The Games Master. How do we create games?

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This is an exciting week as we saw Henry our most experienced instructor coming on board as Games Master at RHQ. As a sports coach and designer of the impressive board game Wrecking Ball, the office is now buzzing with 100 game ideas a minute, especially with the rabble 2nd birthday party coming up… #cantwait

Having designed most of the original rabble games, it has been great to see Henry create many brilliant new games that are now played weekly. As I’d only ever designed games alone, it’s interesting to observe Henry’s thought process and it’s reassuring to note that we consider the same things critical. The games may look simple, especially when experienced instructors deliver them seamlessly and they are, but there was a long iterative process to get it to this point. This week there has bee LOTS of chat about games, so what goes into building a game?

We both usually begin with a fitness target or a theme. These have been anything from Kiss Chase (coming up feb 14th) to Zombie Hunts, Elections and Drunken Santas. Then we create scenarios under the theme that incentivise people to move to reach a goal. We never tell people to work harder, we just align winning with moving as much as possible. Everyone naturally plays to win and thus losing yourself in play leads you to fitness without realising.
Simplicity is king. In my early games, I’d introduce elaborate sub plots, thinking I was creating more room for strategic thinking and thus excitement. Instead it just added confusion and static time. Now we design games with minimal rules to remember.
Then we need to make sure anybody needs to be able to show up and join in no matter what their experience, skill or fitness level. So we don’t include specific skilled movements as they detract from the intensity of play and prefer experienced players. And it’s important that participants can operate independently so that they can work for the teams goal without feeling like they are being held back or letting the team down.

 

We play outside. Here we get big spaces, trees, hills and MUD which all add to the game experience. Grass is also a much softer surface and so better for the joints and being outside in green spaces has been linked to increasing well being and happiness. We try to build these features in wherever possible.

A major topic of discussion this week has been defining our rabble products, Rabble Rookie, Rabble and Rabble X. Rabble Rookie is designed to introduce people gently to team sports, particularly those who are less confident. Our classic Rabble games are predominantly HIIT intervals described as games. HIIT training is the most effective way of improving fitness and fat burning because it overloads the body.  And we have just revamped Rabble X to deliver a targeted strength and cardio workout through some very tough games.

Now to build some more games.

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