Megagames Round up and next year’s calendar.

Megagames Round- up.

 

Now that is all my megagames done and dusted for the year it is time to take stock I guess. With the games this year so far it means I’ve been to 32 games in total (designed/run 2, played 12 and controlled 18). I really need to play more I think- it is always fun to do so, just a shame that the operational games that I prefer are few and far between these days. I should really try to get to another groups’ game as a player next year….

 

On the subject of next year: Pennine Megagames have announced the calendar for 2019:

23rd March sees Buccaneer link being run in Sheffield. Set in the War of Spanish Succession it is a prequel to John’s popular game from last year. I hope to reprise my control role from last time as I enjoyed it so much.

On the 18th May Becky put on Trope High link in Leeds. Think every high school film mashed together… so lot of roleplaying possibilities there at the school where everyone has a secret. I’m very interested to see how this one develops as it is something very different to our previous games and should bring in a different crowd of gamers.

22nd June will be a chance to refight the whole of WW1 in Cubespiel link from Tom. This will be run in Manchester- I’m looking forward to this one. An ambitious design but with Tom’s background I’m sure it will make for an interesting game.

At the end of the summer, 14th September, Paul will run Hold the Line ’39 link in Sheffield. Will the Polish mange to stop the German juggernaut this time around? Given how well the full-scale test of the rules worked with Czech mate this is another game that I’m wanting to play in.

Flying, Trading, Misbehaving link is a new game from a new designer Sam inspired by the Firefly universe being run in Manchester 12th October. This should be a good game for all the SF fans out there. Plenty to do whether you want to roleplay or just fight out space battles or even trading.

Pickles rounds off the year on the 16th November in Manchester again with Who Will Watch Them link , a negotiation game of super power limitation talks that could well be disrupted by super villains. Given the popularity of the Marvel/ DC franchises this one could go down well too. Superheroes and me don’t get on but Pickles’ design skills mean this will be a good game.

 

For more details see the Pennine Megagames website or look on facebook for us.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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Serious Gaming: Entrusted 2.


Back in the middle of this year I got the chance to act as control in Paul Howarth and Ben Green’s hospital simulator game intrusted. See past blog report  here. Fund had been secured to run the game again for a different group of healthcare professionals and again I got the chance to help deliver it.

 

The format of the game was to be slightly different this time. It was intended that all the players would be part of a single hospital; although the narrative was continued from the last game in that the participants were now running the old hospital post- merger, otherwise the basic premise and three levels of players was retained. I went over early with Paul to Manchester to help sort things out before the game and go through the changes that had been made to the game since last time. It was nice to get a better grasp on the mechanisms of the game as last time my control role wasn’t really focused on them.

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The plenary Briefing.

After the attendees had arrived and the plenary briefing delivered we set up the room for the next day and retired to the bar. A pleasant couple of hours was spent with the control team drinking, chatting and playing a board game. In our case a run through of a the rather good Black Orchestrawhere you attempt to assassinate Hitler, we did with a briefcase bomb… There is a serious point to this, I’m of the opinion that gaming together, regardless of the game, can only improve a person’s and group’s skill level when acting as part of a control team.

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The evening’s recreational game.

After breakfast at the hotel we started early with the game and watched the players try to organise the hospital. A failure on their part to stock take what staff cards they had available at the start meant that they had plenty in turn one but then struggled in the second and subsequent turns. There were insufficient resources at the scenario start to deal with everything perfectly, this was meant to engender a discussion from the bottom- up to the board level players to get more resources this didn’t really happen for a good few hours. As this time, I was supervising the admissions/ Intensive Care unit and surgical wards I saw that the players worked incredibly hard to process the patients through the hospital and to a degree I start to empathise with them. This became apparent when the board level players came into the main room to describe their latest social media campaign. I sensed a degree of annoyance go through some of the players that they had been working hard whilst the board had been coming up with new hashtags for a twitter campaign. It was very interesting to see that as in the last game I saw how hard that the board/ directorate were working and I know full well that social media presence and public perception is of utmost importance in today’s media saturated landscape so I would not want to do the board a disservice and suggest that they were having an easier time of it than those in the main room running the basic hospital functions. One of the points of contentions was a refusal to hire the extra nurse, of non- British nationality, that were needed to man the wards. The staffing crisis got so severe that the intensive care unit was not used for a couple of turns.

