I was walking down the hallway this afternoon (after SOL testing duties were finished for the day) and I noticed a classroom of students totally immersed in some games. I decided to pop my head in to visit and see what games they were playing. Each table group was playing a different strategy game. Since they were all so engaged, I wanted to observe and learn the different games so I can hopefully purchase some for my classroom next year.
Here’s a short preview of the games I learned today.
Zenith was a cool game with colored wooden triangles. You have a game board where each person takes turns adding their triangle to a spot. You build up by placing your wooden triangles in the middle of 3 triangles. However, you can only add a triangle on top if it touches at least one triangle of your given color. Once you can’t make a move, you are out. The last person to place a triangle is the winner. There are multiple game boards for variety and challenge and lots of strategy involved.
Izzi was really more of a puzzle. You had to put the square pieces together and black could only touch black and white could only touch white. This can be done solo, with a partner, or small group. It’s a simple premise but rather hard as you get down to the last pieces.
Qwirkle was a neat game! There’s a bag full of wooden blocks that have one of six shapes in a variety of colors. Each player gets 6 blocks. Each player takes turn putting blocks down. They have to all be the same color or shape. Players can put down up to 6 pieces if they have the right combination. You keep building on them similar to scrabble. You get 1 point for each block in your row (you get to count the ones you build on as well). If you complete a row of 6 that’s called a Qwirkle and you get 12 points! For each block you put down you get that many blocks to put back in your hand.
I enjoyed all the games but this one was my favorite to watch. Probably because I was catching the tail-end of the competition and the two students were trying to work together to beat their teacher. The competition and strategy was intense! Each player gets a set of plastic blocks that come in a variety of shapes (think Tetris shapes). Players take turns laying their shapes down, but you can only lay them down where they touch a corner of the shape. If they touch more than at a corner you can’t lay it on the board. The person with the fewest blocks left at the end wins.
The 20 minutes spent with this class was the highlight of my day. I learned 4 new strategy games that I hope to purchase for my classroom next year. The students were completely engaged and I loved watching their different strategies they used and hearing their thinking.
Do you have any favorite strategy games? How do you integrate them into your classroom?