My latest classroom board game project - Part 2

In my , I set the groundwork for Periodic Table Rummy, a simple card game to help students understand the periodicity of the periodic table of the elements. I decided to use as my “standard” deck of cards for the game. The game plays like rummy, with some additions of my own to keep the focus on categorization.

Helium as seen in Theo Gray’s The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements. The top picture is top of the card, and the bottom picture is the "face" side of the card.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Shuffle the deck (picture side up) of 118 elements and deal 10 cards to each player.
  2. Place the deck picture side up in the center of the playing field. Turn the first card over to form a discard pile.
  3. Play begins to the left of the dealer. On a player’s turn, they have two choices: pick up a card from the discard pile or pick up a card from the top of the deck. A player always draws a card to start their turn. They will then discard a card from their hand. If they draw from the discard pile, they must discard a different card.
  4. After their normal draw and discard, a player may lay down 5–9 cards in front of them that meet one of two criteria:
    a) Cards in the same group of the periodic table that all have matching card background colors.
    b) Cards with consecutive atomic numbers.
    Cards show the location of the element on the periodic table.
  5. After laying down a set of cards, a player must:
    a) Read the entry for the “fact sheet” of the group of the elements being laid down, or the periodicity “fact sheet” if laying down consecutive numbers and
    b) A fun or interesting fact of one element laid down.
    If a player fails to read the information and the other players catch them, they must shuffle all their cards back into the deck and draw ten new cards!
  6. After playing 5-9 cards and successfully reading them, a player redraws from the deck to make a hand of 10.

My latest classroom board game project - Part 1

A traditional Battleship game.

Whilst perusing social media a few months ago, I came across a person who had taken the game Battleship and grafted a periodic table of the elements across it. The rationale behind this move was that by calling out elements on the periodic table as you play the game, students would learn the periodic table. The person who designed this game was well meaning, but clearly not a science educator.

I am. I teach my students about the history, meaning, and uses of the periodic table. The periodic table is not just a collection of chemical symbols and numbers. There is a reason why it isn’t just one long list. The periodic table of the elements is arranged so as to show off the periodicity or trends within groups of elements. Different elements, based upon their electronegativity, electron orbitals, and ionization energy, behave similarly when they have these things in common.


New Hours!

Open 9am
Close 11pm; 1am Fri-Sat
Closed Open Mondays

We're going to have new hours!

Has it ever been a Monday and you think, "Curses! Spielbound isn't open! Where will I play a rousing game of 7 Wonders?! Where will I get the finest selection of beverages in town?!" We know your pain. So get ready, because starting February 1st, Spielbound will be open on Mondays! Don't contain yourself, we expect you to be there!

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution?

Design your own game!

Hello teachers! With a New Year come new opportunities. Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Even if you don’t, the turn of the calendar is a great time for professional educators to think about tools that they could use to enhance their student’s classroom experiences. Let’s start second semester off with a positive and engaging tone!

A critical focus of Spielbound for 2016 is to continue to support teachers in finding ways to use play, games, and strategic thinking in their classrooms. As a teacher myself, I’ll be the first to admit that it can be a challenge. But it is a surmountable challenge when you have Spielbound and other great teachers backing us up.

I often find myself considering enhancements to my classroom and hesitating. When that happens, I challenge myself to identify the barriers to my thinking that are stopping me from accomplishing what I originally had in mind. If you are considering “gamifying” parts of your student’s classroom experiences, but you are a little hesitant as to how to go about doing that, the first question may be to ask where you see the roadblocks. This is a healthy exercise. Teachers usually hesitate because they have high expectations for themselves and want to do the absolute best to bring their students great experiences.


Bananagrams Tournament!

Bananagrams Tournament!

What do the words Quixotry, Za, Syzygy, and Xi have in common? They will help you win at Bananagrams! This fast-paced word spelling game is a favorite here at Spielbound and we're sharing our love with a Bananagrams tournament on Sunday, January 17th from 1 to 4pm.

