Our Homes Are Starting to Feel Like Escape Rooms
Air Date: May 18, 2020
#8 Our Homes are Starting to Feel like Escape Rooms
May 18, 2020
0:00 Interview with Angel Evans, Exams and Educational Supports Coordinator, Accessible Learning
11:10 Interview with Tahwila Husaini, MA student in Social Justice and Community Engagement
One Market is created and produced by Bruce Gillespie and Tarah Brookfield. Music by Scott Holmes. Graphics by Melissa Weaver. Thanks to Nicole Morgan for campus promotion.
Bruce Gillespie 0:04
Welcome to One Market, keeping the Laurier Brantford community connected. I’m Bruce Gillespie. This is Episode Eight. This week, we hear how staff at Accessible Learning are finding new ways and experimenting with different technology to support students remotely. Then, we hear from a Social Justice and Community Engagement student about her experience of doing a placement at a legal clinic during the pandemic. Then, we learned about cultural bias in escape rooms and get some advice on how to play games with your friends while you’re all staying at home. Plus, we learn what pickleball is, and it doesn’t have anything to do with pickles. We listen to some bird song. And then, we learn what to do when all of your hobbies turn out to be pandemic unfriendly. All that and more coming up on this episode of One Market.
Our first guest is Angel Evans, exams and educational support coordinator with Accessible Learning. I started by asking Angel, what it’s been like to offer their services to students remotely and on such short notice.
Angel Evans 1:14
Yeah, so definitely, it was quite a learning experience, and we had to hit the ground running. We had, fortunately, we had a little bit of a buffer while professors put their courses together and figured out how they were going to be running exams. And so, that gave us an opportunity to figure out what our processes were, what supports we’re going to need to, you know, need to change or revise a little bit. Fortunately, everything worked out really well. In terms of exams, most students were able to write, just like their classmates using My Learning Space. And then, if they had extra time accommodations those were added by My Learning Space, but some students because they were using some reading software or dictation software, that was often incompatible with the Lockdown Browser. So then, those ones we had to we had to arrange to do virtual proctoring. So, we did that. So, I proctored I think around eight exams, and it’s just one on one. And so, I was basically Respondus LockDown Browser for those students.
Bruce Gillespie 2:30
And it sounds like the technology was there to be able to allow us to do this in a relatively straightforward kind of way.
Angel Evans 2:38
Yeah, we did a lot of practicing testing and with all the students I virtually proctored I had test runs with them just to make sure they knew how to get online, I knew what I was doing. Just so that there was, you know, mitigate some surprises that might happen in the moment during the exam. So, all things considered, yeah, everything worked really well. And now, we’re just planning for the summer term.
Bruce Gillespie 3:05
Yeah, no kidding. So, typically, my understanding is that students who are looking for accommodations would come and meet you or someone in your in the Accessible Learning Center in person to talk through this kind of stuff. How are you replicating what you would normally do in person in a remote kind of way?
Angel Evans 3:20
So, there’s four staff in Accessible Learning Center on the Brantford campus. So, Stephanie is one of the accommodation consultants, she just moved all of her appointments to online. So, students would reach out to her most likely through email, and then she would just set up either for appointments or just through Zoom or through Teams, she would do video appointments with the students. So, students weren’t missing out on anything they were still able to connect with, and they are still able to connect with all of us at the office, whoever their consultant is, our assistive technologist, and learning strategist, they can still connect with all of us. And then, we just do everything either through email, or video or phone. So, they’re all still supported.
Bruce Gillespie 4:12
That’s great to hear because I think, especially when when classes ended, when in person classes ended so abruptly, I think a lot of students were wondering, you know, “I’m used to having all these different supports on campus, what happens now?” So, to know that they’re still available just in a slightly different way is really reassuring.
Angel Evans 4:27
Right. And I mean, certainly I even have some students who are my volunteer note takers connect with me to say, “Do I still have to take notes, like, what is this going to look like?” And for those, we’ve provided some support to them as well as the students to let them know that if professors opted for synchronous type classroom formats, and the content was not going to be accessible or able, like, recorded so that they can review afterwards then, yes; note takers just like always, they would provide notes and share those lecture notes with students just to keep the status quo. And so, we’re looking, moving in again to the summer term. So, we’re going to still recruit note takers and still try to set up note takers for students whose classroom formats are the remote synchronous type, so that they still get access to that lecture content. And we’re also supporting faculty in, you know, learning, and using technology to create captioning and live captions, and transcripts, so that all students are still being supported in the remote environment.