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A pair of the wards staffed and with paitents.

Whilst the new mechanics are improved I think that a few player aids to speed up the learning of the game could be utilised in and subsequent run of the game.  I’d suggest that the quicker that the players understand and are comfortable with the basic mechanics the sooner that they can be different problem and scenarios can be injected in the game to generate the inter- department and inter- hierarchy discussions that will provide the greatest learning experience for the attendees.

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Discussions around anesthetist’s staffing level in the surgical theatres.

In the debrief there were some great comments by the attendees which showed that they got a lot from the game and again it was great to see gaming being used for something so beneficial.

Cheers,

Pete.

Megagame Report: Juntas.

Taking inspiration from the classic old board game of the same name (which I still haven’t played yet) Paul put on this megagame in Manchester on the 24th November. The scenario was expanded beyond the premise of the board game to have players taking on the role of the ruling politicos/ families of four fictional 1960/ 1970s South American countries, all of which were centred around the Anaconda basin. Also, there were players representing various multinational corporations trying to exploit the countries natural resources; four 2- person ambassador teams from the major powers (USA/ UK/ France/ USSR), five single player roles were given over to intelligence operators (all with bland names starting with ‘J’) and finally there were two players taking the roles of writers floating about looking for the story of the century. These final two roles were based on Ernest Hemmingway and Paul Theroux.

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The network figures on the abstracted board.

My job on the day was to run the intelligence game, something that I always enjoy doing. The game was a mixture of open and closed maps. There was a map that everyone could see that showed the info that everyone would know but a large amount of the info about the actual state of a country was kept hidden by control. This design philosophy was reflected in the intelligence game. The players had an abstracted map of the area upon which coloured figures were moved that represented local and transnational networks that could be hired to do the intelligence officers bidding. Whilst the players could negotiate and talk to other players in the game pretty freely the only way that they could mechanically interact with the game was through the networks. The hidden information came from the fact that they invested money into each network and only I as intelligence control knew who had invested what and who had ultimate control of each network. The five players were all experienced megagamers and kept me busy all day with some excellent ideas. Of the five roles four were American, and the final one was Soviet. Three of the US players worked quite closely together whilst John, playing a National Security Agency player, acted to type and kept a distance. Daniel as the Soviet was up against it from the start as the others instantly were suspicious of him, furthermore he invested heavily in the worst network in the game meaning that their loyalty to him was only matched by their incompetence in the field. Networks could be tested to see how good they were but that was not really done by many of the players.

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A general view of the hall with the screened off umpires’ section, the open map (bottom right) and the country tables round the edge of the room.

I could tell from turn one that I was going to be in for a busy game as Matt had been planning on the train down to the game, as he told me after the game’s conclusion, for his opening gambit. He wanted to buy a large quantity of heroin to have it at hand to potentially use to destabilise any of the four played countries if it looked like that they were going to move towards socialism/ communism… very CIA. His networks spent a few early turns locating and the purchasing said drugs. Ed was seemingly unhappy with his budget allocation and rather than deal with the paperwork to increase it (which was an in- game option) decided to raise his own slush fund by having his network rob some banks for him. This did wind up the counties no end as it got docked out of their budgets, as Ed’s networks were pretty good he never had an agent captured that might’ve given him away. A couple did go out in a hail of gunshots on the steps of a bank.

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The common knowledge map of the Anaconda basin.

