years ago, he did it. I actually was able to get him to bring it in so I could show it to the kids. And it’s just this idea of game is always exciting to the kids.

Dustin Staats 39:48
Now Yeah, no, no, no, that’s awesome. I love the the idea of using games in your class to Well, one. I think that a lot of teachers experience that this year during the pandemic is, that’s one thing a lot of teachers leaned into as an easy way to kind of build relationships, virtually. But I love how you’re already kind of doing it in your class. And then as the final project, they can create a game. So they’re using their, what they learned in class to show you through that creation. And you’ve introduced some games to them already. So they kind of have that, in the back of their head is like, Okay, this is kind of what I could do at the end. Yeah, that’s super cool. All right. So speaking of games, because that’s all we talked about, we’re going to play a game.

So we’re gonna play wavelength. And in wavelength, I have a scale. So I’ll grab the box here. This is wavelength, though it’s upside down. It is a party game. And hopefully, by the time this episode is out, we’ll have it add Board Gaming with Education trying to get some copies in. But essentially, you get a scale of where you have to guess, clues. So you might have something like unhygenic, on one side to hygenic. On the other. I’ll look at where I want you to guess. So it could be like zero to 100. And then I’ll turn it to you. And you might say, I might give you a clue, like, was the guy from from Charlie Brown? pigpen. Is it pigpen? Yeah, he always is. The dust cloud falling? Yeah, yeah. So that would be my clue. And then you would guess, okay, is pigpen like, super hygienic? Or is he pretty unhygenic. And you might, might go right there. And I would reveal all this bits backwards. So hopefully, you would go unhygenic. And that’s over there. I think, Well, I think you need to look up that word. But we’re gonna play it on the web. So there’s a web version of the game called long wave dot web dot app. And it’s a limited version, where they don’t have as many clues as wavelength actual game. So it’s something that you can use to try out the game and see if you like it. And we’re going to use it here. I’m not going to reveal my screen to you just yet, because of my clues on here. And I don’t want you to know, but the two clues are unreasonable phobias on one end, and the on the other end is reasonable phobia. All right. Yeah, I can see that. Oh, yeah, you can see it, I guess, maybe to anyone listening. So we’ll go with my clue will be ah looks books. So you’ll drag the thing on, I’m going to now share my screen. Oh, I made you small. That’s not what I want to do want to share my screen. So we can see what Williams thinking. So you can guess that it’s all on one end? unreasonable, or all the way on the other end reasonable. And my close books,

William 43:08
so I don’t want to judge people’s lives. So I’m sure there are people that have a legitimate reason to be terrified of books. But boy for the life of me, I can’t think of any so I’m putting it way over towards unreasonable.

Dustin Staats 43:22
Oh, that’s pretty good. Yes. miss that. Yeah. So I would score you in the game, you get more points how closer you are. So you get three points there. I’m not sure how they compare the app to the actual game, but we’re also playing as a team. So we’re just gonna do like maybe four rounds. So I think it should be giving you a scale. And you can determine a clue if you want my object and a hard subject.

William 43:45
Alright. And so I’m gonna gotcha, okay. Oh, I see. It gives me the target. I have to get to I see. Right. We’re gonna target okay. Yeah. All right. I’m gonna say physical education.

Dustin Staats 44:06
All right, so easy subject, hard subject, physical education.

William 44:11
And I’m thinking about who’s guessing is what I’m doing here. Okay. Yeah, I’m funny. That’s one of the neat things about this game is, is a bit about who’s doing the guessing because I know you’re ultra marathons and stuff.

Dustin Staats 44:26
Okay, now I kind of know where to put my clue. Yeah, just as an aside any Nebraska football players out there This was we had a chance to do like famous person in famous person infamous or like non famous, I guess, popular, not popular, I think was a clue. And I used a coach for Nebraska football because I knew there was one person playing that new Nebraska football very well. I knew there was a popular coach, or everyone else had no idea who I was talking about. So it was kind of cool that they kind of deduce that to guess the clue. But I was gonna go really high because I was thinking physical is like something that you can actually touch which is something hard. And I was thinking maybe you’re kind of helping me that way, but we’ll go Oh, yeah, I was thinking PE Yeah. So close. So close. Alright, we’ll do two more rounds. Oh no, I don’t want you to see Can you see my No no, I’m just on the other screen. Alright, so I have easy to kill hard to kill. And my clue is going to be I don’t know, man, let’s say. Ah, say I don’t know if this is a good clue. Oh, we’re gonna go germs. Oh, I feel like artist ones for these have to be like, in the middle. Like if you’re targeting the germs. Let’s see now that this is tough because we’ve we’ve been locked away for 18 months because we can’t kill this germ. But hand sanitizer does kill 99 point whatever percent. So I’m gonna go with this. Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I liked my clue after I gave it but I kind of just gave it as pretty. So anyone that’s listening is very, very close to the end on easy to kill was my clue. All right. All right. Let’s

William 46:25
see if we can bring it back. So boring hobby or interesting hobby.

Unknown Speaker 46:31
Wow.

Dustin Staats 46:33
Yeah, this is very judgmental game sometimes.

William 46:38
I’m curious how many people I’m about to offend here by putting knitting. knitting.

