Amics – The Pioneers of Gaming in Non-formal Education

Games are an essential part of our lives. We start playing sooner than we can walk to discover both the real world and imagined lands; then it becomes a social activity to form and strengthen relationships, and it stays in our hearts as a source of happiness until we are unable to see the shrinking numbers on the cards. Amics knows this well and is dedicated to bringing the joy of games to people across Europe while using them as educational tools.

As ESC volunteers, we are deeply involved with the organization’s gaming projects. We prepare weekly clubs for the lovers of online and board games (our online youth club with wonderful people from all around Europe is still up and running so make sure to join us if you have not given it a shot yet); we contribute to youth exchanges, some of which are connected to gaming and education; and we also help the brainstorming and design process of Amics’ own board games – and the latter has been one of my most enjoyable tasks. During my second month of volunteering (back in November), I was working on the design of a card game called “Trick or Treat”, adapted from a scout activity. I had used Photoshop before, but obviously, not for board game development – it is quite a specific field. It was a bit confusing at first but thankfully, our mentor is quite familiar with design tools, so we had all the practical assistance we needed. What is more, we had great examples in front of us, as we often play other games made by the organization. For instance, we have a card game with a bunch of interesting questions to get to know each other – which is the perfect companion of intercultural exchanges or volunteering projects.

Speaking of these opportunities, I have already experienced such programs as a participant, but organizing them is a completely different adventure. We are currently preparing a youth exchange, due in August in Spain, about the positive impact of video games. It is a topic very close to my heart since my first serious volunteering experience was at an esports club back in my hometown. Amics is devoted to debunking all the shallow stereotypes regarding video games and willing to raise awareness of their positive impact on education, personal development, and society in general. We spend long hours dealing with technology every day – we might as well learn how to make the most of it.

-Alexander Németh