MyCelium Playtest – June 8th

mushrooms lithograph

On Thursday 8th June 2022, a small group of intrepid players gathered to explore the finer points of mushroom communication.

MyCelium started with a simple idea – prompted by a report on some research which shows that fungi can communicate using up to 50 ‘words’. I knew I wanted to work it up into a game – but didn’t have any expectations that it would be a learning game or have any applications beyond just being a bit of fun.

What has been really fascinating has been the way that emergent complexity has come out of the process of design. While trying to solve a design problem – how to organise it so the game ‘knows’ things that the the players do not – the various solutions explored revealed that the seemingly simple idea had a complex ‘Culture’ inherent in it.

* Unequal access to information means an unequal potential to gain power
* Being in the right place at the right time (luck) can influence your success
* Those who have the power (food) can dictate the culture
* Relationship building can pay dividends in access to information

That’s just a small fraction of the mechanic/strategy ‘pairings’ that have emerged as I’ve worked.

I do not feel that I have designed the mechanics of the game so much as discovered them, while exploring the way that these fungi might work.

The MyCelium game – once the feedback from this session has been incorporated and some rough edges have been thoroughly smoother, will be suitable for coaches and facilitators to use for learning outcomes around:

  • Organisational Culture
  • Communication
  • Mitigating problems and enhancing opportunities
  • Teamworking
  • Etc.
Editor at Ludogogy
Sarah Le-Fevre is a games-based learning professional who specialises in organisational learning around systemic ‘wicked problems’, and helping businesses spot and exploit opportunities for ethical ‘for good’ innovation. She works with tools such as Lego® Serious Play® and the Octalysis gamification framework to create compelling immersive learning experiences. She is currently writing a book outlining a systems practice approach to delivering impactful learning within organisations.

A real board games nerd, she is considering having her floors reinforced to support the ever increasing weight of the boxes. When she is not designing or facilitating learning games she is the editor of Ludogogy Magazine. Sarah lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, younger daughter, and a beautiful (but very loud) Bengal cat.

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