One of the most well-known 'serious' games, chess. Photo CC0 from jarmoluk on Pixabay

A range of existing outdoor, tabletop and card games offer opportunities for teambuilding, specific skill training, and thematic engagement on a particular topic when supported by appropriate facilitation.

What is serious about playing games?

As Huizinga pointed out in 1938, playing is both by definition non-serious and yet requires serious attention. Games develop a structured form from play, yet maintain their existence as activities set apart from normal everyday life. In such ‘magic circles’ we can experiment with different rules and norms, safe from ‘real’ consequences yet resulting in serious effects.

How can playing games make an impact upon our ‘serious’ everyday actions?

General play

According to Argyris and Schön, our approaches to action in the world are made up of  patterns of what we say and patterns of what we do. These two sets of patterns often have some relationship but are not fully aligned. Yet we might not be fully aware of the differences! General play can help develop better self-awareness of our theories-in-use or patterns of action and allow us to compare and reflect on them.

Specific skill training

Simulation games offer simplified training scenarios in which to build skill capacity and overcome barriers to action posed by surprising or extreme contexts. A range of other types of games also model specific skills, from resource management to general strategy, which may be enhanced through collaborative or competitive play.

Thematic engagement

A wide range of contemporary games focus on a specific theme, such as espionage, ecology, pathogen outbreak, or even management of specific businesses and public services. Specific gamification products and marketing also often rely on this type of learning. Games with a highly developed and accurate theme offer participants the opportunity to expand their knowledge of that particular subject matter.

What games should I play and do I need a facilitator?

In many cases, identifying a suitably skilled or themed game or engaging in general play in a reflective manner will offer a route to development. However, a facilitator can help you identify suitable games and adaptations or design and supply additional reflective exercises to accompany them. Seriously Learned can also offer support in the development of games with specific learning outcomes.

If you are interested in game facilitation or design on the above themes or would like a engage in a broader discussion around how this could benefit your business or organisation, please get in touch using the contact form below.