It's a team game: exploring factors that influence team experience
GV1469.15 | GV1312
Many multiplayer games feature teams, and whether they are pitted against each other or against the game itself it seems likely that the way these teams bond will affect the players' experience. What are the factors that influence the experience of being a team member in a game? To what extent can the game designer manipulate the cohesion of the teams by changing the game design? How does the satisfaction of the player with their team relate to their feeling of cohesion? How does cohesion differ between tabletop and online games? These issues become particularly important where the group dynamic is central to the desired outcome of the game e.g. educational games aiming to place the players in specific social situations.\ud Four studies were conducted on four similar simulation games (two tabletop, two online) used for teaching in International Development Studies. These games explore farming in sub-Saharan Africa and require 12-30 players to play in small groups. The group dynamics are important for the learning outcomes. Similar groups of participants (all students of International Development Studies) played one game each. Each group played for 3 hours before completing a questionnaire about their experience and wrapping up with a full-group reflective discussion.\ud Results from the two tabletop games suggested that, as expected, altering the rules of the game manipulated levels of team cohesion. However, the lack of significant result from the two online games suggests that careful design is required to achieve the same outcomes in the online environment. This suggests that seemingly small changes between tabletop and online implementations may impact the game play experience in unanticipated ways. The team cohesion reported by the players was found to correlate strongly with the team member satisfaction levels of the players. The gender composition of the teams was shown to have a large impact on both team cohesion and team member satisfaction: having one or more females in the group significantly increased both measures.