In the Face of Adversity

The importance of resilience

Serious Games

Practicing and applying the skills and the attitudes of resilience.

Serious games are quite the rage today.  While I’m not talking about the games you will find on Xbox or gaming sites on the Internet, I am talking about a card game, but a serious one.  Serious games are training games.  They are being used today to teach everything from cooking skills for restaurant employees to consumer service skills.  They are set up as a game.  Participants often compete with each other.  There are specific rules and timeframes in which things have to be completed. 

We have developed a game called “Bounce Back.”  It is a card game we initially developed in a hard-copy form and have used it on a number of our trainings.  Participants are dealt a card which has a challenge, a difficult situation that they must respond to.  Participants have a set amount of time to respond to the challenge, and their responses are scored based on the number of skills and attitudes of resilience that they can apply to managing the challenge presented.  Participants can play by themselves or with others.  When participants play each other, the game encourages cooperation and compromise between players.  (What a novel idea!  Maybe we should send  copies of this game to Congress and require that Democrats play Republicans.)

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In the next few months, we hope to develop an electronic version of the game that can be played off our website and can be downloaded.  Here are some examples of challenge questions that are part of a subdeck of questions related to the challenges that employees and employers face.

1.    You are repeatedly missing activities that your children are involved in, such as Little League games and dance recitals, because you are working long hours.  You spend much of your time apologizing and trying to explain why you’re not able to leave the office earlier.  What will you do?

2.    You’ve never gotten along with one of your co-workers.  Your job has changed recently and now you must work with this person each day.  What will you do?

And here’s a question from the not-so-likely, just-for-fun subdeck:  You are barricaded in your house.  There is total chaos outside.  You had the good fortune of having prepared for such an emergency by stocking up on food and water.  A supporter of the Second Amendment, you are armed to the hilt.

A marauding band is approaching your home.  You recognize some of them.  They were liberal Democrats before they became flesh-eating zombies.  What do you do? 

Hey, I said it was a game, didn’t I?

We’ll be talking more about development of the Bounce Back serious game in future posts.

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D., is the author of Duct Tape Isn’t Enough: Survival Skills for the 21st Century as well as the novel Reaching Home.

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