Q and A about The Regeneration Game

We have developed a set of questions and answers about The Regeneration Game, and would welcome more of your questions and comments. Read on below, or download Q and A here. More here about the launch of the game. Please add comments and questions on The Regeneration Game by clicking 'Comments' under this item.
You can now buy the game online from NIACE.

Questions and Answers about The Regeneration Game
David Wilcox and Drew Mackie

The game – and why it might be useful for you
Just what is The Regeneration Game?
It is a card-based game to help groups discuss how to improve neighbourhoods, and then develop action plans.

How can the Regeneration Game be used?
It can be played ‘for real’ in local communities, or in training sessions to help people understand the challenges of neighbourhood renewal.

Who might use the game?
Anyone who is trying to get different interests involved in planning neighbourhood regeneration – adult and community learning practitioners, development workers, activists, residents, trainers. In addition, anyone training people in community engagement techniques and processes.

What’s in the box?
The main components are packs of 52 cards with project ideas, action planning sheets, instructions on how to play, and information about where to get funding for projects.

How many people play?
The game is best played by a group of about eight people. Each game box has materials for up to four groups to play at the same time.

How long does a game take?
A game session depends on the complexity of the situation, and the length of discussion generated – but it is best to allow at least two hours for play and discussion.

What is involved in the game?
Groups identify problems they want to address in their neighbourhood, choose project ideas from cards and add their own. They then develop an action plan, and look at the skills, funding, and partnerships that might be needed to make things happen.

Where can I get the game?
You can buy the game online from NIACE.

Why use games?
Games can produce rich discussion and consensus in a short time; they create a level playing field for professionals and residents; they help people get to know each other. They are also more fun than most other meetings.
Download article on Why games?

What special about this game?
It combines a number of well-tried techniques to promote group discussion; it is designed for use in a wider process of community engagement; it offers high quality materials that can be used in community and training sessions.

Is the game only for use with community groups?
No – because effective regeneration depends on a wide range of interests developing a shared commitment to change. The game is designed for use within regeneration agencies and partnerships too. By playing the game different interests can develop a shared vision.

How was the game developed?
The design of the game is based on workshops run by Drew Mackie and David Wilcox over the past ten years. You can find similar – but less polished! – games on their web site . This version, and supporting materials, was developed with Jane Thompson and Cheryl Turner of NIACE, and their design team.
Playing the game
Does a game session require skilled facilitation?
No – there are full instructions on how to plan and run a session. Because the cards are pre-prepared groups have plenty to talk about from the start.

Do the pre-prepared cards lead to standard solutions?
There are blank cards for new ideas, and participants are encouraged to amend cards using Post-it notes. If you like the game, but want to start with a different set of ideas, you can make up your own cards.

What sort of venue is best for the game?
Somewhere that people can work in groups of about eight people in the same room. You will need flip chart paper – and easels if possible. You can sit people around tables – but the best sessions are often when people just spread the cards on the floor.

What other props are needed?
As well as flip chart paper you will need Blu-tak or similar to stick cards on the paper, pens, and Post-its or other sticky notes for adding ideas.

Can the materials in the box be re-used?
The cards can be re-used, and there is a template for copying new planning sheets when you need them.

What makes for a good session?
We offer advice in the instructions. Generally, make sure people know the purpose of the session, make it an enjoyable and creative experience, and be clear about what happens next – if the game is part of a development process.
The game as part of a process
Is there a danger the game will be used as a ‘quick fix’ for community participation?
There’s always a danger that workshop tools are seen as ‘the’ answer, when real participation takes time. David Wilcox has written The Guide to Effective Participation, available as a free download from http://www.partnerships.org.uk/guide/index.htm, which deals with these issues. We think there’s less danger in using The Regeneration Game because it is unpretentious and encourages wide-ranging discussion and questions.

How might the game be used as part of a longer process?
We give some suggestions in the game instructions. You might use the game as an awareness-raiser early in a process to start people thinking about issues, possible projects, and priorities. You might use it later when project ideas have started to emerge. And you might use it at several events, with agencies as well as community interests, to develop shared visions.

What is important before and after a game session?
Before the session – if played ‘for real’ - get to know who’s who and make sure people who might be interested are encouraged to participate; find out what is already happening in the neighbourhood; make sure people know the session will be a creative event not a standard public meeting. After the session keep in touch with those who participated and follow through on any commitment made. Think about how to engage other interests necessary to the success of neighbourhood regeneration.

Useful Games

David Wilcox
020 7600 0104

Drew Mackie
0131 445 5930
Published on the original Useful Games blog