Bruce Gillespie 5:37
That’s great, because that was my next question. I think a lot of us teaching online in this way is is quite new. So, we’re probably not as aware as we probably should be about things like captioning. So, it’s great to know that you folks can provide some of that support we’re looking for when we have questions about, you know, how do I get captions on my video or my audio? Those kinds of things,
Angel Evans 5:56
Yeah, well, we’ve been really busy doing research and trying to experiment and figure out what’s going to work best and what’s available. And we’re all learning in this process. So, we understand that, you know, this is new for everybody, and that we’re all, it’s just going to be a big learning curve. But, there are some really good built in accessibility features already in the technology that we have access to. We’re actually creating a faculty webinar that we’re going to be putting on in the near future, so that we can disseminate some of this information to the faculty as we build our remote learning environments,
Bruce Gillespie 6:33
That’s great. It keeps occurring to me how, what a weird situation this is because on the one hand, I’m actually really enjoying the opportunity to experiment with new things like this and have a reason to sort of look into different kinds of technology that I might not have used in the past, because I was happy with what I was using. Obviously, the reason why we’re having to do it, it’s not great, but the push to actually do this kind of experiment and research, and finding new ways to teach and learn, I think it’s actually really, really interesting, a lot of ways
Angel Evans 7:05
It’s very exciting. Like, I have learned so much about technology and different features within the platforms that we’re using that I’m so looking forward to, even when we go back to campus and still using some of the technologies to reach students in a different way and in a greater capacity.
Bruce Gillespie 7:28
Absolutely. And that’s what I keep thinking to that. You know, it’s not just, we can’t just think about this as we’re putting all this energy into learning these new techniques or tools just for the short term. It’s once things are back to normal, whenever that is, these are hopefully great tools or techniques we can still bring back to us, to our in person classes and actually just keep expanding the palette of tools and techniques we have at our disposal.
Angel Evans 7:50
I agree. Yeah. It’s exciting times.
Bruce Gillespie 7:54
Yeah, it is. So, something we’re asking everybody is, how you, sort of, filling your off hours when you’d otherwise, you know, be out of your house, or they’re doing things that,you know, are fun as opposed to staying at home? What do you what are you doing to keep busy or distracted?
Angel Evans 8:09
So, yeah, good question. So, my husband and I, we really enjoy playing pickleball and that is definitely one thing that we’re missing is being able to go to the YMCA or to other, like, outdoor Dufferin Tennis Club. They have outdoor pickleball during the summer.
Bruce Gillespie 8:30
Let me stop you there for a second. I’ve heard of pickleball, but I’m not, I’m not sure I know exactly what is. So, why don’t you tell us what it is before we go any further.
Angel Evans 8:36
Okay, so pickleball is a racket sport, I guess. And it’s kind of, I like to think of it as, it’s oversized ping pong basically
Bruce Gillespie 8:49
Oh okay, that’s a great description.
Angel Evans 8:51
Because the, your rackets are really, it’s kind of a larger ping pong racket, ping pong ball racket. And the court is basically, it’s half of a tennis court. So, you have a low net and then, you have a ball which is probably the size of, it kind of looks like one of the practice golf balls because it’s a large plastic ball with holes in it. It’s kind of, people have described it as kind of like a wiffle ball because it is kind of like that, and then you just, you have typically teams of two people on on a team and you just have to hit the ball, hit the ball over the net and try to out smart your opponent.
Bruce Gillespie 9:41
Angel Evans 9:41
So, that they miss the return, or are happy to earn points.
Bruce Gillespie 9:45
So, this is not a game you can easily replicate, like, in your backyard or basement.
Angel Evans 9:49
Well, we’ve set up a, we initially, my husband set up a makeshift pickleball net just with one of those tie down straps that we use for our canoe. Just tying in to the barbecue on one side, and because we do have like a pretty good sized cement patio in our backyard. So, we set that up, but we’ve since actually purchased a pickleball net just because it was kind of difficult with just to make shift one. So, now we have this pickleball net in the backyard and patio and so, we practice our shots that way, and it’s so much fun, and it’s a good way of getting outdoors and doing what we love to do.
