Sunday, April 26, 2015

Playing Misson US; Mission 4: City of Immigrants

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.)

Mission 4: City of Immigrants
Platform: Online, Apple iPad, Android

Role: The player plays as Lena Brodsky, a 14-year old Jewish immigrant from Russia who has just arrived in the City of New York in the year 1907.

Time Period: Turn of the 20th century

Goal of the Game: The goal of the game is to try and survive in America. There are many endings and multiple choices relating to family, work, and everyday life that you have to make. Once you make a choice it is permanent and it will affect the rest of the game.

Neat Features of Game: The game is an interactive story that will have you on your toes all the time. The game is separated into parts, each one different from the last. In part one you go through the Ellis Island entry process and explore a point and click map of Manhattan. In part two, you are sent to run some errands for your family and learn what life was like for families in tenements and so on. Each part immerses the player in events, issues, and concepts of life in an American city in the early 1900s including racism, suffrage, union reform, and organized crime. The games also provides various mini games and a variety of different gameplay to make the game interesting. The choices that can be made, the badges that can be earned, and the multiple endings make playing the game always unique and interesting.

Historical Connections: The game charges head on into informing players about America during the early 1900s. Throughout the game you can collect keywords that describe key concepts to players such as socialism, anarchist, muckrakers, and other words of the time. The game also talks about life for an immigrant showing the player the problems of the time such as, quality of meat, extrusion, discrimination, and bad working condition by having them be presented to the player to overcome. The main focus of the game however is on the famous Triangle Shirt Waist Factory. For those who never heard of the building, it is the location of the infamous Triangle Shirt Waist Fire where over a hundred women working in the factory was killed when a fire broke out in the building and they could not escape because the owners locked the doors to the work place every day. The incident is a major turning point in the history of labor rights in the United State, and the game concentrates on an incident before the fire called the Uprising of the 20,000. The Uprising of the 20,000 was an event where 20,000 working women in the city of New York went on strike against their bosses over workers’ rights. In the game your character is caught up in this event and must decide either to join the strikers or the bosses.

 What you learn: Players learn about life in the turn of the 19th century America and the life for immigrants, workers, and women. They also learn about problems of the time such as, quality of meat, extortion, discrimination, and bad working condition along with women’s rights and the fight to improve conditions in the workplace and some major events in US labor history.

How you know students have played: The game also comes with a learning plan for teachers. The plan has it of where the students must have played the game to be able to do the activity. The plan is separated into parts, just like the game, and each lesson is associated with one of the parts from the game. The lessons are designed of where the students can play the game in class and once they are done with one of the parts there is a lesson afterwards and discussion along with primary resources. The plans are one the same website that the game is on and is accompanied by instructions to help teachers plan out their lessons in relation to the game.

Overall: The game is well-developed and provides players with a fun and educational interaction that immerses the player into the time period and is a very helpful tool that can be used to full effect in the classroom.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

March 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.

Space Alert, Rio Grande Games
Space Alert is a team survival game. Players take on the role of a crew of space explorers sent out through hyperspace to survey a dangerous sector of the Galaxy.  The spaceship automatically maps the sector in 10 minutes. The crew's task is to defend the ship until the mission is complete. If they succeed, the ship brings back valuable data. If they fail, it is time to train a new crew.  Completing the most difficult missions requires close teamwork.

Carcassonne Gold Rush Board Game, Z-Man Games
The Far West: It starts with railroads and brings you to small camps that will quickly become cities. Trading with the Native Americans is greatly prosperous, and that's nothing compared to the lodes that keep being discovered sporadically in the mountains. The only risk is the other prospectors, who are also searching to find the same riches as you are.

Machi Koro, IDW Games
You've just been elected Mayor.  Congrats! Unfortunately the citizens have some pretty big demands: jobs, a theme park, a couple of cheese factories and maybe even a radio tower.  A tough proposition since the city currently consists of a wheat field, a bakery and a single die. Armed only with your trusty die and a dream, you must grow Machi Koro into the largest city in the region. 

Article 27: The United Nations Security Council Game, Stronghold Games
Article 27 takes place in the not-too-distant future. You assume the role of one of the permanent members of the Security Council, which means you wield the power of the veto.  No proposal can pass when a member uses their veto, so there had better be something in the deal for you. Each player will take a turn as the leader of the Security Council and try to get a proposal passed.  Negotiations can include side-deals, threats, or out-right influence-peddling.  But once the gavel comes down it's time to vote, and the other players might not live up to their end of the deal.  In the end, the player who has earned the most influence points is the winner and it's rarely the most honorable.

Niya, Blue Orange
In Japan's Imperial Garden, courtly manners and nature's beauty veil a dark political conspiracy among two influential clans. On each turn, players replace a garden tile with one of their clan tokens. The next player can only exchange a token for a garden tile that has an element in common with the previously chosen tile. The first to position their clan in a row, square, or blockade will win control of the garden. And power at court!

*All product descriptions are from the manufacturer