Friday, March 13, 2015

February 2015 Games of the Week

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

The Histocrats support the idea of incorporating board-games into your personal life as well as in the classroom.  As such, we support and participate in a local board-gaming group.  Any and all board-game enthusiasts are welcome to join the Game Nights that are held every first and third Friday night of the month.  As part of our gaming group initiative, we also recommend history centric games that are fun to play each week to all of our followers.  The selected games receive our “Game of the Week” distinction.  Recommended games are a mix of cooperative, card games, as well Euro style games.

Through The Ages, Eagle Games
Players guide their civilizations up from Antiquity, through the Middle Ages, and into Modern Times. What will your civilization be like? Will it be warlike? Technologically advanced? Religious? Artistic? Choose from Leaders such as Hammurabi, Napoleon, and Ghandi. Build the Pyramids, the Great Wall, or the Eiffel Tower. Your Civilization's culture is yours to shape and you can do it differently every time you play the game. Through the Ages is playable in three different difficulty levels. Play the short Tutorial Game to learn the game mechanics. Play the Advanced Game when you are ready to face the consequences of politics and corruption. And when you want an even greater challenge, play the Full Version and take your civilization from spear-throwing to space flight.

Historia, Golden Egg Games
Recreate the last 12,000 years of history - from the dawn of Civilization, through agriculture and navigation, nuclear energy and then into the future - with Historia!  Players attempt to develop and evolve their Civilization from the first sparks of fire to the creation of the Singularity. Build great Wonders, learn amazing innovations, discover new technology, develop your military, and wage war as you expand over the planet in your quest to make the most impact on the history of mankind.

Jaipur, Asmodee
My kingdom for a camel! Work hard, earn more than your opponent and become the official merchant of the Maharaja. At the beginning of the game, three camel cards and two merchandise cards are on the table between the players, who already have five cards in hand. On your turn, you can take some cards or sell some. Each time that you take cards, you can take one or more, however if you decide to take more, then you will have to trade in the same amount of cards from your hand that you take. If you decide to take all camel cards, then they can be used later to trade. You can sell all the merchandise that you want, as long as they are all the same type. For each sale, you will receive tokens with various point values. At the end of the game, the player who has the majority of the camels also wins points.
Kings of Israel Board Game, Funhill Games
Overwhelmed by hordes of invading nations - and a series of corrupt kings - the fate of Israel is balanced on a knife's edge! The Northern Kingdom's only hope is that a band of prophets can cleanse it of evil and idolatry before the wrath of God does so - permanently. Kings of Israel takes place in Israel (the Northern Kingdom) during the reign of its kings up until Israel's destruction by Assyria. Players are on a team and each person represents a line of prophets that are trying to remove evil and idols from Israel, while building altars throughout the land. If the players are able to build enough altars before the game ends, they win. If Israel is overrun with evil or idols, or Assyria destroys Israel, the prophets all lose.
*All product descriptions are from the manufacturer

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Playing Mission US, Mission 1: “For Crown or Colony?”

Guest Blogger: Kerum Kendall

(Kerum Kendall is a freshman at Clayton State University majoring in Information Sciences. He loves history and has spent year trying to get his history teachers to use video games in class. His ultimate goal is to design education games for use in Social Studies classrooms.)

Title: “For Crown or Colony?”

Role: You play as Nat Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice, in Boston sometime before the Boston Massacre.

Time Period and Context of the Game: The game begins in 1770.The events of the game are based on the events of the American Revolution in Boston.

Learning Experience: As the player interacts with both fictional and historical characters in fictionalized and real locations the player learns about the growing tensions between the Colonist and the British that led the Revolutionary War. As the player progress through the game he learns about all sides of the tensions pro-British, pro-Independence, and neutral. In the end, the player takes a stand on by being a witness at the court trial of the British at the Boston Massacre. 

Resolution of the Game:    In the end you must choose a side of the American Revolution to support. Will you choose to be a Loyalist or a Patriot? The game is then summarized with the ending of the player’s character story intermingled with historical events.

Neat Features of Game: Locations include the Rope Warehouse, fisher’s wharf, Market Street, square where massacre happened, Old North Church and a liberty tree.  The game has stages that you progress through as you complete tasks. Completing the task teaches you about events in Boston and learns concepts like boycott, and smuggling and become familiar with British policies.

Historical Connections: The characters story intermingles with historical events leading to the Revolutionary War. You can interact with historic locations in Boston in the game. You become familiar with both perspectives in the period and are able to observe cause and effect relationships that show the growing tension. You understand the pivotal role the city of Boston played in the period and experience history up to the Revolutionary War from a personal perspective.

How you know students have played: The web site provides resources for teachers to use to build on student experience in the game and monitor student progress.

Overall: This game has a very interesting story line that I have enjoyed. The game is enjoyable for all ages. This is the first game in the series and does require the player to interact with the characters  and locations in the game.  The style is story-based with choose your own adventure course. Players must interact to be successful. It could be used in a traditional classroom or a homeschool setting.

Publishers and Sponsors: Mission US is as a history based educational interactive funded and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a number of historical education groups.  The Mission 1: “For Crown or Colony?” is the official video game of the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail Foundation preserves important sites of the American Revolution in Boston.

Platform: Online, Apple iPad, Android Tablet