Exploring game mechanics and much more

On an Open Space session of the Conference of the Applied Improvisation Network in Oxford (August 2016) Dave Cooper facilitated the game “Cat on yer head”. The group who played grew very fast up to 30 people and had lots of fun. You can find a free description of the game here– in this video you will see how it is set into action in a conference setting.

It is a great example on how embodiment fosters learning and understanding. I think the game is fantastic to really feel the concepts of game mechanics / design also very valuable to experience, explore and evolve…

  • Mutual awareness and perception
  • fast and agile collaboration
  • how (together) to cope with obstacles and challenges
  • interdependence of things happening in a system and your possibilities to influence them
  • creativity (also by together inventing and testing new variations and elements of the game)
  • reflecting verbs like “chasing”, “winning”, “losing”, “interacting” and why we often mentally (and in our actions) support the mouse and not the cat – so it is also could be a game dealing with oppression, refugee-crisis…

Some ideas to variations of the game:

  • play with emotions and colours of voices “cat”, “mouse” and others utter depending on tempo, distance, success, failure…
  • substitute “mouse”, “cat” and other components with parts of a mathematical or chemical formula, a statistic method, archetypes of members of a team (or a family), elements of a project, process or also of a story / treatment / concept: Who is chasing whom? Who “wins”? What happens else when two components meet? What nourishes them?
  • While “cat”, “Mouse”… are chasing the group also passes on a Word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence game – which also could influence “cat”, “mouse”… and their actions
  • Play the game parallel with two, three or more grids that represent different “worlds” – what happens, after these grids are combined with or without the people involved know something of the other worlds, rules, heroes or villains?