3 Calliope Games To Play With Your Tutor

Adapted from a Titanium Tutors blog post by Oscar Smith

If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ll know that I can’t resist a great board game! I was introduced to the hobby by some friends during high school and it was love at first sight – one of my early favourites was Calliope Game’s ‘Tsuro’, a modern classic.

As a tutor, I’m constantly thinking of new ways to help my students learn new skills in different and exciting settings; one idea I’ve been experimenting with is using board games to introduce younger students to basic academic concepts. So, without further ado, here are 3 titles from Calliope Games which I think would be a hit with students.

Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Tsuro – The Game of the Path

For me, this is the game where it all started. This tile-laying game of survival sees players sending their dragon tokens down paths, hoping to steer them away from other players without sending themselves off the board.

Tsuro’s educational appeal is not straightforwardly visible, but it certainly has a place in the classroom. Success in this game comes from effective long-term planning and efficient problem-solving. If an opponent suddenly closes down your options with a surprise move, being able to adapt your strategy and work out how best you can use the three tiles in your hand is vital.

One way I’ve been playing this game is in a ‘speed’ format. At first, I give my student two minutes to make their move, then I reduce it to one minute, then 30 seconds and finally 15 seconds! This addition of a timer is a great way to introduce younger students to the feeling of exam time pressure in a fun context, improving their mental agility.

Roll For It! - Red Edition

Roll For It!

Many kids struggle with mathematics, particularly with the statistical side of things. Understanding how probabilities work and how to calculate them is a crucial skill for any student who has to learn about stats and Roll For It! is a great way to get students thinking about the practical applications of maths.

The game is delightfully simple; roll your 6 dice and match them to the scoring cards – once you’ve matched all the die on that card, you keep it and score the points on that card. The most important decision is working out which dice to put with which cards – concentrating on the harder cards with more specific requirements might earn you more points, but you could earn more by targeting several low scoring cards.

This risk/reward dynamic makes Roll For It! a great game to teach kids about probability. When a new card comes up, I ask my students to calculate the probability that they’ll be able to roll their 6 dice and get exactly the right roll to secure a card. For cards where you need 6 of one result, the calculation is 1/66, which is a very low probability! This not only helps students learn simple probabilities, but also helps them play better!

Wordoku – Fun Spelled Out

I’ve always been a sucker for word games, so when I discovered Calliope Games’ Wordoku it definitely struck a chord with me. In essence, this game gets players trying to make four letter words using small tiles in a 4×4 grid. Each tile has a symbol and so, like a sudoku puzzle, there must be one of each symbol in each row and column.

Spelling is right up there with some of the most critical skills a student can have. I love playing this game in a 1v1 situation with a student, testing their vocabulary and seeing how creative they can be. The sudoku element of the game forces students to really stretch their knowledge of words and playing just one round of this game can be a great way to start a tutoring session in an engaging way.

So, there you have it! I hope you’ve found some inspiration for using board games in teaching. A big thank you to Calliope Games for letting me share my thoughts about their fantastic titles on their website – happy gaming!

Oscar is an undergraduate at the University of Warwick, where he studies Philosophy, Politics and Economics. When he’s not playing board games or performing jazz gigs on his saxophone, he tutors Science and Mathematics and works for the team at Titanium Tutors – one of the UK’s leading private tuition agencies.

To read the original blog post (‘Top 5 Educational Board Games to Play With Your Tutor’), click here.

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