Misusing mobile phones to break the ice: The tabletop game Maze Maestro

Albert Sjölund, Martijn Straatman, Millen Van Osch, Oliver Findra, Pradyot Patil, Mijael Bueno, Nestor Z. Salamon, Rafael Bidarra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Performance of newly-formed project teams is often limited, or at least delayed, when team members refrain from sharing their ideas due to unfamiliarity with their peers. A variety of ice-breaking methods can help overcome this cold start, but mostly they need to be deployed and moderated by experienced facilitators. This setup is rarely an option for most undergrad project courses at university level, typically carried out in small teams. In order to help breaking the ice in this context, we developed Maze Maestro, a collaborative tabletop game in which the board is made up by attaching the displays of the team members' mobile phones to form a large maze. Each member controls a character in the maze, and the whole team has the common goal of leaving the maze together; however, this is only possible with timely communication and much cooperation. While playing, team members are encouraged to confer possible plans and share their ideas, which is the fertile ground for breaking the ice. Play testing has shown that Maze Maestro was perceived as a fun and original collaborative game. So far, results of a preliminary user study are optimistic about the ability of Maze Maestro to break the ice within newly-formed teams, without requiring any facilitator.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2020
EditorsGeorgios N. Yannakakis, Antonios Liapis, Kyburz Penny, Vanessa Volz, Foaad Khosmood, Phil Lopes
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450388078
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event15th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2020 - Bugibba, Malta
Duration: 15 Sep 202018 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Conference

Conference15th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2020
CountryMalta
CityBugibba
Period15/09/2018/09/20

Keywords

  • Cooperation
  • Ice Breaking
  • Mobile games
  • Serious games
  • Tabletop games

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