Saturday, September 23, 2006

Musings from the museum

A short but rambling post tonight - mostly because we are now at the museum 4 days a week and I'm short on time.

What we are really noticing is the variety in the people who come through.

Variety in their attitudes to games:

* "Oh, look at all these toys!"
* "No, we don't have time for that stuff."
* "We love games"

Variety in their knowledge of games

* (Fraser swears he heard this) "That must be the new Monopoly" (looking at Power Grid)
* "We have a game called Junior Stratego, from about the 1960s. Was there ever a game called Stratego?"
* "Carcassonne ... we have that at home"
* "Settlers of Catan ... our friends love that game"

Variety in their ability to play games

This is the one I can't distill down to point form. We are seeing at first hand the incredible range of abilities that still constitutes "normal".

Whether it's the 3 year olds who find the matches in Catch the Match before their parents and siblings, or the 7 year olds who stare and stare and find nothing. Or the kids that take one look and decide it's too much like work, and run away.

We've had kids who thought Make 'n' Break and Tier auf Tier were too hard, and others that took to Blink like they'd been playing it for years. Today, we watched a group of six year olds whose maths wasn't up to Halli Galli - and a 10 year old who was in the same boat.

But we've also met the most lovely people and their fantastic kids, and really enjoyed gaming with them.

One family from Biggie's school came in on Thursday - they came to the family game night we ran, and played and enjoyed Ticket to Ride, so they came in specially to see the exhibit. The mother told me yesterday that they have since bought it for themselves and for another family, and some friends of theirs recently told them that they have bought it as well.

Another family came by today and played games - dad, 12 year old daughter and 10 year old autistic & intellectually disabled son. We found that the son enjoyed Make 'n' Break, as well as placing tiles in Carcassonne, while dad and daughter played a whole raft of games with us, including Blink, Apples to Apples and Tier auf Tier, and had a good look at Settlers too. They came back later for a game of Marrakesh, after meeting up with the family's mother as well.

We had a family last week, too, who reminded me of why we were doing the demos - they played games with us for over an hour, and by the end of it the kids were tugging at their parents' sleeves saying "you've played enough". They left the museum and went straight for a games shop to buy some of the games they had played with us.

And then we get home.

"I want to play a game," says Otto. "Actually, I want to play FIVE games."

And five games are played.



Gerald McD said...

Great report on the museum work! You folks are doing a fantastic job. It was really interesting to read about the visitors and their different reactions (loved the Power Grid / Monopoly comment). It was especially rewarding hearing about the family that immediately went out to buy some of the games, as well as the report on how Ticket to Ride is spreading there.

Looking forward to more updates from you (and kudos to you for playing even more games when you got home). That's what it's all about.

Anonymous said...

I can testify to the Stratego comment - was playing Tier auf Tier with melissa when this question came up. Almost knocked the pile down with my toucan when I heard it.

What's not obvious from this blog is the sheer amount of energy and time that mel, fraser and their helpers have poured into this. When I visited them, they looked like lethargic zombies who would strangle the next set of parents who leave their kids there because they think that they're some sort of child-care facility of the museum.

Again, great work guys - just wish that more display boxes were allocated for this fantastic exhibition!

Fraser said...

The Monopoly comment really is true, and in fact was also said by somebody else on another occasion about Union Pacific which is set up in a different display case.

Another Monopoly comment I have heard was from a woman who stated "They should have Monopoly here" which was said as she looked at the Power Grid and Big City display case.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I thought the same as well; given more display cases, Monopoly *should* have been displayed - as a side-by-side comparison game with other eurogames. Sort of like how you have 'before' and 'after' pictures from some dieting/hairloss ad. ;-)

Melissa said...

When I visited them, they looked like lethargic zombies who would strangle the next set of parents who leave their kids there because they think that they're some sort of child-care facility of the museum.

Hmm. I'm not entirely certain that is a recommendation :-)