Posts tagged ‘Collaborative tabletop games’

October 25, 2016

Zombie Fight or Flight launches on Kickstarter!

PignPotato Games has just launched its Kickstarter campaign for Zombie Fight or Flight! This collaborative card game was developed at the CoRe Jolts Game Jam in June 2016.  PignPotato Games is made up of 7 Game Jam participants who decided to see if they could successfully launch the game created that weekend.

The group started by hiring Rachel Petrovicz to create amazing art for the cards, and have continued to test and improve the game over the past few months.  In the process, they’ve developed both ideas for classroom uses (for grades 3-12) and trainers’ notes for using the cards in conflict resolution and negotiation training.  In fact, the prototype decks will get a tryout on Halloween when they are used in the Continuing Legal Education Society’s course on Negotiation Skills for the Zombie Apocalypse.

cards-in-hand

The Kickstarter campaign will run until November 26th, but some rewards are limited in number, so check the campaign out soon if you’re interested in custom artwork, custom ceramics, or conflict resolution training and game jams!

Zombie Fight or Flight and Drunken Zombie Fight or Flight decks are available to ship worldwide, but if you’re in Vancouver, want to save shipping costs and can pick up on December 17th, make sure you choose the “without shipping option”.

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March 19, 2016

2nd Collaborative Game Jam – June 17-19, 2016!

Version 2CoRe Jolts is excited to be hosting the second Bi-Annual Collaborative Game Jam  aimed at the creation of collaborative tabletop games on June 17th-19th, 2016 in Tsawwassen!

We are gathering a group of individuals interested in getting together to form teams and create collaborative games! We will form teams based on shared objectives for the games.  One group might choose to create a short game that can be played during a mediation to refocus participants on problem solving approaches.  Another group might choose to develop a game that allows all members of a family – no matter what age – to participate equally in group decision-making. Or perhaps a few individuals will choose to create a game that requires different forms of communication for a group to successfully manage a task.  The possibilities are only limited by the imaginations of the participants!

Island teamGame JamAt our first Game Jam, participants came from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and interests in collaboration: mediators (in commercial, child protection, labour, family and civil practices), tax lawyers, teachers, university administrators, and students in fine arts, digital games, engineering and law.   The broad range of backgrounds (and game experience) led to fascinating discussions about what sorts of games we’d like to create and why.

In the end, we produced two very different games:  Eruption and Soul Jumpers/Hotel California/Macabre Mansion (name yet to be finalized).

The Eruption team developed a complex negotiation game that required individuals to develop multiple alliances to manage an entire society. The Eruption team seemed to have a great deal of fun with the entire concept, but perhaps this short excerpt of the team explaining the rules about “breeding” amongst families captures the spirit of their game.

The Soul Jumpers group focused on creating a game that could not give rise to the dreaded “Alpha Player”! By limiting the exchange of information, no one player was able to dominate decision-making by asserting greater gaming knowledge.  In the following video clip, Bob Wilson shares the background story for Soul Jumpers.

 

Ben Ziegler was a member of the Soul Jumpers creation team and he provided a great description of the event on his blog, Collaborative Journeys.

If you’d like to try out some commercially available collaborative games in advance of the Game Jam, check out the list Emily Martin and I collected for a CoRe Speaker Series event last fall.

You don’t need to be some combination of mediator/gamer/designer to join us.  If you think it would be fun to develop a game like this, and you can commit the time to work with your team, then you are welcome. There is no fee to attend, but we will collect $50 from each participant to contribute to the costs of refreshments, lunches on Saturday and Sunday, and game materials.

If you’d like to join us, check out additional details at https://corejolts.wordpress.com/game-jam/ or email us at coreclinic1@gmail.com. Register here.

You can read more of my observations about collaborative games here!  And check out Emily’s and my presentation for CoRe here.

December 16, 2015

Gift Ideas to Inspire Conflict Resolution

Sharon Sutherland offers a short list of gift ideas with conflict resolution themes.

Over the past few years, I’ve developed several “gift” lists for conflict resolution professionals (especially mediators):

This year, I wanted to take a different approach to the idea of conflict resolution gift giving and focus on ideas for gifts for anyone that might just inspire the recipients to think more about conflict resolution.  Here’s four categories of gifts, most with a few examples, that conflict resolution professionals might very well think about giving to their family and friends this holiday season. And please do check out previous lists for ideas that suit folks who aren’t mediators but have an interest in a world with a culture of collaborative decision-making!

