putting the fun in functional

My Playpplication for Play4Agile 2017

At the beginning of this year I went to one of the most fun and educational unconferences I’ve ever been to; Play4Agile [web].

Typically at an unconference, the agenda is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. Unconferences typically feature open discussions rather than having a single speaker at the front of the room giving a talk, although any format is permitted. This form of conference is particularly useful when the attendees generally have a high level of expertise or knowledge in the field the conference convenes to discuss.

– Wikipedia

The main topic was about games in agile. How to use games for explaining certain agile concepts, apply gamification in learning, use existing games as a metaphor for real life situations, etc.
Last year it was sold out in under 15 minutes, so this year the organising committee reinstated that one will need to apply in order to join.

So hereby I present my #playpplication – as this unconference likes to call them. It was a first for me to try out some tools I might be using for videoscribing in the future. It was a lot more work than I anticipated, but more due to my perfection than due to the tooling.
Below the video you can read the transcript per view.

Jordann’s #playpplication for Play4Agile 2017

  1. Play4Agile 2016 was an awesome unconference; one of the most caring and fun communities I’ve ever met. Would love to take part in it again this year! <3
  2. Extra thanks to Gitte for inviting me last year and Wim for making an extra effort to get Eddy and me in. I’ll just point out some of the things from last year as there was way too much too all name that drew my attention and got me excited.
  3. Looking back introducing Storycubes was one of the biggest highlights for me. Up front I was hoping to share my experiences on using them for retrospectives and brainstorm with you guys on more uses as a storytelling framework. Luckily the organising comity arranged for everyone to receive three dice in their playkit, so that was a perfect combo.
  4. I also had an awesome duo session with @Alex Kylburg and I learned an awful lot by observing dozens of coaches using them in different ways, different settings, etc. This year at SPIEL [web], Europe’s biggest board game fair, I picked up the official dice bag as you can see. Loving it!
  5. Next up was the not so underground Secret Hitler [BGG]. The Kickstarter PnP we played deep into every night in the room appropriately called Austria. Theme might seem controversial to some, but what do you expect from the guys behind Cards against Humanity?
  6. I think everyone interested to play it and look beyond the theme, was amazed by how intriguing the gameplay was and how the political theme really supported the gameplay.
  7. Black stories [blog]! My long time favorite gaming tool to get teams into lateral thinking. How to train thinking out of the box and come with original solutions. Introduced a lot of people to it at Play4Agile 2016.
  8. You guys even inspired me to write a blog about it. There were more sessions and a spin-off on agile stories, so this one is another keeper for me!
  9. Play4Agile 2016 revived my love for Werewolves. I was kind of done with the high metagame in there that analytical players always get killed early and the randomness of how accusations start the first day, both reasons why I highly prefer a game like Secret Hitler which has solved those issues.
  10. Last year @Markus Wissekal showed me how to play werewolves without talking and do a round without seeing, which was awesome! Awesome training for your coaching skills on reading people’s body language and really listening to the message someone’s tone of voice tells you. Thank you a lot for that!
  11. Together with @Bruce Scharlau I designed the Retro Festival, it was a format for the closing retro of Play4Agile 2016. It had to be scaled, it had to be energizing, it had to be valuable and it had to be insightful on multiple axes.
  12. Looking at all the feedback we received on it, I would say it was a success. I also really enjoyed hosting it with Storycubes, the sailboat, what would … say, wishing tree and back to the future mini exercises.
  13. Now fast forward to the future. To be able to attend this amazing unconference, I need to make a #playpplication in which I explain why I would like to join. Well, I just shared some of the things that made last year a success for me.
  14. I couldn’t name all the wonderful people and open spaces, the amount of LEGO made my inner child the happiest on earth, so let me also share some of the things I hope to bring this year.
  15. Learned about some games of which I think they can be direct input for a workshop,
  16. Some others like Codenames and Sushi Go I have some plans to see if I can agilize them. Also food seems to be a theme at Play4Agile, so I’ll bring some Food games.
  17. Happy Salmon was the quick energizer hit at the SPIEL game fair this year for me. (So far every group I played it with or company I played it at is asking me where they can buy it. It even changes the way some people greet each other, so pleeeease let me bring this into your lives.)
  18. My deluxe edition of Secret Hitler has arrived in the mail! The build quality is ab-so-lu-te-ly superb, the project even included some Trump stickers with it half a year ago to make a secret dictator version, but let’s not talk politics in here.
  19. After my renewed spirit towards Werewolves, I came up with my own agile transformation version of werewolves. Initially I called it Agile Mafia (as the original version of werewolves was mafia themed)
  20. but then a colleague came up with the name Silver Bullet. I’m going to offer it free to download, hope you guys will help me refine it or see if we can come up with extra roles.
  21. I think by now it’s obvious how much I love Social deduction games, so I’ll also bring Love Letter: Batman and Don’t mess with Cthulhu. Now I think about it, I also see how Spyfall lends itself perfectly to make an agile variant.
  22. Anyway, this is an overview of the Games I now think I’ll bring, but I’m quite sure that will change as Play4Agile 2017 comes closer.
  23. Overall, I really hope to get back to the same awesome atmosphere with part familiar faces, but I also hope to get infected with new energy! Thanks for watching this video and I’m curious if you saw some of my Easter eggs during the video, like the LEGO monkey or the Neuland BigOne or the American Football team doing a Scrum.

Will keep you updated if I make it in next year!

[EDIT Nov 28] I got lucky and got in! Awesome!


  1. Sven de Jong

    Nov 27, 2016 at 13:41

    Fun game to try out is 30 Seconds. I’d ditch the gameboard and just use the box of cards. Never had a bad time playing that!

    • Good proposal, just the card deck is indeed a funny icebreaker. Pretty sure someone brought it last year at Play4Agile and did some brainstorming around how to use it with a team.

  2. WOOHOO! I got lucky and can attend this year! <3

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