CoTOG. Compilation of Teambuilding Oriented Games C1-4

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1 CoTOG Compilation of Teambuilding Oriented Games C1-4 Benjamin Nicholas Overgaard Casper Marc Vangsted Jákup Klein Jens Stokholm Høngaard Jon Aschberg Mathias Klitgaard Berthelsen Mathias Meldgaard May 24, 2012

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3 Det Teknisk-Naturvidenskabelige Basisår Naturvidenskab Strandvejen Telefon Fax Synopsis: Title: CoTOG - Compilation of Teambuilding Oriented Games Theme: Interaction Design / Human Computer Confluence - Assistive Technology Projectperiod: P2, Summer semester 2012 This report sets out to investigate the potential of electronic interactive media as tool for team building. There are few explicit team building oriented electronic solutions, and our research and testing revealed that there really is a potential for incorporating at least some aspects of what encompass team building excersizes into electronic media for broader applications of this type of team intervention. Projectgroup: C1-4 Supervisor: Lars Knudsen Christina Grann Myrdal Circulation: 5 Pages: DVD Appendix Number: 30 Finished on May 24th 2012 Members: Benjamin Nicholas Overgaard Casper Marc Vangsted Jákup Klein Jens Stokholm Høngaard Jon Aschberg Mathias Klitgaard Berthelsen Mathias Meldgaard The report content is freely accessible, but the publication (with source) may only be made by agreement with the authors.

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5 Preface This is a report done by 2nd semester Medialogy group C1-4 at Aalborg Univeristy, in the period February to May. The report serves as a documentation of the process from the initial problem that founded the project to the final product and conclusion. The semester project theme was Interaction Design - Human Computer Confluence with the sub theme: Assistive Technology. The theme was about developing an assistive technology or device to help solve or prevent a problem. Alternatively the solution could be an improvement on already existing technologies. An appendix is included in the report, consisting of a questionnaire form, a survey response on the questionnaire, an interview with the founder of a team building company, product schematics, final testing assignments and reflection questions. When referencing to external sources, a number in square-brackets will guide to the bibliography, which is found right before the appendix. When referencing to figures, a one-decimal number will be shown, guiding to the corresponding figure. The first number corresponds to the chapter, and the last number corresponds to the figure number. When referencing to the appendix, a letter and a number will tell you, which appendix section the subject refers to. Thanks to Gert Holm, founder of Team Building Aalborg, for taking the time to let us interview him. Thanks to Kasper Søndergaard Batz, Per Palmus, Jacob Jensen and Gustav Dahl for testing our hi-fi prototype and providing us with valuable feedback. Thanks to various Medialogy students for testing and commenting our lo-fi prototypes. Thanks to Lars for being an awesome supervisor. I

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7 Contents 1 Introduction Initial Problem Problem Analysis Survey Conclusion Evaluation for Improvement Theory and Research Team Development Team Building Conclusion Existing Team Building Solutions Interview Summary Conclusion Target Group Analysis MINERVA Model MOSAIC model Conclusion Electronic Interactive Solutions Summary and Conclusion Problem Statement Success Criteria Design Game Theory The Definition of a Game Knowing the Goals of the Game Balancing a Game Team Building Through Games Designing the Game The initial idea Prototypes Prototype Prototype Prototype Test Objectives II

8 4 The Product The Communication Game Electronics Software The button problem Hi-fi Prototype Testing Initiating Assignments Electronic Board Game Exercise Reflection Analysis Post-game Feedback Evaluation of Test Objectives Conclusion Future Implementation Limitations 60 Bibliography 62 A Survey Live Form 63 B Survey Responses 66 C Interview 71 D Early Multiplex sketch 89 E Schematics 90 F Initiating Group Assignments 91 G Reflection Questions 92 III

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10 Chapter 1 Introduction Games have an extraordinary ability to get people together in a fun environment. Games make people show sides of themselves they probably wouldn t have shown otherwise - for better or worse. Some games make friends compete against each other, some demands the players to work together. As a student on Aalborg University the good teamwork is everything. Good teamwork is the key element to a good project and an all around good team performance. But this is not always that easily achieved. This report will introduce and go in-depth with how to improve teams on several aspects, and will elaborate on the theory behind, how a game can contribute to team development - or more specifically, team building. The initiating brainstorms of the project pinpointed the interest of the group lying somewhere in the act of team building; improving social interactions between members of a group or team, ultimately resulting in their cooperative work efficiency being increased. It was decided that this was the theme of the project, to develop some sort of solution or product that would strengthen a team in its entirety and its productivity using team building techniques. This would require some research about, what kind of scientific team building journals, reports, and theories have been made and are available, and what kind of techniques and exercises existing team building products have to offer. 1.1 Initial Problem As the project partially required to include some sort of electronic media or device in order to successfully meet the expectations set by the study regulations, this approach was regarded as the project kicked off and an initial problem was formulated. In addition, a sub-course to the semester project required the invention of an electronic device and another sub-course was about interaction design. This together with the subject of team building led to the following sentence to serve as the initial problem to begin the project: Can we improve team building through the use of electronic interactive media? 1

11 Chapter 2 Problem Analysis The purpose of the survey section in this chapter is to investigate team work itself and thus determine if problems within team work at all exist and which problems may occur. This is then followed by a theory and research section that will focus on team building from an academic perspective, thereby setting a fundamental understanding of team building and the different types of team building. Other than learning about team building through theory, the practical use of team building will be explored both by researching common exercises and by interviewing the founder of a company which specializes in team building. These two sections are both included in this chapter. After thoroughly exploring team building itself, possible target groups for the product are considered. This will benefit the process of designing the product. Subsequently, this chapter considers possible platforms the product can be developed for where the focus is electronic interactive media as mentioned in the initial problem. Finally, after a summary and conclusion, a proper problem statement together with a list of success criteria will set the stage for the design chapter and function as the foundation and goal of the product. 2.1 Survey From the initial problem, the project needs a foundation - a documentation of the problem s actual existence - in order to safely progress further without blind assumptions. It is required to solidly conclude that the problem actually exists; preferably achieved through feedback from society or a potential target group. In order to build this foundation, a survey was made to see, whether the problem actually existed in society and if it was relevant to work with. The best approach was deemed to be a questionnaire, because a quantitative response would be of most use at this stage. A more qualitative research, such as an interview, would be better suited for later, when the problem is located and needs to be analyzed in-depth. In the survey people were asked about a range of different questions in relation to team building and communication; the core being questions about how important they thought communication in group work was, if they preferred to work in groups or alone, and if they had ever witnessed a very obstructive or even hostile group conflict. They were also asked to rate some different group problem areas to see, which ones they thought obstructed group performance the most, in order to better identify the problem, its origins, and peaks - which potentially could turn out to be a great help and time-saver. This, along with some basic demographic questions to characterize the specific types of people, would hopefully call for a response to serve as a good first step for the project. The final survey that was sent out can be found in the Appendix A. 2

12 The survey was distributed through the online social media Facebook, where anyone could participate and answer. It was done so only to get a first hand impression of the field. It was expected that a great part of the responses would be from fellow Medialogy students, and the remaining from family and friends. This means that some responses could be a bit biased and not fully trustworthy. In addition, the responses would most likely not be so widespread in age, education and experience. Therefore, the survey was not formally fully reliable as there was never optimized a specific target group, but it was never meant to be used for gathering real market analysis statistics to use as scientific documentation in the first place; it was simply made to get the rough idea of people s opinions on the matter and hopefully create a generalization that could point the project towards the best course. At this points it was planned that the questionnaire had to be revised and redistributed to a more specific target group later in the project to get the concrete statistics for documentation. The survey got 60 responses in a couple of days (results are found in the Appendix B). Note that the clarification text to each question is not shown on the response sheet. Also note that the numbers written in this section of the report to summarize and conclude the survey do not always match those the Google Docs Spreadsheet shows, as the calculations made there do not consider the blank answers (the percentages do not sum up to 100%). The survey recorded a total of 60 answers, but e.g. only 53 answers were given to the question How important do you find good communication in a group work?, summing up the percentages to 89%. This means that new calculations were to be made to get the actual number given from the responses to the respective questions. The reason why blank answers appeared is unknown, as all except one question were marked as required. The results showed, among other things, that half of the survey participants could not clearly pick one working method over the other, and the remaining half were about evenly balanced between the preference of working in groups and working alone. It was a surprising statistic to see that 22.4% of the participants actually preferred to work alone on a task or project, away from any kind of group collaboration, if they had the opportunity. Four of the indecisive responders stated in the appurtenant comment section that it depended too much on the situation and subject for them to pick one method over the other. Two others said that it depended on the quality of the people you would have to work in group with. Those who preferred group work, had various reasons for this and were split among the following: Being more minds on one task increases the work outcome, as several minds think faster and process work better than one. There are overall better dynamics, and it is easier to eliminate all the subjective formulations and approaches and give a more professional, objective perceptive to the work due to the different opinions and ways of thinking. There is more knowledge available so you can learn from one another and more research can be done. The responsibility towards the group can function as a motivator, and being in a working environment due to the presence of the group can help keep focus on the task. Those with a preference for working alone also had different reasons for preferring so, but the responses given could be categorized into 4 different main reasonings. 3 people said that there often is a problem with synergy in a group such as different ambitions, motivation and understanding, and it obstructs the group performance too much for it to be worthwhile compared to working alone. 2 others said that they simply did not have enough faith in the other group members abilities, and the standard of the group s work outcome would almost always be too low, requiring a redo of practically everything to meet a proper standard. 3 people stated that being in full control of one s task or project and the outcome of it when working alone is a supreme encouragement and makes them prefer so. Finally, 2 comments said that the responsibility towards the group is too discouraging. An interesting quotation from one of the supporters of working alone, which was not accounted for in above statistics, said: The benefits of cooperation are often overshadowed by the costs of coordination... 3

13 So simply speaking, the act of adapting to one another and working towards a common mind set can often obstruct and outweigh those benefits the act of group coorporation can contribute with in terms of progress. On a scale from 1 to 5, 90, 5% of the people rated the importance of good communication in group work as 5 - Very important, which clearly indicates that this is an aspect of importance, when considering how to work with team building. It was, however, not a surprising result, but a necessary documentation to form the foundation of the project. 82, 5% have witnessed group conflicts that went as far as obstructing the progress or where group members turned hostile towards one another, and 67, 3% have been part of conflicts like these, where almost half the remaining answers were given as In doubt. This hints towards there being one or more problems that can be looked at and perhaps solved to improve the collaboration in many groups. Due to the inspicific target group for this questionnaire survey, it is not yet safe to conclude, that numbers like these are also present in for instance teams in workplaces. The demographic questions showed that about one third of the participants were female, which suggests that the number of Medialogy students who participated in the survey may not have been so dominating after all as first thought, since there is a great lack of females on the Medialogy course (only about 13% in the Medialogy Facebook group where the survey was published, among other places). The age distribution, however, placed 96, 6% in the age range from years old, which was surprisingly narrow. A graph about the age distribution can be seen on figure 2.1. Since there were only 2 participants outside the mainstream age range (40 and 44 years old), it would in any case not be safe to conclude any stereotyping identification on these due to the low amount of responses in their age group. Figure 2.1: Survey response: Age distribution. These demographic questions are not very useful as lone numbers, but could prove useful when analyzing the correlation between the other questions such as preferences, group conflicts, and opinions on what obstructs work the most, and these demographic questions in attempt to identify or stereotype specific types of people. It was, however, decided that this kind of in-depth analysis was not required from this initiating survey, as its purpose was much simpler. The survey participants were asked what educations they had finished. Even though the clarification text to the question clearly said that the responses should include ALL finished educations, 15 did still not do so, making the responses to this particular question somewhat unvalid. These 4

14 had instead, assumably, only checked off their last finished education. However, by manually looking through all the responses, it was possible to work out and quite precisely estimate the actual numbers. For instance, a response had marked only Ph.d. as their finished education, but that would in actuality also add Primary education, Secondary education, Bachelor degree, and Masters degree to their answer, since you cannot achieve a Ph.d. without having finished all these educations leading to it. Vocational educations is the odd man out in this correlation, as you only require a primary and sometimes a secondary education to be accepted for a vocational education, and it does not officially lead to a university education afterwards. But there still remains a chance that one or more of those 15, who marked Secondary education or higher as their finished education, have also finished a vocational education on the side and perhaps changed for another education afterwards, or were later accepted for a university education based on their quota 2 experience. As this uncertainty was quite slim and could not be better estimated, it was chosen to be disregarded in the statistics correction process. With the correcting done, the new statistics show the following: Primary education: 59 Secondary education: 52 Vocational education: 6 Bachelor degree: 8 Masters degree: 3 Ph.d.: 1 By the looks of it, clearly most of the responders were in the middle of their bachelor or vocational education by the time they participated in the survey, or they simply stopped studying after graduating from a secondary education. This question was originally included in order to identify a pattern between people s educational experience and their opinion on group work, but was later chosen not to be analyzed after all, as its relevance seemed to decrease as the project continuously progressed. As the survey had various uncertainties and was demoted to a first-hand impression, the project resources seemed better spent elsewhere at that given time. Figure 2.2: Survey response: Group work obstructions. The different responses on what people throught obstructed group the most work differed from one another, but it was hard to get the right overview by looking at the figures alone. They were then put into a table to calculate the magnitude of people s average opinion on every case (see figure 2.2). 5

15 The questions made use of a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 was Not obstructive, 3 was Moderately obstructive, and 5 was Very obstructive. Therefore, the questions that weighed the most towards the 5 had to be the areas, that the average person thought most obstructive for a group related work. The question with the highest average number would then have to be the most obstructive issue for working in group according to the average survey participant. The values -2, -1, 0, 1, and 2 were assigned to the respective scores from 1 to 5, so for instance the middle option 3 - Moderately obstructive would return the value 0 to the table. By looking at the average score per answer as the table showed, it was easy to see that Unclear goals and Lack of feedback between members were the top scores, followed by Lack of planning, Selfishness etc. Obstructions like Uneven work delegation and Misinterpretations were in most cases rated as being not nearly as obstructive as the rest, although they were still on the positive side of the scale and did still get some scores of 5. This points the interest of the project mainly towards that of communicating task objectives to a level of mutual understanding as well as returning proper feedback between group members Conclusion There obviously seems to be something to work with in this area, and by the numbers it also seems to have most people s interest, as they rated the importance of good communication in a group as being very important. In conclusion it is clear that one or more problems are present in today s average group work or team, and that there is something to improve on. The survey did manage to pinpoint, which obstructions seemed to be the most vital and essential to work with. Unclear goals and Lack of feedback between members were rated as the biggest obstructions, indicating that inconsistency and communication could be some of the main issues in group related working methods. Based on the reasonings given for prefering a solo or group working method over the other, and the inspiringly formulated quotation, it has also come to interest what kind of elements need to be present in a group for people to light their enthusiasm and motivation for it. To summarize the survey it is safest to say that it should remain as just a first impression of the subject that the project is aiming to work with. This means that no kind of in-depth analysis will be made for this survey, because it is not comprehensive enough in several aspects. It would be much wiser to revise the questionnaire and its target group for any future analysis Evaluation for Improvement Overall, the questionnaire survey supplied with a good basis for the project, but after evaluating it, it was clear that some key improvements could have been made, and are essential for any future revising of the survey. The most important change to be made, was to find a better online questionnaire survey engine than Google s Spreadsheet, as it simple does not have all the chaining and filtering options required for analysing the responses. In addition, it provides a very poor overview of the responses. This means that it is very troublesome to see things like, All those, who finished at least a bachelor education, what do they find the most obstructive in a group work, and does it differ from the average?. Another argument for finding a different site for future questionnaires is the fact that there were unexplainable blank responses to several questions, even though they were marked as required. For instance, most questions had 58 responses, but one question only had 53, another 57 and a third 49 responses. An alternative questionnaire engine could be SurveyMonkey [1], which seem to be much more professional and provides better solution to addressed issues, but this decision belongs with the 6

16 beginning of any future survey in the project. From the responses it was clear that questions and the predetermined options for the answers had to be as clear as possible, and highlighting the keywords as in Please check off ALL of your completed education was simply not enough as approximately 25% still managed not to do so. The reason that a multiple choice setting was not chosen for this particular question was due to the vocational education, which has no fixed connection to the other educations like the rest has. The text to the questions about, what group problems obstructs the most, was very limited and not very thorough. During the evaluation it was concluded that some descriptions, mainly the obstruction regarding Favoritism, were simply too vague to be satisfactory, and this did most likely influence the oucome of its responses. Under any circumstance, an option saying something like In doubt to these different questions about obstructions would have been a good way to avoid these neutral ratings that influence the statistics. Due to this, Favoritism was also regarded as invalid. The appurtenant comments box to the question regarding working method preference should have been formulated in a way to better reflect that anyone could write their reason behind their preference. The way it was formulated upon release suggested that only those who either preferred working alone or working in group could write their comments, when those who could not decide upon one method should also have something to say. The fact that the questionnaire was written in English and was released to a mainly Danish audience could have an influence on some the participants understanding of the questions. There is a chance, that some did not fully understand every question and thereby did not answer correctly. Because the survey was published openly to anyone, there was no reason that foreigners were also required to answer the questionnaire like if the survey was directed towards a specific workplace - they could just pass it. Optimally, the survey should have been written in Danish. During the survey evaluation, it was also discussed that the questionnaire should have included the question What is your current occupation? to see, what differences there are between a worker s and a student s opinions, and whether the work profession has an influence. It would also be interesting to see, how the relation was between the average group member and his or her superior or team leader to see, if this made a difference with any of the remaining opinions. Overall, such questions could prove very useful when relating them to the other questions to better identify groups of people. Some survey participants wrote in a comments section, that not all relevant obstructions were mentioned in the questionnaire, and proposed with the following to add: lack of commitment, neglection, bullying, and group members not showing up. These were discussed and deemed not to be on par with the top scores the table showed, but would still be relevant to implement in a future questionnaire. 2.2 Theory and Research The purpose of this chapter is to go in-depth with team building theory by gathering and comparing existing scientific researches about the subject in order to get a firm grasp of its concept and its content. This will create a basic understanding and terminology, which will contribute to constructing a final problem statement and in general future work with the subject Team Development As the focus of this report is centered around team building, it is important to note that there are alternative solutions to solving team problems or improving teams than simply team building. 7

17 According to a scientific journal researching if team building works [2], team building together with team training is a subcategory of team development. Team development is defined as a term used for interventions that generally serve the purpose of preventing or solving team conflicts and thereby improving team functioning and efficiency. The following citation from the journal gives an idea of just how essential team development can be for team efficiency and productivity: Consider a research study conducted by Macy and Izumi (1993), who analyzed 131 studies of organizational change. They found that interventions with the largest effects upon financial measures of organizational performance were team-development interventions. That is, of all organizational interventions, those that focus on team development had the largest effect on measures of financial performance. [2] Another scientific journal about building effective teams [3] goes in-depth with team development and describes it as being split up into five stages; forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. These five stages are also what is called the Tuckman model, which is just another name for the team developmental model. The purpose of this model is to describe the process of a group from the point of it being formed to the point where a group can work effectively until the group splits up. The forming stage is the first stage right after the group has been formed and all members have been selected. In this stage, team members are usually enthusiastic and motivated, but they are uncertain about the group s purpose and goals. At the same time, they are yet unfamiliar and don t quite trust each other. To reach positive results in this stage, it is important that the team members get to know each other. This is mainly done by identifying strengths, weaknesses and in general how they should interact with one another. The storming stage is where team members start to show their individual ideas, approaches, and work styles. At this point, members usually have not established their roles yet, so it is common that many frustrations and conflicts arise mainly because of role ambiguity and competition for influence. In this stage, the group consists of many individual ideas and therefore a lot of resistance between team members can occur as they strive towards a more collective cooperation. The norming stage, in opposition to the storming stage, is where group members start to think collectively and work as one unit. At this point, members have adapted to each other s differences, roles have been clarified, and they have developed a respect for one another. This results in more natural and fluid team work, so the team can start to shift the focus from interpersonal relations to decision-making activities related to the group s tasks. The performing stage focuses on the tasks the group wishes to solve in order to reach a common goal. At this point, motivation, satisfaction, and efficiency within the group is very high, which results in a high productivity. This stage can only be reached if the group has managed to move successfully through the previous stages, and it is the stage that all groups strive to reach. For this reason, it is quite essential to focus on the early stages of team development in order to create a good foundation for the group. The final stage; adjourning, takes place after the group tasks have been completed. This stage can be seen as the aftermath of the group where group members either have negative or positive feelings about the results depending on how the interpersonal relationships worked out within the group. When analysing the Tuckman model described above, it may seem as if a group goes through these stages chronologically without the ability to return to certain stages. However, an assumption would say that the group returns to certain stages if either a conflict arises or if there is a change in the group. For instance, if new group members join the group, or more importantly, if old group members are replaced, the group might need to go back to either the forming or storming stages depending on how much has been changed within the group. If the infrastructure is partially replaced all of a sudden, then it is of course essential to go back and restructure it for best efficiency. 8

18 As mentioned before, it has been documented that team development contains two subcategories; team building and team training with each subcategory belonging to certain stages of the Tuckman model. The main difference between the two is that team building is people-focused and is therefore mostly about reaching a consensus through for instance strengthening interpersonal relationships or setting goals, while team training is more skill-focused and about strengthening group competencies such as solving specific skill-based tasks more efficiently. Both team building and team training can be improved through exercises, however, whether they improve team building or team training relies heavily on the intentions of the given exercise and who is participating. For instance, a company might play a game of paintball to get workers to socialize and thereby improve team building, while a group of professional paintball players might play to train their skills and thereby improve team training in that specific area. This also means that exercises which are used for team building are more universal to different types of teams, whether the team consists of for instance software engineers or policemen, while exercises that are used for team training must fit the profession of the team members. When comparing these two categories to the Tuckman model mentioned earlier, it can be assumed that team building exercises belong to the initial stages such as forming, storming and partially norming, since they focus on social relations while team training exercises mainly belong to the performing stage, since it focuses on training skills. After researching the area of team development, the relations between team development, team building, and team training have become more clear. The results of this research have shown that team building only applies to the social interaction between team members, whereas team training focuses on skill-improvement. This defines the focus of the project to only include the team building aspects - social interactions between team members - which belong in the first three stages of the Tuckman model, whereas all team training aspects will be disregarded Team Building In order to understand what team building means other than being a way to strengthen certain social elements of a team, the definition of team building, its purpose, and its elements, will be explained in this section. Team building is the process of helping a work group become more effective in accomplishing its tasks and satisfying the needs of group members [4] This is a very general definition of team building as it describes it on a basic level without using keywords such as interpersonal relationships or team goals, which were used previously. This definition fits very well with the idea of using team building in the early stages of the Tuckman model, since it explains how team building supports the effectiveness of the team and helps prepare for the coming performing stage, without providing the group members with skills that directly enhance their performance. Regarding the purpose of team building, there are quite a few disagreements between scientific researchers. One article[5] describes the purpose of team building as a way to provide skills, promote high levels of team performance, and increase commitment to and interest in team work. In another article[6], the author describes it as a way to develop team members awareness, practical skills, and a belief in the power of teamwork. However, in a different article[2], the author states that team building is designed to help team members understand the role and value of team leadership, effective interpersonal communication, goals and vision, and the need for team unity, cohesiveness, and commitment. When comparing these three statements with one another, the first two claim that team building both consists of social, performance and skill-based elements of team work, thus claiming that team 9

19 training is a part of team building. This contradicts both the theory that was mentioned in the team development section of this report and the last statement just mentioned, which makes it hard and confusing to get an understanding of what team building exactly is. Therefore, it can only be assumed which statement seems most reliable. In this case, the third one seems most reliable. The reason for this is that compared to the Tuckman model, team building would have to cover all stages except for the last one according to the first two statements, even though there is a big gap between the third and the fourth stages of the Tuckman model. As explained in the previous section, when a team wishes to focus on improving its social functions through exercises, the intentions of the exercises are completely different from if the team wished to focus on improving its perfomance and skills. Therefore, it seems odd to see team building and team training as one and the same. With a general definition of team building and its purpose in place, the different elements of team building can be explained in depth. As mentioned above, important parts of team building are team leadership, interpersonal communication, goals and vision, team unity, cohesiveness, and commitment. A leader s job is to set goals and strategies so that the team members know what to do and where the project is going [7]. Where one would think that this would be a good place to use belbins leadership roles [8] to get the best leader possible, it might be wrong. However, it must be recognized that these models will not work as team building. These are designed to maximize effectiveness, they are team effectiveness models. As far team building is concerned, the leader s job is to motivate the team to perform best possible. A team leader s responsibility is for the overall communication between team members and communication between the team and the outside world [8]. If the work preformed by the team is of such a character that is demands much knowledge and research, then it is the leaders responsibly to make sure that all team members have the information needed to perform their best possible job. The most powerful leadership is when there is not one person controlling the team, but rather when the different responsibilities are divided between the team members[8]. It has been shown that this democratic leadership is more innovative and has a bigger profit [7]. Leaders can be divided in three groups [9]. Instrumental, affective and ethical. The Instrumental leader is only focused on the task that has to be preformed. While the affective and ethical leaders are able to to give out knowledge and power. There are undoubtedly assignments that demand an instrumental leader, but generally speaking should it be more advantages for the organization to make their instrumental leaders affective and/or ethical. Interpersonal interaction is a general term used for describing actions between team members and can be seen as the same as interpersonal communication[3]. Interpersonal interaction is often anaylzed in association with temperament type theories, which are theories used for specifically identifying a common interpersonal problem known as interpersonal tension[10] [11]. Interpersonal tension occurs when there are misunderstandings or resistance between two or more indviduals in an interpersonal interaction[10] [11]. By using temperament type theories, differences between people can be identified and optimal teams can be constructed by grouping individuals without major differences together or adjustments can be made in an already existing team[10]. One temperament type theory known as the Social Styles Profile[12], describes differences between individuals through interpersonal styles. According to this theory, each individual has his or her own interpersonal style, which consists of two dimensions of human interaction: Assertiveness and responsiveness. Assertiveness is described as the degree to which an individual attempts to influence the thoughts and actions of others, while responsiveness is the degree to which an individual expresses feelings when relating with others. These two dimensions of human interaction are both used in one-on-one and group interactions between people. 10

20 Figure 2.3: Social Styles Profile [13] According to the social styles profile theory, each individual has his or her own mixture of assertiveness and respoviness. This makes up a person s s interpersonal style, which for most people falls into on of the following three categories: Analytical style, driver style, amiable style, and expressive style. In the figure above, the different interpersonal styles corresponding to the different degrees of both assertiveness and responsiveness can be seen. People with the ask characteristic are less assertive and have a tendency to hold back and not take control during interpersonal interaction. Instead of giving orders, individuals with this characteristic take orders. Styles with this characteristic are the analytical and amiable. In opposition to this type of style, individuals with the tell characteristic are more assertive and have a more dominating interpersonal style, where it is common to give orders instead of taking them. The driving and expressive styles both share this characteristic. More responsive interpersonal styles such as amiable and expressiveness, which have the emotes characteristics, are typical for people who are very extroverted with their emotions. This means they are very open and influential on other people s moods. The analytical and driving interpersonal styles are less responsive and suit individuals who are good at controlling their emotions and staying serious focused on the task. This also means that they can be a bit harsh compared to the more responsive interpersonal styles. Each interpersonal style also has certain motivations that come with it. For instance, analyticals are motivated by a need of respect, drivers are motivated by power, amiables are motivated by approval, and expressives are motivated by recognition. Each style also has its own speciality, which means it has a certain function which it is best at. The analytical s speciality is technical, the drivers is control, the admiables is supportive, and the expressives is social. Comparing this with the amount of assertion and responsiveness as mentioned earlier, it is clear that there is a difference between the less responsive and the more responsive styles. The less responsive styles have specialities that are very focused on the task, while the less responsive styles have specialities that are focused on other 11

21 people. According to the Tuckman model, one of the first parts of team development in the forming stage involves learning about team members ways of interacting with each other. This means that interpersonal styles assumably are identified by team members very early on during team development. With an understanding of how people s ways of interacting with each other can differ, it is now easier to see how conflicts can arise if there are either too many of the same or too many different interpersonal styles within a group. Conflicts can especially arise if the individual group members do not know how to interact with people of different styles than their own. Well thought out and challenging goals, both in individual and group-related contexts, are very important parts of building incentive and motivation for a team and their projects [14]. Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham s article from 2002 describes how simply aiming to do your best will result in significantly lower performance than actually having concrete goals to work towards. There are other types of goals than the typical task oriented performance goals (PGO); learning goals (LGO), where you work towards a gaining of knowledge or skills can be more motivating than performance goals, but according to Harackiewicz, Barron, Carter, Lehto, and Elliott s study from 1997[15] of college students and goals, it was found that there was no improvement in performance when utilizing learning goals, though there was an increase of interest in the subject, and vice versa when working with performance goals. There is not a large amount of data gathered about the utilization of learning goals in either individual or group contexts, and it might therefore be quite interesting for us to lead test subjects into using LGO and of course PGO and combinations of the two in our tests and solutions if possible. As mentioned earlier in the description of the Tuckman model, in the initial stage, team members are often unaware of their common goal in the very beginning. Since team members don t actually begin to cooperate and share ideas until the storming stage, it can be assumed that the initial steps of goal setting are found in this stage. Unity is an element of team building, which has not been explained in depth throughout the different scientific articles about team building. It is therefore difficult to gain more knowledge about it other than the definitions of the word itself. One scientific article about team unity set in the context of physical sports [16] defines team unity as a certain threshold that is achieved when one or more entities (people, groups, communities, organizations, and/or nations) are able to coordinate behavior, so they act as one and are consistently coherent when working with one or more tasks over time. If the entities do not reach this threshold, it is considered as disunity. Compared to the Tuckman model, team unity clearly belongs to the norming stage, since it involves team members being able to act as a unit, which is the purpose of this stage. In a scientific article about cohesiveness and leadership across cultures [17], cohesiveness is defined as the degree of attraction and motivation of team members to remain in the given group. It both consists of the forces that attract members to the group and the incentives for members to remain in the group. Finally, the article states that employees in cohesive groups value their membership and wish to maintain the positive relationships with the rest of the group. According to this definition, cohesiveness seems like it exists throughout all stages of the Tuckman model, since it is a constant factor that determines how attracted team members are to their group. It is not explained which factors exactly influence attraction to groups, however it can be assumed that it has something to do with interpersonal interaction in the group, since its success like interpersonal interaction depends a lot on how much group members like to work with each other. Commitment is a word defining the relative strenght of an individual team member s identification and involvement in a given team. This definition comes from a scientific article examining team commitment in self-directed team environments [18], which also contains the following citation about commitment on page 439: It can be characterized by (a) a strong belief in, and acceptance of, the 12

