A Strange Place To Play Games?

Getting 'On Board'

Today is Friday and tonight I’m not afraid to say I will be ‘rolling’ into town. Tonight will be a little bit different though. Tonight I will be taking a box of games with me to play with a group of 13 - 19 year olds.

In ‘town’!

Not only that, I will be playing games … on a bus. Not a tour bus or a city bus, a mini-bus. A stationary one…

Hmmm… I’ll be thinking very carefully about the games to take.


A Bus?!

Ah - well, I was getting to that.

This evening the Imagination Gaming experience is on it’s way to Barnsley. In particular… the bus station!

Like most towns and cities they have a string of youth clubs across the local area doing their very best to give young people something different to do in the evenings.

The recent economic climate has put pay (no pun intended) to being able to maintain the level of community facilities there once was. Many centralised locations and buildings are being used for much more than they were originally intended, as smaller community facilities close due to lack of funding.

Simply put, to really have an effect, these organisations have to go to where the kids are, and that’s not always easy… but a room on wheels certainly can help.

These days, lot’s of youth projects use specially kitted out vans and buses to areas where young people can take advantage of them for a night. They can ferry outdoor kit around, such as sports equipment, but also provide a meeting space with a table or two and chairs for more concentrated activities and interventions.


What Games Will I Be Taking?

As always it’s not a case of thinking -  'like that game', or 'that’s really popular'. If you want to introduce anyone, especially kids, to games when they’ve never really played before you have to take more into consideration.

I’ll be thinking about age, ability, content, duration, and obviously… space. It’s going to be cramped that’s for sure but the bus will be stationary so at least we won’t be wearing seat-belts!

So on my list tonight, among others, will definitely be:

  • Jungle Speed - Speed and perception are the thing here. Tension builds as players reveal cards until a duel is initiated. First to react correctly survives!

  • Skull (or Skull and Roses) - Hell’s Angel themed game based on outbidding your opponents on how many of their cards you dare turnover without finding a skull. Bluff and double bluff are key elements to this and that’s always popular with this age group.

  • Katamino - One or two player challenge that grabs everyone’s ‘puzzle-bone’ wherever we go. I’ll be taking a couple of those along.

  • Tactic Elastic - Entered in 2013 Imagination Gaming awards this one is very abstract and challenges players to stretch various rubber bands repeatedly across a board of coloured poles. Losing your grip gets you penalties, snapping one gets loses you more points and possibly a finger. (slight over-exaggeration, but those things sting!)

  • Shephy - Brought back from Essen. A simply ingenious 1 player challenge for those looking for something clever to pit their wits against, but can be worked on together. The aim is to multiply the one sheep you start with and reach 1000 before the game ends, with seemingly every card in your hand against you!

  • Dobble - Hard not to take this! Easy to pick up and play and just good fun has made this one of the most popular games around in recent years.

None of the above demand excessive table space, a the very least they will be easy to ‘make do’, as they say. (Shephy maybe - but that will probably come out if it’s quiet!). Most of all, none of them require big boards, with plenty of pieces and space to sit around. They will all survive being knocked!

There will of course be more in there to choose from. It’s critical to take something new each time for those who have played before, and the trust you have gained with them makes it easier to introduce something a bit more involved.


Does It Work?

Of course it does!

Ever since we started working in youth clubs, we have continued to have a serious impact on the young people we work with. Most of them have never played board or card games much, and rarer still have anything positive to say about them… until they see our games!

We work with a number of councils and organisations in Yorkshire delivering evening game sessions to support school, community and authority supported initiatives, usually targeted at 8 - 18 yr olds, and all of them engage on some level with what we do and want to know when we’ll be back!

I find the youth workers are always surprised and excited to see an activity that provides such a positive balance of interaction and competition, so they are always glad to see us, but it’s the feedback from the kids themselves that demands our return.

Do you play games in awkward situations? That could be location you play them in, but for some it may be the people you play them with!

As always we’d love to hear your opinions and experiences below or via our social media pages and look forward to hearing from you.


Greenfield Primary 7th Inter-School Tournament Needs BIGGER Venue!

Greenfield Primary’s 7th Inter-School Games Tournament found a new location!

With so many Barnsley Schools wanting to take part we found ourselves in need of a bigger venue. An obvious choice was Kirkbalk Academy who very kindly agreed to act as host for the day. Not only did they provide a fantastic venue, we were also supported by 6 of their students and they made amazing mentors, so special thanks goes to: Dylan Atkinson, Lewis Graham, Emily Davey, Lewis Burrell, Cassie Wilson and Georgie-Leigh Marsden.