Bruce Gillespie 10:35
Yeah, oh, I’m glad to hear that you can actually replicate it then that’s fantastic. I was thinking for something as big as a tennis court, like, you might not be able to do it. But, if you can, that’s great.
Angel Evans 10:42
Well, yeah, we’re not really playing games or just kind of, more or less, practicing our shorter shots. Because you know, it’s not a full size court, by no means, but it’s good enough to get the job done and let us have some fun.
Bruce Gillespie 10:55
So, you’re building your skills?
Angel Evans 10:57
Bruce Gillespie 10:59
Nice. That’s great. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Angel.
Angel Evans 11:03
Thank you again for having me.
Tahwila Husaini 11:07
Our next guest is Tahwila Husaini, a student in the Social Justice and Community Engagement graduate program. Midway through our interview, you’ll start hear the sound of birdsong in the background. I didn’t notice it while we were recording, but when I listened back to it later, I decide not to erase it, and instead, enjoy the illusion that we were meeting outside our homes, maybe on a bench in Victoria Park, enjoying the nice weather. Tahwila’s finishing up a placement at the Community Legal Clinic of Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk. So, I asked her what that’s been like.
I’m so glad that I met some of the most amazing people in this field, so far. I’m really glad, to be honest, that I did my placement at a clinic instead of a private firm. I was able to shadow one of the best lawyers, Michael Dow, he is genuine, personable, extremely knowledgeable, and quite honestly, just the type of lawyer that I want to be one day. I was really able to see how meaningful the work he does is on a day to day basis through the clients. So, for example, on intake day, we would have clients dropping in or calling with issues and concerns, and often, of course, they’re not very jolly coming in, you can sense some stress and anxiety. However, after the meeting with Michael, they just feel confident learning about their rights and what steps need to be taken next.
Bruce Gillespie 12:30
That’s interesting. I mean, and again for most of us who have not worked at legal clinic it’s interesting to know how they work and what kind of impact they can have on people. What was the work involved that you were doing? Like, where were you, what were you there for?
Tahwila Husaini 12:40
There were all sorts of things that we did. Carrie, my placement supervisor and the community developer for our clinic as well as a few others, her and I tag team providing all kinds of community workshops that are beneficial to community members, and even workshops for frontline workers. So, for example, just yesterday, we had a Zoom meeting with our employment lawyer, who was giving a presentation on what an employer’s rights are during COVID-19. And then, next week we’ll be having a workshop for CERB as well as housing law and the impact of COVID-19 on those rights. So, my biggest concern was because the individuals that come into the clinic are from lower socioeconomic status. I was concerned for the access of justice during a time when they actually need it, when they don’t know what their rights are for housing, or employment. But, thankfully, we’ve been able to use some Zoom, and different electronics and technology to do that. But, of course, that still leaves some people out.
Bruce Gillespie 13:42
But, I think you’re right. I mean, these kinds of these kinds of services are so important these days when a lot of people are struggling to, A),e understand what’s going on. But, also understand, you know, what happens to someone if you can’t pay rent? Or, what happens if you can’t go to your job and what legal rights do you have around those issues?
Tahwila Husaini 13:58
Definitely. I was going to suggest to Carrie yesterday, well, I did suggest to Carrie yesterday, how about we create a pamphlet of these presentations that we’re giving. So, that way the frontline workers can distribute it to their clients, or we can post online as well. But, the unfortunate thing is that they’re often changing the laws very rapidly. So, it wouldn’t be that beneficial
Bruce Gillespie 14:22
Sure. So, what kind of experience did you have going into a placement like this?
Tahwila Husaini 14:27
Um, to be honest, I didn’t have any prior experience, other than just as a nerd going into court and watching some of the cases for three hours.
Bruce Gillespie 14:37
I love that. That’s experienced in my mind.
Tahwila Husaini 14:40
Thank you. And then, I just also volunteer at a forensic health community center in St. Thomas, where they’re patients that are not criminally responsible. So, I’ve been doing that for a couple years. But, other than that, quite honestly, I didn’t and I don’t think I would have this opportunity to fall into at a clinic without the support of my master’s program.
Bruce Gillespie 15:06
And I think that’s one of the great things about the SJC program is that it really looks at putting students in a wide variety of placements in the community. And of course, the response from the community to host students has always been really good too. So, it’s a, it’s a really great experience, I think.
