The JFG had fun at Tulip Fest w/ Photographers Dmitri Moisseev and Diana B. We also had a special guest, Catherine D'iorio, our new summer camp leader came in to say hi. Dmitri and Diana's photos will be shared privately on our site for all parents who's
Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers is currently on sale for $15 at Amazon.
Some of the students at our popular SISG really enjoy playing this board game. For $15, it's a steal! If your child or you have been thinking about Arena of the Planeswalkers, now is a great time to get the game. I suspect, hasbro may stop supporting it and it will become hard to find.
Before you click buy on Amazon, be aware that w/ shipping and taxes, the game will be $29 (shipping to Ottawa). That means you really are not saving any money and can buy the game in a physical store for $29. If your order is over $35 shipping is free. I suggest waiting until you can fill your cart w/ an order over $35 then this becomes a great deal!
If you are curious what this game is about, want to know if your child will like it and how it relates to the popular card game Magic the Gathering (MTG), read on:
Arena of the Planeswalkers (AOTP) is a board game based on the Heroscape rule set. Wait..what...Heroscape? You lost me at Magic the Gathering, my nerd tolerance is low.
Hey, dont worry, Heroscape is a popular board game made by hasbro and discontinued in 2010. The game has modular parts for building huge maps (think minecraft but on a table), and uses miniature armies to battle each other. Since discontinued, it can be bought for hundreds of $$$ on Ebay, thats how popular it is. So AOTP is very similar but for a much cheaper price. It uses characters from the card game MTG and thats about as far as it goes. The game mechanics are in no way similar to MTG. But this does not matter, what you are getting is a fun miniatures game based on a popular existing set of rules. AOTOP has large map pieces and some modular parts to create varied adventures where 2-5 armies can battle each other. It takes some strategy, lots of communication and co operation if you play in teams. Students who enjoy games w/ depth and longer playing time enjoy this game and the one feature they enjoy the most, HOUSE RULES. The games has so many creative options, you are in no way limited by the rules, a little creativity, imagination along w/ a few friends and you will have a large advenutre sure to keep the kids and adults busy for hours!
How will it benefit my ASD child?
AOTP is rules heavy, for the teens who enjoys getting caught up in details, this game is for you. The base rules are very clear and make for a fun game. With 2 or more players, your child will get a social opportunity to communicate and co operate around an engaging game that can take and hour or more to play. For imagination and an immersive experience, I give it a 10/10.
Pro tips for a better experience and some cons:
I have bought the 2 expansions and second version of the base game to ensure there are enough parts, armies and maps to create larger scenarios. The game is meant to grow via expansions and the addition of modular parts, similar to Heroscape. So far, Hasbro has been pretty chintzy with extra parts in the box. W/ the addition of a second base game, the maps can now become much larger and armies massive for some truly epic battles. One con with the base game, the maps are one sided. W/ the expansion (see below) you get double sided maps for more adventure options. For added value and longevity, I suggest creating House Rules. This way you can create larger scenarios using all the map pieces, summon larger armies and come up w/ your own goals.
My overall opinion:
Is the game worth it, yes and no. For $15 it is certainly worth getting. Initially I bought it as a resource for our social group. Having played it a few times, I like it and would own a copy for personal use. It is a game revolving around communication and co operation and attention to details. Socially, its a heckuva fun game.
The base game is a lot of fun. Friends could purchase the expansions to add to the fun thus sharing the cost. My idea of buying 2 base sets and 2 expansions, you would need to be a super nerd or run a large social group like I do. Try the base game out as it's currently on sale and if you like it, I recommend Shadows over Innistrad as the first Expansion to buy.
My main gripe and in fact most peoples gripe:
The idea of the game is for it grow, currently, Hasbro has not brought much else to the table in terms of adding modular parts for larger, creative and more diverse playing fields. As it stands I give the game a 8 our of 10 for fun. The other challenge is the relationship to Magic the gathering, it's in name only. People coming to the game thinking they will be getting a MTG experience will be Disappointed. Lack of growth is the other big complaint....c'mon hasbro, make some stinking parts.
