Game Review: Disruptus

Disruptus“This game is all about innovation” write the creators of Disruptus. For the Pittsburgh Zulama Team, this game was not only about innovation, but also about silliness.

Disruptus centers around a thoughtfully illustrated deck of cards. Each card depicts a different physical product, such as a sewing machine or a sailboat, and players have one minute per round to come up with original ways to improve, transform or disrupt a product. Everyone takes turns serving as “judge” and deciding which player’s idea wins the round. According to the instructions, the “craziest, most innovative” idea should win, but we interpreted that rule loosely. During some rounds, the most hilarious invention triumphed; other rounds, the most useful product took the cake. And ultimately, a player’s ability to pitch their idea could determine their success.

Disruptus revealed that each of us approaches problems from a different angle. Some of our players had an amazing knack for coming up with practical ideas like the rent-a-tablet station or shopping cart compartments. Some players took the high-tech, future-oriented approach, with products like transporter shelves and self-driving nap pods. And others went the wacky route with ideas like Pillowland, roller-coaster pills, and a service where humans act as hammocks.

The emphasis on creative problem solving makes Disruptus particularly appropriate for the workplace or classroom. Challenging our expectations about everyday products forces us out of normal patterns of thinking; it pushes our brains to look at problems sideways, upside-down, and inside-out. It helps us stay open-minded about our team-members’ ideas and our own.

Not only does Disruptus motivate players to use their imagination in thinking about products, but it also encourages players to be inventive in how they play the game. The creators write at the end of the instructions, “The bottom line is… the rules can be viewed as suggestions that you can modify.” You could alter the game to make ideas anonymous, you could decide that players get points for coming up with a perfect name for their invention, or you could require players to combine three different product cards into one new invention.

Disruptus CardsThe game also comes with design-your-own cards, and our team in Pittsburgh discussed the possibility of adding in cards depicting pop culture figures or animals. A classroom could even create cards that include elements from their curriculum; for example a 3D Modeling class could make cards with different 3ds MAX tools on them, and students might have to think about how to improve the Select or Background tool.

This game is all about what you put into it. I found that in order to fully engage with it, I had to let go of my pride and expectations. It seems that silliness is inevitable in the brainstorming and innovating process. And sometimes the craziest ideas can lead you to the best ideas. If you let yourself embrace the hilarity of it all, you might find yourself thinking in completely new ways.

Game Review

Game Review

Game of the Month: Morabaraba

Mill_(game)Morabaraba is a mod of Nine Man Morris, a popular game featured in the Evolution of Games course. Morabaraba is a traditional game played in South Africa. Its game board is the same as the one used to play Nine Man Morris, with a tweak! In Morabaraba, each player is allowed three more “men,” or “cows” as the game pieces are called when playing Morabaraba, for a total of twelve cows for each player.

The rules for Morabaraba are very similar to Nine Man Morris. Each player alternatively places a “cow” on an intersection point (node) somewhere on the game board. Once all cows are placed on the game board, each player can slide a cow from one node to another, with each player limited to one move per turn. The idea is to take an opponent’s cow by forming a mill. A mill is three cows in a row along the length of one side of the game board.

In Morabaraba, a cow in an opponent’s mill cannot be taken unless all of an opponent’s cows are in mills. Moreover, a mill that is broken to form a new mill cannot be reformed on the next move. This rule offsets the ability for a player to continually capture an opponent’s cow just by moving one piece back and forth to form a continual series of mills.

The fly rule in Morabaraba kicks in when a player only has three cows left. The fly rule allows a player to fly a cow across the board to any space rather than be limited to sliding a cow from one node to another. A person wins the game when the opponent is left with only two cows.

The Morabaraba game board is easy to make. All you need is a paper and pencil! Game pieces can be as simple as coins or small, colorful rocks used in fish tanks. Play the game with family and friends. Change up the rules or mod the game board for an additional challenge!

Game Review: Superfight

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 3.32.38 PMLast Thursday, the Pittsburgh office Zulama team’s game lunch resulted in hilarity. We chose to play the game Superfight with the core 500-card deck.

There are two card types: characters and powers. We came across a wide variety of characters, from a Samurai, to an Emperor Penguin, to a Girl scout. The characters were all paired with equally interesting “powers,” from superglue with a firehose, to a  glitter shooter, to the pope-mobile. In our short two-round game, we found endless amusing combinations.

While there are many ways to play Superfight, we decided to use an individual judging method. In our gameplay, two players from our group randomly chose a character card and a power card. With the other members listening, they debated the outcome of a battle between the two characters for approximately three minutes. By strengthening our reasoning skills, we were able to find logic within the illogical, silly scenarios and present arguments to convince our listeners why certain characters would win in the contest. Once the debaters’ three minutes were up, the listeners had a minute to discuss the arguments and decide the outcome of the battle. After playing, our Pittsburgh team discussed the possible ways to play Superfight, from team to tournament style, in addition to the recommended four gameplay types. There seems to us no one-way to play this game; rather, it can be easily modified to fit any size group or setting.

