For something completely different, settle in for a nice game of excuses and blame with Aye, Dark Overlord! In this game, players will have to use their hand of cards and creative storytelling to come up with reasons why they completely failed to accomplish the task set by the Dark Overlord. The player who is the Dark Overlord will consider the excuses being made and pass out punishments and rewards as deserved. Mostly punishments...these are pretty incompetent goblins after all, and really they are all to blame for failing to deliver.
This is a silly game, but it resonates with middle school aged players who are often quite familiar with the need to explain away problems. The game provides a fun way for players to be a bit outrageous in their accusations and excuses. It is also a really great way to practice improvisational storytelling. Consider using it in a drama class or as part of a storytelling experience. For the best experience, it helps to have someone familiar with the concept playing as the Dark Overlord for the first round. This can set the tone and provide an example for others.
The excuses might get a bit crazy, but do remember that the speaking and listening that are required to participate in Aye, Dark Overlord! are directly aligned with the Common Core ELA standards. Middle and high school speaking and listening standards ask students to "participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions" while "building on other's ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively." A goblin had best be quite persuasive if he or she doesn't want to be smote by the Dark Overlord. The standards also call for students to be effective listeners able to "Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence." Let me assure you, most games of Aye, Dark Overlord! contain a great deal of fallacious reasoning, and unbelievably exaggerated and distorted evidence!