in STEAM

12 Fun Board Games for Every Letter in STEAM

Earlier this year, we featured a couple Creators of the Month, who re-imagined some well-loved board games for Bit. They got us thinking about how board games can work to reinforce STEAM concepts. As the holidays approach, we’d like to share our recommendations for some of the best board games you can add to your gift list to combine STEAM concepts with fun for the whole family.

For an educational twist on the 12 Days of Christmas, or for a way to fill the days of holiday break consider playing the 12 board games below together. You’ll learn a little problem-solving, strategy, and conflict resolution, all while having fun as a family.

S (Science)

Evolution

Age: 12+
2-6 Players
Playing time: 60 minutes

Evolution models an ecosystem with carnivores, herbivores and omnivores procreating and facing extinction, skirmishing over food, and obtaining new traits to adapt to a changed environment. Players learn that  the process of evolution is about adapting to the respective environment a species is in – traits will always work better in some environments than others.

Pandemic

Age: 8+
2-4 Players
Playing time: 45 minutes

In Pandemic, players work together collaboratively as virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. Beware the Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases’ activity. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!

 

Terraforming Mars Image | Ozobot Blog

T (Technology):

Terraforming Mars

Age: 12+
1-5 Players
Playing time: 120 minutes

It’s the future, and humans have gained the technology to go about transforming Mars into a habitable planet. Players (corporations) acquire unique project cards (from over two hundred different ones) by buying them to their hand. The projects (cards) can represent anything from introducing plant life or animals, hurling asteroids at the surface, building cities, to mining the moons of Jupiter and establishing greenhouse gas industries to heat up the atmosphere. When the three global parameters (temperature, oxygen, ocean) have all reached their goal, the terraforming is complete, and the game ends after that generation. Count your Terraform Rating to determine the winning corporation!

Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar

Age: 13+
2-4 Players
Playing time: 90 minutes

Players representing different Mayan tribes place their workers on giant connected gears, and as the gears rotate they take the workers to different action spots. These action spots represent the different technologies players can navigate the gears to upgrade for their ancient civilization’s progress. The game ends after one full revolution of the central Tzolk’in gear, and victory points get awarded to those who successfully advanced their tribe the furthest!

 

Jenga Image | Ozobot Blog

E (Engineering):

Jenga

Age: 6+
1-8 Players
Playing time: 20 minutes

With an endorsement from Unprofessional Engineering, they say: “If this one doesn’t prepare you to be a structural engineer, I don’t know what does. Do you take the easy path and take the center piece or [live] life dangerously with one of the others? A steady hand and a keen understanding of physics is a must.”

Power Grid

Age: 12+
2-6 Players
Playing time: 120 minutes

The objective of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone’s network gains a predetermined size. Players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities. Players must acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power said plants, making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network.

Mouse Trap

Age: 6+
2-4 Players
Playing time: 30 minutes

The main appeal of Mouse Trap is the ridiculously complex contraption that is the mousetrap. Somehow even young children can figure out how to assemble it from the blueprints on the board, and everyone enjoys watching it do its magic!

 

Illusion Image | Ozobot Blog

A (Art):

Illusion

Age: 8+
2-5 Players
Playing time: 15 minutes

Can you trust your eyes? How much color do you really see? These questions are what drive gameplay in Illusion, with rules that allow for gameplay to start immediately. Who has the right perspective, and art-awareness, not to be fooled?

Cranium Cadoo

Age: 7+
2-16 Players
Playing time: 45 minutes

When it comes to art, Cranium has it all – drawing for pictionary, acting for charades, and sculpting out of clay. Competitive creativity for the win!

M (Math):

Qwirkle

Age: 6+
2-4 Players
Playing time: 45 minutes

Qwirkle is a sequence creation game, in which players lay out a sequence of tiles that match in either shape or color to score points. Kids can use the mathematical concepts of shape identification, counting, and addition.

Sushi Go Party!

Age: 8+
2-8 Players
Playing time: 20 minutes

In the super-fast card game Sushi Go!, you are eating at a sushi restaurant and trying to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Score points for collecting the most sushi rolls or making a full set of sashimi. Dip your favorite nigiri in wasabi to triple its value (and practice some multiplication tables the fun way)! And once you’ve eaten it all, finish your meal with all the pudding you’ve got! But be careful which sushi you allow your friends to take; it might be just what they need to beat you.

 

Please share any antics your Ozobots get up to joining in on the family board gaming fun this holiday season! Just tag us @Ozobot and use #OzoSquad, and check out the Lesson Library for more fun activities and coding challenges for everyone.  Happy Holidays, Merry Board Gaming, and to all we wish a good creative coding experience!

Images:  Adobe Stock, Board Game Geek

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