22 organization s (or team s) goals and values; (b) a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization (or team); and (c) a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization (or team). Based on this definition, commitment seems like it is very dependant on the individual team member s interest in the team and is therefore a very personal matter. Since the focus of this article is on self-directed teams, the characteristics of commitment are mentioned as percieved task interdependance, satisfaction with supervision, and satisfaction with coworkers. Comparing this theory to the Tuckman model, it can be assumed that an individual s commitment to a team can be established after the forming stage. The reason for this is that team members do not have a common goal and vision and have not had time to establish relationships at this point. Now that there is a basic foundation of team building in place and knowledge about the different elements of team building, it is more clear which aspects of team building should be included in the product. This will also serve as inspiration while coming up with the idea for the product Conclusion By learning about the different stages of team development and thereafter the different types of team building through a range of various theories in this chapter, a basic understanding of team building has been reached. This knowledge will benefit further analysis of existing team building solutions and create a foundation, which the design of the product can be based on. One of the major conclusions that can be drawn from this chapter is the term team development and the delimitation of team building and team training. Here it was discovered that team building only involves the social aspects of the group and if completed successfully, improves team training, which focuses on solving specific tasks. Team building and team training were also compared to the Tuckman model, where it was assessed that team building takes place in the initial stages of team development, so team building comes before team training. After locating team building within team development, an in-depth look at team building showed that team building focuses on improving leadership, interpersonal communication, goals, unity, cohesiveness, and commitment within a group. Each aspect was then researched and explained. However, there is quite a difference in both the quantity and quality of the scientific research that lies behind each part of team building. So the knowledge of some team building aspects such as unity and cohesiveness are limited. Interpersonal communication here seems like the team building aspect with the most theory behind it. It also seems like a very important part of team building and team development in general compared to the other aspects due to it being mentioned so frequently in team development theories and the fact that 90, 5% of the participants of the survey mentioned in the last section described communication as a very important aspect of team work. 2.3 Existing Team Building Solutions Before finding a way of approach to resolve the given problem, it is important to first take a look on the field to find the state of the art and see, if there are any solutions in form of products, courses, exercises, etc. available on the market that resemble what this project will eventually come up with. Perhaps there is already a fitting solution that could be improved on. This is an important step to avoid inventing something already existing all over again. By simply searching for team building on Google, it is easy to see that there are countless of different team building exercises available on the market, ranging from mysterious murder cases that has to be solved to racing, roleplaying, cooking, exploring, etc. Team building exercises are built on a lot of different hobbies, assumably in attempt to appeal towards any kind of interest. The exercises 13

23 mainly center around socializing events where teams have to communicate and work together to solve a given task and perhaps compete against one or more opposing teams. As an example, gastronomic team building exercises, revolving around the art of cooking, is one of the more popular team building exercises at the moment [19]. In a kitchen environment where the goal is to produce a meal through teamwork while sticking to a deadline, the work delegation and requirements to both responsibility, competencies, and leadership are something that can easily be set in comparisson to a team oriented workplace environment, and hence the challenge and experience can be reflected in the team spirit on the workplace after the exercise. What is so significant about the gastronomic team building exercises is the less solemn atmosphere roaming in the cosy environment of a kitchen, where you normally relax and have a good time, disconnecting from a streesful work day. This can give a more homely feel to the exercise so it does not feel as yet another stressful work exercise, but can actually be driven by sparetime interests. Most team building exercises are like that; trying to bring the team together on a task in an environment far from their every day at work, often outdoor, for the team members to stress off and have a good time while getting to know each other on a not-work-related level, and by that improving their interpersonal relations and teamwork through fun, socializing, and by having participated in a mutual adventure. These types of team building exercises appeal mostly towards the (1) forming and (2) storming stage in the Tuckman model in attempt to lead the team towards the (3) norming stage. They are often used as icebreakers in newly formed groups. Some exercises make use of electronic devices as the media improving team building. GPS adventures require a team to be split into two parts, having one part back at the base with a cellphone and a GPS map to monitor the other part s location, and they must issue orders to lead them towards the objective [20] to overcome the challenge of the exercise. Such exercise promotes the development of a bond of trust and mutual understanding between the two parts in order to communicate and coordinate properly. Being coached or supervised team-wise during an ordinary work day is also a way to learn what team building has to teach. For a third party to jump in whenever something in the team does not work out as supposed to - for instance a way of adressing another team member, not formulating feedback or criticism in a constructive way, or overloading a specific team member with work when others are free or better suited at that moment - can be an excellent way to directly make the team aware of their mistakes and how to improve right on the spot. Compared to the Tuckman-model, coaching a team would be best suited in the later stages - (3) norming or (4) performing - when the team already know each other and have settled as one unit, but keep having some consisting teamworking issues they cannot see or fix themselves. The commonly seen existing team building solutions appear to be either a physical exercise or task that has to be solved through teamwork, or a sort of verbal consulation to teach the team members. However, there are also some games that require team work in order to win. For instance, the card game Kemps [21] is where the players group up in teams of two and two and have a common goal, which they must achieve before the other teams by reading each other s play and tactic. The purpose is to collect four of a kind by switching cards from your hand with those on the table one at a time, and when you finally have collected a full set, you send a secret signal to your partner that should appear invisible to the other teams, telling him you are done. He should then respond with the shout Kemps! and the team wins, but if you get caught with a full set, the other teams can shout Stop Kemps! to make you lose. This game strengthens the relations between two participants as they need to come to a mutual 14

24 level of understanding in order to play optimally for the sake of winning. It requires adapting to one anothers personal traits and planning a common strategy to win the game with, as well as being able to read each other s moves during the play and plan their own moves accordingly. Kemps is more of a game made for fun than an actual exercise and is not a fitting solution to solve an actual team issue, and for improving the team in team building aspects there are much better solutions. There does, however, exist one or more board games developed for the sake of improving team building, which are sold to organizations and corporations. One of them is Know Me [22] which is for team members to improve their interpersonal relationships by asking questions and getting the players to tell about themselves. It is a suite of board games developed for establishing trust in a team. Video games also offer a wide range of cooporative multiplayer activities that, depending on how you approach them, can require much communication, teamwork, and information sharing. Mainstream video games such as World of Warcraft, the Battlefield series, all games in the MOBA genre (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) [23], even coorporative puzzle games like OMGPOP s [24] Jigsawce [25], etc., are games that encourage coorporation. If you aim for high level gaming in these games, collaboration is a necessity. World of Warcraft, specifically, has often been looked at from a team building perspective, because it enables the forming of role-divided teams, which is very relevant to team building [26]. Even if there are team building aspects present in some video games like those mentioned, they were developed as entertainment and not as team building exercises, making them poor solutions to actual team issues compared to actual team building exercises. However, they are still useful in this relation as they undoubtly teach some of the same relevant team building competencies. Apart from the GPS exercises and video games, there does not seem to be any existing team building solutions that make use of an electronic interactive media in order to educate teams in team building. There appears to be no electronic devices that have been invented as actual team building exercises. This could be due to the amount of effort required compared to the effectiveness of such solution when comparing to the ordinary team building exercise as a solution. 2.4 Interview Summary In order to get an in depth understanding of the practical use of team building beyond finding common exercises, an interview was conducted with founder of Team Building Aalborg, Gert Holm. Team Building Aalborg is an organization that specializes in team building solutions and other activities such as staff parties for organizations. Team Building Aalborg has existed since year 2000 and currently consists of five staff members. According to their website[27], their team building solutions are focused on communication, effectiveness, and cooperative training. All exercises take place in the outdoors and focus on implementing theory through practical and educational exercises. The following is a summary of the interview transcripted seen in appendix C. Throughout the interview, there are references to a game idea, which was being brainstormed in the group at the time. The following summary will not include this idea, since there cannot be not drawn any relevant conclusions from it. According to Gert Holm, team building exercises should be fun but also educational. He mentioned that there are many different approaches to team building and interpretations of what team building should involve. Gert sorts team building exercises into two categories. The most popular and best selling team building exercises are the ones which are almost exclusively based on having fun. The purpose of this type of exercise is that team members share a memorable experience together that they can talk about afterwards and at the same time they get to learn each 15

