14 June, 2015

Developing an educational economy (Game Chef)

The Dragonfly Brewing Company is a collection of copper stills and pipes, long ago abandoned when the big people left the world. Now the little people pick over the pieces of the past, revealing what they can from the fading dreams of the area, gathering the ingredients they need from the local swamp, and fending off the raiding creatures who seek to claim the ginger beers and other concoctions made in the brewery. Everyone wants happiness, but to keep this happiness everyone has a job to do. 

This is a game to teach students about community, about the economy, and about social responsibility. Every game plays out differently, with a setting explored and developed by students and a teacher as they play through the turns.

Student participate in this game through characters present in the game world. There are generally three types of roles that these characters undertake when they interact with the world in this game. Any character can undertake any role, but some characters are naturally better than others.

The basic roles are "crafters" (who brew things), "scavengers" (who find the ingredients necessary to brew things), and "defenders" (who protect the brewery and the things brewed). As the game progresses, new roles open up such as "lawkeepers" (who settle disputes), "merchants" (who trade with other breweries and settlements found), and others.

If everyone works harmoniously, the people improve in happiness. Some people might improve their own happiness at the cost of the people around them. Some might discover they are very good at some particular task, and gain happiness by engaging that task exceptionally well. Some might not be happy in their role and might train to gain happiness doing something else.

This is a crude simulation of a culture, but is designed to develop a framework for deeper lessons to gain relevance in a classroom. It is intended to be played with 20 or more students, each taking a single turn each day to reflect the actions of their character within the game world. It is intended to be played over the course of a school term of 10 weeks or more...slowly building and gaining momentum as new lessons are learned in class.

Further developments to come.
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