Within the structure of the turn I was busy all the time as I needed to keep my paperwork regarding the networks up to date, thanks are due here to Becky W for helping my out with  cash counting duities. Collate the pieces of information that the intel players were asking for, resolve any other actions then relaying any pertinent info to the relevant country controls. As such I didn’t see much of the game other than that which was through the spy’s lens. John played the slow and steady game, sticking to his brief by infiltrating and bugging each countries’ radio network. This was spotted by the other three American intel players and they did try to spy on John to find out his loyalties. I just told them that they didn’t have a high enough security clearance to have the answer. At this stage of the cold war even the acronym ‘NSA’ was classified, hence its occasional nickname of ‘No Such Agency’.

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A glimpse behind the umpire’s screen where the countries’ actual data was tracked.

Daniels lowly network was nothing but not persistent taking several turns to finally blow up a dam as an act of economic warfare. As he was about to be hunted down to the others as the game drew to a close Daniel did the sensible thing and negotiated for himself a French passport. The heroin did make its way into the game as it was infiltrated, by the troika of US players when a country went over to communism, into a player’s food to make him unwell when it was withdrawn to limit his efficiency. It may have sounded far- fetched but one only has to remember the CIA plots against Cuba’s Castro during this time frame.

All in all it was a busy but very fun day and another solid political- military game by Paul to finish off Pennine Megagames 2018 calendar. The only thing that I would think about changing from my corner of the game would be to have an intel player tied to each ambassador team as it was difficult for the USSR player to do much and the US got a bigger advantage than the others as there were four players supporting that side.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

https://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

Megagame Report: Czech mate ’38.

Czechmate ’38 was an operational megagame put on by Paul Howarth in October.  As can be guess from the name it is a what if? Exploration of what could of happened had the Czechoslovaks militarily resisted the attended annexation of the Sudetenland.  It was designed to test out some mechanics before they were used in other, bigger, games; as such this game was run as a small affair through Paul’s Story Living Games.

I got the chance to be the overall commander of the Czechoslovak forces. I came up with a simple plan. A crust of defences that would be held doggedly and the reserves held centrally to respond to the inevitable breakthrough. With only one good mobile division I kept it near the capital as I figured that this would be the main target for the Germans on the day to try and force the Czechs out of the game. I did know that the Germans only had about a fortnight’s worth of supplies, so it was a question of just holding on and trying to not give up any more real estate than I could.

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The plan forms.

On the day because of the small numbers of players I would also be running the air forces for my side. I had helped Paul with playtesting this part of the game quite a bit, so I was confident that I could do both jobs easily.

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A close up view of the air game board.

What really made my day go so well was the sterling work gone by Nick who was my aide de camp who kept me up to date with what was happening on the map, relaying messages and generally keeping things going along.

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My reserves looked impressive stacked up until I saw all the German cubes….

The previous playtesting of the air game had given me a slight advantage even though the Czechoslovak Air Force was greatly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe: I knew I could go toe to toe so put very little up in the early turns conceding air superiority on the basis that I’d never be in a position to seriously contest it anyway. I fully expected a massive German offensive, so my plan was to only fly 50% of my force at any one time, keep stuff cycled through quickly and concentrate on targeting the command and control links of the Wehrmacht.

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General shot of the room: the two smaller tables are for the air game.

The main game was played on an open map with 5cm polystyrene blocks. Each block represented a regiment with the face uppermost indicating that regiment’s current status. The blocks also showed the combat value in each state. Players were given and then had to spend command points to activate their units. It was my responsibility to assign from my pool of points allocations to each player.

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See what I mean about all the red German cubes…? Good job they took so long to clear the border fortifications.

In the plenary briefing of the game I got a little worried when Paul said that if the Czechoslovaks got wiped out and defeated by half past 12 would could just reset, swap sides and go again… it got me expecting a whitewashing. Fortunately, the bunkers that most of my troops started in were pretty tough and the fact that the German Heer was trying to advance whole Corps along a single mountainous road in October meant that they struggled to get the command points to activate.

