What is the game asking of players?

When you apply for a new job you receive a job description of what will be asked of you, how will you work and an insight into the working environment and values. Just the same as when we begin to create a game, what information is being presented to players to support them in understanding what is required?

We can add extra layers of complexity and individuality to games by using in-game challenges or constraints where players are asked to find solutions to the problems faced or the goals needed to be achieved. Carefully chosen challenges guide players to a certain set of possible solutions, constraining one area to promote another.

"Constraints can be conceived as boundaries that shape self-organisation and can be separated into categories, namely, individual, environmental and task constraints." - Newell (1986)

Is the game asking players to find connections in small spaces? Is it asking players to receive forward and play the free space? Asking yourself

Using a team MatchPlay Card challenge where possession can only be passed forwards would ask players to receive possession in a way that is more attractive to play forward and promote movement ahead of the ball to create passing channels. Importantly, what does it ask of the opposition? We would see players approach their opponents in a way that is more aggressive and threatening, knowing their opponents must play forward when in possession.

You may choose to give this card to an individual or to a team as a collective but again the question remains the same, what is the game asking of players? If this card was given to an individual it would ask them to explore and exploit the space around them to make decisions under pressure without the limiting constraint of touches. The flip side would be challenging their teammates to scan the spaces for the best option. How would you #ChangeTheGame?

Share how you are bringing the game to life for your players with us across social media @The_CoachingLab or drop us a line on - Keep up the awesome work! Discover MatchPlay Cards right here and get the game to ask your players lots of questions: