Reflection of creating the game (Jill)
Reflection on the development of the pen and paper roll-playing game: „The Dating Game“
Steps of development:
One of our fellow students tried to finish the project he started one semester ago. He wanted to create a dating game but he actually did not know how he should turn his ideas into action. The assignment of the seminar was to create a learning game. The choice of the medium was left to us. At the beginning I thought that it is impossible to connect a dating game to the assignment of creating a learning game but after a short term of thinking about it, me and two fellow students got many ideas why such a dating game can also be applied in a school lesson. Dating means interacting with other people. I define dating competence as a availability and use of cognitive, emotional and motorically behaviour that lead to a pay-off in interpersonal relationships. The pay-off is defined by the subjective goals every person has. Dating ties in with the living environment of youth. Teenagers are confronted with forms of dating every day and especially during adolescence dating starts to play a decisive role in peoples lives. So we thought that the topic dating could be very interesting to teenagers and motivate them to play the game. That is why we wanted to create the game for people from the age of 14. Now we needed a medium to permute the game as close to reality as possible, so we decided to create a pen and paper role-playing game. By playing the roll-playing game not only the players dating competence is upgraded, but also teamwork, tactical acting and forecast, communication, empathy and the assessing of people. Of course it also amuses people. The game can be played by three to six players. One of them is the game master who simultaneously plays the dating target figure. An other is the active player who wants to date the target figure and the others are his wingmen who try to help the active player to reach his goal so everybody gets skill points. Certain target figures in the game have different strengths and weaknesses, so a cooperation of the players can lead to a quick pay-off. That shows cooperation or teamwork is visibly advanced because if the players do not work together it will be much harder to reach the goal. To cope the appearing problems the players have to be fancy and come to an agreement with each other what boosts their logical thinking. You have to work out a plan with your team that leads to the best possible pay-off so communication and tactical acting is essential. And also empathy and the assessing of people is trained during the game because the player and his wingmen have to respond to the target figures behaviour. Otherwise the target (played by the game master) simply turns around and walks away and no skill points are earned to upgrade the own fictional character. One has to assign a character that moves and acts in a fictional world. This world emerges only from the story, the referee is telling, so a further competence upgraded by this roll-playing game is imagination and fantasy. The assigning to a role is also an important competence. Don't we daily and always have to adapt to other people? At the University I act in a different way than I do at home and at home I act in a different way than I would at work or at a gala with very important people. For me all this aspects made clear that a dating game as a roll-playing game definitely can be a learning game, because it teaches and advances essential competences which we need in real live to interact with other people. I think, that all roll-playing games that are somehow connected to real live can be used as learning games for the described competences. Imagine playing “Father, mother, child” or even a war-roll-playing game. The important thing at the end of the game is the reflection. The responsible teacher has to reflect all upcoming discussions, questions and controversies with the whole class.
After a start with a discussion about the reasonability of a dating game as a learning game we had more problems to solve. Just after we began to prearrange the game it became clear that it would assume alarming proportions. So we first discussed the rough raster of the game and then we assigned everyone's duty which we hoped would later make a whole out of some simplified ideas. Often we had the problem, that the devil was in the details about which we could discuss one double period or maybe two. The available time finally lasted for a demo version of our roll-playing dating game. Last but not least the blanking and cluing of our character and location cards confronted us with a reverencing task.
What do we want to upgrade?
During the presentation of our game we played a test round with our fellow students. Along the way we noticed some points we could change. One thing would be one or an other rule that could be changed. An other thing would be the copyright problem we had with the photos of our character cards. My fellow students told me this could be done by a helpful photo shop program which I do not know until now. I mentioned the reflection before. In our game the teacher would have to reflect, that someone who looks good does not stand socially above one who is not that pretty. And we gave the characters descriptions like “The mother´s boy” or “The strict secretary”. So we should mix up the target figures. A man or woman that looks like a supermodel should also be a level 1 target and the other way around. And we should remove the descriptions to avoid displaying stereotypes. Aside from that we should develop more characters and locations and a raster that makes it possible to built someone's own character. This could be nice to expansion the game. Maybe a fantasy-add-on could be possible where you date elves and dwarfs. Ultimately we should think about an other name instead of „The Dating Game“ name.