It’s that time of year again, when sixty-four basketball teams from NCAA colleges compete to determine who is the best. And when fans of basketball enjoy predicting which teams will win. What if, in an effort to teach kids about how brackets work, to gear them up for future NCAA brackets, or just to have something fun to do if you’re not so into watching basketball, there were a bracket of a different sort. Presenting, the GeekDad Family Game Madness Bracket.
I offer you a blank template and one filled in. The idea is to play pairs of games as a family to find which game is your family’s favorite. If you don’t personally own all these games, try reaching out to friends or visiting your local game store to find out when they might have a game night.
There are no rules that state you have to complete the tournament within the same timeline as the NCAA tournament, but if you’d like to—perhaps because there’s nothing else on television and the weather isn’t quite cooperating yet—then by all means, have at it.
This tournament is not meant to be played in pursuit of a monetary prize. On the contrary, the journey is the prize. So, print out this year’s bracket and start playing. If you choose the pre-populated one, play the two competing games either on the same day or one day apart so you can decide which was your favorite. Each player can keep track of their own favorites. This way, there’s less arguing about what game to play next and more actual playing.
If you choose the blank bracket, you can fill it in with games you already own, borrow games from friends (maybe even include them in the tournament), or use it as an opportunity to test out a game you’ve had your eye on.
Alternatively, you could have each player make predictions about the outcome of the tournament, and then vote at the end to see who made the most correct predictions (in this case, perhaps after filling out their picks, the sheets ought to reside with someone else who can be trusted not to decide whether they liked a game or not based on their prediction).
Basically, I offer you an alternative tournament to use now or in the future.