Tahwila Husaini 15:21
Definitely, definitely. I came into this program hoping to come outside of my comfort zone and really challenge myself, and that’s exactly what this program did.
Bruce Gillespie 15:31
That’s great. What do you think the big one or two takeaways are from your placement that you, sort of, learned or think about?
Tahwila Husaini 15:38
Definitely. I think one thing that Michael really taught me is to remind ourselves of our privileges going in. Right before we go in to see a client, to think about the privileges that we have, and not take them for granted that we may have access to the internet, to technology, to a vehicle, a home. Just really take that out and put it into perspective as if you’re coming in and just hearing what the client is saying for the first time. And the second thing I would say is, it’s very unfortunate, but I believe that individuals with lower socioeconomic status are targeted, sometimes by employers, or by, especially by tenant boards, because they’re not really sure of their rights. And so, they try to see how much they can push. And that’s something that, of course at the clinic, we don’t let that slide. So, that’s something that I really enjoyed learning about.
Bruce Gillespie 16:41
So, were you able to complete your whole placement? Or, was this sort of affected by closures and COVID-19 stuff?
Tahwila Husaini 16:46
Definitely at first, I thought it would be completely done. However, we’ve been having Zoom meetings, and I have one actually just in a little bit as well. So, it took a while to start that up again. But, now we’ve been able to do some stuff over Zoom.
Bruce Gillespie 17:03
So, the other thing I wanted to ask you about was, as you come to the end of your your master’s program you have future plans. You’ve been accepted to law school for the fall.
Tahwila Husaini 17:11
Yes, thank you. I can’t believe I’m agreeing to do nine years of university. But, this master’s program really taught me the experience and value of placements, smaller class sizes, and the diverse cohort. So, I knew this is something that I wanted in the future schools that I chose, to create a similar environment. And I ended up choosing and accepting University of Victoria, I just gave my deposit a little while ago, because it has the only co-op program in Canada. And I’m very excited about this because, in my personal opinion, nothing beats seeing the way textbooks, policies are translated into the real world. And I think it doesn’t hurt that I’ve always wanted to find an excuse to hike up mountains and kayak in the ocean all year round.
Bruce Gillespie 18:00
So, checks all your boxes.
Tahwila Husaini 18:01
Bruce Gillespie 18:04
Have you have you been to the University of Victoria before?
Tahwila Husaini 18:07
No, I have not. I’ve done a road trip across Canada, but that was for pleasure. So, I didn’t stop and take a look at the universities.
Bruce Gillespie 18:17
It’s a stunning campus, you will be very happy with your decision based on sort of the campus itself. But, it’s also overrun with rabbits everywhere you turn. There’s rabbits everywhere. It’s the strangest, cutest thing ever.
Tahwila Husaini 18:29
That’s adorable. And actually, COVID-19 was something that really impacted my decision making, I was debating between a couple of schools in Ontario and a few out west. But, because I haven’t been able to visit the schools out west, I was very hesitant to accept because something I’ve been told about, my friends who are in law school or have finished, have always suggested visit the school in person. And I definitely agree with that. However, I guess I just had to jump the bullet, or whatever the saying is, because from the research that I’ve done for University of Victoria and the comments that I’ve heard, I definitely think it’s a good suit for me.
Bruce Gillespie 19:15
And as you said, which makes complete sense to me, I think you’re right to be looking for places that offer you lots of chances to get that real world experience. So, in this case, a co-op which is amazing. But, as you’ve seen in your own program here that opportunity to, like you said, take what you’ve learned from your professors, and your students and your textbooks, and actually see how that works or doesn’t work in the real world, I think is a really key opportunity. And we’re really fortunate here that we can do that with so many undergraduate programs as well as our graduate programs. But, I think that’s the way a lot of university education is going and I think that’s what, what students are looking for.
Tahwila Husaini 19:52
That’s awesome. I think that’s great. I wish I had that in undergrad because I was a student who wasn’t sure in first, second-year, quite honestly. I thought I was going into pharmacy school, I wrote the LSAT as a joke because they just came to our university and offered a mock one. And I said, “Hey, this is fun.” But, if I had been given placements to try different things out, I think I would have figured out law school was the path I wanted to take a lot earlier.
Bruce Gillespie 20:20
Well, it’s a good thing you did the LSAT as a joke, I guess.
