Tag Archives: final

‘Save the world’ game outline

My game is a hard one to make playable in a classroom. The concept involves people returning lost items in exchange for points, which then could be redeemed for items from the game’s virtual gift shop. People who have lost things would post online — “My dog ran away. Anyone seen it?” — and then anyone who finds the item — in this case, a dog — would return it and write about it in another post. Items will vary in value (points) based on the importance of the item to the person who lost it.

The in-class version of this game requires three or more players. Each player must take out two scraps of paper. On each scrap, the player will write the name of an item and its value, which can range from 1 point to 10 points. For example, a scrap might read: Chemistry book (8 points). These two scraps of paper represent the items you lost.

Next, all players will place their scraps face-down in a pile. Once all the scraps are in a pile, players will take turns drawing from said pile, removing one scrap (finding one item) at a time. After a player “finds” an item, he or she must ask to whom the item belongs. This can be verbal. After the owner’s identity is known, the player who found the item can return it and collect the corresponding points. If a player draws his or her own item from the pile, they must put it back, and their turn effectively will be skipped. This will continue until all the items are found.

At the end of the game, players will add up their points, and a winner will be crowned. Sorry, but there is no gift shop, and there are no prizes. Shouldn’t the feeling of helping another person be reward enough? Isn’t that I’m-a-good-person sensation, while temporary, worth more than any prize your virtual points might afford you?

Depending on the number of players, this game usually can be played in five minutes. Don’t be tempted to attribute little value (points) to the item you lose in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. For example, you might write: Chapstick (1 point), which is fine, but you shouldn’t do so to keep your competitors from racking up serious points. I wouldn’t even say you’re competitors. You’re more like compatriots who frequently misplace things but love and help one another.