1. Collaborative Games

HanabiIf you played board games or card games as a child, you almost certainly played competitive games.  While cooperative board games have been around for many years, the early ones were almost exclusively created for children and were so didactic as to be boring!  Hence, the cooperative game of yore was played once or twice and then relegated to the back of the closet while Monopoly, Risk and Trouble came out for family gatherings.  The consequence, of course, is that we were exposed to a constant stream of messages about the importance of being competitive, learning to be a good loser and a gracious winner, and the implicit notion that collaborating is “weak”.

Happily, over recent years, an enormous number of excellent collaborative games have developed – games which have all the excitement of competition, but that require genuine teamwork to “win” against the game.  My first recommendation for everyone this holiday season is to choose a collaborative game and introduce your family to an entirely different way of thinking about competition.  Let’s normalize a culture in which the best teamwork results in a “win”!

IMG_2273Here’s a list of collaborative games that Emily Martin (a labour mediator from Seattle) and I developed for a recent CoRe Speaker event.  Of this list, my favourite is Pandemic, but it’s a bit of a tough entrée game for people who aren’t very familiar with gaming generally.  (It’s great if you have one gamer who can help others figure out the mechanics for the first few rounds, but tough if everyone has to keep reading the rules!) So if you’re new to games, or haven’t played much besides Monopoly, I’d suggest starting with with Hanabi (very simple and easy to learn) or Forbidden Island (a bit trickier, but aimed at a younger crowd and so easier to get a handle on than Pandemic).

2. Books

There are so very many book possibilities!  Outside of the range of non-fiction books that offer negotiation advice or other ideas for conflict resolution practice, there are a large number of books that can be viewed through a “conflict resolution lens” to great effect.  Wendy Lakusta offered a brilliant example of the value of reading novels through such a lens when she led the first CoRe Book Club meeting in September and guided an enthusiastic group through a reading of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Consider giving both the first book and Wendy’s Book Club question list to inspire someone to think about the book in a new way!

fledglingOnce you apply a conflict resolution lens to one book, it’s so easy to apply the same lens to others!  An easy way to start might be to give a friend or colleague a copy of Octavia Butler’s Fledgling along with a pass to the next CoRe Book Club session on January 26th, 2016.  This session is definitely not just for conflict resolution professionals, but will focus on lessons for conflict resolution in the book.  (And you might just want to package this book and book club combo with one more Octavia Butler book: Parable of the Sower is a brilliant exploration of a world in which hyper-empathy has the potential to be both a disability and a gift.)

What came beforeThree more books that strike me as powerful opportunities to examine conflict resolution themes are:

  • The Speed of Dark – Elizabeth Moon (This 2003 Nebula award winning novel explores a world in which autism can be “cured”. Who decides whether the “cure” is the best choice for an individual?)
  • What Came Before He Shot Her – Elizabeth George (While this book explores the backstory of a shocking murder in another novel, it’s not necessary to read this as part of the connected series.  This novel stands alone as an examination of a series of seemingly inevitable decisions leading a young boy to become a murderer.)
  • The Sunday Philosophy Club – Alexander McCall Smith (This series by the author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency offers a fascinating lens on life: Isabel Dalhousie examines every choice through the lens of applied ethics.  For the conflict resolution practitioner, the explicit consideration of each and every nuance in decision-making will feel very familiar, despite the change of focus.)

(You can purchase any of these books through the CoRe aStore and support CoRe Conflict Resolution Society).

And check out these lists for books that might appeal to younger readers (or folks like me who love YA fiction):

3. Theatre Tickets

nirbhaya_1

Nirbhaya

Just as books can explore conflict resolution themes in new and enlightening ways, live theatre can engage with all the same topics but brings a number of qualities that are simply not part of the usual reading experience such as immediacy, the sense of communal engagement in the narrative, direct engagement of the senses in the performance.  The simple fact that most theatre-goers attend with a friend increases the likelihood of an engaged discussion about the topics raised in the production.  Over the past year, I’ve seen a number of excellent productions that explicitly engage with conflict resolution topics. (I’ll blog about my 2015 top picks on CoReJolts over the holiday, but they certainly include A Story of Os (Vancouver Fringe), Cock (Rumble Theatre), Nirbhaya (The Cultch) and 52 Pick-Up (Twenty Something Theatre/Theatre Wire)).

Why not look ahead and book a couple of tickets to plays in 2016?  Here’s a few that I have on my list that look like they’ll stimulate great conflict resolution discussions:

  • The Motherf**ker with the Hat (Firehall Arts Centre)
  • Little One (Alley Theatre/Firehall Arts Centre) – I saw this one at the 2014 Fringe Festival and it’s both creepy and excellent.
  • Ga Ting (thefranktheatrecompany/The Cultch)
  • Reclaiming Hope (Theatre for Living) – I’ll be watching for news about public performances when this one is developed.