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Fall back positions were organised.

When the Germans made their first breakthrough I called a tea break to sort out the allocation of reserves and to speak to each commander to see how likely they were to hold out and for how long. At this point I assigned some fall-back positions trying to make the best use of natural obstacles. I was prepared to give up some areas rather than risk having any forces encircled.

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An army marches on its stomach so I brought tea lof to sustain my Czech team.

In the end the reserves, at least those that were rifle divisions, were parcelled out quite early. Hindsight has made me consider if a bolder strategy would have been to have released them to players at the start to make the initial crust of defences very strong indeed. It would have left me with only the Fast Division to act as a reserve which wouldn’t have been very much at all…

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Towards the end of the game the Germans did start breaking through.

I got the chance to do a little roleplaying/ politicking to try and appeal to the French to apply diplomatic pressure. I knew a full-scale invasion of Germany wouldn’t be possible (and outside the scope of the game) but when it was announced that the Poles were mobilizing to take advantage of our misfortunes I appealed to the French to call them off. I knew that this would be easier if we managed to put in a decent counter attack. I knew that I couldn’t turn back the German tide, but I could definitely put a dint into the main thrust. It is worth remembering that the German tanks at this stage were quite poor, mostly Panzer I and Panzer IIs with the better Panzer IIIs and IVs being quite rare. Easy prey for the LT 35 and LT 38 tanks with their 37mm guns I could field. The attack went in as I planned and managed to stall the main German thrust to Prague. It wasn’t a game winning manoeuvre, but it should that will still had fight left in us and saved the capital for a few more days. In the end the game ended after ten days/ turns; certainly, much of the country was occupied but we still had units in the field and a functional government. The Germans had paid a heavy cost to get this far, especially in materiel. So much that a further invasion of Poland the following year would have been doubtful.

The game system seemed pretty solid and I’m looking forward to it being used in next year’s Poland game. The only thing that needs to be added would be a better fog of war mechanism so the location of my reserves would of have to have been discovered in the game by the Germans but that is a minor thing. The only down side of the day is that I now want to raise a 20mm collection to fight out some of the battles the game generated with toy soldiers.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Megagames Report: Everybody Dies 3: Playing with Fire.

I’m a bit behind with putting up my megagame reports so expect a glut of them over the next few days… They might not be as long as previous game write- ups but I’m keen to get as much down on each of them.

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The very evocative map was back- new were dragon miniatures.

The first of September saw Pennine Megagames put on Becky Ladley’s Everybody Dies 3: Playing with Fire. This was a return to the Game of Thrones world; this time set a good 150 years before the novels/ TV series. The big feature of this game is that it featured large numbers of dragons flying around and getting involved in the narrative. As I’m, seemingly, one of the few people that have still not read the books or watched the TV show I volunteered to control. I was put in charge of running the map where those players commanding armies would be.

Keeping the players on track proved to be hard work and I’m sorry to say that it was my first experience of players purposely bending the rules. I’m sure it happens in many games, but it was a first to see it first- hand…

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The busiest part of the map for the whole game.

The game was very much focused around the events in King’s Landing where the King died in the first turn sparking a civil war between the Greens and Blacks. There were only a few battles on the map so most of the day I was regulating movement and calling players on it to keep them on the straight and narrow… some not liking that.

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Becky had won a competion to get an ice sculpture- got to be a first in a megagame.

As the third run of the game it was very slick in terms of the mechanics. Becky had done a great job simplifying and clarifying both the map movement and the combat. Using the same basic mechanisms for both land and naval combat was a good idea and the game handbook was well produced.

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Daniel lays down the law with a two hand point during a combat.

For an excellent reflective piece by Becky on her game look to her blog here.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Megagmunda: The megagame.

