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_:a meeting:_ playtests

1st PLAYTEST 14/03/20

Hello everyone,

I finally found the energy to document my first playtest of _:a meeting: _ that I did on the 14th of March. It happened a couple of days after Denmark implemented more restrictive meausures on social contact but everyone still was trying to figure out what it meant practically. I could sense a lack of motivation back then already, and it just went worse over the course of the next days. Designing an experience that is about meeting someone in an urban landscape when the maxim of the time says “Don’t see anyone! Stay home!” feels a bit irrelevant. It still does, to be honest…

Preparation and Designing the Meeting

I invited two people, Daphné and Anna, to meet for this playtest. The meeting point was Superkilen – which is a rich and diverse urban park in the middle of Copenhagen. Beforehand I had adjusted my cards a bit to reflect the social distancing measures (which meant to have less touch in the cards).

Additionally I packed all the material that were needed to play all the cards. As you can see on the picture that included a pair of headphones, a timer, blank notes, and two pens.

I introduced my players to the rules, and then we tried to set up the design-part of the meeting. Unfortunately, it was very windy and my cards were not made for that (even though I had glued them to stronger paper). This resulted in the first conclusion:

[1: preferably conduct the design-part indoors]

We found a bit of shelter but still needed to place heavier objects on the cards. It was a bit chaotic. Otherwise designing went on relatively smoothly. At some point Daphné wanted to place another activity-card onto a spot that had already an activity-card. Anna corrected her. During the debrief Daphné came back to that moment, introducing a design-option:

[2: should it be possible to combine different activities for one part?]

The three parts were the following ones:

  1. On Spot Sculpting, 30 minutes, traffic island
  2. Blindfold Walk, Meaningful Ending, playground
  3. Silent Walk, 30 minutes, cosy place + Reflection part afterwards

The Meeting
I will not write about each of the parts individually but more reflect the following actions as a whole. The acticities themselves worked pretty well, and both players seem to enjoy the room for interpretation that the design for each part left them. [3: As a matter of fact, cards that invited interpretation worked better!] The “cosy place” place-card offered more playroom than the “traffic island”, especially since they weren’t sure what that card meant. Also, once I told them they weren’t sure if they would find it in the area (they didn’t). For an experience that is meant to be created spontaneously, this wiggle-room is important. Otherwise the players will get stuck on “doing it right”.

It was a sunny day, but a very cold one. Neither of the players dressed accordingly. In their reasoning, this lead them to ignore the “30 minutes” cards. I actually enjoyed much more that they were not sticking to a time but felt more into when they wanted to end an activity and then move on towards the next one. Again, this feeds into insight N°3.

The moments that I felt most nervous about while observing the playtest, were the moments right at the beginning of a new part. It made me nervous that they were still discussing what to do, how to do it, finding the right spot. In my head I was looking for options how to avoid that. During the debrief, however, we came to another conclusiong: [4: adjusting the design of a part in the beginning of a part, figuring out where and how to do it, is a significant experience of _:a meeting: _ ]. Thinking of it, it also makes sense: it helps me filter my perception of the environment: how does this landscape accomodate what I want to do? It immediately reflects my position inside the world, puts me into relation with it, and therefore achieve one original goal of this game.

Here are some impressions of the actual run:



Next Steps
Outside of doing more playtests in general to gather more experiences, there are some things I want to turn to in a more concentrated fashion. I would like to organize the following sessions (if the current situation would let me):

  • Have an afternoon of just testing all activity cards. Which one work really well? Which one are instructing in a confusing way? Which one are hard to pull off? etc.
  • Print out manual and have people read the manual and play only according to what they get from that (without me explaining anything).

In general I feel that the game is developing in a good direction.

4 Likes

Hello everyone,

I have updated the manual and the cards for _: a meeting : _ now. You find them here:

I would like to run a playtest-session now and thought of making an online-introduction on Friday, 8th of May, 3pm (Berlin time). The way I imagine this is that I introduce you to the rules of the cards, how to run a session of _: a meeting : _ and then you could go and play it yourself. On Monday, 11th of May, same time those who would like to share their experience could meet me online again. This way you have time to either run a session directly after the call on Friday or do it over the weekend.

What you will need to bring/prepare:

  • bring someone you can play with
  • print out the cards yourself

And then there is something I would ask you to do after play: Since I am struggling a bit with the idea of a trailer for my project, I thought of collecting small video recordings of people who answer any of these questions:

  • What do you think these cards are for/about?
  • How do you feel after having used the cards, having played the game?
  • Who do you think should play with these cards?

If you would be up for recording yourself (simply with a phone is enough), and send that to me, I would be very grateful for!

I will explain all of this again during the call on Friday.

Hope to see some of you there!

@sebquack @matteo_uguzzoni @g.ferri @natalia_skoczylas @MariaS @soly @MarinaKy14 @Highfather @BagelandBalloon @LizzieH @LeaLeroy @awhitney

2 Likes

Hi everyone!

We’ll be there! :smiley:

Looking forward to connecting - B+B

1 Like

Hi all,

Where are we meeting for the call?

Francine

1 Like

Follow me here for the meeting: https://meet.jit.si/ameetingplaytest

Hey Thibault, I’ve been trying to join the call, but my internet is too low to even load the page (two days ago my flatmate moved out and took the router with him… I’m using my mobile’s internet connection instead, but it’s terrible). How about I try to play the game myself and send you a message with the feedback?
:slight_smile:

1 Like

I will be about 10min late to our meeting, here are some notes, have lots more!

who is it for: tourists, creative teams,friends
what are these for/cards about: connect in fun way that is not digital, breaking up regular patterns of itneraction, discovering a different dynamic in a relationship

Hey Lizzie, sorry to hear that you couldn’t make it to the call because of connectivity. I am very happy to hear from your experience, though! :slight_smile:

Hello everyone,

we will meet in the same room as last time. I even suggest that we wait the additional 10 minutes, so Francine can be part of the meeting right away.

See you in a bit!