Demystifying the unseen helmsman: Towards a competency model for game facilitators

Rens Kortmann, Vincent Peters

Research output: Book/ReportReportScientific

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The facilitation of game sessions is an endeavor that requires specific competencies. A game facilitator needs to be an ‘unseen helmsman’ steering his/her ship of game players clear from rocks and storms without the players realizing. However, the competencies required for game facilitation are somewhat shrouded in mystery. In the past, several competency models have been developed for facilitators of generic group sessions. However, among facilitators of simulation game it is assumed that facilitating gaming sessions requires additional competencies. Currently, there exists no model that comprehensively outlines the competencies needed to facilitate a simulation game in particular. In our study we determined what makes facilitating a simulation game stand out with respect to generic group facilitation. Then we performed both a top-down literature review and a bottom-up, participatory study to propose a competency model for game facilitation. In the former we investigated several existing competency models for generic group facilitation. In the latter, we guided a group of game facilitation experts through a four-step process to identify competencies. First we asked the group to identify skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are needed to facilitate a simulation game. Second, the results were analyzed by another group of experts and submitted to, third, a hierarchical cluster analysis and, fourth, a ‘labelling game’ to identify competencies. We compared the outcomes of the top-down and bottom-up studies to draw conclusions. We found that although some competencies from the literature on generic group facilitation are valuable for game facilitation as well, others are not applicable in a game facilitation
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages66
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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