Welcome to my first issue of Dual Class! This column will focus on the many important business skills that can be honed and practiced through role-playing. Some articles will focus on topics relating mostly to the game leaders, while others with highlight things to think about as a player. All of these topics will illustrate how important role-playing can be as an educational tool or method for self-discovery. It can reach out to students and adults who learn more effectively in non-traditional, engaging formats. As boring as some of that might sound, I will do my best to make these articles as entertaining as they are informative.
If role-playing has only taught me one thing, it is the importance of a strong concept and setting for your game. Sessions can be unpredictable, and players can ruin all of your plans, but a strong underlying force that keeps moving forward regardless of what happens round to round will help keep your narrative alive. Too often have I seen game leaders frustrated with the outcomes of their sessions. It’s almost as if the game leader has built an amazing sandcastle just so the players can find every way to push it over.
I challenge game leaders to first establish the mission of their campaigns. While a good time is usually part of the mission, the tone and long term goals of the party should also contribute to the overall vision for your game experience. Armed with a clear mission and a strong understanding of the game system, you will be well on your way to being prepared for the sandcastle to be kicked. It’s amazing what a little written down direction can do for you when you’re in an unexpected situation.
As a game leader in the past, I gave my players some simple questionnaires and took some time with each of them to understand their play style and goals. From there, I was able to craft a mission and vision for the group long term. In a role-playing situation you won’t reveal everything about your plans, but it is paramount to understand the wants and needs of your players. Peppering your own idea for your campaign’s direction with the things that make individual and groups of your players excited keeps them engaged and leaves them wanting more.
In business, all companies start with a mission. Something has been identified as needed to be done, and the company works toward that need. I’m currently in my capstone class for business, called Business Strategy, and it was amazing how a simple mission really helped us to focus our conversations. My team is participating in a Glo-BUS business simulator with 11 other teams, and so far we are ranked 2nd out of all participants. I would contribute most of our success to that first meeting where we clearly laid out our mission. Every decision we make per week passes a simple test; “does this decision support our mission?” From that frame of mind we are able to blaze through the hundreds of decisions we have to make in record time while exceeding our shareholder expectations. I wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable with this exercise if it wasn’t for all my work as a game leader.
Cavin “Pox” DeJordy