Breaking the Ice - Games

Breaking the Ice

Through this blog, Gary shares his moments of wonder, reflection, and learning as an early-career professional at HFLI.

It has been a few short months since joining Henry Ford Learning Institute and the experience so far has been nothing short of extraordinary and engaging. A couple weeks ago, I was tasked with finding an engaging icebreaker/game that would encourage engagement throughout the room or meeting. I was told to not think too much into it, but I was determined to find a game that would do so. I started my search for a game by thinking about how I could engage participants of the game, what is a game that is relatively known, but with a spin to it, and lastly, what game would be fun.

After a few Google searches, I came across the game “Passions Tic-Tac-Toe.” Being that the steps of tic-tac-toe were very easy, I decided that I would look further into this game. When I saw that the instructions were easy to follow (playing a simple game of tic-tac-toe, but include your passions on the board, and once you have completed the board with your passions, navigate across the room to find those with similar passions as you and share a brief convo about why you included those passions that you share on your board), I knew this would be the game that would excite my HFLI colleagues. 

With the game ready and the instructions in hand, I was now ready for the meeting. I admit, I was a bit nervous going into the meeting, as I felt a little unsure if the game was going to be a success. I just thought of this as a prototyping stage of introducing a new game. I would see the feedback that I would get from this game and then try to reimagine the game so that it would be a better fit game for our meetings and workshops. Now, with Debi Parizek (our Executive Director) introducing that I would be the leader of today’s meeting warm-up game, I gave out instructions on how to play the game and how it was a bit different than the usual tic-tac-toe game. Then, I distributed the materials needed for the game and it was now time to see how this game would be received.   

After a successful game, the feedback that was given was very positive. No one mentioned how they did not like the game, and included that this was one of the best games introduced in a meeting. I was very excited to hear this news! A week later, in a surprising last-minute action, I was tasked with leading this game again, but in a workshop. This time, I knew the instructions better and knew of how the outcome would or should be. This resulted in another successful game, even going a bit overtime. This time, Debi was able to provide me with more constructive feedback on the game. She mentioned that my instructions should be a little more clear when describing how I should fully complete the board and how the many ways that tic-tac-toe could be achieved. With this in mind, I am ready to not only revamp Passions Tic-Tac-Toe, but to also introduce a new game that would meet the same success of the tic-tac-toe game.

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