VanFringeFest_2016_RGB-with-datesAnd, of course, buying someone a Frequent Fringer pass for the Vancouver Fringe Festival is a perfect option, too!  (They’re not available until the summer, but a promissory note now works.) I wasn’t specifically looking for conflict resolution themed productions this past September, but still saw 12 shows that I would classify as fitting the bill.  Next year, I’m going to blog about my best bets for conflict resolution shows in advance of the Festival so others can join me to view them and discuss at a CoRe Speaker event and/or a Mediators’ Lounge.

4. Human Library

I can’t list books and plays and leave out the Human Library project!  If you haven’t come across the project before, the Human Library is an explicit response to a hate crime that seeks to end violence one person at a time. Borrow a “human book” for a 20 minute conversation intended to narrow ideological gaps through personal connection.  The Human Library is offered as part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

PuSh2016_HumanLibrary_credit-Liesbeth-Bernaerts-1200x590

This post is shared here by permission of True North Collective.

May 5, 2014

Collaborative Game Jam coming up quickly!

CoRe-Jolts-Game-JamCoRe Jolts is very excited to be hosting a unique Game Jam aimed at the creation of collaborative tabletop games! Join us at UBC Faculty of Law on May 9-11th!

Did you grow up playing only competitive games like Monopoly or Risk? Were “cooperative” games just the didactic and usually dull games elementary school teachers assigned? Certainly I grew up understanding games to be purely competitive and received (and internalized) a cultural message that individualized competition is good. That assumption was so much a part of my experience of games (and sports, and school, and…) that it remained an unconscious value influencing everything about the way I approached legal practice and mediation. And I am certain that a majority of my colleagues grew up with the same messages that individualized competition is natural, and the only possibility. As gaming scholar Carly A. Korucek notes, “models of play that aren’t based on competition among players…are obscure.”

Obscure though they may be, models of play that depend on team-based competition (against the game) and group problem solving have the potential to test the cultural norms of competition and to offer opportunities to practice skills that might just help in conflict resolution settings. And, when designed well, they can offer unique (and fun) challenges to players who have to adapt their learned gaming approaches and make strategic choices based on different criteria for winning. Imagine creating games that can be utilized directly in a mediation or a four-way meeting to change the dynamic of competition to one of collaborative problem solving. Or games that allow families to practice problem solving as a fun – rather than didactic – activity. That’s what we want to create this weekend!

You don’t need to be some combination of mediator/gamer/designer to join us. We want to have a wide range of people who can contribute different ideas to self-selected teams. If you think it would be fun to develop a game like this, and you can commit the time to work with your team, then we want you. All ages and backgrounds welcome! There is no fee to attend, and lunches will be provided on Saturday and Sunday.

If you’d like to join us, check out additional details at https://corejolts.wordpress.com/game-jam/ or email us at coreclinic1@gmail.com. Register here.

Read more of my observations about collaborative games at here!

January 27, 2014

Plans for 2014

bmanscientistlab“I have always been more interested in experiment, than in accomplishment.” Orson Welles

2014 looks to be a very exciting year around my house.  Professionally, I’m poised to make a big change in order to tackle some long contemplated goals.  I will be leaving UBC Faculty of Law after 14-1/2 years in June 2014, and am looking forward both to the next 5 months of transition time which will allow me to complete some long term projects and to the 6 months of new projects that will follow.  In personal terms, the year might best be characterized simply by saying that all three of my daughters will be travelling to their own new adventures in the far corners of the world (Poland, Ghana and Philadelphia!).  And with my own transition happening at just the right time …  I may just get the chance to visit them there.

CoRe Jolts will be receiving a few jolts from a few projects connected to my transition plans, so you can expect:

  • Posts that reflect the work I am doing with Carrie Gallant at CreativityZone,
  • Development of Impasse Breaking Cards, and
  • A Game Jam!

Join me in any or all of these projects!

Blog posts – MBTI series

In late November, Carrie Gallant and I led a workshop on advanced applications of the MBTI to conflict resolution.  We focused on understanding possible uses of the Step II instrument for conflict resolution practitioners, and on exploring “Jungian functions” in more detail than one normally can in an introductory workshop.  In respect of the latter topic, we specifically looked at the different ways that we collect data and the different ways that we make decisions.  The discussion led me to spend some time over the vacation generating ideas for impasse breaking based entirely in each of these eight functions (e.g. I began with a list of impasse breaking ideas that reflect Extraverted Sensing, then generated a list of tools that reflect Introverted Sensing, etc.).  I plan to share these ideas in two ways: I will blog about each of the eight Jungian functions and ideas derived from an understanding of that function, and I will incorporate many more of the ideas into the first set of impasse breaking cards for the project immediately below.

