There are a couple of classes that I sometimes sub for where board games can be used for learning purposes. And, I honestly have more than enough material to last until the end of the school year, I still keep thinking about even more stuff.
And if part of the lesson is having the kids figure things out for themselves, having components that help teach the rules is something to look for.
One game that I have already been discussing using is Cunning Folk, the game that got me interested in Button Shy (and that’s an interest that has been very good for me. Button Shy is awesome for the casual PnPer) yYou can’t learn the game just by looking at the cards but you can learn a lot.
But another game that fits my needs (relatively short playing time, informative components, easy to learn) is Love Letter. That’s a game that you can practically learn just from the cards.
The individual decisions the kids would get to make are very simple. Two cards per turn and every card tells you just what it does. But every decision affects the game and you have to pay attention to what everyone else is doing. There’s a very small jump between learning the rules and making critical decisions.
I am reminded why Love Letter was a watershed event. It channels interaction and decisions is tiny, focused format. I don’t know if I will ever have the chance to use it in the class room but I am confident it would work there.