Newly returned from the VSTE (Virginia Society of Technology in Education) conference, I know I need to post about the amazing sessions I attended or about the two topics I nervously bumbled through in front of other educators. I know I need to email other teachers some things I mean to share.
And I will, I promise.
But right now, I want to use this space to promote one of my favorite places and some of my favorite things.
This past month, my work wife Lauren (@iteacherFlorida) and I have been just swamped. The modular schedule is still a bit challenging and this year we are co teaching journalism. We’ve spent the past four weeks pushing 16 girls of varying abilities and grades into journalistic writing and the software program InDesign. It hasn’t been easy. It’s a good day if I’m driving away from campus by five o’clock.
Lauren took off for Budapest this weekend. I am a little jealous. (I have my own vacation around the corner, so no hard feelings.) Luckily, I knew just the place to lift my tired spirits. Lauren and I have a few favorite places that we are religiously devoted to and Labyrinth is at the top of that list. I think I’ve professed my love of games to any one who knows me, but if not: I LOVE GAMES. Tabletop games in particular; I grew up with “family game night,” a night dedicated to Scrabble, Sorry, Trivial Pursuit, and the like. My family visits toy stores not for toys, but for the games. (They want me to share that they have since found a local store to buy their new games- I even took my mom to Labyrinth her first visit to DC and now its a staple on her return list to DC.)
Labyrinth isn’t a toy store. Well, not in the way we think of toy stores. Instead, it is a carefully organized and crafted collection of some popular games, a lot of new games, and games you never knew you will love. What’s more, they partner with local schools to build communities of play. It’s not uncommon to visit the store and find a member of their staff hosting a school, running a birthday party, or (and this is my favorite reason to come) teaching literally ANYONE how to play a new game. Labyrinth has a store copy of almost every item, allowing customers to play the game before taking home their own copy.
I usually do just that- open the store copy up and examine how the mechanics works. This really helps me think about how game mechanics are so drastically different (I talked about this a bit at VSTE). I am, however, spoiled by Kathleen, the most knowledgeable tabletop gamer I know. And, she’s really nice!
When I popped in this Saturday, she had the two games for me- both games she recommended based on my previous purchases and what she knows about the types of games I and my students play (I cannot begin to tell you how on the mark she is about this or how incredible it is that she remembers her returning customers, both young and old). Today I picked up Spyfall and Codenames, and couldn’t help but add Batman Fluxx and Holiday Fluxx (thank you Looney Labs!).
And then, just when things couldn’t get any better, Kathleen whips up a creeper and a keeper for both editions of Fluxx and hands me a reject pack for Cards Against Humanity.
See? She gets me. Labyrinth gets me.
I love that place.
You should too. They’re right off the Eastern Market Metro- walk past the CVS and you can’t miss it. And if you don’t live anywhere near DC, I’m sure there is a local game store in most areas. Indy shop owners are very dedicated people and the customer service will be unbeatable.
I can’t wait to play Spyfall and Codenames. I’ll post reviews, but I’ve got to first post about VSTE and then I’ve promised a Fluxx Basics tutorial for the classroom.
PS. I taught my other half how to play Fluxx, and now he insists this be the way we settle any disagreement. Ever. (I might have created a Fluxx monster.)