It was a fantastic day...

Mr. Hardy, Hoyland Common, Barnsley

Find out which schools took part and the final results below!


What Happened:

As always we used a variety of different of games which required lots of focus and skills Our pupils had to be quick and able to process things visually at a fast pace! The games played were; Rings Up, Crabz, Doodle Rush, Pass the Bomb and Whoosh

The morning was spent practising the games in schools teams, plenty of encouragement, lots of discussion about the rules and tactics. Dinner time was spent chilling out, during which they enjoyed some 3D jigsaws.

But of course... afternoon was competition time and the atmosphere was electric, the children and adults taking part had oodles of fun!

At the end of the tournament we had prize-giving, with certificates for everyone and trophies for the winning school and highest scoring individual player. . 


The Final Result!:

·         Winners            Hoyland Common                              

·         Second             Birdwell Primary 

·         Third                 High View Primary 

·        Fourth (joint)     Greenfield Primary & Tankersley St Peters 

.         Fifth                  Jump Primary

.         Sixth                 The Mill Academy

.         Seventh            Joseph Locke

.         Eighth               Hoyland Springwood


Congratulations to Hoyland Common for coming out on top again this year. Mr Hardy, Hoyland Commons' Play and Sports Leader said "It was a fantastic day and we are super proud of our team for coming out on top but we got a lot more out of the day than just a winners medal"

Well done Kate Berridge from Hoyland Common on winning the trophy for the highest scoring individual. You were on fire!

We have to say all pupils that took part were fantastic and a real credit to their school. The interaction between children and staff involved was enthusiastic and positive and they all thoroughly deserved their Certificates.

Inter-School Tournaments are a great alternative to sporting events and give those children who are not as interested in sport something to represent their school in. We like to think of them as a “Mind Sport Activity” We simply cannot wait for the next!... it could be at your school...


Why should you take part in an Imagination Gaming Tournament?

·        Our Tournaments are a great way of bringing different schools and backgrounds together.

·        Test your brains to problem solve and be the quickest!

·        Make new friends and take on new challenges.

·        Win trophies and certificates for you and your school!


For more information about School Tournaments and how you and your school can get involved, click here:

 ...Imagination Gaming Inter-school-tournaments...



Kirk Balk Academy Inter-school Tournament 2019

So another great tournament and another great day.

Today our tournament took place at a Secondary School, Kirk Balk Academy with 6 of their feeder schools in attendance. We had Greenfield who arranged the competition, Tankersley St Peter’s, West Meadows, Birdwell, Hoyland Springwood and Jump Primary. 

Some familiar faces... staff and children appeared along with many new ones.

The games for the day included, Jungle Speed, City of Zombies, PDQ and Katamino. Games catering for maths, literacy, shape and reflex and coordination, something for everyone!

A morning of practice, strategy and cooperative learning soon turned into an afternoon of positive pressure, and extreme thinking skills. The children competed against both each other securing points not only for themselves but for their team.

The atmosphere was one of concentration and focus but always in an air of sportsmanship and fair play. Supporting teachers from each school were all fantastic, with enthusiasm and smiles in abundance, acting as judges on each of the tables and answering any rules questions that arose. This gave those teachers an opportunity to see first hand how the games work and how much children engage and focus. 

A big thank you for contributing in such a positive way. 

It was also nice over the dinner break to take the opportunity to try out some of the new problem solving games from this years awards. We gave children  a great sneak peek into some of the new activities we have in store in the new academic year.


Today’s competition we saw Jump Primary come out on top, they returned back to school with both trophies… Winning School and Highest Scoring Individual Player WELL DONE ADAM C.


The feedback has been most delightful with everyone saying how much they had enjoyed themselves, how they enjoyed meeting new friends and pushing themselves with some high level thinking. A huge thank you to Kirk Balk Academy for agreeing to host on behalf on Greenfield Primary. Another fantastic day and congratulations to all that took part.

Here’s to the next one...!




Local Recognition for Imagination Gaming

No matter how far we travel, or how more well-known Imagination Gaming becomes, it's always nice to get some local recognition! 

Got a mention in the local paper recently. Its always nice when you get a little recognition but it is certainly not a one man band. We have been in to an awful lot of schools over the last decade and worked with some amazing teachers and children alike.

However, I couldn't have come this far without my partner in crime, Chris Standley, my nagging conscience Nicola Gray and a host of people who've helped out at Expo and other events throughout the years.

Big thank you to all those who have helped and volunteered their time in various ways along the way, volunteering at events, singing our praises to new customers or even just some timely advice... it has all been very much appreciated!