Tahwila Husaini 20:24
Bruce Gillespie 20:26
Well, this is great. Well, best of luck in the future. We can’t, you know, wait to hear what law school is like. And I’m sure whenever you get to Victoria, you will absolutely love it.
Tahwila Husaini 20:33
Thank you so much for having me, Bruce, thank you have a great day.
Bruce Gillespie 20:38
Our final guest is Scott Nicholson, a professor and coordinator of the Game Design and Development program. One of his research areas is escape rooms. And that’s where we begin our conversation. So, as we’ve all been in our homes for so many weeks now, I think we thought it’d be fun to talk to you about escape rooms, because I think in many ways, our homes are starting to feel like escape rooms. So, we’re trapped and we don’t know the right combination to get out. It just seems very, very timely, I think.
Scott Nicholson 21:07
Yeah, we’re trying to figure this out. Everyone’s finding their own their own little escapes. But, it’s been an interesting time for the industry. I’ve been involved with the escape room industry, and when you have an activity where people traditionally come together, are locked in a small space for an hour, well, that’s a little difficult to do under the circumstances.
Bruce Gillespie 21:27
Yeah, no kidding.
Scott Nicholson 21:28
So, we’ve been trying to keep an eye on what’s happening, many escape rooms are starting to move to virtual escape room. So, what has happened is, a number of different facilities now have someone who is working there with a camera, you pay to play the game, just like you paid before, you can connect with friends virtually. So, all of you can connect via Zoom, a tool like that. And then, all of you will be telling someone who is in the physical room what to do. So, they’ve got a camera, they’re pointing at a puzzle, you’re trying to figure it out, and you’re having a similar experience to what you used to have physically. Now, you’re able to do it virtually.
Bruce Gillespie 22:07
Scott Nicholson 22:09
It’ll be interesting to see what impact this has on the industry because one of the biggest differences that’s made now, this has allowed people to play rooms around the world. So, there have been great rooms in Amsterdam and great rooms over in China and Russia, now these rooms are available, and you can play them, and you don’t have to travel there. There’s a big one called The Prison Escape that, it’s a special event, it used to run on a regular basis in an old prison in the Netherlands, and it would be hundreds of people in the prison. And the game was a long game where your goal was to figure out how to get out and there were a number of paths through that game, whether it be through information security, whether it be through bribing your way out, whether it be through forming it with other people, but it was a live a large scale game.
Bruce Gillespie 22:57
I love that idea. So then, you’re still, like you said, you’re getting to visit these places you can’t physically visit, but you’re also still retaining that social aspect that makes, from from my point of view atleast, escape rooms really fun, that you’re doing with four or five, six other people.
Scott Nicholson 23:09
And it’s a chance to play something with friends that you may not have been able to hang out with. So, it’s it’s a nice way of engaging virtually around a shared challenge. It’s made some of the research that we’ve been doing relevant in a way we found surprising. Redbull had funded a research associate to work with us for two years, and around the Redbull World Championships, which we designed, and in order to better understand cultural bias in escape room design. This was an issue with the World Championship because if you’re going to have a game that people from around the world are all coming to play, you have to be very careful not to have culturally biased puzzles that would help some people to win and other people not to win. And we made some mistakes on the First World Championship that we did around cultural bias. And so, Redbull funded us to hire Shannon McDowell for two years, and this is her expertise. So, she has been working and doing interviews with many of the competitors from the Escape Room World Championships, as well as escape room enthusiasts who play games in other continents. We’ve been putting together a model of types of cultural bias in escape room design. We didn’t think it would be that important, because not a lot of people were doing these sorts of world championships. But, now that you can play games around the world.
Bruce Gillespie 24:23
Scott Nicholson 24:24
Now it’s interesting, now that people in China are hosting games for people from North America. Okay, well, if you have puzzles that are culturally biased, then then that’s going to cause struggles for those players.
Bruce Gillespie 24:35
Can you give us some some examples of what those biases would look like?
