Digital Board Games

Last week I did a blog post about how to convert a paper PDF game board into a digital game that can be played during distance learning. Since then I’ve been working to convert the paper-based resources that I plan to use this semester to digital formats. This week I’d like to share with you the results of those efforts.

All of the games that I converted are things I obtained for free from various sources. Wherever possible I credited the original source and provided links to the original document. You can obtain your own copies of these games by clicking the pictures on the left. Most will open a template preview window. To use the templates, click the blue “Use Template” button in the upper right-hand corner. This will add the game to your Google drive. 

I think my biggest struggle when first thinking about creating digital board games was how to deal with the dice situation. There are a lot of options out there for virtual dice, but they all involve students having to have another tab open and switching between them. I can’t speak for your students, but I suspect they are similar to mine in that moving between tabs is not the easiest thing in the world. Besides accidentally closing them on a regular basis, there’s just something about having to work in more than one tab that proves distracting to my students. Inevitably they see something, click on it, and become lost in the black hole of the World Wide Web. My husband, a software engineer, solved this problem for me by writing some scripts that I can add to Google Slides, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. The scripts do NOT add dice that move and turn, but they do add menu items (where you see File, Edit, View…) that perform the same function. Honestly, my students are just as happy with the menu items and don’t seem to miss seeing the dice move and change at all. Some of the games (such as Sentence Scramble) require very specific scripts, but most run off of one of four different scripts. The four main scripts are:

  • “Dice” Script–adds the functionality of a D6 number cube; a box pops up that says “You rolled a…” and a number between one and six
  • Game Play Script–adds the “Dice” Script as well as a “Draw Card” function that randomly jumps students to another slide (the “card”) 
  • Alphabet “Dice” Script–adds the functionality if a letter die; a box pops up that says “You rolled a…” and gives a letter from A-Z
  • Alphabet and Numerical “Dice” Script–combines the “Dice” Script and the Alphabet “Dice” Script into one menu item called “Dice”

‚ÄčNot all of the scripts were used in the creation of these games, but most feature at least the “Dice” Script, and Intonation Monopoly features the Game Play Script. You can obtain your own copies of the scripts, so you can make your own games, by using the links above or the buttons at the bottom of this post. Each script comes with step-by-step directions for installing it and a video demonstrating the installation steps as well as how to use it.

Sentence Scramble is unique because it has a very specific script to generate the type of sentence students must find. It’s also unique because it involves a magic reveal answer slide. I described the step-by-step process of creating magic reveal answers in a previous blog post, and it was the perfect solution to my answer key problem for this game. I knew students would need an answer key, but didn’t want to have to set up a hyperlink for every square on the game board. I also didn’t want to have a slide that just showed students every answer from the board. The magic reveal trick was perfect because students can drag the magnifying glass to reveal only the answer they need while the others remain hidden.

The final activity pictured above, Clip ‘Em Centers, is a set of self-grading task cards, not a board game. I gave the step-by-step directions for creating these cards in a previous blog post, but I’m rather enamored with them. Students type their answers into specific cells of a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet, those answers are automatically recorded and graded on a separate tab, and a final tab gives students their total results. While the activity doesn’t involve any scripts, it does solve my problem of not knowing what my students answered when they completed digital task card activities.

In short, the past couple days has been a kind of culmination of all my learning over the last few months. I’m excited that I’ll be able to use so many of my favorite paper games and activities this semester during distance learning. I hope you find them helpful as well!