The Ludic Spirit Players

Cards The Ludic Spirit Players

I appreciate a well-structured typology, but only if I find it useful. So, it was a bit of a battle to justify yet another one to myself. But I managed, and so I present the Ludic Spirit Players!

Based largely on observation of my own kids over the last 16 years, as well as other work in the field of play by those such as Bernard Suits and Bob Hughes, these “types” are specific to the way I am forming this Ludic Spirit stuff and Play – not Games or Gamification, so it is not an all-encompassing list of play types or types of player! Read More ...

Exploring the Player User Type – with archetypes

Player archetypes Exploring the Player User Type 8211 with archetypes

To finish off my little look at the sub-types from my User Types, I want to take a new look at the Player User Type.

I have done a deep dive on this before, but I wanted to simplify it a little.  Essentially the Player is motivated by rewards, plain and simple. They will do similar things to the intrinsically motivated group, but only if there is a reward at the end of it!

  • Self-Seeker: This group of users will act in a similar way to Philanthropists. They will answer peoples questions, share knowledge and be helpful – but for a cost. If there is no reward, don’t expect them to get involved! They can be useful, however if they are being asked to get involved for rewards, expect quantity over quality!
  • Consumer: Consumers will do what is needed to get rewards. If that requires them to learn new skills or take on challenges (like an Achiever), then they will do it. However, if they can get rewards for just doing what they were already doing – even better. Think of them as the ones who will enter competitions just for the prize or who shop at one store just for the loyalty programme.
  • Networker: Where a Socialiser connects to others because they are looking for relatedness, Networkers are looking for useful contacts that they can gain from. They follow the big influencers on social networks, not because they are interested in them, but because they hope it will get them noticed, increase their influence and lead to reward.
  • Exploiter: Like Free Spirits, these guys are looking for the boundaries of the system, where they can go and what they can do. However, for them it is a way to find new ways to rewards. If they find a loop-hole, don’t expect them to report it unless they feel others are earning more than them exploiting it! They are the most likely to exploit the system (you could say cheat!). They are also the people who will build things just to sell. Think of Second Life. Loads of people started to build things – some realised that as well as being fun, they could make some money from selling items. For a few this turned into a way of making a living. They stopped making things for fun and just made them for profit.
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    5 tips for good Gamification I learned from designing games.

    Magical Kingdom Cards 5 tips for good Gamification I learned from designing games

    Gamification often takes and claims inspiration from game design. One of my side hobbies is making the occasional game, as well as spending the last seven years reviewing games for my site I thought I would just put a few gamification ideas into context based around my personal knowledge of games and game design. I am y no means an expert, but I hope you will find it interesting.


    First up, points. I have made games with point systems and I have made games without. Generally I use the points as a way to represent progression and skill – ie, the higher the score, the further your skills have progressed. This is intrinsic on its own, it is a way for the individual player to see how they are doing and if they are improving. This only works if the points reset each time, that way the player can easily see that if they score higher next time – they have improved. Cumulative points don’t allow you to do this, they just show how many points you have collected over time, which is a little less useful. You could consider a personal leaderboard, that just shows the player their scores over time for an exercise- thus easily showing them their improvement.

    As well as this, I have combined points with group leaderboards to allow people to show off their score and compete with others to gain higher scores.  For some this competition is fun and is a way to compare their skills to those of others.

    The key learning from the use of points and leaderboards has been that they are not the reason people play the games. They play because the games are enjoyable – fun if you will. They offer challenge, require skill and keep the player informed of progression. Without the points, they would achieve some of this, but many players would suggest to find a continued reason to play if there was no way to measure their progress!

    The other type of game I have played around with is based purely on narrative. These were games with a purpose, they were intended to make some kind of point. The picture below is from a game called Context. It asked you to make decisions with carrying degrees of context, giving you more of the story as you made each choice. No points, no leaderboards, however every choice had an outcome that had some meaning.

    My current project is a simple card game that I am designing with and for my 7 year old daughter. The development of this has taken time, with me creating complex and what I thought was interesting mechanics and rules initially. Over time, these have been cut away to a few simple core mechanics that allow the game to be picked up quickly by my daughter, but takes time to actually learn the tactics for. I suppose this advice would be keep it simple to pick up, but ensure there is depth as well.

    Lessons learned

  • Keep the player informed of their progress. Points (non cumulative and cumulative) can be used to do this.
  • Group leaderboards are a way to generate competition between players as well as give players a chance to see how their skills match up to others. This is fun for some, but not for everyone.
  • Giving players choices that have a meaningful outcome is a powerful way to keep a player engaged without points.
  • The same can be said of a good narrative.
  • Keep onboarding simple, but ensure as skill increases there is depth and challenge to the “game” to keep better players engaged.
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