Scott Nicholson 24:39
A simple one, and this is a bias, this is a mistake we made in the First World Championship. There was a challenge where you ran into a room that had a bunch of lasers, and some lasers were red and some lasers were green. And the solution for this puzzle was to use your body to block the red lasers, while allowing the green lasers to go through, and when the team has successfully stopped the red lasers while allowing the green lasers to go through, they finished the challenge. That’s fine for people who are from a culture where red means “stop”, and green means “go”, where people who drive are more naturally going to think about the relationship of those colors to what you do. But, not all cultures have those meanings for those colors. And so, this was a culturally biased puzzle. And that’s, that’s an example. Language is a big example, using English language for things, using dates in certain formats. I ran into one myself, I was playing a game in the UK and we found a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper had folding marks on it, dashed lines, and it had letters and numbers, it had A3 and A4 and B3 and B4. And so, I was looking around the room for some sort of code, I was looking around for A1 and A2, or maybe C something like that, I had no idea what to do. And then I gave it to my teammates who are local, and they laughed and walked over and picked up a paper hole punch that had settings on it for A3, A4, B3, and B4, which are paper sizes over there.
Bruce Gillespie 25:12
Right, right, right.
Scott Nicholson 26:14
I would have no idea because I didn’t, I would never connect those as being paper sizes. But, that was a culturally biased puzzle that I didn’t have the information I needed in order to solve that puzzle. So, the idea was you’d fold the paper, you then punch it with the hole punch on A3, then you’d set it to A4, punch it, and once you’d punched it four times you unfold it, and it created the number, which was the code you needed to continue.
Bruce Gillespie 26:35
Ah, so relatively straightforward. Once you understand what you’re looking at.
Scott Nicholson 26:39
Once you had that cultural knowledge that you were to connect those letters and numbers with the whole punch and how you would use those things.
Bruce Gillespie 26:47
That’s great. What a fascinating area of research.
Scott Nicholson 26:50
Well, it’s interesting, because when I looked at my various activities and hobbies, things that I did, I did escape rooms, which required you to be in the same space. I am a face painter, I do that as something for fun. And so, face painting is fairly challenging to do in this situation on anyone else, anyone’s faces other than your own. And board games, that’s my other big area, are sitting around a table having a shared board game experience. So, I’m, like, “Well, huh, this virus just kind of ruins everything I focus on.”
Bruce Gillespie 27:19
Time for all new hobbies.
Scott Nicholson 27:22
Well, on one hand, that’s when I started to take up watercolor painting. So, one of the things I’ve been doing now to help keep my own sanity. I like to cruise a lot, and on a cruise, and there’s another activity that’s out the window for a while.
Bruce Gillespie 27:35
Scott Nicholson 27:36
Many cruise ships in order to help you track the days have elevators, in the elevators, they have mats and the mats say “Monday”, “Tuesday”, “Wednesday”, they change them out every day. So, when you go on the elevator, you can look down and be reminded, oh, it’s Tuesday. So, I took that as an inspiration. And so, now I do a small watercolor painting every day with the name of the day in it and put that up on my Facebook and my Twitter and social media feeds.
Bruce Gillespie 27:58
So, you’ve got quite a collection by this point.
Scott Nicholson 27:59
Yeah, I’ve got, actually, my first journal is just about done, I’m gonna have to move on to another journal shortly. But, I didn’t do watercolor before, so this has been an interesting, not only an experience, playful experience, a way to engage with people, but also to see and track my improvement by doing something every day, it’s been interesting to watch that go on. So, you adapt, and the way the board game industry has been adapting is through various ways of playing games online. Ways to take the same sort of board game activities that you played and do it in a shared room, so a space where you are connecting with other people through some sort of live chat, like, Zoom or Facebook chat, or something like that, or Google Hangout. And then, you all run the same app together and you can play a shared game. So, you can have a similar experience, you can still see each other face to face, but you’re playing the game in a digital form. The big difference is, it’s not a game that was designed to be a digital game like that, it’s designed for this face to face interaction. It’s designed to have people engaging directly. And so, it does create nice levels of engagement that doesn’t always happen in a game that was made specifically as a purely digital game.
