Dates: 20—29 August 2020
Venue: Kurzętnik, Poland
Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: training course
Hosting organisation: Fundacja Pracownia Nauki i Przygody
Participating countries: Poland, Romania, Portugal, Czech Republic, Latvia
Czech team: Lucie Pozníková, Martin Zeman, Nikita Golmgren, Hana Javůrková
The training course Game It Out! that we attended was beautifully organised by a host Polish organisation Pracownia Nauki i Przygody, a non-governmental organisation focused on education connected with nature and sustainable living. Our project was not an exception – we stayed at a ‘resort’ called Kacze Bagno (not far away from the town of Ilawa, Poland), surrounded by wavy fields, a forest and every evening lit by a gorgeous sunset from behind the trees. All the participants slept together in one big room, which was surprisingly a real test of our solidarity – that brought us very close from the beginning.
Not only did we learn about game development and idea developing, but along with that we also attended workshops like ceramics and gardening, we even took care of the chicken! Every meal was very diverse and always including vegan or vegetarian options.
The project itself was thoughtfully organised and professionally led by Aga, who would mostly take care of our mental well being. During the week we were introduced to different training games with other trainers – Marcin, Marcin and Kuba, played multiple board games (one of them even designed by one of the trainers!) and got to know each other through that. Even though we had mostly free time after dinner, we still organized multiple gaming sessions indoors or outdoors – apparently love for games connected us really well.
Our first big challenge was a game-jam-like activity where we literally designed our first games. First alone, then in pairs, then we discussed ideas in groups and finally presented a prototype that was only designed in the short span of a few hours. Even though the task seemed tough at the beginning, our fears of lack of ideas or time had just passed away and we were not as afraid of the big, final challenge, that we knew was ahead – the BIG game jam.
By the end of the project we attended a two-day game jam, where we designed an actual training board game. First we formed groups based on mutual ideas and visions. In the end we very naturally formed a total of 6 groups, each with a different vision, taste and ideas in mind. Then the game jam started – some groups (such as ours) struggled to form a specific shape of a very abstract concept, but we are more than happy with the result and continue to work on it until today. But most importantly we had so much fun developing ideas that proved to be really fun and unusual and of course hanging around as a group of friends rather than ‘colleagues’ or mere participants. We had a chance to spend one day in Ilawa presenting and playtesting our prototypes with strangers in a mall, which was a very poetic way to end the project – watching a sunset on a lake in Ilawa after a day full of board games and fun with friends.
I would like to thank the organisations – EYCB and Pracownia Nauki i Przygody for this training course. We really appreciated the concept of really taking a break from technologies and just spending time offline. Even with all the interesting and educational programme, we still had so much energy, time and will to organise activities by ourselves – in the end that is a true learning activity for those who really wish it, rather than listening about doing it.