STRATEGY GAMES OF THE WORLD
by Kathy Foster
SUBJECT AREA: Thinking/Reasoning Skills
FORMAT: Educational Game
COST: $69.95 (School Edition)
GRADE LEVEL: Grades 3 - 8
HARDWARE: Macintosh: 256 colors required, 8 MB RAM, CD-ROM drive (double-speed
highly recommended), System 7.0.1 or higher, 13" or larger monitor.
IBM compatible: Windows, Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or later, 8 MB RAM,
CD-ROM drive (double-speed highly recommended), 486/33 MHz or better, Super
VGA, 640x480 (256 colors), Hard disk with 2 MB free, Mouse, Windows-compatible
EDUCATIONAL GOALS: This program is designed to help 3rd to 8th grade students
develop a variety of problem-solving strategies they can use everyday.
The games help students learn to identify and analyze problems, look for
patterns and sequences, plan ahead, predict outcomes, eliminate options
known to be incorrect, test hypotheses and break problems into smaller parts
that can be solved individually.
DESCRIPTION: The program contains computerized versions of three popular
games from around the world. The first, Go-Moku is a variation of Go, a
popular Japanese game. In Go-Moku, players quickly scan the board and find
ways to place five pieces in a row before the opposition. The first player
to get five stones in a row - horizontally, vertically or diagonally - wins
The second game is Nine Men's Morris which originated in Egypt but
has also been found in the ruins of Troy, Sri Lanka, Stone-Age Ireland and
in England, carved into cathedral pews. The game can be won in two ways:
by capturing all but two of the opponent's pieces or by blocking the opponent
from being able to move.
The last game, Mancala, is played throughout Africa, the Middle East
and the South Pacific. In Africa, Mancala boards often reflect the handiwork
of the tribal culture, and some are revered as religious artifacts. In
this game, players own positions instead of pieces. Students use a range
of strategies to put stones in the positions around the board. The game
is over when all the stones are gone from one player's side of the board.
Whoever has the most stones wins.
STRENGTHS: The program provides "strategy coaches" which players
can click on for tips and alternative strategies. When the hyena in Mancala,
for example, looks excited, he has a strategy hint to share. The program
contains challenge levels which automatically advance as students win games.
As they advance several levels, the screen changes to a new screen and
a new opponent. Players can also choose their level of difficulty. One
of the best features is the real-world videos. The program includes more
than 80 video examples of how people from all walks of life use strategies
to solve problems in their daily lives.
SUMMARY: This program is creative, fun, and best of all challenges the
user to develop a set of strategies. Each game provides a variety of amazing
graphics as well as audio feedback. The use of real life strategy segments
works to emphasize the importance of strategies in everyday life, not just
to win a game.
Kathleen Foster is a graduate student in the Department of Special Education
at Trenton State College.
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