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5 Games to Gift Your Gameschool Shelf

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Are you wanting to add some great educational games to your gameschool shelf this Christmas? These five games are as fun as they are educational. Some of them could absolutely double as stocking stuffers, but they are here for their educational value.

Similo is a co-operative deduction game, and each version of the game — e.g., Fables, History, Myths — comes with a deck of thirty cards, beautifully illustrated by Naïade, showing the portrait and the name of a series of characters with a common theme.

Your goal is to make the other players guess one secret character (out of the twelve characters on display in the middle of the table) by playing other character cards from your hand as clues, stating whether they are similar to or different from the secret character. After each turn, the other players must remove one or more characters from the table until only the right one remains and you win — or it is removed and you lose!

Similo has been a favorite at our house and our homeschool group. We have all three versions. Our favorite is actually the History edition. The game has led to many documentary viewings and discussions. The tot likes to play it with us and the Fables edition is best for him. He is 4 now and the co-op nature makes it easy for him to join in.

Virtual Reef Diver - Experience the beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef while learning about the dangers this national treasure currently faces, and the solutions data scientists are providing for its defence. Work as a team of citizen scientists on a quest to classify the corals, identify the organisms, and help protect the seventh wonder of the natural world.

The game features fast paced gameplay (pick a card and identify it for points), beautiful reef imagery and educational content.

Sales of this game directly contribute towards future print runs of this game as it is a not for profit.

Virtual Reef Diver is based on an Australian Government-funded citizen science website, where people can go to play a digital version and contribute useful data to scientists across Australia and across the world!

If you really dive in and discover all this game has to offer, you are going to learn so much about reefs and the environment. Many cards host QR codes that link to websites to explore about the topic. We have just scratched the surface of this tiny little game. The box is the size of a deck of cards, but it is practically exploding with gameplay and content.

Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game -You are a mapmaker, which means you make maps… and determine who wins elections. You belong to a political party: Red Elephants, Blue Donkeys, Yellow Porcupines, or Green Leaves. Your only job? Make sure your party wins the next election. You get to redraw the districts. But so do the other mapmakers.

Everyone starts with the same number of voters, spread across counties. Players each place four district borders per turn. When a district gets closed off, whoever has the most voters inside claims it. At the end of the game, the entire board will be sectioned into districts. The party with the most districts wins. If there’s a tie, the party with the most swing counties wins.

You must scramble to draw the best lines first. Can you crack and pack voters? Can you scheme and strategize? Can you create unfair, lopsided, strangely shaped districts that will guarantee your party’s victory? Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game is fast to learn and fast to play. It’s full of surprises, maneuvers, and outmaneuvers. It’s a hands-on way to try out gerrymandering yourself.

This is a favorite game of Adam and the Kiddo. It is a great way to better understand the concept of gerrymandering. The game is full of math. You will spend the whole game adding and re-adding numbers to figure out how to put the districts together. It’s a great gameschool addition.

In Mathemagician's Duel, players create "incanquations" from the cards in their hands to cast spells on their opponent, to reduce the opponent's Magical Strength to 0.

The incanquations are created by playing Magical Energy cards (numerals) and Magical Symbols cards (operators) so that when read left to right add up to the casting value of the chosen spell. Each spell when successfully cast, reduces the opponent's Magical Strength by a certain amount.

The game helps players practice mental math skills and working memory as they calculate the value of their own and their opponent's incanquations.

Pair this little gem with a copy of The Phantom Tollbooth and you are going to be set for some fun… and learning. The game is tiny but fun. It can be pretty competitive at times. You’ll need to find the balance between helping your own spell and attacking your opponent’s.

Exact Change combines an excellent teaching lesson with fun, fast paced action that the entire family will love. The goal is to play all of your cards first. You can discard cards by matching the color of the last card played, by matching the currency value (play a penny on a penny), or by making EXACT CHANGE. Making exact change allows you to discard multiple cards that add up to the value of the last card played. If the last card played shows a quarter, you can make exact change by playing two dimes and a nickel- allowing you to discard three cards in one play!

If you’re looking for games about money! Look no further! Exact Change is the best game on the market that teaches children to count money!

This is an old one, but I can’t recommend it enough. The game plays like Uno with some slight variations. We have been playing this one in our gameschool since the kiddo was in second grade. He is in seventh now. He still loves it.

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