In the game, players race to be the first to complete a "tableau", a configuration of connected words looking much like a crossword puzzle. Players are encouraged to change letters around between words and create new configurations on the fly, while also incorporating more and more letters. Be the first to finish your tableau when the letter pile is empty and you'll be the Top Banana. However, if it discovered your tableau is incomplete or contains illegal words, you are a Rotten Banana and the win is nullified.

We have some intriguing prizes, including the newer games Zip-It® and Bananagrams WildTiles®. The tournament will have 5 rounds, with seating changing each round. During a round players will play games until one person at the table is the first to secure three wins. Most wins throughout the tournament and you'll become Top Banana and have you image immortalized in the Spielbound Hall of Fame. And, of course, have your pick of the prizes, too!

A membership or day pass costing only five dollars is required to participate in the tournament and our exemplary cafe staff will be on hand to provide refreshments, as usual. Don't know how to play Bananagrams? It's basically "Speed-Scrabble" and very easy to pick up. Stop by Spielbound on Thursday, Jan. 14th at 6:30 for a demo and to get some practice in before the big event. This tournament is intended for players of all skill levels and the primary goal is to have fun, so we hope to see you there!

End of year game list!

Splendor, Camel Up, and Ticket to Ride.Splendor, Camel Up, and Ticket to Ride were some of our favorite games this year!

Unscientific end of year game recognition list! We didn't list games in multiple categories (even if they would have won), but lots of you commented about and played these games in particular!

After only being open for 16 months, we now have over 1700 board games in our library, and it continues to grow from donations from our great supporters like you! Thank you all for a wonderful 2015! We'll have more to share with you from our year, and we're very excited about what 2016 has in store!

Christmas mini Meeple Jam!

Christmas Meeple Jam!Christmas themed mini Meeple Jam! Artwork by Daniel Kokesh.

Join Spielmasons for this special Christmas design event:

Spielmasons will be meeting from 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM on December 16th for a Christmas themed mini Meeple Jam! We will be designing games in small groups from 7:00 until 9:00. At 9:00 we will be testing all designs and selecting a winner. Feel free to bring game-related white elephant gifts for the winners as well as snacks and cookies for all to share.

As always, anyone and everyone is invited to join in the design and testing for this event. Contact spielmasons (at) with any questions.

Black Friday sale!

We're having a HUGE Black Friday Sale—biggest sale ever on our memberships and board games! This sale is in support of our fabulous gaming library. The more you buy, the more games we can add and share with you!

9:00 a.m.–noon:


From noon until close: buy one year-long membership and get one 50% off! All day: buy one non-recurring month-long membership and get one free (limit two)! Alas, these special sales do not include the Day Passes that normally accompany our membership plans. If you're already a member, you also have the opportunity to buy games from our store for 30%–50% off from 9:00 a.m.–noon!

Splendor Tournament!Black Friday sale on board games in our store!

Splendor Tournament!

Calling All Jewel Crafters and Gem Hoarders!

Trading gems, building mines, and influencing nobles has never been more satisfying! Spielbound will host its first ever tournament for one of our most popular games, Splendor, on November 14th. The tournament is open to players of all skill levels, and since Splendor is one of our most player-friendly games, don't be shy. There's no cost to enter except for the usual day pass or membership fee. We'll have prizes for the top players, and the cafe counter will offer our full menu throughout the day. Get ready to settle in and use your keen eye for jewels and fun!

Registration will be available at the door, but to ensure a smooth experience we ask you to please pre-register. Send an email to and keep an eye on the for any updates.

Day-long board game camp for middle schoolers. Register now!

On October 30th and December 22nd, Spielbound will be hosting a day-long board game camp for middle school students. Board games can be an instrumental tool to grow and encourage skills in spatial reasoning, math, critical thinking, group work and cooperation. Throughout the day, students will have an opportunity to learn games from multiple genres with the help of Spielbound staff and volunteers. The games selected for the camp will give students a comprehensive understanding of the skills and fun to be gained through collaboration and play. Lunch will be provided, please send any dietary needs and limitations to the contact address below.

Time: 9am-3pm, October 30th and December 22nd

Spielbound Board Game Cafe
3229 Harney Street
Omaha, NE 68131

Cost: $30

Contact: greg [at]