Gamification Mechanic Monday: puppet master

Gamification Mechanic Monday: puppet master

In alternate reality games you have a puppet master (often also the game designer) who decides on the rules of the game and how players are engaging and interacting with each other and with the storyline of the game. They can often make adjustments on the fly to the storyline as well as scoring and other interactions, because they are also feeding of interactions in reality. The nature of alternate reality games is that the storyline is typically the fictional element, but actions are carried out in reality. The puppet master is the person who keeps the game and players on track.

In marketing I have seen this techniques used where the brand acts as the puppet master and brand followers are sent to complete quests in order to gain a prize or brand reward. The quests can vary from online or off-line treasure hunts to making photographs with branded items in unusual places.

In learning and development I have taken corporate groups on these kinds of challenges and sometimes mid-challenge the winning variables may change to find out how people adapt to changing circumstances. The key is to have a good storyline and learning points along the way which allow players to become aware of behaviour and maybe self-reflect. In a learning environment I would always recommend a debrief at the end of a game, so people can process their learning and also have additional insights sometimes in the game play but more often into the human interactions with each other and their responses to game conditions.

Where have you used a puppet master approach in gamification for business?

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