To create additional challenges, expansion packs are available that include locations and different themes. Who would win if a glitter-shooting Pikachu fought an emotional George Foreman while riding a rollercoaster? I would be interested in seeing the orange deck that specifically references sci-fi and fantasy trivia (Anyone want to see Martha Stewart armed with the One Ring battle Spock who is trapped inside a giant hamster wheel?), or the purple deck that adds an extra something to your scenarios (are you ready for a contest on a floor made of lava?).

There are some power cards that may not be suitable for all classrooms. The game is centered around fighting (some power cards involve “knife throwing,” “armed with nunchucks,” etc.). However, these violent cards can be removed from your deck, leaving the silly power cards to be used, including “afraid of their own shadow” and “drank five energy drinks.” To further remove violence, the rules advocate for changing the purpose of the debate from who would win a battle to who is the funniest or would be a better nanny. You can even decide who might make the better plumber: a racoon who is really good at parkour or King Kong who can fly at the speed of molasses? There are many ways to make Superfight appropriate for any classroom.

With the endless possibilities available with this game, students could make their own versions to enhance their classroom knowledge. How interesting would it be to play a game like this in a History class (In a contest between Alexander the Great and Napoleon, who might win?), or in an English class (Which character is more idealistic: Don Quixote or Jane Bennet?)?

Though it was one of the most amusing games I’ve ever played, as a group, we decided we might not want to play Superfight all the time; location and audience factor into the enjoyment of gameplay. However, we all agreed we would love to play this game in the future and it would be great in an educational setting!

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Starting Off Another Great Year!

By Sarah Avery, Community Advocate

It’s been a busy summer for the Zulama team filled with workshops, trainings, summer camps, and more! We made new connections, partners, and friends and we can’t wait to see what this new school year has in store!

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Teachers from 3 different school districts collaborating on a math game at the South Fayette STEAM Innovation Summer Institute. Picture taken by Norton Gusky

In addition, we’ve been working on ways to become more accessible to our teachers. Here’s just a few ways we’re reaching out:

Connect With Us on Twitter:

@ZulamaLearn: If you haven’t already, you should definitely follow us on twitter! We’re always looking to connect with great teachers!

#ZMediaMonday: Every monday we’ll share pieces of outstanding media we receive. If you want your student work featured, tweet it to us on Mondays!

#ZMoments: Tweet in your favorite Zulama Classroom moments from the week!

#ZFamFriday: Each Friday we nominate an outstanding member of the Zulama Community. Tweet in your nominations for star teachers, students, and administration in the Zulama Community!

#RMLHangout: Every month Zulama collaborates with Dr. Todd Keruskin from Elizabeth Forward and Dustin Stiver from the Sprout Fund to host Google Hangouts for Remake Learning! During the hangout we live tweet the discussion and would love for you and your class to join us!

Check out Our Google Hangouts:

Each month Nikki Navta hosts a google hangout with Dustin Stiver and Dr. Todd Keruskin for the affinity group Remake Learning. These Hangouts take place on the 3rd or 4th Tuesday of each month at 2:00 PM EST. Feel free to view these hangouts with your students!

Our next hangout will take place on September 22nd when we’ll be joined by

It is sure to be an educational and exciting discussion!

Our most recent hangout featured Todd Nesloney (@TechNinjaTodd) and Nick Provenzano (@TheNerdyTeacher), two fantastic educators who joined us to discuss 21st Century Skills and Project Based Learning!

Have questions? Tweet them during the hangout to @ZulamaLearn or #RMLHangout! We’ll be live tweeting the hangout and we love to see students connecting to industry professionals!

We’re always looking for topics of interest to students! So, if there are any topics they really want to learn about send their ideas and questions to us via Twitter, Facebook, or email me at and I’ll add them to our schedule!

Game Reviews:

You may have noticed we’ve been including game reviews in our newsletters. We love sharing our favorite games!
If your students are interested in reviewing games for our newsletter, just download our Game Review document, review your game, and send it back to me at!


Each newsletter we’ll review the game review submissions and select one to feature!

The First Step:

From all of us in the Zulama team, have a fantastic school year! We’re always available to provide support, build connections, and help in any way we can! So, connect to us on our social media,

facebook copy                 twitter copy               youtube copy

shoot us an email, or, or start a discussion in our new teacher’s forum, accessible through the SUPPORT BUTTON in the LCMS!


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Game Review: Array

In this colorful game, the goal is to get rid of the cards in your hand.  Reminding us of Uno and Dominoes, this color based game tested our strategy skills and ability to create connections.Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.22.12 AM

In this game there are  4 main moves.  You can Slice, Splice, Splatter, and Slam the cards in play and your opponents. Similar to Dominoes, players create intricate patterns with the cards by splicing and slicing the arrays on the table.  However, the game isn’t all about creating beautiful designs out of cards. In order to prevent other players from winning, you can splatter or slam them with more cards, similar to Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.22.26 AMUno.  As tradition with our competitive group, there was a lot of splattering and slamming.

Though a bit confusing to begin, the helpful video Funnybone Toys uploaded to youtube provided clarity.


Scoring a 2.9 out of 5 makes Array one of our lowest scoring games.  Though an interesting twist on two familiar games we found the rules to be confusing.  In addition, while the card design was innovative and fresh, some colors may be difficult to differentiate. Simply stated, if you are color-blind or have general difficulty with colors, this game might not be for you.  

Overall an interesting and colorful adaptation of two classic games that may or may not make a splash with your group.


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