Game Wizard Workshop: 1000 Blank Cards

Ran a Design Thinking workshop/presentation to teach “1000 Blank Cards” to a bunch of kids in grades 1-6. This is part of the Independent Day School’s GAME WIZARD Workshop Series.

Every card needed an illustration, a title and a rule. Altogether, kids produced about 400 cards in two hours, and every kid took home a deck of 20-25 cards, plus a hundred blank cards, to get them started on teaching someone else. The game’s rules, as we taught them, are simple:

  • 1) Draw five cards, give them each a title and a rule;
  • 2) Combine your five cards with the cards of several other people into a single deck; draw one, play one (as modified by the cards) until you run out of cards or someone gets to 20 points;
  • 3) Lay out all of the cards in the game on the table at the end, and each player takes turns collecting cards they want to have in their deck for the next game.
The cards of just three of the players from today.
The cards of just three of the players from today.

By the end of our two hour session, three different kids were working on developing their own games, three more were collaborating on another game’s design, and every kid was borrowing rules from Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Magic:theGathering and half a dozen other collectable card games.

Best of all, my two colleagues attended as well, as chaperones and back-up personnel.  They did a fantastic job, and I’m proud of them.  But more than that, I’m excited about the way in which they saw this game’s base rules as a tool which could reinvigorate their curriculums; both a science teacher and a music teacher saw opportunities in this game and its basic system of rules and cards to teach concepts relevant to their content areas.

More, the kids who attended are eager to play again; they’ll spread the game to other kids at school who weren’t able to attend today’s workshop; and they’ll go off to other schools, too, and spread the game there.  We’ll have the curriculum advantage, because my colleagues are on board with teaching this game — but the game itself, and the idea that students, that kids, have the power to invent their own games… that will spread, too.  And that’s how you effect change and empowerment.

In all, an awesome day.

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