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I am design several games for students. The purpose of these games is to encourage the students to discuss various topics related to their lessons during their study hall period or at home. If the games are interesting enough, this motivates them to do the work without outside help.

I am not so familiar with games and only know of two ways to deliver questions to players:

  • Players land on a space and the space contains the question.
  • Players draw a card and the card contains the question.

Are there any other types of game mechanisms that can deliver questions for players to discuss?

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I don't think your question is about the delivery of the question ("this is usually done by a player reading a card"). There aren't many ways of "delivering a question," it has to be communicated either visually, audibly, or if blind through touch (only the medium changes). What you seem to be after is a game mechanic that would keep your students interested (in the game, the mechanic, the questions?). This is overly broad. For examples of more mechanics, see Adv. Search on boardgamegeek.com, under "Filter on Board game Mechanic". –  user1873 Feb 28 '12 at 14:54
    
For what it's worth, there are a lot of us who play games where some sort of event happens repeatedly (e.g. a question when you land on a space, or an encounter in a location in Arkham Horror), and the main thing that makes games replayable is that the events aren't always exactly the same. Perhaps having new questions will buy you more interest than you think. –  Jefromi Feb 28 '12 at 18:14

2 Answers 2

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As Jefromi has mentioned in his comments, I don't think you need to worry about what format the questions come in. In other words, who cares if the questions come on cards? Almost every modern board game involves cards but those don't seem boring for their use of a card mechanism.

The really important thing for maintaining interest is what happens around those cards. What makes the player have to draw or use those cards, what they have to do to utilize those cards, what they can use cards for?

I think it would be really cool to have a "cooperative" board game, rather than the standard competitive ones. I think a very stripped down and simplified Battlestar Galactica board game would be really cool. In that game, every turn the players have to turn over a "Crisis" card. The Crisis card is some kind of challenge or test that all of the players must help out in to complete. These cards could either make something good happen if the players succeed, or have a setback if the players fail. These tests could be some kind of trivia test or a math question or any kind of educational quiz. Each card could have two conditions - if the current player can pass the test by themselves (for a bigger bonus), or if they need to ask for help from their teammates. This would encourage cooperation, knowledge sharing, but also a focus on each player being accountable without being a huge penalty if they don't know all the questions.

A key piece to keep people involved is to make sure that the entire game isn't just answering questions. Even a trivia game such as Jeopardy has a betting mechanic in Double Jeopardy's and Final Jeopardy - this keeps people interested. Make sure that when you construct the game, there are interesting things the players can do to advance the game that aren't solely based on the material being taught. Again, games like Battlestar Galatica or Red November may be good templates for making decisions and moving around, in addition to some mechanism that is out of their control (ie. the trivia question cards).

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If there were 5 players, then would 5 crisis cards (perhaps a few extra) be sufficient? –  Village Mar 2 '12 at 1:08
    
I think you could make it work however you want. What was in my head though, was a lot more. There would be one card per turn, and assume that maybe it takes 20-25 turns to complete the game. That would be 4-5 turns per player. This would give each person several times to try on their own. With this model, you would want perhaps 50 cards so that there is some replay value. .. With my model, the questions/crisis cards would be fairly succinct; you could instead make them much more involved but fewer in number. –  Daniel Richnak Mar 2 '12 at 18:27
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By the way, it's no help to your current situation, but you've given me some inspiration here. I am going to start brainstorming putting together an open source framework for educational games like this. Create a base game with solid mechanisms and lessons learned from professional games, and allow educators to drop in questions and build their own print and play games. Thanks for the spark! :) –  Daniel Richnak Mar 2 '12 at 18:31
    
@DanielRichnak Did you advance on this project? I'm cruising through this site looking for ideas to build something similar to this. –  Kim Nov 18 '13 at 21:12
    
@Kim No, not really. I did some brainstorming and took a bunch of notes, but never prototyped it. I still think it's a cool idea and I've come back to the idea a few times. –  Daniel Richnak Nov 19 '13 at 0:19

Maybe the original question is "overly broad"; I'll answer a related question:

How can I implement academic drills into existing games?

Some games, such as "Jeopardy!", "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", "Are You Smarter...", etc. are already set-up for academic Q & A. We can also adapt other games to fit this requirement. Off the top of my head:

Monopoly - properties are always auctioned (not bought), with the winner being the first player to correctly answer a question.

Egyptian Rat Screw (played with a standard deck of cards): whenever a "double" or a "sandwich" occurs, the winner is decided by Q & A (not by who slaps first/fastest)

Fore more serious games like Agricola, Power Grid, and Puerto Rico, you could require students to pass the "first player" marker left/right if they fail a Q&A check. Of course, if they all fail, then the marker could work its way back to the original owner...

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More generally: replace a given event in an existing game with a random event. Replace an auction event (monopoly), replace an intermittent event (egyptian rat screw), replace a binary random event (die roll for success/failure), replace a cost that would normally have to be paid... basically any sufficiently infrequent (nontrivial) element of a game. –  Jefromi Feb 29 '12 at 0:31
    
@Jefromi. Also, do not subject your students to Arkham Horror, unless study hall is actually Saturday detention! –  The Chaz 2.0 Feb 29 '12 at 0:34

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