Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Training course
Venue: Viljandi, Estonia
Dates: 12-20 November 2019
Host organisation: MTÜ Noored Ühiskonna Heaks
Please read the info-pack
Participating countries: Estonia, Italy, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Finland, Romania, United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal
The “Game ON!” Training Course took place in a small village near Viljandi, Estonia between 12. and 20. November 2019. The course has been based on WarGames, a 1983 American movie, where a clever game of Tic-tac-toe prevents global nuclear conflict. Its success made games go a long way to become not only a medium of entertainment, but also one of politics and non-formal education in general.
All in all, our course was attended by 28 gaming enthusiasts from 14 different countries. The variety of both our professional experience and our cultural perspectives turned out to be very beneficial in the whole process of education.
We were accommodated in 3 or 4 bedded rooms. Our accommodation was also a ranch, which gave us an opportunity to watch horses grazing on the meadows not so far from our windows. There was also a possibility to ride a horse for a discounted price.
The food was very tasty, I especially appreciated the traditional Estonian cuisine. Potatoes, oats, pork meat both filled and warmed us up. There were also many coffee breaks which created a very casual environment and gave rise to many spontaneous conversations. I was talking with almost everyone. It was perhaps thanks to the large amount of different nationalities that there were no small groups, which would not interact with their environment. On the contrary, the groups often changed their members, making both the work and the games more fun. Throughout the whole course I felt safe and equal. I adored the absolute freedom of word in a place where no one would judge my opinions. This was one of the most beneficial aspects of this project for me.
As regards the main objectives of the course, we acquainted ourselves with the typology of players, steps of game development, strategies games use to function. We also learned to recognize some differences between gamification and game-based-learning (both of which are a part of modern education). Later we utilized our newly acquired knowledge regarding the means of gamification (such as reward, card drawing, dice rolling, magic objects gathering) to create a game of our own.
Every team of developers consisted of people with similar mindsets and goals and so we all managed to create various original games, all of which are now available as an open-source material for educational purposes. The team I was a part of created a game called Journey to The Unknown. The core of this game is the principle of Hero’s journey, a narrative scheme widely used since the rise of ancient civilizations and utilized by Hollywood blockbusters of today. The main objectives of our Journey are those of self-knowledge and self-development. They are achieved by completions of minor challenges and storytelling. We then presented and tested our games at University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy, where they achieved a great success.
This course was the first but surely not last training course I attended. Although it was intensive and time for relaxation was scarce, it was a refreshing experience to spend a week in a group of so inspiring people from throughout the Europe and focus with them on a single goal which we, despite all the difficulties, achieved.
Translation made by: Karel Týr