GM Tips, hosted by the talented veteran Game Master Satine Phoenix, is our show to help Dungeon Masters and Game Masters improve their craft and create memorable roleplaying experiences. Last week, we talked about having fewer high quality sessions over a mass, and this week we talk about education through gaming
As gaming becomes more mainstream in the last decade, more applications are being found for the pastime beyond a night with some friends. Since gaming is now multi-generational we can see the impact healthy gaming has on families. If we look beyond gaming as a mere tool of imagination and escape, does it have educational benefits? What about the school system? Did many of us not after all, have that one cool teacher who used to play some old school pen & paper?
BJ Hensley brings real-life experience to GM Tips with Satine Phoenix and offers valuable insight into a new use for gaming that is becoming more popular. Get caught up below.
This episode is less about sharpening your specific GM skills and more about what’s happening in the gaming industry when it merges with the field of education. In that vein, this article is about running games that are educational and what game companies have products with an educational twist or are designed to promote family play.
Created by BJ Hensley, (and also the focus of the video) this game line is a one-stop shop for educational tabletop needs for a variety of ages. If you are a teacher by chance and looking to enhance your curriculum or teach some math skills by doing pathfinder character creation, this studio has you covered. On a whole, I find this studio caters very much to a far younger audience than even I would run a game for—which makes this a rare find for gaming parents with little kids. They do have products that range up higher and a young adult line as well.
Given the anxiety that many kids face in math (heck I have a 10-year-old who just failed his first math test), working in that skill mastery in other ways is a valuable tool. Take a look around even if you don’t have kids yourself because chances are you know someone who does. A core rule-book given as a gift at the right time has the potential to get tight-lipped children talking about adventures or hobbies they’ve had in their imagination.
Learn Larp, LLC is an educational consulting and game design company focused on the power of role-playing games as a co-created experience to build empathy, collaboration, problem-solving, and awareness. Everything discussed in the video above, this company is dedicated to putting into practice. With some amazingly fun games as well like the popular Magischola or Edgeworld a wild west based LARP. When you really sit back and think about all the random factoids you learn just to play your characters, it’s rather impressive. Getting ready for a LARP and reading the lore, rules, and even building a character is an important skill; then add in some travel logistics.
Magischola Preparatory Academy is a summer camp LARP for young adults that provides an immersive LARP experience for kids age 11-17. Run by experienced camp counselors and industry veterans they allow kids to study rune lore, magical creatures and get to have a camp in a friggin’ castle and learn teamwork at the same time. The event takes place every summer in Pennsylvania, and just like their other events, they intend to expand out as popularity demands. Self-sufficiency has long been taught at summer-camps, but those camps don’t always draw interest from all kids; so add a splash of geekery in and I’m left wondering. Why didn’t I have this when I was 12 years old?
I’ll be honest, this one is a little less on the educational side and more the best family RPG I’ve ever seen. There has been a hilarious laugh from all kids around me when I’ve shown them the Catthulhu book, and you can’t force that type of buy-in. The concept alone sells itself and creates a laughing and hilarious humor right from its character creation. Call of Catthulhu: Book 1 the Nekonimikon is at its core, a well-designed RPG for all ages and it has been talked about as a fun family game before. When it comes to finding one that has an instant-out-of-the-box appeal I would be remiss if I did not highlight Catthulu.
We would love to hear some expert opinions from teachers and educators that are using gaming as an educational tool, and if you have any stories, can you share them in the comments below!
Looking for More Useful GM Tips?
- Mash-up the Dread System in your tabletop RPG’s to increase tension.
- How to handle long-running and epic rpg campaigns.
- Shop the Geek & Sundry store for RPG gear like the Critical Role Pencil Set
Featured Image: Catthulhu
Image Credits: Pixies On Parade by Playground Adventures, New World Magischola Providence Predatory Academy, Catthulhu
Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age: Dawn, and a storyteller with a focus on LARPs, Wraith: The Oblivion, Eclipse Phase, and many more. You can follow game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or Facebook.