25 other better. The disadvantage of this type of exercise is that team members do not discuss the process of the exercises and attempt to develop as a team. Even though they are not not the most popular type of team building exercise, the more serious exercises are the most succesful ones regarding how much the teams develop. In these exercises it is essential that group members discuss the process of the exercises afterwards. The main purpose of discussing the process is to point out flaws in order to avoid them in the future. However, people naturally avoid looking at their own flaws, if they are not forced in some way. Team Building Aalborg attempts to make a mixture between the two types of exercises. The fact that all exercises take place in the woods away from the workplace means that barriers are broken down and group members thereby tend to have fun with each other much easier. However, this does not mean that the exercises are not educational. According to Gert, if group members do not associate the exercises with something fun and enjoyable, it is very unlikely that they will remember and think about the exercises afterwards. Throughout the interview, Gert mentioned the different modes or phases a group can be in. According to him, groups are either in routine or development mode when working with tasks. Groups enter routine mode when the tasks at hand are nothing new and challenging but instead similar to previous tasks the group has worked with. It was mentioned that task delegation is quite important when groups are in this mode, since it is in this mode team members get individual tasks to work with. It is natural for individual group members to have certain preferences when choosing which tasks to work with. Here it is important that the leader of the group can detect which tasks suit the different group members in order to delegate them correctly and thereby reach high efficiency in the group. Groups enter development mode when their tasks present new challenges and force group members to think in new ways. In this mode, it is natural that frustration occurs, since it is a part of learning something new. In frustration, it is possible that team members end in a personal fight instead of working on the problem. In this case, development has a tendency to stop. It was also mentioned that leader roles usually step aside when in development mode, since group members in this mode spend a lot of time discussing and making decisions in opposition to routine mode where tasks can be delegated to individual team members. As mentioned earlier in this interview, Gert sees the educational part of team building as the most successful way to develop a team. During the exercises, Team Building Aalborg has one or more moderators on the side, who between exercises comment on the process and bring suggestions to what the group can do differently to improve. Here group members and especially leaders can be pulled aside for constructive criticism, as it can be demoralising for the individual group member if the entire group is listening. When the moderator steps in to help a group, it is essential that he or she does not act offensive in any way. This can result in team members becoming defensive and stubborn, which can hinder group members in learning from their mistakes and instead start personal fights with the moderator. When discussiing certain issues with the group, the moderator must also be given permission by the group as some issues may be very sensitive and personal for certain group members and must therefore be treated carefully. Gert mentioned the moderator role as exceptionally difficult, since the group s willingness and open mindness towards the tasks to a certain degree depend on how much they trust the moderator. In the interview, Gert made some references to the interpersonal styles theory mentioned earlier in the theory and research section of this report. He mentioned that people have different personalities and not all personalities play well together, however people can learn to adjust to each other. If an already developed group of ten members gets a new group member, it becomes a whole new group, since the group establishes new group dynamics. Other than having interpersonal styles, Gert also mentioned that each member has a role which is 16

26 not dependant on the profession of the individual and which varies from group to group. This role is based on the group the team member is in and how he fits in socially. Certain personalities function as great team leaders in some groups and very bad team leaders in other groups. During exercises, Gert mentioned that he sometimes switches the group roles around in order to make group members see the problem from each other s perspectives in order to understand and accept each other s decisions. Towards the end of the interview, the focus was shifted towards the initial problem of this project and important considerations to have in mind when designing electronic interactive media around team building. A problem which Gert saw with this is that it can be dangerous to self reflect on the process of the exercises without a moderator, since it can result in group members being stuck in their old habits and not being able to improve their process as they cannot see their own flaws. It can however also be positive, since group members are forced to self reflect collectively and thereby communicate. Though, there is also the risk of team members being demoralized in the process of commenting on each other s actions. According to Gert, another problem with not having the moderator on the side during the exercises is that the difficulty of the exercises must be adjusted on the fly in order to make sure that the group is constantly developing itself. In order for the group to develop itself, exercises must be challenging and at times frustrating. Though, there must also be a balance, so the frustration level is neither too high or too low. Groups have different competences and group dynamic. Therefore, the difficulty cannot be generalized. He strongly emphasized on the problem of not having a moderator and mentioned it as the reason why he did not quite believe that team building can be done through interactive media alone As a closing question, it was asked if team building has ever been done through interactive media before. In his answer, Gert said that an electronic and interactive team building exercise has not really been done before. The advantage of making it electronic is that team building can be made more accessible, since companies do not neccesarily need to contact a team building specialist and spend a lot of resources. However, without the specialist it is difficult to have a moderator that can comment on the process and help the team personally Conclusion The following is a description of the important conclusions that can be made from the interview previously summarized. In the interview it was mentioned that team building exercises must be fun and educational at the same time. Without exercises having these features, teams lose interest and do not learn from the exercises. In order for the exercises to be educational, team members must look at and discuss their process between exercises. This is best done with a team building expert functioning as a moderator. However, this must be done carefully to avoid insulting team members. As this is quite difficult, it requires experience. It was also mentioned that in order to make sure teams develop themselves throughout the exercises, there must be a balance in the difficulty between being frustrating but not too frustrating. This can be achieved by adjusting the difficulty on the fly depending on how well teams are doing, so teams are partly in routine mode and partly in development mode. The importance of interpersonal styles was also mentioned in the interview. The interpersonal styles of individual group members are what decide the roles of individual group members, since roles depend on how group members interact with each other. Team members must adjust their interpersonal styles to the rest of the group for optimal team work. Finally, the founder of Team Building Aalborg commented on using an electronic interactive media for team building. Here it was mentioned that it has not really been done before and that the problem 17

27 with it is that it is difficult to team build without an experienced moderator. However, compensations can be made. He also mentioned that the advantage not having a moderator is that it forces team members to communicate through reflecting the process by discussing it together. 2.5 Target Group Analysis Two particular target groups have been considered for this project. One of them is university students that are working in groups. The other is workplaces that work in project groups. Since workplaces that utilize groups and teams in their work are the main focus of team building interventions and exercises, these are obviously interesting for us, and looking at the group of people who are going to enter that very same job market after their education is possibly even more valuable to target to see if we can find some interesting solutions for team building this early, and help improve their knowledge of group dynamics before they enter the workforce. Choosing university students would probably be the easiest choice, since it is easier to relate to and it is also much easier to find test subjects for testing in the future. These subjects would probably also give the best results, since they might not be as experienced in working in groups, which would prove better subjects for improving their teamwork. Not all universities use the same kind of group work as Aalborg University, but they still utilize group work, albeit in a different way, therefore they are also viable as a target group. Choosing a workplace as the target group however, could probably provide some more professional feedback, as they might be more experienced in working in groups MINERVA Model The MINERVA model (see figure2.4) is a model used to specify and analyze your target group further. This is done by placing the target group in one of the four segments of the compass-like model. Each of the segments represent a lifestyle of the target group. the four segments each have a characteristic color. In the blue segment the modern and pragmatic are present. In the green segment the modern and idealistic are present. In the pink segment the traditional and idealistic are present. In the purple section the traditional and pragmatic are present. The target group can then be placed within these segments. By placing it different places in the segments it can be specified how modern the specific group is for example. As for the position the two possible target groups, university groups would go in the modern section. It could be both in the green and blue section, depending on what the particular group in mind studies. Scientific studies would go in the blue segment, whereas humanistic studies would go in the green segment. A workplace would be in the pragmatic section, but depending on what kind of workplace is in mind, it could be both modern and traditional. The workplaces in the modern segment would be workplaces such as IT companies, whereas workplaces in the traditional segment would be factories and the likes of it. For this particular project, focusing on a modern workplace would probably be the best idea, since group work isn t as important in the traditional worplaces as in the modern ones MOSAIC model Another model that helps further specify and understand our target group is the MOSAIC/conzoom model (see figure 2.5), which augments the traditional MINERVA model with 30 more specific, demographic groups, which have been found and described with the use of empiric hard data. It bases its groups on statistics, tendencies, interviews, and mathematic models, and is updated roughly once a year with new data. 18

28 Figure 2.4: The MINERVA model. The model divides the Danish population into 8 general groups, from A to H, which are named as follows: A Home owners with surplus B Comfort and cosiness C Life on the countryside D Wealthy people E Community F Life in the big city G Seniors H Up and coming young people These groups all have varying amounts of more specific subgroups called types, with general assertions about characteristics, habits, and living conditions described. There are a few different subgroups that seem the most interesting to us: 19

29 D3 - On the career ladder This segment represents young families with a lot of children. The youngest of these families are in their 20 s and the most established couples are in their 30 s and up. The career of this segment is still ongoing and there are goals for the future. The income in this segment isn t the highest, but it s somewhat high and still rising. People in this segment usually have had some sort of higher education. This segment could be useful in this project since it consists of working people that might be involved in group work at their workplace. The segment is also placed in the modern segment of the MINERVA model, which is the preferred segment for this project. F1 - Young part This segment represents primarily single people in their 20 s and 30 s. They have yet to start a family. A big part of this segment is still in education or just finished a higher education. The income in this segment is somewhat low since a big part of this segment is without a job. Their career hasn t started yet. This segment is interesting for us since it consists of people still under education. These people are probably working in groups so these people could be useful for this project. Another reason why this is a good segment for this particular project is that there are also people about to enter the labour market. These people will potentially go into groups, which could be useful as well. F2 - Career starter The people in F2 are done with their studies, having finished a higher education and continue working in the same field as they studied. This group is interesting for us because they are working in the city, and can be presumed to work in groups to some extent. H1 - Collegium This group is the central group of interest when looking outside the work place. The group consists of young people in their 20 s. They are busy with their studies, though they may have a part-time job (which mostly do not contain group work) and are mostly contained in the modern segment of the MINERVA model. They are very interested in video games and interactive media in general. They are interesting to us because many university subjects can involve group dynamics and workflows that can be taken with you when going into the job market afterwards. If we can start improving how groups work together here, we might hope to be setting better foundations for the students when they start working later on Conclusion The segments F1 and H1 have been chosen as the primary target group for this project. The reason they were both chosen is that they somewhat overlap on many points, so you can see them as one group, to some extent. The two groups are both around the same age, both are also still studying or just finished studying, and without a job. Both of the groups are also going to enter the labour market in the future, when they finish their education. The reason why these were chosen over the other two groups, is that inexperienced groups seems more interesting and might provide better results than groups that have better experience in group work, because improving group work on an inexperienced group would provide more obvious results. These groups will also have to enter the labour market in the future, thus making this a relevant group to improve group collaboration on, as they might have to work with it in their future. 20

30 The groups F2 and D3 will act as secondary target groups, as they somewhat overlap with F1 and H1. One of the only differences being the level of experience in group work. Assumptions can also be made that the solution might help all of these segments in improving their group collaboration. Figure 2.5: The MOSAIC model used on top of the MINERVA model. 2.6 Electronic Interactive Solutions It was concluded from the interview with the team building expert that one major advantage of making team building exercises for an electronic interactive platform is that team building can be made much more accessible. One of the problems with team building is that because of the need of a moderator during exercises, it is difficult and requires a lot of resources to arrange a team building exercise. The interview also concluded that team building exercises must be fun and must emphasize on interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication must in the context of team building always involve teamwork and focus on solving a problem together. Team members should also have the possibility to discuss with each other between exercises in order to improve their teamwork. Therefore, 21

