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Technology for the mind…

Playing Games in your Training


Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Are you using games in your classes? No, not specially designed course ware. Not virtual environments. Just good old fashioned board games.

Now I am not suggesting that you pull out a copy of Twister in the middle of an American Federal Government class. You have to have a reason for playing a game. And more importantly you have to have a planned debrief.

Looking at some classics, chess and checkers can be helpful for problem solving. Monopoly is great for accounting classes. Apples to Apples is a great game for making comparisons.

Some games that I like to use in certain circumstances are;

Fluxx by Looney Labs: http://www.looneylabs.com/games/fluxx

Fluxx is a great game to use when you are working with a group going through change. The game starts out with a very simple set of two rules; Draw a card and play a card. As you play cards the rules to the game change, either through new goals, new rules, or special actions. The game can be very quick or can last a while depending on how things change. Once you play a hand or two the debrief is a very easy one. How did you feel at first when the game started? As the rules changed was it uncomfortable to follow and keep up? As the game went on, did it become easier to adapt to the change? Relate this to current changes in your job, your home, a new computer program, etc…

Tsuro is originally by Wizkids, but now has several manufacturers.

Tsuro is another game that can help with change management as well as problem solving. In the game you place cards on the board that create a path that you must follow. If your paths cross with another player it forces that player to take a different direction than before. The object is to be the last player on the board. The debrief for this comes down to how you react when other people change your path. How do you react when a team member doesn’t meet a deadline? How do you react when the scope of a project changes?

The last game I am going to talk about is called Backseat Drawing by www.otb-games.com.

Backseat Drawing is a great game for improving communication skills. The object of the game is to have someone guess a drawing, without telling them what it is they are drawing. The key to this game isn’t how well you can draw, but how well can the person talking to you explain what is is you need to draw without actually saying the word you are drawing. The debrief for this can be, how hard is it to complete a project without knowing what the end goal is? How well can you communicate the pieces in order to get the desired outcome?

The key to using games in your training events is not just having fun, but in learning something in a fun way. Have a purpose for playing games. By all means, if you can find a way to incorporate Twister into that American Federal Government lecture, please let us all know the debrief for it.

Please feel free to submit the games you play and how you can use them to enhance your training events.

I would like to thank my friend Kate Wasserman for letting me use the photo of her game shelves above. Kate and her husband have a monthly game night with friends in the Chicago area.

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