Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

[Rabbits] [Event] Beachcomber Labor Day Games by Michael Kolodner

  • FromSuperFRED <superfred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateFri, 09 Sep 2005 02:03:47 -0000
This is an auto-generated report from SuperFRED regarding an event that Michael Kolodner has submitted.

Title: Beachcomber Labor Day Games
Location: Beachcomber Swim Club
Date: September 5, 2005

I ran a Mini-experiment that turned into something closer to a Little Experiment at my swim club on Labor Day. I had publicized with a post on the membership listserv, posters on the bathroom doors (everyone eventually has to go in there...), and an announcement of the PA system. I figured I would get perhaps 10 young teens (the kids who are always playing Magic: The Gathering) and maybe a couple of adults.

Labor Day turned out to be beautiful and the attendance at the club was huge--easily the biggest day of the year for both members and guests. Even though I gave myself a few minutes to set up, I had a swarm of people even before the 4pm start. By 4:30 I was out of badge stickers and started putting game stickers on arms and shirts. We were literally overwhelmed by the turnout. 

Besides the parents who accompanied their children, there were only a couple of test subjects who were older than 12 or so. My assumed target audience was completely wrong. This presented a bit of a challenge, as most of the games were a bit the kids? heads. It?s not that the younger set couldn?t learn the games, but FamilyFluxx would have been really helpful and the changing nature of Aquarius confused the parents as well as the young kids. Finally, the sheer numbers meant that I couldn?t stay in one place to really clear things up without leaving others waiting for something to do. 

The first group that arrived desperately wanted to play Chrononauts. I tried to dissuade them, but they had been captivated by the impressive timeline layout and my John Lennon Murdered shirt. (I had laid out the cards because I thought older kids and adults would come.) They were too young to know the history or really understand the gameplay, even with significant handholding by me and a couple of their parents. They still didn?t want to quit and tried a couple of rounds (while I got others started on other games) before I finally convinced them to try Fluxx instead. That went smoother, partly because my helper rabbits had arrived.

Meanwhile my helper rabbits (Linda Lee and Jen Kolodner) got a couple other tables of games going. Two groups started playing Aquarius. They were, again, too young (under 5), but had a few parents to help and enjoyed the look of the cards anyway. They struggled through to the end, though they weren?t really sure how. Linda started a group of boys (10 to 12 years old) on Fluxx at yet another table.

With more people arriving, I set up three kids and two parents with some pyramids to play with. The three year old was happy to just stack them high, while the two older girls (7 or 8), enjoyed nesting, treeing, and considering how towers would work. I gave their parents the rules for a few games to consider for themselves, but the girls were happy to just make up their own. 

Once the young girls (4 and 6) had finished Aquarius we ended up playing a modified version of IceTowers (no mining or splitting) in a four person game. They enjoyed just keeping track of adding the same or smaller pyramids to a tower. Meanwhile a boy (probably about 5) who had desperately wanted to play Chrononauts get interested in the possibilities of pyramids as spaceships.

Jen started a table of six girls and one adult on Fluxx. They played that then moved to Aquarius and finally NanoFictionary. Thanks to having a parent plus Jen the whole time, they pretty much figured things out. All six got their three games in and came looking for their stickers and their Happy Flowers. Meanwhile I had shepherded two young girls and their mother through Aquarius, Fluxx, and (modified) IceTowers. They also wanted Flowers, leaving me two short. The boys were happy to take cards (their Star, plus a Time Vortex and a MicroCatalog) except for one who decided he?d rather trade in for a flower. Fortunately, the three children to whom I owe flowers go with parents who know me well, so I?ll have a chance to deliver them once I get more.

All in all, there were at least 25 kids and perhaps 10 parents exposed to LooneyLabs games. Most of them had never heard of anything by LooneyLabs. I gave out probably 30 MicroCatalogs and a couple of full ones. People really had a great time. There were a couple already bugging their parents to buy the games they had played.

Our swim club will be having a few Open Houses during the Fall and Spring and I hope to run more Experiments during those events. I think I?ll split them up by age group next time and enlist a lot more helpers for the young kids. I?ll need to get myself a few more experiment kits (especially the Happy Flowers!) and some more copies of games if I want to do this again. It was a little overwhelming for the first time, but I enjoyed myself.

(Rabbits Jen and Linda will be submitting their own reports in the next few days.)