Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Refresher

In case you are stumbling upon this page and wondering what the heck is up with it, here's the backgrounder. For the past year and a half I have been a volunteer leader with a Lego Robotics group attached jointly to the University of Victoria and Arbutus Global Middle School. Last year our team of twenty whittled down to 11 by the time we went to the Districts and Provincials. After provincials a malaise of boredom and lack of purpose set into the group and getting anything done was like a trip to the dentist... you know, pulling teeth.
This year, while a few moved on to High School, we were inundated with new blood. Even after our less than stellar turn at Districts we are still 16 members strong. One of the problems with our performance was essentially due to lack of group cohesion, respect and essentially teamwork. Now during that time, my colleague and I were doing our final practica for our Education Degrees, so we weren't as energized to wrangle this extra wiggly bunch. Some time over the holidays, however, it hit me. What was nerdy, helped group cohesion and was essentially a very effective brain gym when I was young? Role-playing games. Since almost every single one of these kids has played the Lego computer games which are essentially the boiled down, button mashing grandchildren of the games I played as a kid, then taking them on a little medieval adventure seemed the perfect thing.
During our medal ceremony with all the pomp and circumstance of the final scene from Star Wars (literally -- we had the music and everything), I announced that we'd take a break from the Robot game for a few weeks, but we'd still be playing games with Lego to the kids and parents. This seemed to go over well, when I told some of the already inclined boys that it would be Lego D&D... well let's say they were REALLY, REALLY, excited.
So, in the last of the holidays and in this break while I wait for my Teaching Certificate, I have been remembering how to build Lego fortresses, ballistae, and trees, while at the same time finding ways to make the Open License D&D rules work for a group ranging from wiggly 11 year olds to quite mature 13 year olds. What is great is that some kids have played 3.5, 4E, Pathfinder and other RPGs, and they are quite good at helping the kids who are new to the rules along with this.
Well I for one am excited about the adventure to come, and I hope the kids like it too. Most of all I have to thank Big D for all his help with minifig building, rules bouncing, and this week he gets to meet all my little monsters.

Next Post: The Grand Melee!

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