Back in the mid nineties when I was doing my A levels I used to play a lot of Games Workshop’s Necromunda game and over the years I’ve read a bit of Judge Dredd, although I’ve never been a massive 2000AD fan, so when the mash up of both of these SF universes was added to the Pennine Megagames Calendar I definately wanted to play.

Megamunda, a mining planet,  was divded up into four citi tables over which the gangs fought for control of the seedier parts of the economy whilst the miners were in town to spend their hard earned cash. The five gangs (Troggies, Neon Knights, Cosmic Punks, Van Der Saars and Bandidos) had a representative in each citi who had to fight for control on a hex map my placing countrol counters down and fighting for turf. There were a large group of judges who tried to keep law and order on each of the citi tables, above them were the Governor and planatary wide level. To complicate matters further the mysterious Inquisitions were present doing secret things.

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I was asked by Philip, the game designer, if I minded being put with a group of first time gamers to give them a bit of help if they needed it. I didn’t mind at all so was given the role of the deputy gang boss for the Bandidos. At this point you may have noticed that some megagames have adressing up element to them, something that I’ve never really gon for myself but given my miss-spent you as a goth/ rivet head/ industral fan dressing as a SF gangmember was something I could easily do. Sadly most of my clothes from 20 years ago no longer fitted but I still had all my spiked arm bits and what not so I dug them out. I also got a friend of mine to shave my head into a mowhawk  and dye it yellow (The bandidos gang colour), I figured it would be getting into the spirit of things.

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The game went really well. As deputy gang boss I wasn’t fixed to a single table but could chat/ scheme/ form alliances with the other gangs as well as sort out the money for the Bandidos. This meant I collect was the citi level bosses took each turn and then bought resources, different cards, for them to use in the game. These cards were sent through the central hub and there was a chance of them being intercepted by the judges and anything illegal confiscated. Gang members in each different citi could also trade cards this way too. The gang bosses could also hangout in the wastelands and play gamble for game cash. I’m not the betting sort, at least not with games of chance, but when introduced to Liar’s Dice a game of bluff and deception I took to it straight away and found I was quite good at it. I won 2/3rds of my games and got some good stuff for my gang.

The game cards were fun and you could set up some good combinations with them. We were planning an offensive against the Troggies in one of the citis so used card to spy on the assets and steal the best ones before we launched our, successful, attack against them.

We entered an alliance fairly early with the Van Der Saars; we agreed to not fight each other and help out in fights if needed as well as passing along any items that the other side wanted. I’ve read enough H P Lovecraft to be suspicious when they asked for any old books that we came across…. I did get pulled in by the Inquisition for an interrogation to see if I knew anything about the missing governor, any heretic or any xenos on the planets. I didn’t voice my suspicions about the Van Der Saars but after I was let go I wrote down my accusation on a piece of paper. I kept it handy, if I ever felt that we were being betrayed by the Van der Saars I would have slipped it to the Inquisitors.

The team I was with for the most part really enjoyed their day and they wee agreat bunch too. Only one of them seemed not so keen. At the end of the day we had achieve 2 out of the 3 (and probably the 3rd to be fair) objectives we had been given as a gang which was as much as others so that was pretty succesful.

It was a great day, and a nice change to get to play a game too. For a first game it worked very well. A few tweaks could be made to the design but they’d mostly be nitpicking.

 

Apologies for the paucity of pics- my phone camera isn’t the best and most came out blurry.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

Serious Gaming: EnTrusted.

[Note: I sent a draft of this post to Paul of Story Living Games, I’ve left his comments in as italics as they do help clarify a few things.]

 

Paul, the man who was instrumental in getting Pennine Megagames up and running, does also run games for a living with his company Story Living Games clicky. While they are often for schools they are not exclusively so; a recent example of his work was the NHS hospital simulator EnTrusted that he was commissioned to develop along with Ben Green. For the first run of the game several extra people were needed to act as control to deliver the game.

