Dan Matthews

That’s the Ticket!


Image result for ticket to ride images


Hopefully you’ve heard, but in case you haven’t, MVCC Library has an awesome new collection of games to check out!  They are available at our circulation desk to be loaned and played in the library!  This series of blog posts is designed to highlight our games, and this entry is all about Ticket to Ride.


You are a railroad tycoon, and the objective of the game is to expand your railways before the other tycoons get a chance to lay down their tracks across the U.S.A.  The board is laid out with major stations across the United States mapped out with indicators showing the railways that connect them, and how long that railway is.  To connect two stations together you must collect enough train car cards of the same color to fill in the number of spots.  Keep an eye out for the Rainbow Car!  It counts towards the total for any color!


Each completed railway is adds to your score, with the number of points increasing for a line requiring a higher number of train car cards.  There are also objective cards that award points if you are able to connect the two stations listed on the card. Having the longest consecutive railway on the board will also boost your total. Beware, though!  Other players are vying for some of the same lines that you’ve got your eye on, so don’t give away your strategy!  You might just find a big caboose in your way!


In case you missed some of the previous posts, we’ve covered Settlers of Catan, Hey, That’s My Fish!, and Tsuro




Tsuro: Ride the Winds of Fate


Image result for tsuro

If you have not yet heard, your Moraine Valley Library has a new collection of games to check out!  They are available at our circulation desk to be loaned and played in the library!  We’re doing a series of blogs highlighting each new game, and this week we’ve got Tsuro on the docket.


Tsuro is as beautiful as it complex.  In it, you are a dragon riding on the winds of fate, and each player takes turns creating the path that these winds take.  Initially, you place your dragon on a tick along the border of the board.  Each player takes turns lying down tiles that set out a path before their token.  Your dragon must follow the path it is connected to.  If the path that is created leads your dragon off of the board, or into a collision with another token, you’re out of the game!  Be the last one on the board to claim your victory.


The game requires a bit of planning and strategy.  As the board becomes crowded with tiles, you must take care to keep your dragon from getting put on a path to destruction.  You must be aware of all the interconnected pathways and know their outcomes to make the right moves.  Other players are also affected by your tile placement, so if you play your tiles right, you can sweep someone off the board while moving yourself to safety.


The games can be short, lasting between 10-20 minutes depending on the number of players involved.  Each iteration of the game is unique, so it stays interesting even when played multiple times in a row!  It’s easy to learn, with very few rules, but figuring out all of the possible paths can be complex.  Come try it for yourself at the circulation desk in the library!


In case you missed some of the previous posts, we’ve covered Settlers of Catan and Hey, That’s My Fish!




Hey, That’s My Kinda Game!


“Hey That’s My Fish” is another recent addition to the MVCC Library’s game collection.  It’s a cute strategy game that forces you to plan ahead.  It’s a quick set up, and it’s easy to learn.  Also, creating new strategies on a randomized board can keep the game interesting for multiple rounds.

You play as a penguin that is looking to gather as many fish as possible.  You move in a straight line in any direction to the tile with the fish that you want and as you move away from the tile that you previously occupied, that tile disappears from the board.  Be careful, though!  You can’t cross an empty spot on the board, and can get trapped!  When you can’t make any more moves, you are out of the game.  

The game requires a lot of planning.  You must anticipate your opponents’ moves and try to keep from getting trapped.  You may be able to get to a tile with a lot of fish, but will you be able to keep going if you do?  Players are constantly assessing their risks and rewards during their turns in an attempt to stay in the game.  

”Hey! That’s My Fish” and other games are part of a recent addition to MVCC’s collection.  You can check out our write up on The Settlers of Catan here.

Click to access catan_in_the_classroom.pdf

Come Settle Your Library!

MVCC Library is happy to announce that it has added some new items to its collection!  We have added a number of tabletop games to our catalog, and we want YOU to know about them!  In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series highlighting each of our new games showcasing their gameplay and even some educational benefits.  (Hey, classrooms can have room for games too!)


The Settlers of Catan is a strategy game set on the island of Catan.  You are a settler seeking to expand your territory across the map. Be wary, because there are other settlers trying to achieve the same goals and resources are limited!  The goal is to amass resources (Wool, Lumber, Brick, Ore, and Sheep) to expand your influence by building roads, new settlements, and even cities.  As you expand, you are able to gain more resources and grow faster.


The game creates a social atmosphere, as well.  As you grow on the tiny island, you are bound to come into conflict with the other players, but it also encourages you to trade with other these same players.  So, you’ll have to be careful on whose territory you’re encroaching, and whose trades you’re accepting or denying.  It just might come back to haunt you!