31 accessibility, fun, and interpersonal communication through teamwork are all essential elements of the solution which must be considered when choosing an electronic interactive platform. This will be considered in the following. There are several electronic interactive solutions that could be utilized for team building purposes. The list of possible solutions has been assessed to include computer games, websites, console games, apps, and electronic board games. If the solution used a computer as the platform, the solution would either be a computer game or a website. The problem with this is that it requires each user to own a laptop or a desktop and bring it to the exercise if the whole team is to participate. This makes the solution less accessible. When considering which solution on this platform would be most optimal in order to make something fun for the user, a computer game would be the most optimal solution. The reason for this is that video games generally tend to be played for fun, while websites have a more informative purpose and would be used more as a team building guide. Comparing how well this platform fits with interpersonal communication, there are some issues. The problem is that when people interact with a computer, they face the screen and not neccesarily each other. They may interact with each other through verbal communication, however this is most likely the only communication they have together. In opposition to computer games and websites, console games for i.e. Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Wii are much more suited for interaction between team members. The reason for this is that team members face the same screen and must be in the same room, so they have no physical barriers between each other. The position of computers and consoles in households also make a difference between the two platforms. A console system requires a television which is possible to see from across the room because of its size and commonly belongs to the center of the living room in front of the sofa or in the center of the bedroom in front of the bed. Therefore, there is space for multiple players. Computers and especially laptops however, often use much smaller screens, which makes them difficult to play across the room. Computers are also more likely to be positioned on a table in the corner of a room making them difficult to be played by multiple users. Console games are also quite accessible since they only require one platform and not multiple. However, not everybody owns a console platform. Like computer games, console games are also well suited for making fun exercises, since video games focus on fun. If an app were to be made, it would require each team member to have a smartphone with internet access in order for the entire team to participate. Since not everyone has a smartphone with internet access, this solution is a less accessible one. However, due to the portability of the platform, the exercises can take place anywhere physically. This platform would therefore grant a long range of possibilities for which kind of team building exercises can be made. Since there are so few physical barriers when using a smartphone as the platform, there are great opportunities for interaction between team members. If the exercises took place on smartphones, the exercises would not have to be games either and the element of fun could be implemented in other ways. The solution could also be an electronic board game. Compared to above mentioned platforms, an electronic board game is the platform with the fewest barriers. The reason for this is that no screens are required and all users are centered around the same board and faced against each other. This means that there is not much interface for the users to interact with and distract them from each other. Therefore, this platform is the one with best possibilities for interactive communication. The fact that teams only need this platform and no screens to participate in the exercises also makes it an accessible platform. The only problem is that unlike computer and console games, this platform can only be used for board games, while computers and console systems have many other functionalities. This makes it much more likely that people already own the platform. On the other hand, an electronic board game as the platform is an economically cheap solution if the only purpose with it is team building. Comparing this platform to the element of fun, like computer and console games there are 22

32 great opportunities, since the focus is on games. When considering which platform to focus on in comparison to the primary and secondary target groups that were chosen in the last section, it is clear electronic media in general suits the target group well because of its familiarity with modern technology. However, according to the data which the target group section was based on, the secondary target group is not as familiar with video games as the primary target group. Making a computer or console game may therefore not be the ideal solution for both target groups. The electronic board game however might be a more fitting solution for both target groups, since it does not neccesarily require much knowledge about video games. Board games have been on the market longer than video games and may for this reason possibly be more familiar to most people. In opposition to video games and board games, apps and websites are generally solutions which both target groups are familiar with. This is due to the fact that they do not require an insight in games, since they are made for daily use and have many other purposes than entertainment. When comparing these different solutions to each other, the electronic board game seems as a good solution mainly because of its possibilities for interpersonal communication and the fact that it fits both target group well even though it may require a slight interest and insight in games. 2.7 Summary and Conclusion Throughout the problem analysis, all relevant aspects of team building were researched, compared and concluded upon. The survey documented the existence of problems during teamwork; unclear goals due to lack of consensus and lack of proper feedback due to bad communication appeared to be the top issues. Holding these against the interview and theory section it is clear that these problems are related to team building, as they cross several essential aspects of team building. Improving the infrastructure that exists in a team in correlation to team building appears to be a good solution to help a lot of teams coorporative functionality and eliminate some of the biggest obstructions that can occur during teamwork. The Existing Team Building Solutions section found no existing electronic device developed for the purpose of team building, and the interview supported that conviction. Since the field is unexplored it calls for an original product that, if successful, could be a good addition to the collection of team building exercises and could perhaps contribute to the current state of the team building art. Most team building solutions were either physical exercises, consulations or coachings, but also one or more board games were developed with team building in mind. Team building can be conveyed through various media and exercises, but some are more relevant than others for this project. The Electronic Interactive Solutions section, along with the expert interview and target group analysis, led to the conclusion that an electronic board game could serve as a good media to educate teams in how to improve their team infrastructure in team building aspects. This would be a brand new concept, as the Existing Team Build Solutions sections told that no existing electronic board game were found on the market. It was decided at this point that the project would work with the invention of an electronic board game as a team building exercise. Note that the original plan about revising the questionnaire for an optimized survey was chosen to be skipped, as all the remaining research in the problem analysis seemed to form solid enough conclusion of the problem and how to engage in it. The possible outcome of another survey compared to the estimated time consumption in the process was deemed not high enough to take priority before moving on with solving the problem that was already well documented. 23

33 2.8 Problem Statement A problem statement was formulated as a reflection of the conclusion of the problem analysis: How can the different aspects of team building be incorporated into an electronic board game? This builds on top of the initial problem that said Can we improve team building through the use of electronic interactive media? and makes well use of everything that was researched during the problem analysis. The problem statement will function as the headline for the remainder of the project when developing a fitting solution to the problem Success Criteria In order to be able to conclude the project in its entirety to see, whether the problem statement was successfully solved, it is a good idea to formulate some success criteria. Their purpose is to serve as a sort of checklist when evaluating the project, and if all criterias can be successfully checked off as achieved or the criterias statement can be answered with a yes, then the project should be considered a success. The electronic board game should be gradually tested and improved according to the testing feedback. This is necessary for the developed solution product to meet a standard that enables testing and the gathering of valid test results. The purpose of the electronic board game as a team building exercise is to make the users become better at working collaboratively in a team by reflecting on their method. It is beyond reach to measure an actual improvement in the teamwork on the spot, but having the team members reflect on their approach is, according to the interview, enough to declare the team building element a success. According to the interview with the team building expert, Gert, another essential element in team building is entertainment and the ability to create an exercise that is fun. These factors altogether can be summarized into the following success criteria: The product should at least reach the level of an optimized lo-fi prototype in order to retrieve satisfying test results. The testers of the electronic board game exercise reflect on their method on how to function in the team. The electronic board game should be so entertaining and captivating that the testers will want to play it again unsolicited. 24

34 Chapter 3 Design This section will look into the theory behind game design. It will give an understanding of what is important to consider when designing a game and, more importantly, how this can be related to team building theory. This knowledge will then be used to design our own game and the platform for this game. This section will focus both on the gathering of related theories, the design of the game, a draft on the final product, the lo-fi prototypes and the knowledge gained from these. 3.1 Game Theory The Definition of a Game To design a game you need to know what a game is. A concrete definition has not been made yet as games are still a very young media. Various game developers have tried to define it. Game designer Raph Koster writes in his book A Theory of Fun that what defines a good game is one that teaches everything it has to offer before the player stops playing. [28] In the book The Art of Game Design [29], game designer Jesse Schell defines games as [...] a problem-solving activity, approached with a playful attitude. [29] Furthermore, he has put up ten key qualities important to games: [29] 1. Games are entered willfully. 2. Games have goals. 3. Games have conflict. 4. Games have rules. 5. Games can be won and lost. 6. Games are interactive. 7. Games have challenge. 8. Games can create their own internal value. 9. Games engage players. 10. Games are closed, formal systems. 25

35 Games can be a lot of things, but what characterizes them from toys is that they have goals; a problem to solve. But a good rule of thumb is to create a game that in itself is a toy, something you can play with without trying to solve a problem. Take for instance a Rubik s Cube. At first people do not engage themselves in it to solve it. They play with it, twist and turn it around, which in itself is entertaining. When at last it stops being interesting as a toy it becomes a puzzle for them to solve. And when they have solved it, it becomes a game against the clock to try and beat it faster and faster. The Rubik s Cube is both a toy, a puzzle and a game. This is a key element to its success. Sports are games too. Today we even talk about esports, which are digital games played professionally. All the requirements of a game can be said about sports. The real difference is the competition. A sport is a professional game based much more on competition than entertainment. Furthermore it demands physical activity and skill, which is the reason for the new term esport for digital games Knowing the Goals of the Game To design a game one first needs to know what one is designing towards. Goals are needed. This game is meant to be an interesting addition to team-building; an experiment to see whether a game can contain team-building elements and achieve better team performance in the target group. From the interview with Gert Holm from Team-Building Aalborg, a couple of important aspects were pointed out on team-building activities that needed consideration. First off: 1. The exercises need to be fun. This might sound obvious, but it is the most important element in order for this game to succeed - games in general, actually. No matter what, the game will be about or how the players will interact with it, people will not play it and will not get the desired effect from playing it if it is not fun. In the book A Theory of Fun, Raph Koster explains that Fun is just another word for learning. [28] In the book The Art of Game Design Jesse Schell defines fun as...pleasure with surprises [29] and writes if I were Will Wright [famous game designer, creator of games like The Sims], I d say that fun is the process of discovering areas in a possibility space. 2. Participants need to work together to accomplish a common goal. Either all at once or divided into smaller groups, this is important. This is a boundary to the game that means it should not be possible for a player to succeed without the help of his or her teammates. 2a. A participant can not complete the exercise without the help of his or her teammates. Helping in this context is a little vague. In the long run what team-builders really want people to do is communicate with eachother. 2b. Participants need to communicate to help eachother. But Gert Holm also pointed out the importance of helping the participants understand what they are doing wrong and how they can improve. This is something that is not really possible without an expert in team-building observing the players as they play and commenting on it. How to solve this will be discussed later. 26

