Gear as Progression

Damnit Jim, I'm a classicist, not a graphic designer
One of the newer mechanics that we’ve added as a part of Operation LAPIS is the idea of gear as another scaffolding tool for composition of Latin. Originally, much like the first iteration of CARDs, gear in LAPIS was nothing more than cheap gamification via google spreadsheets disguised as ‘paper doll’ character sheets. The aim of the gear was to get the students involved in their character more and also to find ways to use the gear inside of the immersions. Without the proper scaffolding, this never actually worked the way that it was intended to. To make matters worse, the gear had really lame icons.

I did want to preserve the existing mechanic of in-game currency (denariī) and the current marketplace (the forum) because I think that both of them are sound. The characters (teams of students) earn denariī at the end of every mission based on how well they prepare their responses in terms of their unique world-view, their elaboration, detail, and a number of other criteria. The in-game denariī has no impact on measuring their individual (student) performance nor is it tied to any grade or formal evaluation.

In addition, the mechanic through which they purchase the gear is more involved than simply walking into a shop in a standard video game. The teams are required to “tell the story” of their trip to the forum, their purchase, and interaction with the merchant -- all, again, making their character come alive and provides more opportunities for practice with things like, say, the dative. Horātiāna fabrī pecūniam dat (Horatiana gives the money to the artisan.)

What has changed (aside from a visual improvement) is the way in which they interact with their gear. Borrowing the manner in which Roger has used gear with some of his other classes, we decided to provide an ability with each piece of gear, noted on their character sheet next to the item in their inventory. The teams would be required to use the preconstructed bit of Latin in order to activate the ability. This small piece of Latin becomes an accessible entry point for the teams to start using more Latin in their responses. In other words, the students can gain confidence in using some (correct) stock phrases in order to start taking risks with more of their own original compositions.

A small inscription reads "quī tenet hunc gladium potest terrēre inimīcōs dīcēns 'audāx sum'. (He who holds this gladius is able to frighten enemies saying ‘I am courageous!")

As the teams gain additional pieces of gear, more options will open up for them to perform actions, making their characters feel even more ‘alive’ in the immersions. The advanced pieces also act as tiers of progression since they will require more advanced constructions as well as the students proceed through the game-as-a-course.

What better way to get comfortable with, say, the ablative of instrument, than by actually using an item in the story of your learning?

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