Matrix Games (various)

This is a free-form role-playing/game system. It has scenarios for every time period and can recreate history or be used to get into characters. Ideal as the only additional equipment necessary is a single six-sided die. Games are not repetitive—even with same players. Highly recommended for use once you understand how they work/have experience with them (and still good otherwise). Hamster Press is good answering questions and with support material.

Call of Cthulhu

This is a role-playing game and free-form. It explores the horror mythos of H.P. Lovecraft which inspired Stephen King and other writers. References to Cthulhu are quite frequent, including Arkham Asylum in the Batman cartoon series.

War of 1812

Not a normally covered area. Hard to get lots of students involved. “the Columbia block games” all use similar systems, so familiarity with one WILL make the others much easier as well.

Phoenix

This would be very good to have in a 5-6 grade class level for rainy days and indoor recess. You have to move pieces to get them in the same order as the pieces in the board’s center, except both players play cards to switch pieces in order, back and forth AND the order in the center!

Mare Nostrum

Simulates the creation of modern civilizations. It comes with an introductory scenario that, while not balanced really, does a good job of showing the key issues in developing an empire in the ancient world. It is also great fun.