How to Shape Gameplay for Creatures: The Card Game

Creatures is a fun game that's great for elementary students. It practices skills such as adding, comparing numbers, and phonics. Here are my suggestions for shaping gameplay for students with autism.

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1

Introduce the cards and describe the front (blue), middle (yellow), and back (red) of the creatures. Let the learner explore the cards and make his/her own creatures.

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Once the learner has independently made three creatures with a front, middle, and back, have him/her pronounce the name of each new creature and read about its features at the bottoms of the cards.

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For some learners, it may be necessary to split the deck into three piles (fronts, middles, and backs,) so that your learner can more easily make creatures.

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Show the point values. Challenge your learner to make a new creature with a higher point total than the one you've made. Label the creature with the highest point total "champion."

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Make multiple creatures. Compare two and have the learner add up the points to determine the champion. Label the point total as the creature's "strength."

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Once the learner has mastered all previous steps, introduce dealing 7 cards to each player. You may want to use a device such as one pictured above if your learner struggles with holding the cards.

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Tell the learner that he/she will be going first. Each turn starts with drawing a card from the draw pile.

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Tell the learner that if he/she has a front, middle, and back, then he/she can "attack" by laying down three cards. You "defend" by making a creature of your own. Then determine who the champion is.

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If you don't have a front, middle, and back, then you must "submit." Then the attacker gets to "scavenge" one undisclosed card from your hand. You may want to use the visual above to show a turn.

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Introduce rule: You must always have 7 cards at the end of a turn.

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If you don't have 7 cards, you must draw until you do. If you have more than 7 cards, you must discard.

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Introduce taking turns with attacks and keeping champions. Remind the student how many champions they need in order to win the game.

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Introduce REDRAW strategy: if you have poor strength or too many of the same type of card, you can choose to forfeit your turn, discard all cards, and draw 7 new ones.

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Once the learner can play with you, introduce 3+ players. Introduce the idea that the player who attacks continues attacking different players until the creature becomes a champion or is defeated.

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Your learner does not have to master all steps in order to engage in play with others. Your ultimate goal is to increase opportunities for play with siblings and peers in motivating ways.

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For more information on modifying games for learners with autism and other developmental delays, visit www.samblanco.com.

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