36 3. Participants need guidance as to know what they are doing wrong and how to improve. Interestingly, the last advice from Gert Holm was that the exercise should be sufficiently challenging as to not be frustrating to the participants or boring, but getting them engaged in the experience. As explained in the next section about balancing a game, this is called game flow in the world of gaming and is an essential part of all games. 4. The exercise should be sufficiently challenging as to not be demotivationally frustrating or boring to the participants Balancing a Game The following chapters are strongly based on guidelines set up by Jesse Schell in his book The Art of Game Design. [29] Fairness - An Equilibrium Start In sports, the most skillful player should win, so nothing is be left to chance. Whether it is one-on-one or a team versus another team, the end should show the result of the most skilled person, or team, leaving victorious. A disequilibrium end. To achieve this properly, the teams should start in equilibrium, with the same rules applying for both teams. In for instance football, it is difficult to achieve perfect equilibrium, because one team needs to start with the ball. This is an advantage for the chosen team, but not enough for it to really be a problem. The rest of the game is in equilibrium with the same rules applying for both teams. Likewise, in games the rules should be fair. This can be fairly easily done if the same rules apply for both teams. But what if you want to make a game with two opposing forces of different units to start in equilibrium? One way to do this is to have units/objects be effective against one thing and fail to another. A good example of this is the game of Rock, Paper, Scissor: Rock beats Scissor. Paper beats Rock. Scissor beats Paper. This game is perfectly balanced with one action being triumphant against one other action and defeated by another. Sometimes, it is a question of balancing the game to different play-styles to accommodate more players. If for instance the game is a racing game, player A might prefer the car to be fast and Player B for it to be easily maneuverable. Player A would get a car that is fast, but not so easy to steer. Player B would get a slower car, but with better steering. The equilibrium might not be easy to see, but if the value of speed and steering is properly balanced, the game is fair and the players can compete against each other using a different set of skills. A game of cards is also at an odd equilibrium start. One player might start with a better hand than the other, but they are both given the same odds when drawing cards from the deck, so therefore it is still fair. 27

37 Game Flow Looking more closely on requirement 4, a successful game needs to get its players into what is called the zone. The zone is when the player is so engaged in the experience that they seem to be almost part of the game. They become immersed. When humans are truly concentrating about an activity, they are able to block out incoming informations not related to that activity. When that activity is both pleasurable and an enjoyment, they lose track of time and only think about this single activity and nothing else. This state is called flow. This state is what really classifies a good game. Getting someone in this state means that they are in a balance of both desire and will - they take pleasure in solving something they both want and crave to solve. More related to games, it means to make a perfect balance between the challenge of the game and the skill of the player. To get a player in the zone, the flow state, the game needs clear goals, direct feedback, continuous challenge and no distractions. By doing this, the player is constantly engaged in the activity and doesn t have time to think of other things. But this is only possible if the continuous challenge is matching to the exact skills of the player. If the game is too easy, the game gets boring. On the other hand, if it is too challenging the player might become frustrated and get annoyed with it and just give up on it and seek better entertainment. In testing for flow, one thing is to spot when the players are in the zone, another is to notice when they leave it. If the game succeeds in getting its players in the zone, but then suddenly ejects them, it is crucial to try and determine why this is. Recognizing when a player is in the zone depends on the game. When talking about a singleplayer game, players are often withdrawn and so focused on the game, they don t recognize things that go on outside the game. Players might even get frustrated if you try and break their flow with for instance questions. Multiplayer games engage other players into the same experience and thus they communicate very enthusiastically whilst still being very focused. Knowing what flow is, it is important to notice that it should not be a straight flow. It should be more wavey. At some points, you should get some space to breathe and at some points you should get really stressed at the amount of challenge. A wave through the flow gives a better flow than just keeping them in the zone. However, the waves should not be so big they get to the point of boredom or demotivational frustration. In the long run, the real challenge is to design a game that matches the skill of the entire target group and takes into account that their skills might improve with play. This brings us to the next challenge in game design. Skill vs. Chance This part is very determined by the target audience. Some people enjoy to rely more on chance than the actual use of skill, and vice versa. This is impossible to know exactly without analyzing the target audience and test the game intensely. But it is possible to take a path in the middle and try to please both, if the game semi-randomly gives the player various choices. Take for example playing a game of cards. The hand you re dealt is random, but what you choose to do with it is skill. This makes it more difficult for the more skilled player to control the game, but not his influence on it, which in turn might help the less skillful player because of the chance of being dealt a better hand. 28

38 But no matter what, players like to have some influence - or else it would not really be an interactive experience. An example is the children s card game War. In War, both players separate a normal 52-card deck into two face-down piles. Then simultaneously, both players reveal the top card of their pile and the player with the most valuable card wins and gets both cards in their pile. This game is 100% chance, but children believe they have control over their chances by whispering to the cards, or praying, or shuffling in a special way, etc., and thereby it becomes a game. This might seem silly to an adult, however it is still common to find adults praying for good cards in Poker or whispering to the dice in Ludo in hopes of controlling their chances. Punishing and Rewarding - A Question of Endogenous Value Rewards in gaming work as motivators. When a player gets rewarded for doing an action, they are more prone to try and do that again. Even better, if they know they get a reward for a specific action, they will try and work towards this. Why is this good and why would one try to get rewards? Because people enjoy getting acknowledged for their talents. They like to be reminded well done!. Rewards in games can be a lot of things. Typically, rewards in sports are points for scoring. It becomes a testament of skill and a more clear road towards victory. When they are doing well on the field, they are praised by their coach and fans. Obviously, the bigger the achievement is, the bigger the reward should be. If a player gets a reward for doing an easy action and the same reward for doing a difficult action, the player would just keep on doing the easy action. Worse would be if they were forced to do the harder action for the same reward. But for the rewards to mean something, the player has to risk something. Something which has a value to them. They need to put themselves in the risk of being punished for failing. This is achieved by creating endogenous value in the game. Endogenous value means to have things inside the game that has value only inside the game. A simple example is health-points. You do not want to lose health-points, because you would die (lose the game) if you lose them all. Of course, you would not die in real life. This makes health-points endogenously valuable. To make a reward more interesting, you need to threaten the player with the possibility of losing valuable resources - or else they would not feel valuable if you could not lose them. If you lose all health-points, you are punished by having to try again from the start of the level. This goes well with game flow. If a player feels better at the game, the game should present him with a more risky action with the possible outcome of a great reward or a great punishment. This makes the more challenging action more exciting than going the easy route. However, it is important to note that a punishment can also work in the opposite way and feel unfair, if the player does not understand how to prevent it or if the punishment feels too severe. If this happens, it can ruin the entire feel of the game and the player will most likely give up on the game. Simplicity and Elegance Complex rules in games can easily scare away a lot of people. Especially if you need to understand something very complex to achieve something essentially pretty simple. The ideal game flips this around and is easily explained and understood, but makes it possible for complex and differentiating situations to occur for all skill-levels. This is called elegance. But this is very hard to accomplish, especially when trying to balance the game. Sometimes you might find that a part of your game is exploitable, but you can t change a variable to fix it. The only 29

39 solution might be to implement a new rule to the game. Elegance not only refers to controls, but the purpose of objects in the game. If a single object has several purposes it is an elegant object. To achieve elegance, it would be wise to find which objects in the game only serve one or two purposes and see if they can be combined Team Building Through Games As described in the team building theory section, team building in itself is only a guide as to how the performance of a team can be enhanced through improving i.e. interpersonal relationships, leadership, cohesiveness, etc. It was also mentioned in the interview and existing solutions sections that these elements have not directly been implemented in an electronic media yet. Different team building businesses have different approaches, varying from playful activities, leadership coaching, team role analysis, etc. Some businesses even mix it with team training. The medium can be anything from making dinner, having group conversations, climbing trees and a lot more. What these media have in common is that they are activities built to enhance various elements in a group or team. Already, some of these activities can be called games - maybe even puzzles. A lot of exercises challenge the team in communication and problem solving by subjecting the team to a challenge they need to complete cooperatively. In its most simple form, this can actually be considered a game. A game challenges its players in certain skills, be it physically and/or mentally. Team building, as opposed to team training, focuses almost exclusively on mental skills, but incorporates physical activities as means to improve the mental skills. A games can challenge its players in cognition, strategy, optimizing, problem solving, etc. More importantly, it can potentially challenge its players in social intelligence, leadership, communication, daily structure, and more. To quote game designer Raph Koster: That s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning. [28] What games can do is teach people in certain skills or knowledge through fun [30]. Raph Koster even goes so far as to say, that all games are actually entertaining education - AKA edutainment[28] - and that fun resides in humans cravings for knowledge. [28] So to teach people in team building and enhance their abilities it would be sensible to do this through games, as games are fun and entertaining. Choosing a Theme As team building goes, it can be difficult to incorporate all aspects of a team within a single exercise. This is known the problem analysis where a range of different exercises each with their own purposes, were found. As earlier mentioned, team building can be divided into several categories, i.e. team leadership, interpersonal communication, goals and vision, team unity, cohesiveness, commitment, etc. Activities in team building are based around these, but rarely incorporate all of them in one activity. Likewise, with a game the focus should not be to improve all elements of team building in a single game, but make them into separate theme-based games. This will both help keep the games simple and more obvious to the player which ability/skill the game trains. Due to the set of requirements documented earlier and some initial brainstorms for a game concept explained in the following chapter, the chosen theme for this game was interpersonal communication. 30

