Happy Labor Day, everyone!
These posts normally come on a Sunday, but being a three-day weekend for the teacher-folk, you gettin’ this on a Monday…sort of like my Sunday this week.
One of the reasons that this is coming a day late is going to be the focus of my blog today: I spent my writing time yesterday attempting to save the world. And by that I mean I was playing month three of Pandemic Legacy. For those of you not familiar, Pandemic is a game from Z-Man games. After reading, check out their stuff here.
In this co-operative tabletop game (fancy word for board game for those of you not into “tabletopping”) where you work together to survive a disease outbreak that is devastating the globe. There are multiple versions, and every single one that I have played has been fantastic! They are very difficult, but since they are co-operative, you win or lose as a team.
Z-Man Games has also produced two Legacy Seasons of Pandemic. A Legacy game, and there are a bunch of different ones, is one that changes over the course of playing it, so you should try to play with the same group for maximum experience. My wife and I are currently playing with another couple, and we just beat month three of a twelve-month season.
We put stickers on the board, rip up cards, draw on the board in permanent marker; it’s a thing. And each month lasts about two hours or so, so the game will take about twenty-four hours to play, and that’s if we don’t fail a month and have to play it over.
The rules and player attributes are continually being increased, leaving us with lots to read and process before and at the end of each play session.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, besides it being a great game, I can’t help but get excited about my classroom connections. And there are three major ones:
1.) It’s Co-operative!
There is enough dang competition in this world; let’s take a minute to allow ourselves to work together, succeed or fail together. Explore that feeling. A lot of the time I will have class competitions: groups or individuals. But this week, I think I’m going to create an activity that inspires the entire class to work together and succeed or fail as one. Like an escape room but with waaay more people. Still ironing it out, but I love the idea!
2.) It Requires Focus!
There are a lot of moving pieces. Things that need to be read, remembered, and used. We are constantly forgetting things, learning from our mistakes, and re-centering. This is a great skill to teach our students: things get tough, and when they do, we should recognize it, and plan out the next move…working our best to not be distracted.
3.) It’s Complex!
The focus element is important, primarily because the game is brilliantly engineered. The cost of the game is $80.00. I purchased it for $40.00, but if I paid $80.00 I wouldn’t be mad. The challenge is fantastic, and the design is top-notch. I generally stay away from board games with tons of moving pieces, but this one has me hooked. I can’t wait to play month four, even after we have almost failed months one and two. A challenge for your students will be welcomed if it’s created with passion, love, and engagement. Sure, some peeps would open the box and immediate close it, but if they see others getting into it, they might change their minds.
Would I bring Pandemic Legacy into the classroom? That’s a tough question. It’s expensive, and you need a block of time to play each month not usually granted by a period bell, but if you could, and groups of kids got to experience it, and reflected on their experiences, this game has English, Social Studies, Science, and Math applications. You could design a semester around the first two Legacy seasons. There is a third coming out by the way!
You got money and time? Go for it. Maybe a Pandemic club at your school? Save the world together!
Now go play this week. Have fun with your students. Challenge them.