Unlocking Social Connection: Sage’s Tale of Critical Core

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, finding innovative ways to nurture social connection and confidence among students is paramount. Enter Critical Core, the tabletop role-playing game designed to empower learners of all backgrounds. Sage, a school counselor and a passionate advocate for Critical Core, shares the profound impact it’s had on their students.

Here’s the story Sage shared with us:

Our middle school was very kindly gifted a copy of Critical Core, and it has been a wonderful resource for our students! As the school counselor, I paired up with the speech & language pathologist and we used this with our social pragmatics students (primarily with autism learning profiles) this year. We had three different groups, one for our 6th graders and two with a blend of 7th/8th graders based on their personalities to give more balance. I used to run our school’s Dungeons and Dragons club before budget cuts removed our after school programming, but even if I had no prior experience, Critical Core comes with everything you need to structure sessions and gameplay (I love the player spotlight at the end where they each do a shoutout for something they thought another student did well), including a ton of tips on ways to run the game and respond to all kinds of situations that might come up. It’s very easy to get buy-in and participation offering lessons in the form of a game like this. One of our students who is often selectively mute really comes out of his shell while participating in the game, and it’s been very heartwarming to see some students that often struggle to connect with others getting opportunities to join in on jokes and shenanigans or do actions/offer solutions that get seen and appreciated by the other students. A few of the students, who typically do not socialize outside of school, even told me they are trying to organize an out-of-school game so that they can play their own campaign together! I’ve also been able to reference gameplay to students with social anxiety in other settings (“remember when you had to talk to that NPC for the first time and you were worried and didn’t know what to say at first, but everything turned out okay?”). This game really goes a long way in reaching students with a variety of challenges and offering them a safe and exciting place to practice their social skills and make connections. Looking forward to many future adventures with our students using Critical Core!!


Sage’s story is just one of many examples of how Critical Core is revolutionizing the landscape of social support programs, one adventure at a time. To embark on your own journey of empowerment and social connection, visit Critical Core’s website to learn more and get your own copy. Together, let’s continue to foster a community where every voice is heard and every roll of the dice brings us closer together.


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