With reference back to my previous post and my interest in seeing how games are used in a serious setting I was rather pleased to be asked to act as one of the control. To that end I went over to Manchester to on a Tuesday afternoon. The game was to be run over an evening and a day to a wide selection of people who work within the health sector who aren’t exactly frontline staff (such as nurses, doctors etc.) *there were some doctors involved, but the idea was to place players in unfamiliar roles to gain an appreciation of other pressures*; as such the game was intended to give them a degree of insight into the pressures of running a hospital for an administrative point of view. *not just administrative, but also operational, hence wards and surgery* As a means of recording the day and to provide some feedback on how things went, I think to satisfy the funding requirements that allowed the event to take place, a film crew was present recording what was going on and capturing a few ‘talking heads’. As far as I’m aware it has not been made public yet.*the video wasn’t a feature of the funding requirements, but rather a way to capture instant feedback, explain the rationae behind it to a wider audience and promote the use of serious games*  

After the obligatory small talk with nibbles and a drink the evening started with an icebreaker: this was a team variant of the well-known Kim’s Game. After this the attendees were given the outline of the rest of the event. They were to be split into two teams: red and yellow, each one representing a different hospital (they were told that due to the higher than expected interest in the game it was easier to run two hospitals than one large one) and within each hospital they were to be split into three hierarchies: the board, who made the big decisions on the strategic direction of the hospital, the staff, who dealt with the running of the wards and such like (these were represented by board game- esque mechanics) and the directorate who were to act as the conduit between the two levels and be the day to day managers of each hospital. My control role was to monitor the directorate in one of the hospitals. The attendees playing the board were taken into one room to develop a new name, logo and mission statement for each hospital whilst the staff players were in another room to learn how the wards were run at a mechanical level. The directorate players had a free choice as to which to attend; obviously their choice in this would influence how they were to approach the game the following day. I observed the staff training as I wanted to see how the wards were run. *The different tasks were to encourage the creation of different teams and priorities as quickly as possible in a game situation. Other elements included the boards not being made aware of the turn structure and timings in their briefing*

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The process diagram of how a ward was run- far simpler than it looks at first glance.

Ben led this session and explained how the patients, represented by cards, would enter the hospital then had to be assessed and treated before going onto a ward.  To treat a patient the surgeon had to complete a puzzle (visio-spatial for the most part), the difficulty of which was increased depending on the workload they wanted to take on rather than one puzzle per patient. After this they went on the wards where they had to be treated with nurses of the correct skill. Added to this were pre- arranged cases who went straight into the wards. Patient cards were tracked by a different colour that were cycled through and if that card had not been treated by the time that the colour came around again it would result in a negative discharge for that card. Furthermore, nurses gained tiredness tokens and had to be rested after a maximum of 4 shifts (colour changes) a tiredness token being removed for every colour changes rested.

After the attendees had been briefed, control stayed behind for a briefing on our duties on the following day before we checked into our accommodation and then went to the pub.

The next morning, thankfully no worse for the previous night’s socialising, we arrived early to and got straight into the game. My main jobs on the day were to liaise with Phil who was my opposite number for the other hospital to coordinate the injects that were introduced to each team to give them other problems to debate on and overcome and to go round the wards and leave feedback cubes on how well each ward was doing based on the success or otherwise of the staff level players. The idea was that this metric of was to be collected by the directorate level players as a snapshot of how well the hospital was performing at a given time. As an example of an inject one that I introduced was that a laptop was left on public transport by a (non-played) member of staff, this being a breach of the newly introduced data protection act. To remedy this the hospital had to draft a press release on their patient confidentiality policy and send staff for mandatory retraining. To do this I assigned one of the directorate staff to get all of the staff level players to go and do a simple puzzle (or the kind usually used to treat patients) this was just to represent the time taken up with this extra work taking them away from their job/ main role in the game. Phil and I had a list of these to work through and we made sure that they were going introduced into the game in a way that made narrative sense. I did think at the time that the attendees were taking my interruptions with bad news and further difficulties incredibly well, they just dealt with the matter at hand efficiently and without any complaints. I doubt a hobby group of players would have dealt with the same pressures with such good graces. In an interesting move by the game designers one directorate team (mine) was based in the hospital room alongside the staff players whilst the other shared a room with the board in a separate area; this led to a very different approach when it came to relations with the staff and arguing their case.*Whilst this was partly to see how players responded and worked, it was also due to the different structures within real Trusts – one option we didn’t take was adding a senior nursing position to the board. This may have made it too easy for the board team to gain an overview and bypass the directorate.*

