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Storytelling Is Not Dead: Grifters on a Sunday

Hey!  Thanks for reading.  Please keep up on all of my storytelling quest blogs here.

This Sunday educational blog is getting posted late today because I was wound up in a horror film that I could not turn off: that’s the power of good storytelling!

Anyway, this week I finally got to play a card game that I bought a few weeks ago.  That’s the thing with games, isn’t it?  If you are like me, you buy them, store them, and hopefully, one day, get to play them.  Fortunately, I was able to get a few peeps together and play Indie Boards & Cards’ Grifters:

An awesome game set in a strange future of lawlessness, you play a crime lord trying to earn and steal as much money as you can.  Person with the most money at the end of the game is declared the winner.

You have a hideout that you move criminals through and you complete jobs like “Vandalize Gallery Opening.”  It’s fun.  And for me, the most fun I had playing this game was pretending to be a silly crime boss; I put on a voice, banged on the table…the works!  I got into the character, the storytelling.

The more and more I play games, and use them in the classroom, the more I see the connection between gaming and storytelling.  There is a reason that so many people love to video and table-top game: we like to think, and we like to get caught up in a story, a theme.  Maybe even become someone that we are not for a bit to forget about the monotony of life.

As I move further into planning this coming semester, I am more convinced than ever that games are not only a fantastic way to get kids to put down their devices, but gaming can create pathways into storytelling that kids do not realize.  For my 365 blog of 5 games to add to your classroom library, click here.

In three days, I leave for Gen Con, the nation’s biggest gaming convention.  There, I hope to pick up a number of games that allow me to further explore storytelling with my students, and I also hope to interview some game companies and creators about how they work the idea of storytelling into their game designs and production.

At the end of the school year last year, I had some seniors, on final exam days that they were done with most finals come to my room to partake in some table-top gaming with each other.  One student needed a pass from a teacher (that will remain nameless), and that teacher did let the student come to my classroom, but they said, “Go to Kallenborn’s class to play games?  Isn’t that all you do in that class anyway?”

When the student told me that, I was shocked, offended, defensive.  But then I thought about it.

Yeah, we play a lot of games in my class.  And at times, we learn without even knowing that we learn.  While he was joking in that sarcastic sort of way that I can only assume was meant to possibly offend what I do, I take pride in trying new, innovative things, and in creating a space where kids would rather come and use their brains in a table-top game rather than binge Netflix on their phone in the back of the room.  I create engagement in an environment where kids want to be.

Gaming is slowly enveloping many aspects of my life, and as long as it’s healthy and productive, I’m totally fine with that.

And by the way, did you know that video gaming is now the second most watched sport in the world next to soccer?  Pretty amazing, huh?

I’ll be back on Wednesday with my four issues for New Comic Book Day!  Live from Gen Con!

#storytellingisnotdead

Happy gaming!

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