Since some people attending my workshop asked for it, hereby the games I use or might use during my workshop. As the way I use these games is that people should guess the mechanism behind the game, which I then explain, I suggest not to read this post if you plan on attending a workshop, to keep an element of surprise (unless you don’t like surprises).

I’ve put it per concept, where I sometimes have more than one game in mind per concept – I’ll put the game I decided to use front. Then I’ll also give a small link to the concept (don’t except a thorough explanation right here, check my other posts for that).

  • Hierarchy vs non-hierarchy: People are put in star-shape: one central, three people around, three people starting from each of these 3, and so on (with variations depending on the group, could also be branches of four. Make sure enough people start from the central person, better one extra level with 3 people than two levels with only 2).

    • Everyone gets some couples of a red and a black card, randomly. Goal of the game is to get everything paired: same numbers together (if you are many, clovers go with tiles and hearts go with pikes). Black cards can’t move, red ones can. You can only give cards to people you are connected with. You can’t move. You are allowed to talk and show your cards. You can have maximally 3 red cards in your hand. Time limit of 5 min, goal is to get the whole group to have the right cards.

    • Alternative: with 3 different puzzles, 1 central person, 3 persons in between and 3 posts per puzzle. The 3 posts are: picture of puzzle (but from another puzzle than the one that should be solved here), person making the puzzle, and input of puzzle pieces (random from the three puzzles). Person in between can only move from the central person to its 3 posts, the central person stays where they are. Both can have maximal 5 (or 10) pieces. Persons in between can’t show peices to each other, only through central person (you can work with some barriere so thatthey canot reach each other).

    • Shows: bottleneck in hierarchy, and how different clusters form. Hierarchy mainly doesn’t work if different goals and input needed from elsewhere.

    • Next assignment: they can choose the constellation themselves/can move freely. If working with the puzzles, the posts and puzzlers stay where they were. Still a limit of cards/pieces one can maximally have. See how much faster this goes.

      • Shows: cycles, not dependent from one input source.

      • Link functional: bonds between different clusters as opposition to hierarchy.

  • Stigmergy: tool of self-organization People are in a circle, each has a piece of paper to draw on. After (for example) 10 seconds of drawing, everyone gives his drawing to his left neighbhour. This is repeated several times. Like this every drawing is made by everyone.

    • Alternatives:

      • butty-butty-butterfly (also called action-reaction game): longer game where people get a different assignment every 5 min (described on pieces of paper). The assingments of different people and at different times interact. For example (a small version):

        • 1: the song “we will rock you”. People get assignments like “if someone stamps his feet, start to say ‘we will rock you’ ” (but with more steps). The last one can cause an effect so that people hve to go to the next assignment.

        • 2: everybody gets a random role+ assignment “interact with each other”. Examples of roles: : Little Red Riding Hood, carpenter, pirate, …(also some construcutors to make the world)

      • Other ideas (could be incorporated in butty-butty-butterfly or played singly):

        • tell a story where everybody adds 3 words

        • make collective artwork (after each other, could be that each person starts at a different kind of artwork, like painting, collage, sculpture,.. , and then shifts).

        • make your game: each person adds a rule, we play at the same time.

    • Explanation: stigmergy, butterfly-effect

  • Positive feedback: the better you do, the easier it gets

  • Tag, but everybody remains tagger, so that in the end everyone is a tagger.

    • Alternative: 2 teams against each other, if one team scores, they get a player of the losing team. Games like tug-of-war, dodge-ball, soccer, volleyball,…

      • negative feedback: opposite dynamic: winner gives player to opposite team.

    • Explanation: how things can randomly go in a certain direction, groupthink

  • Constant opposition:

  • King of the hill: the person that can keep the “hill” for 5 minutes, wins.

    • Explanation: if everybody prevents anyone from taking the hill, novody can win.

    • Alternative: tug-of-war with negative fedaback (like before: when one side is on the winning hand, one player moves-. This was an existing ritual-game to prevent hierarchy.

  • Coordination (local alignment): everyone is linked to 2 other people (either in two directions, so if I’m connected to person A that person also connects to me, or in one direction, everybody randomly picks two people. Last one is easier to establish, but doesn’t work as well).

    • First assignment: try to be at the same distance to these two people.

      • Explanation: local alignment brings global pattern.

    • Second assignment – if two-directional: make an equilateral triangle with these two people (thus the distance between the two should be equal as the distance you have to them). Make sure there is enough space and that people start close to each other.

      • This won’t work, and people will move further and further away from each other.

      • Except when people think out-of-the-box: move in the height to get an extra dimension.

    • Explanation: local goals can counteract each other so that goals aren’t reached. A “bigger structure” emerges that has its own goal/dynamics. Link to rigid structure, idée fixe. + universality vs local coherence

  • Cooperation-competition:

    • every team(for example 3 teams) has another assignment, and they can’t tell their assignment to the other teams. Actually the assignments are compatible, and can thus be best done together, but people will first automatically work against each other. (For example with different cups in the middle, assignments: all cups upside-down, all cups in a circle or all cups in one corner of the room)

    • Shows: goals may look opposite, but aren’t (for example by taking an extra dimension into account)

    • Optionally next step: some people had to be outside during the first step. Now they are let in one by one, and are given the assignment to keep the situation as it was. But they do not know the goal was to have the cups in a circle, upside down in a corner. Cups (and other things) are moved randomly. The idea is that these people represent the higher ‘controller’: they try to keep the situation as it was, but as they don’t know the goals, they will deviate from it. Same as with rigidity in orgnaizations.

  • Social power: let everyone do one thing so that it is difficult to do otherwise. For example give one person an easy assignment (like keep one object to the ground), everyone else gets more difficult assignment, but which make the easier one impossible (like make sure all objects are in the air). This is just some brainstorming, this game could be made better.