Get rich quick

Get rich quick

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Writer_smallerNew ideas, new trends

These days, whenever I open up a new document to start on a Tiny Wooden Pieces script, my first thought is always “Script number 093? – wow. That’s a lot of comics.” When we started, I never imagined we would get this far. I’m not sure how far I did think we would get, if I’m honest. Writing a comic a week, every single week, about board games, is not something I figured I’d be able to do this long. I mean, I love board games, and I love comics. I just didn’t think I’d be able to keep it going. People do actually ask me quite often how I come up with ideas every week, and the honest truth is I don’t like to think about it. If I think about it too much I think it’ll scare me. Or worse, scare the ideas off. So the creative process is, essentially, don’t think about it until I have to, and then hope really hard I don’t draw a blank when I do have to think about it (usually about Sunday when I’m thinking – oh sh*t next week is like, one day away).

And sure, some weeks are better than others, and some weeks are, well, probably just plain weak, but 93 comics later, here we are. Headed towards 100. And with a strong readership, who I look forward to talking to in the comments every week.

We had hoped to do something special for number 100, but Aileen has gone back to college, so our big plans are on the back burner until much later in the year. We plan to redevelop the site, and maybe even expand it a little bit as well. But we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew, so for now, we’ll happily munch on just one comic a week and some blog posting.

So: Gamification. I worked for many years in business management, and studied it as well. I saw a fair few nonsensical trends come and go; this week’s latest and greatest must-do for your business. I gave up my serious-face-suit-wearing alter ego before gamification became a hip business buzzword, though, so I am fairly uneducated in the matter. My gut feeling is that although it is overhyped and will be replaced with the next big-business-thing before it is meaningfully integrated into organisational strategy, that has more to do with modern management than gamification. Gamification itself seems fascinating, and I love the idea of game mechanics and ideas being usefully integrated in other areas. Part of the appeal of games is the immediate, tangible and positive feedback they offer. Completing a level, beating an opponent, overcoming a challenge mean real, measurable victories, albeit on a small level. And that is immensely rewarding. So obviously, it makes sense to take this system and leverage it in other areas. Education springs to mind. And that’s a system that could sure use serious change.

OK, those were just some stray thoughts that got away from me. What I meant to say was, I don’t know that much about the subject, but I am guessing a fair few of our readers do. Or at least, have an opinion, or some experience? I would love to hear about it.

Educate me! Inform me!

11 Comments on Get rich quick
  • Emily

    Oooo, nearly to triple figures! Congrats guys. And I have enjoyed reading them all.
    I have never heard of Gamification before today, I just don’t pay enough attention to buzz words and… stuff.
    I guess I’m just not hip to the jive (kids still say that right?)

    • I am certain that lingo is current amongst the hip youths on the streets of today. Groovy, right?
      And thanks so much for the kind words! Lovely feedback and getting to talk to our readers is a big part of what keeps us going.

  • Ben Thorp

    “Gamification itself seems fascinating, and I love the idea of game mechanics and ideas being usefully integrated in other areas” – sadly, I think that the majority of gamification involves taking game mechanics that most hobby gamers hate and badly integrating them into things that people don’t like, in order to make them more “fun”.

    That being said, I think there is probably a great deal of potential to take decent game mechanics and use them in a positive way in business. The person to listen to on this is probably Geoff Engelstein (sp?) in his “Game Tech” segment on the Dice Tower – there are a couple listed here: (I *love* that segment)

    • That is a great idea! I don’t know why I didn’t go straight to ‘Game Tech’ when I started researching for the comic. Thank you for the link! I’ll be listening to those as soon as I finish work.

  • wr00t

    We don’t have a proper gamification at our company (apart from additional currency which you can award your colleagues with, but with too many restrictions and rules..). But last year we held an “open doors” event to introduce our department to all and we have created a game. A bit of trivia, a bit of activity, with points and prizes for top 3 teams. Involvement and feedback were huge, didn’t ever expected this. People couldn’t sleep (literally) waiting for another day’s task 🙂

    • Wow. I’d never have guessed it could have been implemented to such a strong, positive response. That’s impressive. Is that an ongoing thing now?

      • wr00t

        No. It was an overarching event for a whole company when every dept was having their own event for a week or two (ours was 2 weeks) to introduce themselves to the rest of the company. Some were doing this in a form of game. I think it is safe to say our game blew them all out of the water 🙂 We also took a chance to educate our colleagues through the game, by relating tasks and questions to the tools we are using at work or even hiding tasks in them. Sometimes physically. Nothing is so much fun like watching a bunch of colleagues racing down the corridors searching for clues 😀 I guess we can repeat it in a few years when we have more fresh employees and introduction is needed.

  • Daniel Newman

    I’m typically suspicious of gamification as a way to manipulate people into wanting to do things that they wouldn’t normally want to do, which I guess is the point of it. But it’s not like it usually involves any interesting depth that hobby games offer. I think gamification takes most of its cues from stuff like Farmville (do this task, get some points; get enough points, earn a level; the level does nothing for you other than give you bragging rights).

    • It does seem to be used in a gimmicky fashion, yeah, particularly in marketing. Worse than that, it can even be condescending to employees if not handled correctly. ‘Do your job well and you can level up! Who’s a good boy? You are! Yes you are. Have a treat’
      Having said that, though, I was just talking to my brother, who reminded me that it has had great success in fitness programs and apps. ‘Zombie Run’ (jogging app) and that kind of thing. Which is a very positive use.

  • scifantasy

    Extra Credits ( did a few episodes on gamification, which often does evoke video games (think HabitRPG–rewards through XP and gold as a Skinner Box-type feedback) more than board. They also did one more concerned episode about the PRC, as they put it, gamifying good citizenship:

    • These look like super-interesting links! And the videos are pretty short, too. Which helps. I will watch these when I’m off tomorrow and report back.
      Thank you!