The Settlers of Catan offers a number of educational opportunities.  Planning, strategizing, statistics, and negotiating are just a couple of the components that are crucial to playing and mastering the game.  Mayfair Games, the people that created Settlers of Catan, created a hand sheet of many of the things this game can teach.  You can find that article here.


Come on over to the library, and check out our awesome collection of games, have a seat in the lounge, and take some time to relax with friends during your busy semester!

Click to access catan_in_the_classroom.pdf

Fallacies and Your Fall Term Research Paper


In the spirit of election day, here is a post about arguments and fallacies.

As you are looking to get started on doing some of those end-of-the-semester research projects, it is important to not only understand the arguments that are being presented in the books and articles that you find, but to also to be able to analyze your own arguments.  Doing so will help you construct stronger arguments, and ultimately create a better research paper.  PBS has created a series of videos covering 5 major fallacies, that will be helpful to analyze arguments not just for your research paper, but in your general intake of daily information, on the internet or otherwise.

So, when you’ve found those resources for your paper, (If you still need help with that, contact us!) think about the paper’s arguments in terms of these concepts. You may find that the resource’s arguments don’t stand up to the tests of these fallacies!  If so, you should try to find something that makes a better argument, so your research is based on a solid founding.

 Check out the videos for this series on fallacies below!

Ad Hominem

Black and White Thinking

No True Scotsman

Argument from Authority


Gaming the System: Video Games in the Classroom

With our graphic novel symposium still fresh in our minds, and our Gaming Day along with it, you may have been left with more questions about how to incorporate gaming in learning.  Or even cooler, “how can I meaningfully put video games into my classroom?”  The link provided shows some materials in our collection that might help you do just that.  Many of these works offer insight into links between video games and literacy and video games and learning.

With video games exponentially rising in popularity since the 1980’s, it is a medium that is accessible and familiar to many students.  The opportunity to create meaningful connections in the classroom through video games surely exists.  Check out our collection to see if there might be ways you can interact with your students in new and different ways in some of your lessons!

Moraine Valley Library’s collection of resources on video games and learning/literacy

Settling the Classroom: Using Settlers of Catan to Enhance Learning

Smart people play Catan.  Is it because smart people choose to play Settlers of Catan, or is it that playing Settlers of Catan makes you smarter?  This PDF might convince you of a little of both!  It outlines some of the skills that you gain as you play Catan and that will require refining to be successful in Settling Catan when faced with advanced opponents.  Games can have a place in the classroom, and while this document outlines skills relevant to Settlers of Catan, a variety of skills that help students be successful can be found by playing a host of different games.  Check out an awesome talk given by Jason King at our Library Game Day, part of our Graphic Novel Symposium, that talks about gaming in the classroom for some inspiration to spice up your future lessons.



Getting Information in Your Students’ Hands: Reserves at MVCC Library


^^MVCC Reserve Materials^^

  •     Do you own a book or other media that you’d like for your students to have access to in a safe and monitored environment?
  •     Do you want to make sure that something in the library can be assured to be available to all of your students?
  •     Do you suspect that some of your students don’t have access to the text for your class?

These are just a few reasons to use the library’s reserve system, but there are many others.  With this system, the library can set aside items for your students that you want them to use outside of class.  If you have books, DVDs, Blu Rays, or other media you want your students to have access to, fill out the form below and bring those items, along with the form, to the library.  Our shortened loan periods make it easier for your students to have equal access to sparse resources, and help students get the things they need to be successful.  You can find more information at the link below:


To place items on reserve for your class, you will need to fill out and bring the Textbook and Reserve form to the library for each item to be put on reserve.  The form can be found here:


Missing that book for class?: MVCC Library Has Your Back!

Do you need a book for class?

Did your professor tell you something is on “Reserve”?

Did you make it to campus, but left your book at home?

Trying to eke out the semester without purchasing the book for class?   (For shame!)

Check out the library’s course reserve materials!  We have a number of textbooks that are required for your classes, and we also have tons of other things that you may need for class.  You should also know, to keep things fair and available to everyone, these items often have a shortened loan period. (Generally, it’s only a few hours)  BUT!  We have plenty of comfortable study seating to do your readings in house and some copiers and scanners if you need to take some of those shorter readings on the go.  You can search our catalog for your classes’ reserve items at the following link:


Just type in your class number (i.e. COL 101) or your professor’s name…It’s that easy!

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