Bruce Gillespie 29:08
Scott Nicholson 29:09
There’s a number of tools that I would recommend if people want to explore that. And the one that I like the most, and the easiest one to use is called Board Game Arena. And so, it’s got a number of games that are available for free, then if you like it, you can subscribe and have access to more games. Many of the games on Board Game Arena are the same games that you might go out and sit down and play at a board game cafe or be able to purchase. In fact, It’s a nice way to try out games before going and spending $80 or $100 on a board game. You can actually try it out on these websites and so, the way that you would do this is you would find some way to connect with the people you want to play with through Hangout or Facebook chat or Zoom chat. And then, all of you go to Board Game Arena. You can set up an account there, tell each other your usernames and add each other as friends, and then you can invite each other to sit around and play a game of Seven Wonders or Love Letter. I’ve got it, interestingly enough, I’ve been using this to connect with some of my board game groups from my past. So, there’s a group I play with in upstate New York, there’s been a group in Dallas that I’ve played with, people that I haven’t played games with in 20 years, we’re getting around the virtual game table. And it’s like, we’re picking up where we left off and you’re able to play games with groups of people that you normally couldn’t play tabletop games with.
Bruce Gillespie 30:21
Right. And again, you can talk to them at the same time.
Scott Nicholson 30:24
Right. Which makes it much more interesting than just shoving pieces at each other.
Bruce Gillespie 30:27
Scott Nicholson 30:28
But, there’s one more experience that I’d recommend people take a look at. If you’re looking for more of a party game, a social game activity to play with a group of friends. And that is Jackbox Games. I don’t know, have you ever heard of Jackbox games?
Bruce Gillespie 30:41
I have a little bit, yeah.
Scott Nicholson 30:42
Yeah, so they, you can purchase them through Steam or through other online spaces that they have them on, Nintendo Switch and other consoles like that. And the idea of a Jackbox Game, it’s a party game. It started with, the company started with a trivia game called You Don’t Know Jack.
Bruce Gillespie 30:57
Oh, of course, yes.
Scott Nicholson 30:59
It was the same company that did You Don’t Know Jack, and they’ve taken that same humor, and a game show feel, and hosted experience and turned it into online experiences. They’re really well done, they do make you feel like you’re on a game show, because there’s a host who talks to you and they put the questions up. There’s now, I believe, six different bundles of Jackbox Games, they’re getting ready to release their seventh, and each bundle has three or four different types of social experiences. Some of my favorites, there’s one called Push the Button where some of the players are aliens and your job is to figure out who the aliens are. And you do this through being given challenges. So, you may be given a challenge where the humans are told, draw your favorite food, and the aliens are told, draw a plant. And so, everyone draws their picture. And then the host says, “Okay, the prompt was to draw your favorite food,” and they show all the pictures. Well, the alien players then have to very quickly come up with why they drew a plant, because,
Bruce Gillespie 31:57
Scott Nicholson 31:57
They didn’t, they’d had a wrong prompt. And so, the game is about can you cover up when you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing? Can you fake it? So, that’s fun. Fibbage is one where you are trying to get people to guess your made up information. So, you may have a fill in the blank question about this person in Las Vegas who was arrested in 1927 for having too many blank, and everyone fills out the blank. And then, the game shows you the real answer and the fake answers and you’re trying to find the fake answer. To run the Jackbox Games, you will, again, need some way you’re all chatting either through Google Hangouts, or Zoom or Facebook. And then, one person who has the game will have to share their screen with everyone. So, everyone can watch the shared screen. And then, to play the game you will use, you can use a phone, or another computer, or a tablet or second browser window. And everyone logs into that browser window to play the game. You can actually do it through Twitch, which is an online video sharing service, game sharing service, and you can do it that way. There’s a lot of ways and they give you instructions online on how to set it up virtually. But, it’s one of my favorite social game experiences.
Bruce Gillespie 33:10
That’s wonderful. These are great ideas for how to keep busy and have some fun while we’re all staying at home. Thank you so much for joining us today, Scott.
Scott Nicholson 33:17
All right. Sounds good. And hopefully I’ll see some of you in person around the game table soon.
Bruce Gillespie 33:23
Scott and research associate Shannon McDowell recently recorded a webinar about their research about cultural bias and escape rooms. You can watch it by visiting the BGNlabs webpage at BGNlab.ca.
And that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining us. We hope that it’s helped you feel a little more connected to the Laurier Brantford community. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe on Apple, Google, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts. Worried about missing an episode? Sign up for our newsletter. You can find the link on Twitter and Facebook @onemarketLB. We’ll be back with a new episode in about one week. One Market was created and produced by Bruce Gillespie and Tarah Brookfield, music by Scott Holmes, graphics by Melissa Weaver. Thanks for listening. Keep in touch.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai