We ALL like to play games!!!
What makes a game a game?
Some are more fun than others. Why?
Whenever we play games, we're likely to wonder "What would make this game even more fun?"
Deep down, it's the rules that make a game what it is. We have rules so players will know how to play the game fairly, of course; but the best reason we have them is to define the players' challenges — what each player will be trying to do to win. Our efforts to meet the game's challenges are what make games fun.
Whenever you think about the effects that the rules have on a game, you're thinking about game theory.
"Mazes offer a choice of paths, some with many entrances and exits. Dead-ends and cul-de-sacs present riddles to be solved. Mazes challenge the choice-making part of ourselves."
— from Walking A Sacred Path; Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool by Dr. Lauren, Riverhead Books, New York, 1995.
Maze designers exercise thinking and fine-motor skills used in math and reading as well as in drawing. And it's just plain FUN!!
Following is a lesson Mr. Delahunt gives to 10-year-olds — 4th graders — because this group has shown the greatest enthusiasm for it. The lesson could be taught to students of nearly any age.
Materials: pencil, eraser, white-out, and 8 1/2 x 11 unlined white paper
Qualities to include in your maze:
- Make it challenging. If it's too easy it's not much fun. Don't be afraid of making it too difficult unless you're making it for really little kids.
- Make it possible. If players find that no one can possibly get through, they'll be thoroughly disappointed.
- Make the start and finish easy to find. You can put whatever pictures or labels on them you like as long as a player knows immediately that one is the place to begin, and the other is the final goal.
- Draw lines and other marks as barriers. Picture the lines and other shapes you draw as describing solid things like walls. Spaces are passageways. Whatever you leave white will be places people can go through. The lines can be straight, or any kind of crooked — any kind will do.
- Make lots of dead-ends. This is the main way to make a maze challenging!
- On the front side, add any special rules — other than the basic rules (get from the start to the end without crossing a barrier.) You may want to require players to get to certain features of your maze before you allow them to go into others, for instance.
- Also on the front side, take credit by adding your full name © 2007. The © in this set of information gives the maker legal rights to control uses of his design. Let's say a publisher wants to copy your design into what she sells.
- Make it photo-copyable — marks dark enough, and spaces light enough, on white, unlined 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. Many more people will play with your maze if you make copies of it, so d on't let your original drawing get messed up! Use it to make a photocopy at the library, grocery, or wherever you can get copies easiest. Mark the trail on one photocopy so that you can put a copy of the answer sheet on the back of every copy of the original.
Consider these recommendations too:
1. Make the outside edge of the maze the shape of something interesting; e.g., an animal, state map, rocket, etc. But whatever the shape, draw an outline so a player can't sneak out of or into any place you don't want them to!
2 . Make your maze on a computer. Most graphic software will work fine. Select a line drawing tool, and place one line at a time. In "Kid Pix" you might add stamped pictures in the spaces you create.
3. Make up any special rules you think will improve your maze, and write them out so clearly and completely that each player will know exactly what new opportunities or challenges you are adding to the game.
Copyright © 1996-
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