It’s been a busy summer for me this year: William and I were married four weeks ago, and when we returned I began working for the reDiscover Center’s Pasadena expansion of their Tinkering Camp project.
The idea behind tinkering camp is to teach kids to use tools, give them access to materials and help them generate ideas, and then just let them do their thing. Continue reading
An intensive geology course has kept me busy this month in preparation for a Mars-themed board game. I’ve been illustrating my notes to help me get to know the material. Continue reading
Orbiters is now in its 3rd incarnation. It’s gone through many changes since December — here’s a short account of some of the design challenges and solutions that have shaped those changes.
Reach For the Sun (by Filament Games) has been on my list to try for a while. This week I finally picked it up during a Steam sale and gave it a try.
Playtesting of Orbiters version 2 is underway. While the next round of changes takes shape, here are a few things I’ve been checking out in educational games: Continue reading
The Mount & Blade franchise is the work of an indie studio in Turkey, TaleWorlds Entertainment. It is a terrific game as well as a terrific history lesson, one the best examples I know of an educational game that is just superbly fun as well as imparting information and stirring curiosity for its subject matter.
Mount & Blade boasts a handful of unique play experiences. One of them is its excellent riding and mounted combat. The sandbox gameplay is also well done, with many different approaches to play; the game will congratulate players for a variety of achievements, rather than encouraging one particular path to “winning,” but satisfaction comes from watching your own plans come to fruition. Continue reading
I’m taking calculus for the first time right now, and it’s got me thinking about math learning a lot, especially how to build intuition for math concepts and see them as tools for problem-solving in the real world.
As a grade school student, I always liked word problems in math class, for two reasons:
- There’s a heuristic pleasure in reading a passage and figuring out the math problem hidden in it. This is much more interesting to me than just getting the math problem by itself.
- There’s considerably less math per character in a word problem than in a block of equations. Since I suffered from fear of math in school, this was a big plus for me.
STEM toys and educational games are big business these days, which means that every toy and game company wants a piece of the market – and many games and toys with questionable educational value will be trying to get under your Christmas tree (or other gift-harboring analogy) this holiday season.
Here are my thoughts on avoiding the over-engineered fluff and getting straight to the stuff that will actually encourage your kids to think, imagine, and innovate.
Orbiters is here! The prototype arrived a couple of weeks ago (thanks to Game Crafters), and I was very fortunate to have feedback from pro tester Nick Werner for the first round of playtesting. Here are the results of that first game:
Friday’s terrorist attack on Paris will likely, as others have before it, result in a rash of violent crimes against Muslims, as well as ratchet up tensions in Europe surrounding the many refugees seeking asylum from Syria. Many Europeans will be, quite justifiably, frightened and angry, and trying to find a way to express and cope with this fear and anger.
As a species, we like moral certainty; we are comforted by a worldview that can easily separate good from evil (and good decisions from bad), and it is in our nature to gravitate to those points of view whenever possible. It can be especially difficult under circumstances like these determine where our worldviews protect us, and where they put us — or others — in harm’s way. Continue reading