11 Ways to Use Collaborative Games for Conflict Prevention/Management/Resolution

Over the past few months, we’ve had the chance to test our own collaborative game – Zombie Fight or Flight – as a tool for conflict prevention, management and resolution.  We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing the ways in which these games can be used, have invited ideas from others in workshops and presentations, and have reached out to colleagues for their thoughts on collaborative games more generally. The following list identifies 11 ways we’ve seen collaborative games used to prevent, manage or resolve conflicts:

  1. As a training exercise for parties interested in having more collaborative collective bargaining negotiations.
  2. As “homework” assignment for newly blended families who are working to manage disputes.
  3. To “break the ice” at the beginning of a mediation.
  4. In training with lawyers, law students, and conflict resolution professionals to open up discussions of competition and how automatically competitive mindsets impact negotiations.
  5. As a tool for illuminating board members’ interactions, prior to a facilitation of a non-profit board of directors.
  6. To flatten organizational hierarchies, creating an environment where decision-making and leadership must be shared
  7. In elementary school classrooms, to enhance students ability to work together and be more ready to learn.
  8. In high school classes to explore the idea of collaboration in Law and Social Justice.
  9. In college classrooms, as an opening exercise for newly assigned lab partners or learning teams.
  10. In office lunch rooms, to foster a more collaborative workgroup.
  11. Games have been used to bridge generations, to create a space where old and young, and those of various physical and mental abilities can engage in a joint endeavour despite their differences. (For example, check out Joan Braun’s discussion of intergenerational conflict management here.)

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be adding posts that more fully explore each of these possibilities. And we’d love to hear of more uses! Let us know how (and where) you’ve used collaborative games.

Zombie Fight or Flight

We’ve been working over the summer to develop a collaborative card game that evolved from a Game Jam in June – Zombie Fight or Flight!

Zombie Fight or Flight developed to meet a few specific objectives:

  • Easy to teach collaborative game that could be used in:
  • Collaborative – players must work together to win or lose as a team.
  • Convenient to carry for training, etc.
  • Adaptable to different ages and experience levels with games

combat_02the_end_02What emerged from our weekend of testing and re-testing was a game that we hope will be used in a wide variety of settings.  It’s easy to learn, quick to play, and lends itself to pure fun or analyses of teamwork.  And now, thanks to Rachel Petrovicz, it has gorgeous artwork!

We plan to launch Zombie Fight or Flight via Kickstarter in late October – in time for Halloween – so watch for news about the game and opportunities to play it.

In addition to visiting our local game stores, we’re planning several game nights for collaborative professionals as we explore the options the game offers for collaborative training, and even in some mediations. Email us at zombieforf@gmail.com if you’d like to join us in any of these sessions, or follow this blog for more information.