Impasse Breaking Cards

I have been intending to collect impasse breaking ideas into cards specifically designed for use in mediation, and this is the year I intend to create that deck.  In fact, I have given myself a deadline of March 29th for completion of a prototype because I have committed to present the deck at the NWDR Conference in Seattle!  You can see more details about this project on the Impasse Cards page.  Check out the focus group sessions there and consider joining me in any of the testing sessions in the next two months.

Game Jam

I wrote about my interest in collaborative board games last summer.  And now I’m planning to hold a Game Jam for Collaborative Professionals in order to bring together like-minded, but differently skilled, folks to create more collaborative games.  I’ve set aside May 9th-11th for the event.  If you’re interested in a weekend of fun and creation, save the date!  And let me know that you’d like to attend.

horse_signJolt for Mediators and Mediations:

Since this is a planning-for-the-year post, I’ve decided to offer a New Year’s jolt despite the date.  (I will note that while my planning may have been triggered by the start of 2014, the post comes just before Chinese New Year, so still might pass as timely…)

#3Words Exercise

You may be familiar with the Three Words Concept.  Chris Brogan and C.C. Chapman have each contributed to the idea of coming up with three words as a focus for the new year, as opposed to resolutions.  It was Jason Dykstra’s 2014 post, however, that inspired me to finally take a stab at choosing and blogging about my own words.  I admit, I was particularly taken by Jason’s creativity in applying his words, as opposed to the words themselves.  His approach reminded me of exercises in the use of symbolism or combinational creativity to shake up one’s thinking.  Jason’s word descriptions made it easy to imagine using this exercise as a jolt for mediators and as a jolt for mediation.

For Mediators:

The #3Words exercise can be a jolt for mediators or other dispute resolution professionals in the same way that it is intended to be a New Year’s jolt for anyone looking to shift gears.  Wanting to improve your practice?  Use the #3Words technique for self-reflection to guide your progress.  You might focus on aspects of your work that you struggle with and wish to improve (e.g. self-reflection, listening, silence, etc.) or you might focus on business development and kickstarting an exploration of a new practice area (e.g. connect, system, leap, etc.)

And, of course, there’s no reason you can only think of focus words for the year.  Why not consider focus words for a single mediation?  If you’ve come from a difficult mediation, you’re probably already reflecting to some degree on whether there was something you might have done differently.  Or you’ve co-mediated with someone and observed an entirely different approach that you’d like to add to your toolbox.  And for that matter, what about those mediations where everything seems to happen without any effort on your part: are there aspects of those mediations that you want to carry forward into your next session? Why not think about three words immediately following one mediation that will be points of focus for your next mediation?

For Mediations:

Alternatively, in a mediation (and perhaps in a strategic planning session or when dealmaking), consider a #3Words list as a means of focusing parties on joint goals.  We often assist parties to generate lists of interests or criteria for settlement; why not consider instead a list of three words to guide the discussion, or three words that reflect for an individual party her goals for settlement or his hopes for the future, or three words that capture the type of process that parties wish to pursue in their discussions?  Such exercises might well assist parties to shift gears into a more reflective and problem-solving discussion, and might be easier to launch than a discussion of individual interests where parties are especially distrustful or uncomfortable with speaking directly about their own wishes.

My 3 Words for 2014

It seems appropriate to share my own three words for the year:  Experiment, Delve and Concatenate.  And yes, they are all verbs even if I had to force one of them to be.  For me, 2014 involves doing, so my words are doing words.

  • Experiment

I am not typically shy to experiment, so may not need this word to remind me to do so.  I have chosen it instead to reinforce that experimenting is a positive aspect of my current work life that I want to retain.  I may have to be more creative in developing opportunities to truly experiment outside of the academic world.

Clearly this will be a year to explore, and my list should include a word to recognize that fact.  But explore doesn’t resonate the way delve does.  Delve requires more digging, more extended effort.  I’ll be delving.

  • Concatenate

Much more commonly seen in the form “concatenation”, concatenate really is a verb – just one that doesn’t get much play.  But I love the notion of combining that it evokes.  My professional life has always concatenated a series of ideas, experiments, and explorations, and I am excited to continue concatenating this year!

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