Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Collusion in the Classroom

Recently due to a field trip, my AP Microeconomics class was cut down to just a handful. So instead of treading forward without most of the class, I decided to introduce the perfect board game, Settlers of Catan. It shows first hand some important economic principles: changes in price due to scarcity, gains from trade, and as I found out, how to collude. The first time I played with the students I won. Not necessarily a huge feat since none of them had played before and I've certainly spent enough time playing online. However they called for a rematch and I was happy to oblige them one day after school. Again I took an early lead and was close to wrapping up my second victory.

Near the end of the game I got distracted by a phone call from a friend of a friend asking about the Clemson economics program. Suddenly, one of my students came from behind to win the game. So suddenly in fact that I suspected a little foul play. After packing up the game the students let me in on their plan. I'll paraphrase their excited words. "Mr. Brookie we worked together! I traded what she wanted, we put the robber on you, AND we gave her our bonus points! We did that thing you talked about in class. We colluded!" As the regulator, it was important for me to not to get distracted. Then again, at least I know they're learning.


  1. I've been colluding since my first game of Cataan. As soon as I realized I was going to lose, I sought to spoil the victory of the guy that had dominated everyone else. It keeps the game interesting, especially when the player in the lead has no idea you're about to rock his world :P

  2. It's people like you Kev-Lar who have ruined playtime :)


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