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Play Testing Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley)

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dkam136
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Joined: 12/16/2013

Hi all,
I am new to the boards and so I hope that I am posting this in the right place. I've created a few games for my classroom. I teach history and economics to high school students that have mild to moderate disabilities. These students are students that are fairly high functioning, but have difficulty learning the material in a traditional way. I try to use non-traditional methods such as games and simulations that engage them in a way that a textbook (usually written at a tenth grade level or higher) cannot.

I have created one game on the reconstruction era in the United States and I have recently finished another game that simulates the production possibilities curve in economics. I would like to play test both of these games. What I have done is taken more complicated ideas in games like Dominion, 7 wonders, etc., and tried to bring them down to my students level using as little text as possible while still introducing as much history or as many economic concepts as possible.

I have already played these games with my students and they seem to enjoy them, but I need playtesters willing to test out the balance of the games and to work out kinks that may arise from one game engine being too powerful or not powerful enough.

The biggest obvious problem in schools is the time constraint. Luckily, the classes at my school are 90 minutes and I have classroom aides who are willing to help me play some games. The problem is time in getting my aides to learn all the rules and to be able to also teach those rules to students in 90 minutes while still playing the game and still covering all the curriculum that I'm supposed to cover.

if you live in the Los Angeles area (I specifically live in the San Fernando Valley) and are interested in playtesting some historically/economically themed games, I would be very interested in talking to you. I would like to test some of them over the break while the students are not in school and then I would like to test them more seriously starting in January. E-mail me at dkam136 (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested or you can leave a comment below. I have been reading the forums for a little while now, but if you also know of a group that already meets for this purpose, you could also point me in their direction. Thanks so much.

Steve
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Joined: 07/29/2008
Some Considerations

Hi dkam136 and welcome to the forums.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

* Playtesting with your students may result in skewed positive results. First, they are your students and will likely presume that you will punish them (overtly or covertly) if they negatively critique your game. It is no different then in a typical office setting: "Sure, boss, that's a fantastic idea! I've always wanted to come into work dressed like a giant octopus!" Second, there is the "Field Trip" bias - What other activity would they be performing if they weren't playing your game? I'd love my job if all I did was go on field trips instead of actually working.

* You might consider putting your rules up here on the boards in PDF form for evaluation. A lot of new board game designers have reservations of placing their game rules on here for fear of it being stolen. While there is a very low chance of such an occurrence, a lot of people consider the benefits of constructive feedback concerning their rules greatly outweighs the miniscule risk that their games might be "stolen."

* One consideration for feedback with your students would be to ask them to modify the game as an assignment. What could they do to make the game more educational? Faster? More "fun"? What would they title the game as? Perhaps if you frame the game as a learning exercise rather then your creation, they will be more apt to critique it fairly because there would be some disassociation between you and the game.

Again, congratulations on the creation of your games and welcome to the forums.

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