Dustin Staats 46:43
Okay. So, boy, he’s all been left interesting hobby. All right, I’m gonna go pretty far on the left maybe about 1/8 of the way.

William 46:55
All you knitting fans to know that I appreciate you. More. Dustin does.

Dustin Staats 47:05
Alright, so that is wavelength, or we started so well. Yeah, we did do really well. And then we kind of we kind of blew it towards jumping right off the cliff. Yeah. Awesome. William, thank you, again, for coming on the Board Gaming with Education video cast, if anyone wants to reach out to you, where might they do that? Or what are you working on?

William 47:25
So the easiest way is, if you are on Youtube, or Facebook or Instagram, you can just search hunger gamer and it’s a kind of a cartoonish type picture of me eating a box says hungry, you’re pretty hard to miss. Or if you just want to get reached out to me directly talk about 1000 year old vampire that the immortal student as I call it, something like that, you can just reach me at hungry reviews at gmail calm, happy to talk about those things. And also, I am getting this game for my students next year, because that will work. That’ll be a healing. Yeah, absolutely.

Dustin Staats 48:02
Perfect for advisory period, like you have a couple minutes, you just need something to do while you’re waiting for I don’t know, to line up for an event or whatever you need to do you have a few minutes, you know, you have a few minutes in your class all the time. And you’re trying to think of something to do.

William 48:18
Yeah, and then just kind of my, my only little words of wisdom is just play some games, like even. It doesn’t have to be for your classroom, find something that you are enjoying, because I’d never thought about it in the classroom until I well, anyone watching I got a bazillion games behind me until I started playing games on my own. And also, really, when you do bring it into the classroom, if you do bring into classroom Don’t settle for the first one that they really like. Keep mixing it up because I they love Dr. eskers notebook when I bring that one in. And then when I say okay, we’re gonna do something different. Um, yeah. And then they love two rooms in a boom. And if you are excited about it, they will get excited about it. I mean, some won’t. But that’s the way all of it goes. So I think that’s my only My only advice about it. Awesome.

Dustin Staats 49:24
Yeah, play and play more games. Definitely. Even video games, even just any any mobile games, anything helps. Helps you brainstorm? Yeah, there’s

William 49:34
several digital apps that the kids love that they’ve been doing over zoom. And that they range themselves. There’s one called scribble.io Oh, yeah, there’s a basically, it’s like a Pictionary type thing or illustrations type type game, but it’s all web based. And they they love it. I absolutely love it. Right.

Dustin Staats 49:55
Awesome. So, William, thank you again. I know I learned a lot. I know. I’m Can I kind of look into that idea of this game too, I might contact those designers see if we can put it in our shop to I don’t know who the publisher would be if it’s self published, but

William 50:11
he has it available. He has a website, you can purchase it as you can purchase hardcopy books, or the PDF. But I still suspect you’d be happy just download set up some kind of something. I mean, it probably just give it away. I almost tell them this. I don’t know. Let me pay you. But he’s seems to be very, very passionate about just getting it out there and helping the community. And I think it’s back in stock it I my understanding is it pretty much went right out of stock when shut up and sit down talk about it.

Dustin Staats 50:48
I’m sure. So if anyone’s not familiar, shut up and sit down is like a huge board game review. Yeah, their YouTube channel

William 50:55
has the most subscribers of any board game related YouTube channel out there. It’s not a lot, you know, 300,000. So you compare that to, you know, Justin Bieber or whatever. Yeah, it’s nothing but just who’s gonna put that and the perspective. Alright.

Dustin Staats 51:14
But awesome. So thank you again, William. And hopefully we’ll chat again soon.

William 51:19
Yeah, thank you so much, and keep listening to the shows everybody.

Dustin Staats 51:26
Alright, thank you for checking out this week’s episode. This was our last planned episode for season 12. We’ll go into season 13. After we have two more episodes coming up, that are or were not planned. I always like to do some solo episodes at the end of the season. And I have some really special episodes coming up. One that I will talk about. Now, I want to talk about some games I used in the classroom this past summer for in person teaching and how I did those games at a distance. So I’m just going to have a chat and share some of those games that I used in my classroom. The last, I taught a two week enrichment program for high school students. So I’ll talk about how I use those games in the classroom. This past two weeks and actually I’m recording this now I’m have two more weeks of classes coming up a new set of students so actually, I’ll have a little bit more information to share about that as well. And then I want to do one more solo episode before we round off the season. And I’ll talk more about that and what that episode topics gonna be next week. But as always, thank you for checking out the channel. Again, go to Board Gaming with Education comm check out our webstore you can always sign up for our newsletter. That’s the best way to keep up to date with us. I share anything we’re doing whether it’s on Instagram, Tik, Tok, YouTube, wherever, wherever we’re doing stuff, I share that as well as other online resources we find helpful for you that you may find useful for your learning environment or other great things going on in the board game industry or in education. And finally, we also include some promotions in that newsletter too. So you can find that at Board Gaming with education.com you’ll have to scroll down a little bit but it’s about a quarter of the way down the page. Or you can go to Board Gaming with Education comm backslash podcast dash community. I’ll leave those links below to Alright, so we’ll see you next week.

Board Gaming with Education 53:16
Thank you for listening in this week. If you liked 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

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