How to Make a Field Game – Part 5 of 4

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Whoops! I guess I can't count! Slightly abridged excerpt from Pete’s Guide to Working at Camp - Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4!

Part 5 - Other Thoughts

Here are some other notes that I wanted to share regarding outdoor game creation.

My cousin-in-law works with kids the need assistive technologies. He’s been working on this list, which I know has been created several times in other sources I’ve read, but I was easily able to copy and paste his words, which saved me some time (thanks Adam!)

States of Social Interaction Play on the Playground

  • None. Solitary play.
  • Reciprocal emotional sharing (Baby and another smile at each other as in peek-a-boo or hey-look-at-me.)
  • Toleration (parallel play, no direct interaction)
  • Non-play competitive (“gimme that”)
  • Cooperative play with shared goals (“how high can we stack it?”)
  • Collaborative pretend (shared setting of goals and reality-setting)
  • Competitive-collaborative pretend (“I’ll be the princess and you’re the servant” “I’m the superhero and you be the bad-guy”)
  • Competitive, no winner (shared, but mutually exclusive goals, e.g. Tag, Keep-away, King-of-the-Mountain)
  • Competitive, with win condition (most traditional games)

Why is this important? You should be aware of the different ways that people (not just kids!) play with one another and interact. You can look at this list and try to replicate positive social behaviors that are natural, or you can observe something happening in your game that you would like to improve. Perhaps there's "non-play competitive" behavior where you would rather have "Competitive, no winner" - how do you fix that? What rules will make the play better?

Game Explanation Sheet

When you create a new game and it is a hit, you are required to share that game with others. You can do it any number of ways, but here's the best way of sharing the explanation in writing for others to replicate your play.

Here are the fields that need to be completed:

  • Game Name
  • Type
    • This is a certain descriptor that will allow people to understand what kind of game it is in a couple of words. I use terms like "Large & Short" (which means lots of space is needed and the game goes by quickly) or "Bigtime Fun Indoors" (which means that it's a longer activity for a lot of people that is played inside).
  • Category
    • Tag
    • Initiative
    • Circle
    • Low Energy
    • Mixer
    • Name
    • Water
    • High Energy
    • Field
    • Campfire
    • Pavement
    • Walking tag
    • Event
    • Openers
    • RPS
    • Other
  • Prep
    • How long is setup?
  • Players
    • Estimated range
  • Props
    • What objects are needed?
  • Space  Time 
    • What space is needed?
  • Difficulty to Run
    • How hard is this for a new facilitator with a new group? Is this a complicated game? You don't want someone to try to do something too ambitious and fail! 
  • Age Restrictions
    • What ages can play this game? Try to write the optimal range. Also note if the game should only be played with a small range of abilities. For instance, older teenagers should not play Ultimate Frisbee with 12 year olds - the risk for injury is too great. 
  • Source
    • Did you create this game? How can we reach you with questions? Did learn this game from someone else?
  • Description
    • This is a short summary of the entire experience.
  • Pitch
    • The “Pitch” is the creator’s place to sell the game to perspective players / facilitators.
  • GameplayRules
    • Describe the entire experience in detail from beginning to end.
  • Goal   
  • Variations
  • Game Session Log and Notes
    • How many times did you play the game? What were some of the challenges that you faced with your group? Where could the game be improved?

Writing up games is a great way to capture what you have created and share it with others. Who knows? Perhaps someday you'll be out at a games festival and someone will teach you your own game - what a great experience that is!

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