A story on how we got motivated from our current “stay at home” situation to create and use more playful tools in Team O’clock.
What is actually the issue here?
We are in the start of 2020 and “social distancing” is a cruel reality that a big part of the globe is deep in. Truth be told, we are not “socially distancing” but we are physically distancing as this is the root of the problem, physical proximity.
Connecting socially is something we want now more than ever. That’s why there is a big spike in video conference services and a variety of tools that bring people together to interact while watching movies, chit-chatting, happy hour, virtual-partying; even having the biggest online concert is a thing nowadays! In a sense we are all eager to find as many ways to interact with people we know of and have a good time together.
One way of interacting is games, that come again in two sorts: video-games and board-games. They are both in a spike the last years but during the pandemic we are left with fewer options on the “board” side of games, especially since we can’t have an actual board and need a virtual one.
Although there are some options for online board-games, they are limited and cannot offer the full spectrum of board-games available — or the ones you and your friends used to play! — .
How Team O’clock can be a part of the solution?
Trying to find a way to play online the board-games we liked, with our friends across the globe, walking past the online services and options available! we ended up back on Team O’clock.
The heart of Team O’clock is built on the principle of making a team happy and productive by enhancing collaboration. Following that principle, we have built each tool already. This principle and our recently announced Agile maps have been the canvas for a solution.
Agile maps, offers a board for a team to lay down its processes, iterate and collaborate into being more successful and happy. People can add and populate widgets with data on lists, revelation moments, tasks at hand, graphs and many more into achieving an alignment and transparency towards team goals.
Comparing what Agile maps already offers with a board-game team we saw some stark similarities. In both cases there is a team, collaborating towards a certain goal, trying to be happier as a team! For sure there is a competition on board-games but in most cases you cannot play a game alone, so you need a team to achieve happiness :)
Starting from Agile maps, we extended the available widgets to allow each team to build their own board-game. So here is what you can currently do:
- Create and populate a deck widget with cards of your choice. Manage how many cards you want to deal and fancy shuffle options to accommodate as many needs as possible
- Have a hand widget for each player to hold their cards either privately, visible only to their self, or public so that all team can see them.
- Assets widgets to define various assets used in games.
- Game board widget to set areas that you can place assets on. Again with the option for private and public game boards.
These widgets interact with each other so you can drag and place assets on a game board and drag cards between decks and hand widgets.
The overall gist goes like this:
- Create a Team O’clock team for a specific game
- Populate the Agile map board of that team with proper game widgets and assets.
- Use the provided share Agile map functionality to share a view only mode of the board with your friends or invite them in the created team (Step1).
- Start playing the game moving things around the board
Playing our first game in Team O’clock Agile maps!
Of course, starting this journey we had in mind a specific collaborative game that we wanted to play. We had tried playing that board-game using the physical version + self-made inventions to share board with our friends but faced some issues so we had an exact benchmark.
To setup the board we had to create and populate each game widget. This process was painful as it required lots of back and forth between the physical board-game and the Agile maps counterpart! Adding the deck cards required a lot of effort to make sure that everything is set accurate! Each card can have its own image to display and you can also add markdown text for the explanation text! To upload and use custom images for your deck or board you can use an image hosting and CDN service like imgbox.com.
Moving past the deck of cards, we created a game board widget with a background image that needed to be sufficiently big to hold all our assets and be readable.
Finally we created multiple game asset widgets for all the various types of assets used in the game we played. For assets we used emojis from emojipedia.org and it worked really great!
A lot of helper widgets were added to reflect game status to everybody and then we started!
To trigger the game we shared the specific Agile map as a publicly viewed link and we kept control of what’s going on the board, moving cards and assets around.
How can you use it in more ways?
Game widgets addition to Agile maps enhances by a lot the arsenal of what this tool can offer! You can go wild, transferring your board-games on different team maps in Team O’clock like shared above but that is just one type of usage you can have!
Some additional ideas using these widgets include:
- Actual planning poker session in Agile maps, using a specific deck widget and private hand widgets so that team members can vote privately
- Planning a team RPG journey on a board map widget spanning through time, introducing gamification on your agile transformation journey
- Having a custom deck for “issues you want to tackle as a team” in an RPG-like style and claiming them once conquered.
Being happy and collaborating with other people are North stars everyone wants to reach, regardless the situation or the setting (being personal or at work). Having tools that can help you move to that North star is always helpful, but you also have to be inventive!
Have fun and stay safe with the people you love and interact!
Feel free to checkout Team O’clock for your team needs and happiness at teamoclock.com.