Learn how to respond at the edge of your knowing.
Playing at the Edge is all about about learning to think and act anew. The collaborative games and activities are designed to exercise your capacity to respond to the unexpected and bounce back when things don’t go according to the script! You will learn more about yourself and take away actionable-insights that can be applied the same day.
Playing at the Edge with Werewolf
The game we have adapted for the next Playing at Edge session is called Werewolf. Created during the Cold War by Russian spy agencies, Werewolf was used in the 1960’s to train their spies to build trust, think on their feet and make decisions when faced with unexpected situations.
Apart from being the most fun you will ever have on Zoom, playing Werewolf provides a jolt, revealing your cognitive biases and assumptions when dealing with uncertainty. The game will transport you to the very edge of your knowing, which in turn, offers new learning and actionable insights about how to respond when stretched beyond your comfort zone.
Research and experience tells us that games effectively simulate real world, complex situations. Like all true games, Werewolf has a clear goal, rules and boundaries within which the complexity of human interactions, decision-making and joy emerges.
Werewolf is a collaboratory game and creates drama, intrigue and mystery. Players negotiate with each other, use their influencing skills, build trusted relationships and work together to solve a shared challenge.
Werewolf’s relevance to the real world comes from three characteristics it shares with all complex, social challenges:
- Every game is unique, unpredictable and emergent – this emergence arises from the interactions between the players and constraints of the game itself;
- Players need to negotiate a constant flow of information – this information comes directly and indirectly from other players and from the mechanic of the game itself;
- Players display adaptive behaviour – this means that players in the game are constantly and autonomously adjusting their behaviours in response to new information.
What’s at the Edge?
There are many situations that bring us to the edge: falling in love, starting a new job, or tackling a complex challenge. Our comfort zone is tested in times of disruption, a crisis, a sudden change, making a mistake or failing at something important.
As humans we prefer certainty. Because we are neurologically hard-wired to avoid the unexpected, the edges we encounter in an uncertain, complex and volatile world can feel overwhelming. When we can’t find solutions, or even define the problem we face, we can feel stuck, incompetent, embarrassed or frustrated. Our default response is to cling to existing ways of thinking and acting.
The edge encountered when playing games like Werewolf provide a safe container to test and stretch our comfort zone. At this playful edge of knowing, players learn to notice more, improvise, engage spontaneously with each other and discover an exploratory mindset. They learn to expect the unexpected and let-go of the need for control. During these moments players can practice the art of thinking and acting anew!
What do you get?
A 2.5 hour interactive and fun learning session with a group of about 20 people
- Part 1: Gameplay – 120 mins
- Part 2: Facilitated debrief to illuminate actionable insights – 30 to 60 minutes
You also get access to:
- Actionable insights shared by the group during the debrief
- Other resources on complexity and examples of other games
The game ‘Werewolf’ has been around since the 1960’s. Geoff first learned to play the game with Andrew Rixon (Babel Fish Group) and more recently the online version with Raymond Van Driel (F-act Training & Coaching).
Geoff has since adapted the game of Werewolf to support his work in helping leaders and their teams to get a better handle on complexity, system change and leadership.