Deb Linder is the manager of curriculum integration in Curriculum Products Development at Jostens Learning Corportation, San Diego, California.
Linda Paulson is an instructional designer for Lightspan, in Carlsbad, California.
Doug, Deb, and Linda are currently graduate students in Educational Technology at San Diego State University.
The collaborative debriefing session at the end of the game gives students the opportunity to synthesize their experiences. Through discussion the group answers the following four questions:
These questions help the student understand the social and environmental conditions facing 15th century explorers. Comparing the trip of the ship that won with the ships that lost shows the importance of compass heading, wind speed, and things that happen that are out of his or her control. Students will also discuss how early modes of travel differ from those of today.
Players roll the die, with the player rolling the highest number moving first. If two or more players tie, they roll again.
The player with the first turn answers a question about Christopher Columbus' adventure. The question is taken from the first card in the box and is read by another player. Answers are on the opposite side of each card.
If the player correctly answers the question, he or she then spins the compass to find out which direction the wind will blow the ship (North, South, East, or West). Lastly, the player rolls the die and moves the ship token the number of spaces on the die, in the direction the wind is blowing (from the compass spin). Play then passes to the left. If the player answers incorrectly, the turn passes to the left without any move of the ship.
Instead of a question card a player may have to follow the directions on a fate card, for example, "You have good winds to help you go faster - Go 3 squares in any direction."
Before a turn ends the player takes the question or fate card and places it in a pile in front of him or her.
With each die roll, move in the direction the compass is pointing. A token may land on any square that contains some water. If the ship runs into land or the sea dragon, STOP. The player must wait until his next turn to try to move.
If the spinner does not land exactly on North, South, East, or West, pick the direction that is closest. Spin again if there is any question.
Christopher's Crossing lends itself extremely well to team play for as many as three players per team.
Optional: Players may prefer to write the question or fate in a logbook instead of collecting their cards.
Optional: The teacher may have students do the debriefing session at the end of the game.
Each player will have a role in creating this game log.
|Winner:||First, assign a role to each player and tell them their responsibilities. Have the recorder write each person's name on the line beside their role.|
|Recorder:||You must write down the group's answers to each game log question.|
|Time Keeper:||You must make sure the group does not take more than 5 minutes on each question.|
|Gate Keeper:||You must make sure each player is helping to answer each question.|
Winner: Begin reading the game log questions out loud. Wait until the group discusses the possible answers out loud and the Recorder finishes writing down the answers before moving on to the next question.
Here are the questions. Be sure to look at the game board and the question and fate cards to help you answer these questions.
The board game went through three iterations. First was the "Linear Movement" type. Tokens move along a path from Spain to the West Indies. On each square the player draws a numbered fate card describing a situation Columbus found himself in at that stage in his voyage. With fate cards in numerical order students can only play the game once. This is unacceptable. It was replaced by type two.
A "Battlefield" type allows for more playability. The game is similar to "Clue" with Spain, the Atlantic Ocean, and the West Indies replacing the rooms in the mansion. There are fact cards about each of the above mentioned geographical areas and how they relate to Christopher Columbus' first voyage. Players draw one fact from each area and place them in a confidential envelope. The object is to move from place to place asking questions of the opponents to try to deduce which fact cards are in the envelope. Unlike "Clue" there was really no reason to move from location to location. In "Clue" a player has to be in the room with the weapon and the suspect before making an accusation. The confidential envelope with "Columbus' Crossing" contains one card from each "room" so a player merely has to move in and out of the same area. There is nothing motivating about sailing around with no obvious destination.
A usability study with an outside source helped focus the group around the third and final product. The person came in with no preconceptions and through a brainstorming session arrived at the board game described in the rules above. It proves how important doing user testing during the design process is. Had the "Clue" type been the final board game, the students would have tried the game once and not wanted to play it again because it made no sense, which they would rationalize as boring.
The resulting board game is explained in the Rationale section above.
Clare, J.D. (Ed.). (1992). The Voyages of Christopher Columbus. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Ellignton, H., Addinall, E., & Percival, F. (1982). A handbook of game design. (pp. 47-51). London: Kogan Page.
Fradin, D.B. (1991). The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. New York: Franklin Watts.
Fritz, Jean. (1994). Around the World in a Hundred Years. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
Fuson, R.F. (1987). The Log of Christopher Columbus. Camden: International Marine Publishing Company.
Kent, Zachary. (1991). The World's Great Explorers. Chicago: Childrens Press.
Levinson, Nancy Smiler. (1990). Christopher Columbus: Voyager to the Unknown. New York: Lodestar Books.
Margolis, Carolyn. (1991, October). Columbus: 500 Years. Learning, pp. 42.
Meltzer, Milton. (1990). Columbus and the World Around Him. New York: Franklin Watts.
Wood, Tim. (1993). The Renaissance. New York: Penguin Books.
Last updated by Doug Kipperman, Deb Linder, and Linda Paulson on October 19, 1995.
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