Expansions: Shadows over Innistrad is a complete game in itself. It has the same rules as AOTP but adds a bit more clarity in the instructions. It adds new Planeswalkers, more maps and multicolored armies for variety. I personally like that the maps are double sided. For added social fun, one friend could buy the base game and another the Shadows over Innistrad to add longevity to the game. On their own, each has a complete game. Shadows unfortunately is not on sale and averages about $29 in stores.
The first expansion, Battle for Zendikar is NOT a stand alone game and adds a little variety to the base game and Shadows mentioned above. I was a bit disappointed in this expansion. All it adds are a new planeswalker, Hero and super tough bad guy to play against. No modular pieces or maps. Is it worth buying? If it was on sale and only of you like the base game as much as I do. It adds to the overall game but not as a good as Shadows.
Are you curious about play testing the game, Join us May 4th at our next Social Group SISG. We will have the games set up and playing some house rules. For more information on our social group, please contact our director to see if SISG is right for your child!
Spring 2018 Fundraiser
Our Winter 2018 fundraiser was a success, thanks to all who donated. We reached our goal of $205 and purchased the Retro-Cade console and LED Projector
This spring we are looking to raise funds, $425, to help a family in need attend our 2018 summer camp. The Spectrum Insights camp is geared to teens and young adults with Autism, PDD, ADHD and mild learning disabilities.
At present we have raised $220!!
To donate or find more information Please visit the link below:
Send a student to Camp
Friday April 6
Dad joke Face off is moved from May 4th to April 6.
Face off with a list of Dad Jokes and try to make your opponent laugh. Prizes for winners. Otherwise,Just more socializing, gaming , retro console, hanging out....oh...and our EPIC POT LUCK!
No student goes home hungry...ever!
May 4th we will be celebrating....
Summer Camp Update
Boys and Girls ages 12-17
9am to 4pm - Early Drop off available
Two camps are running July 16 to August 10
Team John 1-5 ratio
The art of conversation
Previously I wrote an article on "Valuing Your Students Opinions".
One of the issues on the flip side is helping my students better express their opinions and ensure they are heard. Equally important is demonstrating we hear what the other person is saying, if not, conversations become one sided. Worse, people get upset over a difference in values and more than likely to get entrenched in their views, at this point the conversation is no longer productive as neither party is listening to the other.
The following works best with and Autism coach as each step/suggestion should be demonstrated then practiced. The skills below may not come naturally to those on the Spectrum and even many "neurotypicals" radically fail when it comes to effective conversation skills.
We are focusing on making people feel comfortable, following the social rules that make us likeable and observing reactions. I also have tips at the end of the article for larger conversations where the topic is hot and may cause emotions to rise. You can learn to ensure the other person listens to you with a few simple tricks.
Lets begin with Small Talk.
Small talk is a way of getting to know someone, to find out what you have in common. This may lead to larger more interesting conversations about topics you are both interested in and the beginning of friendship!
Think of small talk as an interview, a way of getting to know someone to ultimately determine if they are worth getting to know further.
There is a rule about getting more attention, we need to give attention to get it. It may seem a bit anti intuitive but it works by increasing our likeability. Showing interest in others makes them feel good and they will feel as though you care. So small talk is also about showing interest in another person and making them feel comfortable. Be interesting by showing interest!
PAY ATTENTION to their mood, body language and social cues. We want to avoid the dreaded monologue where we talk about ourselves or personal interests.
If during the during the conversation, you find the person is not able to be reflective in return or show interest in you, consider the interview over. You can assign this person to a category of not interesting in this moment. Remember that people are doing the same to you, looking for shared interests. We also should take notes from Mark Bowden, Biology, race, the way we dress and age also play a large part in who we choose to talk to or who chooses to talk to us. In a room full of people, we have unconscious filters about who we gravitate to, race, culture and biology play a part in this. We tend to lean towards what is familiar. a person wearing a shirt w/ your favorite band, same age and sex is an obvious choice of who you may gravitate to. We may filter out people older, younger, different style of dress, race or even cultural cues. Mark Bowden says it's worth taking the risk to meet new people as you do may discover wonderful things. Personal Bias may prevent us from discovering your next best friend!
Be curious and ask questions. We are looking at showing interest and getting a conversation started
Reflective listening and follow questions:
Observing how others react and adjusting our behavior to ensure they stay comfortable
April 6th SISG