40 3.2 Designing the Game The list of requirements: R1. The game needs to be fun. R2. Players need to work together to accomplish a common goal. R2a. A player can not complete the game without the help of his or her teammates. R2b. Players need to verbally communicate to help each other. R3. Players need guidance as to know what they are doing wrong and how to improve. R4. The game should be sufficiently challenging as to not be demotivationally frustrating or boring to the players. With this set of requirements, the theme of the game was chosen to be interpersonal communication. The reason for this is that As concluded in the target group section, the target group is not quite consistent in experience with games. Even though the target group is familiar with technology, it is not necessarily familiar with electronic games. It was assessed that the primary target group might would have more experience with electronic games, however it would be dangerous to assume that the entire target group is familiar with games when designing the game. The game should not require the players to be experienced with games. To accommodate this, it was needed to design a game that would be interesting to both the experienced player and the non-gamer. The game would not only need to be appealing to both parties in aesthetics, but it needed skills and complexity/simplicity. Furthermore, it should be possible for a skilled player and an unskilled player to play together. Therefore, before designing the game, it was considered which games were popular among both the experienced gamers and the inexperienced. It quickly became clear that arcade block-based games - like Tetris, Bejeweled, Lumines and more - seemed to appeal to both parties. The reason for this is that they followed the game design principle of simplicity and elegance and thereby appealed to a broad range of people due to the simple but elegant mechanic of clicking on blocks. From this, it was decided the game would be a block-based game. The next challenge was designing a game that could be played by several players at once. The game was to be block-based, so either the game would need actual physical blocks or a screen to animate blocks. The answer was cutting it down the middle and making a display made of blocks. At this point, what the game should look like and the first sketches were drawn, see The initial idea 4-player game. Each player has a board of 4 4 buttons that lights up in RGB colors, see figure. These buttons are the blocks of the game. As the game progresses, a block of a random color falls down from the top of the board in a random column until it lands on the bottom or on top of another block. Each player is assigned a color which is the only color that player can clear and get points for. Other colors they can send to the other players who need them. When a block tries to fall down in a column where there is not room for it, the game ends. As the game progresses, the time interval between each block falling shortens and at some point the game will be so fast, that the players are bound to fail. As an initial idea, this seemed fitting for the target group. The idea seemed to have the potential to be fun, however this was not certain until it was tested through a prototype. Its resemblance to games like Tetris and Bejeweled assured that it would most likely be entertaining (R1). The players 31

41 Figure 3.1: Early sketch of the device could not complete the game alone (R2a), but had to communicate with his or her teammates (R2b) to clear as many blocks in the least time to get the highest score (R2). The challenge of the game matches that of the combined skills of the team at some point, when enough time has passed (R4). Furthermore the design matched skill and chance by giving random colored blocks in random positions and giving the player the control of these block. The question was then how to design the interaction between the players and their boards. The players needed to be able to clear and send blocks. If they could just click a block of their own color to clear it and likewise just click on a block of another color to send it, the game would be too easy - and boring. The game needed boundaries. It was chosen to highly prioritize simplicity, because of our partly inexperienced audience. The player would have to comprehend as few controls as possible. With this in mind the following rules were implemented: Each player is assigned a color. When two or more blocks of that color are adjacent to each other on a player s board, that player may click on one of them to clear those blocks. The more blocks cleared in one click, the more points the players are given. With these simple rules, it is possible to give the player several different choices in just one click. The most important of those choices is the choice of risk-taking. The rules specify that the more blocks you clear in one click, the more points your team is rewarded. On the other hand, the game ends when a column is filled. How many blocks dare the individual players accumulate on their boards before clearing them? Can the team sufficiently agree on these risk takings? This kind of risk taking gives the blocks of the assigned color endogenous value to the player. He or she wants to try and clear as many as possible to get a better score and might therefore be more tempted to test fate. Blocks of other colors have some value to the player too, but only as means of getting other players to clear them. This knowledge makes communication very valuable to the player too. If two players 32

42 can successfully communicate to send the right blocks and clear at the right time, the higher points they will get. Sending blocks is obviously a very powerful ability though, so it should be rather difficult to accomplish - but still simple to understand and manipulate: Players are able to send blocks to the player to their left by clicking on a block on the lowest line of their own board. The block will vanish from their board, making the upper blocks fall down, and the block will drop down in a random column in the next player s board. In the beginning, it was considered giving the player the ability to tell the game which way to send the blocks by holding down a button on the side of the board, but this ruined the otherwise simple one-click interaction that was decided to focus on. It was finally decided that the player should only be able to send the blocks leftwards. This was of course a great downside in player-control, since the player might end up having to send a block all the way around the table to get it to the right player. The upside however was that this forced the entire team to communicate and not just two players sitting next to each other. Furthermore, keeping it to the one-click interaction would make the game much more comprehensible when at its highest difficulty and speed. Most importantly though, these two rules ensure that a player cannot get stuck. If the same rules were chosen for sending as for clearing, at some point this would eventually be impossible to achieve with 4 colors in a 4 4 grid. The send-rule also applies to blocks of your own color. Because of this, the rules had to prioritize the order of clearing and sending. It was important to keep the one-click interface, so clearing was higher prioritized than sending, if both actions were possible in one click. 3.3 Prototypes A conceptual model of the preliminary design was created, see figure 3.2. This model was created to describe the various ways the design should interact with the user. The game will consist of four 4 4 boards of buttons that will light up in any color. These will be the controllers. They will be connected to a console. The console will manage communication between the controllers and display information relevant to the players. Furthermore it will be the control station for the players where they can change the game and game options. The buttons will light up, which means the visual feedback will be illuminated. When players are playing, the rest of the platform not giving intended feedback should not be distracting. Therefore the casing will be very minimalistic. Because the visual feedback is lights, the visibility of the buttons should be enhanced as much as possible. Therefore the casing will be black to stand in better contrast. Furthermore the controllers should give proper feedback when interacted with. The buttons themselves should feel like you re clicking them. As an addition the controller should give audible and visual feedback. If needed, the console itself could implement audio feedback. As the platform s main purpose is gaming, it would be wise to make each controller distinguishable from each other. This can be done with color indexing or numbering the controllers. The pros would be that the controllers would be easily distinguishable from each other, but the program on the platform might not need, or even want, that. Making the color indexing an LED of some size on the controller, and the software determining its color, could be a solution, instead of indexing them in a permanent 33

43 Figure 3.2: Final concept model for the platform. color. Since the game is a board game, and not all tables are of the same size, varying distance between controllers is a must. Therefore the controllers should be connected to the console either wirelessly or wired (optimally established standard socket). Because of this the controllers should support both being handheld and stationary. Most importantly the platform should be easily reprogrammable by third-parties. Therefore we will use the Arduino, because of its large userbase. For the console we would like something that can show as varied information as possible. Because of this are screen could be an ideal solution. For easier interaction and broader platform possibilities the screen could be a touchscreen. A conceptual model of the preliminary design was created, see figure 3.2. This model was created to describe the various ways the design should interact with the user Prototype 1 The first prototype was made by drawing the 4 4 grids on blackboards (see figure 3.3). We tested this ourselves only to determine whether this game design was an idea worth working with and, if so, if we could immediately see something worth adding or changing. The automatic parts of the game were solved by having a person in the middle rolling a set of dice to determine what color block would fall in what column. Instead of using colored chalk we used white chalk and drew simple geometric figures. These were more distinguishable from each other and more visible. Furthermore we wanted to see if using a 4 4 grid was sufficient. At this point we didn t know what it would cost to build it, but the general idea was to make the platform as cheap as possible. 34

44 The speed of the game was impossible to test, since everything was done manually with a person in the middle rolling two dice to place a random block in a random column of a player. So the speed was kept static. Figure 3.3: Prototype 1 Three things were concluded from the first prototype: 1. The game was challenging and fun to play, despite the clunky interaction of this first prototype. 2. Since the person in the middle could not effectively send down blocks into players columns simultaneously, he had to give each player a block individually. This had a surprisingly good effect, but nothing further could be concluded from this, since it was not possible to test the simultaneous function at this time. 3. The team lost too fast. The columns were only 4 blocks high, so it would not take long for one of them to be filled, resulting in the game ending. 4. The game could have been a 5 5 game, but worked fine as a 4 4 game. The 4 4 size was final. From these results, the following rule changes were made: 1. As long as one or more columns are filled with blocks, a red light lights up on that player s board. 2. When the red light is on, that player will not receive points for clearing. 3. When all players red lights are on, the game ends. With these rule changes, some modifications were made to the first prototype: 35

45 Figure 3.4: Prototype Prototype 1.2 As can be seen in figure 3.4, paper blocks with symbols were made to easier interact with the blocks, instead of having to draw everything while playing as in the last prototype. Again we tested it ourselves, but had other students in as well who played and commented on the game. These rule changes did not just extend the game time, but also served two other purposes. Risktaking was now more favorable. In the first prototype no one really wanted to take any risks at all, because the game was so easy to lose. However, with the less painful punishment of the player s newly built combo becoming useless, players were more prone to take that risk, which in turn increased the endogenous value of the player s blocks and the points they gave. Furthermore, they served as an immediate threat to the entire team. Before the changes no one really knew when someone was in real trouble, because losing the game could happen so suddenly. Now players communicated to try and work together to turn of a player s light. Additionally we talked about adding illuminating arrows that would help the players understanding trading. So far the game showed a lot of potential and a second prototype was made: Prototype 2 It would still be tested on other students from the same faculty. How they knew each other was at this point irrelevant, as these first tests only served to give an idea of what was from the game and 36

46 what immediate effects it had. The game was now much more automatic for the players, and the board much more aesthetically pleasing and manageable. Each player s color was easily recognizable, all the blocks were colored, and four big red dice were used as the red lights. Furthermore arrows were added too to help the players better understand trading. Two of us were assigned to distribute the random blocks to the players and assign them the red die when needed. Two more were assigned as scorekeeper and observer. See figure 3.5. Figure 3.5: Prototype 2 With the game being so much more automatic, the time interval between each block falling had to be less too. The dice were swapped out for a program the distributors could easily follow. This also made it possible to make an increasing difficulty. The rules of the game were explained with visible examples to the test subjects. Two runs were planned, but not told to the subjects. After the first run, they were asked to discuss the game in terms of tactics and prepare themselves for another run. After the second run, they were asked questions based on our observations. The test ended by asking them individually if they wanted to play a third time, but admitted this was only to test the game s replayability. At this point, an early 3D sketch of the possible hi-fidelity device was created to get an idea of how it could look based on what we learned from the prototyping and earlier sketches. See figure 3.6. Already from the first couple of test it was obvious that strategically, players failed more when a player tried to take the leader role. When this was discovered, the groups were reminded of this in their second run to see if this had an effect on that run. As soon as the former leader role seemed to acknowledge this, the less talkative players began talking more and the overall communication in the group became more simplified and effective. 37

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