Monday, October 24, 2011

Greg's Galaxy Games

Greg Fishbone has been a fixture at the New England SCBWI conferences since I began attending in 2007. In addition, my daughter giggled when reading his Penguins of Doom book. When I heard he'd gotten the go-ahead for a new series, I cheered him on. And when he asked for people to guest host Greg for his blog tour, I signed up.

I signed up when my blog was still called "Substitute Teacher's Saga". Although I no longer sub (thank goodness) I still recall subbing gym fondly. In fact, I filled in for one P.E. class with 7th-graders last week. It was fun. I swear.

So here's Greg on using his Galaxy Games ideas on unsuspecting students:

Thanks to Theresa for giving me space on Substitute Teacher's Saga to discuss my new sports and science fiction series, Galaxy Games! Substitute teaching is a great way for children's authors to get a close-up view of how kids today act and talk, what interests them, what worries them, and what they like to read. While I was writing Galaxy Games, I actually spent two weeks as a substitute gym teacher and came up with a kid-playable version of Galaxy Games that proved very popular with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

In my books, the Galaxy Games are played between teams from different planets. For our school games, I set up half of each class as Ossmendians and the other half as Mrendarians, to reenact a famous game that leads up to the events in the series. The Ossmendians are blocks of living stone with metallic legs, whle the Mrendarians are squishy squidlike creatures with slime-coated tentacles. Each team had fun picking a planetary slogan, cheer, and color.

The game board we used was a tic-tac-toe grid made from duct tape on the floor. The goal is to be the first team to earn three squares in a row. Everyone in the galaxy already knows how to play tic-tac-toe, which is why the Galaxy Games Commissioners chose it as the basis for a galaxy-spanning game. Of course, most people have never played a team version, which makes our version new and familiar at the same time.

Our Ossmendians and Mrendarians lined up on either side of the game board. In the books, each team was represented by a captain who makes all strategic decisions and team members who carry them out. Players in our version rotated positions so that everyone got a turn at being a captain. There were some captains who chose to consult with advisors during their turn, but I insisted that a captain's decision was final.

Captains decided which square they were playing for and what contest they would compete in. The fact that teams could flip each other's squares back into play added to the need for strategic thinking. In theory, any game or contest can be incorporated into the Galaxy Games, but regulation sessions of soccer, baseball, football, or basketball would be a bit time consuming. Instead, I offered a menu of possibilities that includes hula-hoops, relay races, beanbag toss, charades, and even

stand-up comedy.

Everyone had fun with the games, especially me. It was fun for me to see at least one aspect of my book brought to life, and I even got an idea or two for future stories in the series.

Greg R. Fishbone, Author - - Twitter @tem2

The Challengers - Book #1 in the Galaxy Games Series

Follow the Galaxy Games Blog Tour, all October long!


  1. This may just be what I need to get my son into reading. Perfect.

  2. Thanks for being on the blog tour, Theresa! Puzzle Piece #24 is found here!

  3. That sounds like a fun game! I wish we'd played something like that when I was in grade school. Usually we just played dodge ball or kickball. In both games I usually ended up getting hit by the ball.

  4. Sounds like such a fun sport albeit played out to universal proportions! LOL!!! Yay!!!

    Take care

  5. Sounds like a fun game and book to read. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow! I'm sure your book is really authentic since you subbed as a gym teacher. Sounds like you created a fun game. I've heard great things about your book. Can't wait to read it.

  7. What fun! Always looking for books to tempt my son.

  8. Sounds interesting! Thanks so much for the info. :)

  9. I have never heard of tic-tac-toe being used quite like this. The Galaxy Games premise sounds very original and I bet the kids that read it are having a blast doing so.

  10. I just know my 9yo would LOVE this book! :)

  11. Anything to help the kids read!!! What a great concept. Inter-planetary games. I love the concept. Best wishes to Greg Fishbone and Galaxy Games!