Another Day, Another Egg Dance

This last week has been super busy. Presenting a showing and then jetting off to an international board game convention will have that effect upon the common week.

Showing off Batemans Vegas last Wednesday proved a rewarding experience. My main concern heading into the showing was clarity. That what we were trying to do and what we wanted the audience to take away from the experience might not be clear enough to throw up suggestions for how to progress the work. However what we were setting out to do seemed clear in the end, but how to do it in full within the time limit we have created is the more interesting puzzle.

 A realization that I had in leading up to the showing was in regards to time. How do you fit all the complexity and detail of a systems model (which you need in order to fulfill the original focus of the project) while also including narrative and finding creative ways to present these systems and the models that represent them, into a 45 min-1hour work. To make it longer would probably be to draw it out too much. But in 45 minutes of showing we were able to get through one cycle of the sub systems which is not really enough to display the full beauty of what can be observed in a modeling process. The challenge remains to make something without leaving out details and the process of the system, but also to present it in a way that doesn’t drag, or take more than an hour.

Some of our experience at the Spieltage game convention in Essen presented suggestions of how to move things along a bit, although I am not certain that they will all be appropriate for our work.

Escape! Was a game which had a audio track to time the game. The aim of the game was to escape from a collapsing temple (Indiana Jones style) with your whole temple exploring team. You began the game when you pressed play, and when the track finished, if you hadn’t made it out, your whole team lost. It certainly drove the adrenaline up and the interaction. Suddenly you relied upon each person on the table to get out. While I don’t think that kind of adrenaline is what is needed particularly in this Modelling Play, the form of it is interesting.

My favorite of the Spieltage games was a very silly kids game called Eiertanz (Egg Dance) which was also very interactive but also very short, in which participants must collect their eggs (yellow rubber bouncy eggs) and then hold them under their chins, arms, between knees and elbows. Then the challenge is to hold them all, gradually getting more and more, and being given sillier and sillier provocations (running around tables, jumping up and down) until someone drops their eggs and they go bouncing madly about. Perhaps this is not something to put into the systems modeling, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. Although if we decided to model a chicken coop… 

My question at this stage of the process is: How do we make a work that captures the complexity of the modeling process, simply and within a hour performance that we have asked of ourselves?

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Playing Escape! at Spieltage 2012

-Nikki

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