Board Game Tales: Transformation through Gaming

 Kingsley’s story: Decision-Making Skills Through Board Games

The first story is from Kingsley, Sabah, Malaysia. Kingsley runs an art and board game studio called Picassor Smart Learner Program, where he imparts creative knowledge and strategic thinking through art, craft, and board games to students in his community. In this blog post, we’ll explore how board games, specifically Project L, have become a powerful tool for teaching essential decision-making skills to students of all ages.

Bridging Continents Through Art and Board Games

“Hey Marek, that’s two amazing stories from John & Aaron!

First off, I’d like to thank you for such a gracious move of collecting stories from around the world, and gifting them an All-In bundle of Project L.

I’m Kingsley, all the way from Sabah, Malaysia. It’s somewhere near Singapore and Indonesia, just FYI. I myself run an art & board game studio here at the local (Picassor Smart Learner Program). We provide weekly classes to the students here where they can learn art, craft & board games.”

Empowering Young people Through Board Games

” In our community, board games are a luxury hobby that is not easily accessible to everyone. Due to our geographical location, we need to deal with expensive shipping (imagine the mainland of the U.S. and the islands of Hawaii, and yes we’re the Hawaii in Malaysia). Also due to unstable political and economic issues, our currency (Ringgit Malaysia) is very weak. Thus, I have to think twice every time whether the board game suits the students or not. My students are mostly ages 8 to 15 and hence I ensure the board game in our library has a wide selection to cater for every student and their friends.

I recently purchased a second-hand retail version of Project L (box dented and missing pieces, sadly). As expected, the kids had a wonderful time playing them. We managed to play 3 consecutive games of Project L in 2 hours of class time, which is rare because my students tend to request another type of game after one-play on a regular day. I guess it’s because of the straightforward rules and tight-design where all of us only have 1 or 2 points gap in between.”

Building Life Skills Through Board Games

“As usual, we had a talk after the class. We all agreed that Project L is a must in our game library, as it helps them to improve their strategy planning and decision making. As a tutor, I firmly believe that decision making is a key competitive skill in every stage of life. A wrong decision can lead to fatal consequences, and you have to bear responsibility for it. For example in Project L, you have multiple actions to choose from, yet how you plan (sequencing) the 3 actions can affect your whole gameplay. The inefficiency of planning and deciding will lead to your loss of 1 point, which in real life could lose you a multimillion project.

All these key-skills are learnt unconsciously throughout board game sessions and I don’t really need to give these kids a book of theories of how to make decisions. The immediate experience that they gain from playing board games like Project L already help them to build up such key-skills, and further enhance their analytical and calculative strength. Also I rarely give advice on what move is good, especially when there’s no wrong move in Project L. I always tell them as long as it’s valid and you’re progressing, that’s your decision and don’t be emotional about it. Stick to the plan and let’s see the magic unfold, be confident with your choice. Sometimes it’s not your decision that’s bad, just that others did a better move.

All in all, I’d really like to win this bundle and let my students experience even more from Project L, as the ghost pieces will definitely keep them coming for more. I will graciously donate the other copy to the local Good Samaritan Church for their youth as they’ve always volunteered to assist our weekly art & board game session.”

Alessandro’s story: A Legacy of Friendship

The second story takes us on a journey to Pisa, Italy, where a group of university students discovered the profound impact that Pandemic Legacy could have on their lives. These friends, bound by their shared love for board games, embarked on an adventure that would create lasting memories and friendship, all through the magic of Pandemic Legacy.

Pandemic Legacy: A Shared Experience

“When Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 was released, I was a university student in Pisa with an active board game group among my friends. We were all big Pandemic fans, and the concept of a legacy game sounded so cool that we had to give it a shot!

Not fully understanding that playing required permanently altering the game components, we asked our student house to buy it as a ‘shared space’ game. Since it was not technically ours, we couldn’t make it unplayable for everyone! So we had to be creative and find a way to make it replayable: using dice to track the panic level, transparent sleeves and plastic sheets to stick the stickers on and slide them into the sleeves instead of actually sticking them to the cards, photocopying the rulebook and the character sheets, and writing the upgrades by hand, among other things. We had a blast, and it was by far our most exciting board game experience up to that point! I left a booklet in the box with instructions on how to reset the game and my contact information in case anyone needed help with that. Even now, I still occasionally receive messages from current students asking for help resetting it, and I enjoy it very much!”

Speedrunning and lasting memories

“When Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 was released, I was halfway through my PhD, one of my friends was about to graduate and move abroad, and another was about to finish his Masters and also move abroad. This time we knew well that the game was a Legacy game, so we got our own copy. Half of the group was about to leave in a couple of months, so we had to speedrun it! We played twice a week and managed to complete it. It was so much fun that one of our group members coded a probability calculator for the infection cards, which we then released on Github. Only when another group came to us complaining about some bug did we realize that we had accidentally released a spoiler, and the bug in question was actually a feature that they were not supposed to know about yet… From that playthrough, we have a lot of photos (two attached) and a few video comments (in Italian, so I can’t really share them), which are among my dearest memories of that time.”

Reunion and Resilience

” Speaking of pandemics, we were already in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 finally showed up on the shelves, scattered around the world. However, we still managed to meet in Pisa for a week and go through the whole campaign, one scenario after the other. It was such a great opportunity to reunite with long-time friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while, and although it was difficult, we couldn’t possibly give up playing the final season without even trying. I’m so glad we made it.

Since then, I have met all three of them multiple times, but never at the same time. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to reunite and try out some new games together!”

Dan’s Story: The power of gaming communities – journey from solitude to connection

The last story we want to  bring you is also remarkable, this time featuring Dan. Originally an ardent computer gamer, Dan’s journey takes us through the profound transformation he experienced. His story resonates with the universal theme of how gaming communities can have a life-changing impact.

Gaming as a Lifeline

“For a long time I was a massive computer gamer, I enjoyed the social aspect online and just blowing things up in a safe environment.

However after my first divorce I went into a massive depression, as I had lost some friends, my companion and I then lost my job I went into a depression spiral and got heavily into computer games, I wasn’t really eating, going out or doing anything really I shut myself off from pretty much everyone. I would pretend to be out when people came round to check on me even if they knew I was home.”

Overcoming Depression Through Board Games

“I then saw a friend and he introduced me to MTG, I started going to MTG nights and slowly started being social again, I put my console days behind me, I then got into Star Wars X wing and found a local club, where i got into 40k and many other weird table top games, as well as boardgames and going to national events as well as private events. Everyone was super nice and this filled a massive hole, I then started going to other boardgame nights around the city I lived in and even started my own Friday night club at a local venue and then the local ymca as we had no flgs at the time.

It’s been almost 10yrs since I met those guys and got myself back to normal, since then I now live in Sweden, happily married and I was running 2 meetups for a local cafe but I have about 50 regular gamers I rotate around and the gaming community is pretty good around here everyone is connected and without the gaming community I probably wouldnt of survived in Sweden.

If i was to be selected I would happily donate both copies as ive already got my copy coming.”

Give us a hug!

Leave us a comment and join our Discord community