This break I played The Quiet Year with some friends and our 4 year old daughter.  The Quiet Year is a game about making decisions about a community with playing cards, making up answers to questions, drawing the answers on a large map, followed by making more decisions about the community that this game is following. It’s an amazing game that would would work spectacularly in a classroom.  It hits all the aspect of a child’s  imagination and is perfect for learning about world building, decision making, community building, and story creation.

Turns are quick, 2-3 minutes.  It’s multi-modal involving drawing, coloring, pictures, and a story that you can tell.  It involves agency and creating choices for a community.   Further with a little guidance even a 4 year old can play.

For example in our story we had a teenager of the community turn out to be a sort of prophet.  The question that I had to answer is “Predators and bad omens are afoot. You are careless, and someone goes missing under ominous circumstances. Who?”?  I decided that the prophetic teenager would make for good drama so she disappeared ominously.  Then it is my 4 year olds turn and she drew a card that said  , “Someone leaves the community. Who? What are they looking for?”  Who does my 4 year old choose, the same girl who just disappeared.  We asked her what are they looking for and she decided that this girl didn’t disappear she defected and joined an enemy nation.

This amazing plot idea came out of the head of a 4 year old just like that and look at the amazing drama and story that came out of a game.  This is a great game I look forward to trying in classes because it quickly hits so many points of Gamification and motivation.

Agency- Students make choices for the community that have consequences and they have to discuss why they made those choices.

Purpose-  The decisions they make effect the entire story of the game and have lasting repercussions.

Time-  Turns are quick, fast, and are short ideas making it perfect for any age.

Multiple Modes of Instruction-  Looking at the map we created above, it has paint, stickers, markers, crayons, drawing, writing, imagination, it has everything that one can have to interact.  One person at the table even proposed to go a step further and create the world in Minecraft after (which could be it’s own STEAM adventure).

Feedback-  The system has an amazing feedback mechanic called contempt tokens.  If you disagree with someone you can grab a token of contempt so they can recognize you don’t like their idea.  You can’t change what they did (it’s there decision) however you can make it known you don’t like it.  A creative feedback system that could have multiple uses in many games and collaborative story ideas.

It is amazing, I will be trying it with classrooms this semester, and I recommend so many teachers try it as well.