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An example of an inject sheet.

I felt that the feedback part of the game was less successful- whilst it did provide a metric of performance it wasn’t one that was being recorded by the players, partly as they were not explicitly told to record it and partly as they never thought to. Further to that it was generated by a random/ partly subjective method and as such divorced from the mechanics of the game. If the data had been collected by the player it would have been of very little use to them in working out exactly what had gone wrong other than putting in a new general policy and informing control. If it had been tied to the game mechanically, even if this were not made explicit to the players it would have been better.

 

The big twist in the event, and the reason that there were two hospitals is that they had to merge. This meant that both hospitals had to put together a joint team that would make sure that the infrastructure and staffing structure of the joint hospital went smoothly. My control duties did not extend  that far so I’m unable to offer much insight in the process. I will say how ever that it seemed very much like the ‘other’ hospital moved into ‘my’ hospital and forced the board players in to subordinate roles. *this was an interesting development – the merger was originally only a possibility and most of the afternoon would be spent on gathering data, planning, putting teams together and implementing at a late stage. The Department of Health control made the decision to start earlier after frustrations with the board teams. Ironically, whilst the Sunrise board seemed better informed (their directorate was based in the hospital) and have fewer scandals and issues to deal with, they did not put themselves forward as much as their rivals when it came to putting what had been seen as an interim board together. Confidence seemed to count far more than competence*.

Whilst the merger discussions were taking place, it came to light that the staff in the hospital I was responsible for were ‘bending’ the rules of the system by healing more patient cards by doing lots of easy puzzles rather than one hard one in the same amount of time. I brought this to the attention to Ben who said I should up the negative feedback and talk to the directorate staff about over work. This was largely ignored so Ben said to tell them that one of their (non- played) colleagues had committed suicide due to over work. I thought this was a bit too much, not on a personal level was I bothered by it but I thought it was too emotive a topic to introduce into the game, it wouldn’t have been the call I made. Either way it was up to me to make the announcement and it was one of the trickier in game things I had to do. The feel of the day was serious but with a light hearted edge to it and announcing the death of an albeit fictional character meant it I had to very quickly decide on how I was going to phrase it and get the right level of appropriacy in the tone of my delivery. Fortunately the players took it very well and seemed to adjust their gaming behaviours accordingly.

The merger seemed to work well although it did highlight the slight differences in how the different control ran each hospital; getting consistency across control is a perennial problem in megagames, especially on the first run of any game. It also left a few players with less to do as the directorate and board teams were now twice as big for not quite twice the work. Phil and I worked this into the game by having the outsourced cleaning support workers start industrial over looming job redundancies. *Ben and I did discuss different interpretations of rules before the game – he wa less concerned, partly because different Trusts operate in different ways and therefore that would create more tensions post-merger if it happened.*

Overall the game worked very well. All of the attendees seemed to be very engaged with the whole thing and I’d like to think that they took something away from it that was worthwhile to them. Personally I think that Phil and I’s control roles could have been merged, as could the board control for that matter, as it would have brought in greater consistency for one thing. It was, however, fascinating seeing megagaming being used in a professional/ educational context by those who were not viewing the whole exercise as a day’s entertainment of time with their favourite hobby. Hopefully this will not be the only time EnTrusted gets run.