In defense of games in the workplace

“Gamestorming” author Dave Gray on how games cut through creative chaos

Dave Gray

Originally posted on by O’Reilly Radar by Matt Slocum

We’re hardwired to play games. We play them for fun. We play them in our social interactions. We play them at work.

That last one is tricky. “Games” and “work” don’t seem like a natural pairing. Their coupling in the workplace either implies goofing off (the fun variant) or office politics (the not-so-fun type).

Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo, co-authors of the upcoming book Gamestorming, have a different perspective. They contend that an embrace and understanding of game mechanics can yield benefits in many work environments, particularly those where old hierarchical models are no longer applicable.

In the following Q&A, Gray discusses the collaborative power of games and how they can cut through increasing workplace complexity.

CONTINUED AT: O’Reilly Radar webite



Monopoly-like board game teaches sustainability

Originally posted at

A Game Of Monopoly For Green-Collar Jobs Instead Of Tycoons

Named for “green business owners,” players are impact investors in a game inspired by Monopoly. They must navigate the transition from a fossil fuel economy to one powered by clean energy. The game challenges players with volatile markets, scheming lobbyists, and unreliable politicians lining the path to helping Hawaii reach its real-life goal of producing 70% of its electricity from clean renewable sources by 2050.

“Our primary aim with the game was to create something fun that could inspire people to green careers and to consider sustainability as something personally relevant to them,” according to the website.

The players are clean-tech angel investors who search the islands of Hawaii to finance wind farms, geothermal plants, car-sharing services or community agriculture advancing the state’s energy target. Scores are tallied by the triple bottom line: money, green collar jobs created, and “eco-credits” reflecting how much oil, processed food, or trash is offset by the new businesses. Investing, however, is risky. Public policy decisions and market events may go your way, or unleash disaster. A deck of Policy & Event cards throws up scenarios from a Victory Gardens crusade by Hawaii’s governor that boosts sustainable food sales to plunging oil prices that leave biofuel investors deep in the hole.

The game doesn’t fully represent real life, or the lure of easy cash, since players can’t just decamp and become oil barons. “The only options to invest in in the game are ‘green’ ones,” says Cooney. “The reason is that the game is based on the field of impact investing–those people who want to invest, but aren’t at all interested in dirty businesses.”

Cooney, who is also an “eco-entrepreneur” and sustainability professor at the University of Hawai’i’s Shidler College of Business, has developed the game into lesson plans for high schools and colleges, and is now on a national tour to promote it with tournaments to be held in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Asheville, South Carolina. (original article posted at:

Link to GBO Hawaii including lesson plans

New iPad Was Made For Board Games Like This

This is re-posted from  the website Kotaku.  Originally posted April 17, 2012 by Luke Plunkett

A few weeks ago I took a look at the iPhone version of classic board game Ticket to Ride. It was great, albeit practical only for a single user. The fancy new iPad edition is much better.

Recently enhanced to take advantage of the latest iPad’s retina display, Ticket to Ride now uses the same art employed on the actual board game’s maps and cards.

It’s the same game — collect cards, build trains, be an arsehole — anyone familiar with the tabletop or iPhone (or online) version will be familiar with, only settling into a nice middle ground between the lot of them, having the clarity and ability to “share” across a table as the real edition, but with the time-saving digital enhancements of the computer edition.

See rest of article, including a video demo of the game, at Kotaku website.