What is important when you plan gamification at your event?
The field of event gamification is wide. You have probably used gamification in a simple way in the form of event competitions or quizzes or even conducted a full scavenger hunt.
In some event moments, the attendee’s experience is composed into a game. So checking in, finding the seating, picking up info materials and completing feedback polls give badges and a place on the leaderboard. In such cases the game is a lightweight activity in parallel to the main program of an event.
Games are also integrated in a deeper scale. At times, game is an important part of the event (networking, engaging with seminar contents, team training) or even the main backbone (team building, city rallies, charity fundraisers).
No matter the scope, the idea is to bring playfulness into the event experience. Points, badges, levels, leaderboards, challenges and game mechanics serve the purpose to achieve an event outcome. A game should create emotions, while fulfilling a desired purpose in the context of the specific event. Connecting games with the main subject of the event can heighten the engagement impact of the event. It is all about making the game work for the event goal in a meaningful way.
Games are a great way to engage people, but games won’t fix other underlying issues like crowd logistics or the game can't be a quick filler when ideas run out. As said, the game should support the reason of the event. So, before you decide to plan gamification think through the aspects below. No matter, whether you use proven tools like a pen, paper and game supplies or a technology solution, outlining the purpose helps you to make decisions about the gamification action plan. When you put down the details about the gamification idea, you will have a clear overview whether it will support the purpose of the event. You can think through the gamification action plan on your own, but it is best to include the client so you get more details and set the expectations.
- What is the purpose of the game? Is there one big goal- to have fun, learn some facts, promote a brand, interact with other people in real life, walk around the venue, pay especial attention to the details (speakers, agenda, design, catering) of the event, explore local surrounding businesses, improve teamwork or a specific aspect of it?
- What is the one main emotion you want the attendees to remember?
- What are the “hard” knowledge acts you want people definitely to receive and remember?
- What is the outcome. How is the game wrapped up- is the winner important or is the playing experience a reward?
- Do you need statistics for the answers the players have given?
- Do you need to administrate the scores and the moderator to give points to the players?
WHEN and WHERE?
- A time frame to create a game. This frames the ideas into an achievable form.
- The duration of the game in your event. Games that have a sophisticated construction take more time. Explaining rules what to do and wrapping up add more to the game time.
- Where is the event held? Do the venue and surroundings support the setup of the game?
- Do and can people move around physically? Is there a set of stands or places that players should visit?
- Will you want to guide people in a specific content order or let them discover freely?
- How many people will be attending?
- Do attendees know each other or not? If not, are they from the same industry?
- How many players have to interact with each other?
- Will there be people playing individually or in teams?
- How many people from your team will be facilitating the game?
- How many people in your team will be involved with making the game?
- How much does the client want to be involved in the content input of the game?
- What is the share of corporate event-specific info you want to use in a game?
- Do you want to use creative tasks, fact questions or logic puzzles?
- Do you need to use photos and images within the game or promote a website people should visit?
- Can you visit the event location to create location specific questions? What kind of output you need from players answers?
- Do you need to poll them, do you need longer text input, do they need to take photos or shoot videos?
- Do people need to share their game experience in social media (like photos they have taken)? Will they need an indoor or outdoor map based on the game to navigate around?
- What is the availability of data connection in the area?
- Will you provide the devices or can people use their own ones?
- How will be the attendees instructed? What materials do you need and what channels do you use to inform the players before, during and after the game?
- Are there any restrictions to conduct the game that are at that specific to the location or venue? What are the safety requirements?
When you have outlined the details, you have a better overview of the possibilities a game can give to your event to support its purpose. It also helps you to plan and cooperate with the client to bring the game idea into life. Hopefully, you have a chance to implement gamification at upcoming events and benefit from it. Liisa works in the team of Loquiz, helping event professionals to create games for corporate events with the gamification platform. She is curious about how people connect to outdoors and learn through innovative game experiences.