Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Assumption is the mother of all…

So game num­ber two. What was this game sup­posed to be about? What kind of game could we design to take our stu­dents to the next lev­el? What was our next role?

Look­ing at game #1, the big pin­up board game, one of the main things the stu­dents were doing was mak­ing assump­tions about basi­cal­ly every­thing. Before we explained any­thing, they all knew, just by look­ing at the pro­file cards we gave them, that they were sup­posed to be inter­view­ing peo­ple. Even after Thieu explic­it­ly said “No inter­views are allowed!”, they were 100% pos­i­tive that they were sup­posed to inter­view peo­ple. Because this was some­thing they had assumed.

These assump­tions lim­it­ed them in their exe­cu­tion of the game. And, well, if these stu­dents are to become future lead­ers of the world, assump­tions in gen­er­al are going to lim­it them in every­thing real­ly. If you assume that the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca is not gonna write you back a let­ter, there is no point send­ing one.

One of the blocks

So we want­ed to make an assump­tion game. A game that would make them deal with assump­tions, be aware of them. This, we dis­cov­ered, was a com­pli­cat­ed task.

Com­pli­cat­ed because we focused on mak­ing assump­tions the main game­play ele­ment. We want­ed the stu­dents to use their assump­tions to suc­cess­ful­ly play the game. This, we dis­cov­ered, was not entire­ly pos­si­ble. Because real­ly, is an assump­tion still an assump­tion when you change it until it becomes use­ful for you? Or does it just become an inter­pre­ta­tion, mak­ing your cre­ativ­i­ty the main tool? Assump­tions are hard to mea­sure. What is a good assump­tion, what isn’t? And in that, how on earth do you make the rules so that they self reg­u­late the use of these assumptions?

So that was our strug­gle, we could tell you all about the progress in between, where we went wrong and what our iter­a­tions were, but it’s too much to go into here and now. So here’s what we end­ed up with:

Writing cards

We played our game, a race between four teams from A to B. The goal was to get your block as far as you could, but you could not actu­al­ly touch the block. So.. how? Each group received four cards. On these cards, they cre­at­ed a rule that would help move the block. Every group then received one of the cards from each oth­er group, all end­ing up with four dif­fer­ent rule cards. Each card they could use for one full minute, then the next card was used. This way of cre­at­ing rules as you go was inspired by Nom­ic, which we played with the stu­dents ear­li­er. If you want to play the game your­self, check out the rules write­up on Ludocity.

So, how do the assump­tions come into play? Imag­ine receiv­ing a card that says “Fly­ing! The block can fly!”. Does this mean you are allowed to pick it up and throw it, does it mean you can get an air­plane, put it on there, fly the plane? What­ev­er you make of it is your assump­tion of the rule some oth­er group made. You see oth­ers throw­ing their block around? You assume that’s what you’re sup­posed to do with the card, you copy.

The game worked, was fun, we ran our ass­es off and Syl­van near­ly broke his neck run­ning through the Kalver­straat, and we had a group of win­ners. Were the assump­tions there? We think they were. Was this the absolute best way to let them know about these assump­tions they made? Prob­a­bly not. But hey, what’s a Learn­ing Lab if there’s no tri­al and error?

That’s that for now, we’ll be start­ing on a new game soon enough, keep you posted!

Wieger and Syl­van out.

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