Welcome to the virtual playbook of the first series of Project Albatross co-design workshops (see below).

These workshops will take place virtually on June 8 & 17 and in person at the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) in Copenhagen for European based participants on June 22-25! 

This series of workshops will aim to radically re-imagine design learning experiences in order to generate new insights for defence practitioners, educators and game designers. We will do so by prototyping transformative learning features by experimenting with game design approaches for the community by the community.  

Thanks to a game design 101 crash course developed by veteran game designer Ilan Graicer, the virtual workshop on June 8th will provide a shared game design language to unite the multidisciplinary network of participants. For the second virtual workshop on June 17, this small groups will rely on this language to share their vision of potential transformative design learning experiences. These collective visions will then shape physical prototyping in Copenhagen in June 22-25, and more broadly, the project as a whole.   

We will join a critical mass of the Innovation Methodologies for Defence Challenges (IMDC) community with military student alumni and game designers to form small teams to create physical game prototypes. We will benefit from the support of a prototyping kick-starter delivered by game design specialist, director, and writer Thomas Howalt (IO Interactive, Square Enix, The Danish Film School), the mentorship of Ilan Graicer throughout the week and feedback from game design legends such as Louis-Martin Guay (Rayman, Splinter Cell & Far Cry) and global leaders in military design such as Ben Zweibelson and Ofra Graicer.

These workshops will ultimately feed the development of a proof of concept unlocking the development phase of project Albatross. 

Are you interested in being part of this journey? Please contact Project Manager Jonas Groesmeyer  

For your convenience, please find below a playbook following each activity with resources supporting them ranging from Youtube clips, books, and websites that delves into the many aspects of the promise of video games as a medium for transformative learning. Please note that this playbook will be continuously updated. 



Flying Pathways

June 8 – Game Design 101

In this session, you will learn more about Project Albatross in the broader emerging learning system of the Innovation Methodologies for Defence Challenges (IMDC) community, acquire a shared language to discuss and design games and share your own gaming experience in small teams.

1. A brief history of games (10-15 min. read)

2. Reference guide for board game terminology (5 min. read)

3. Intro to a “History of Play” Humanities seminar from University of Arizona, presented by Professor Ken McAllister (2 min.) 

4. Can we make better tutorials for complex games? (21 min.)


5. James Paul Gee’s Principles of Gaming (23 min.)

Group work preparation

We invite you to anticipate discussing these questions in small teams:

1. Tell us about the most recent (virtual or physical) game that you played. What did you like about it? What did you dislike? and why?

2. From your perspective, what were the goals, scopes, and rules of the game? What kind of strategy and tactics did you require to play, if any?

3. How would you teach this game to a new player?



June 17 – Transformative Design Learning Experience

Facilitators will invite you to bring to awareness who is the learner/player and the transformative experiences s/he must go through to become a designer in defence and security contexts. Then, you will reflect on the tensions between a learning and a playing experience in small teams in order to consider how the former could inform the latter. Insights generated from this workshop will shape game prototyping activities in Copenhagen between June 22-25.

Many thanks for taking the time to prepare by consulting these resources:

1. JSOU’s Paper Roll Exercise (30 min)

Ben Zweibelson provides a compelling example of a transformative design learning experience with the paper roll game.

2. 7 Games so powerful you won’t be the same afterwards (19 min)

Rob Pearson offers 7 examples of transformative video games that may inspire you.

3. Tracy Fullerton’s on Player Experience Goals from the reference on Game Design Workshop (2018) (1 min)

This excerpt summarizes the concept of player experience goal.

4. Brian Upton’s Introduction to Situational Game Design (20 min) (Text or Video version)

Situational game design is prone to transformative learning as it involves the constraints players bring themselves to the game.

Upton Intro


5. Jane McGonigal’s Gaming can make a better world

Group work preparation

We invite you to prepare discussing these questions:

1. What kind of learners are officers? What kind of players are officers? Are learners and players the same? 

2. What would you consider to be a transformative experience that a learner should go through to become a designer in a security context? 

3. Together with a facilitator, you will be invited to reimagine this transformative experience as player experience goals.



June 22: Experiencing Game Design Through Game Review: Mission Zhobia or Disco Elysium  

The in-person phase of the workshop will kick-off with a game review exercise in small teams. With this exercise, we will bring to awareness and warm-up our innate game design capabilities. While Mission Zhobia offers the example of a typical serious game to learn about implementing a development mission, Disco Elysium mobilizes 24 mind bending perspectives on the reality of a detective inquiry.

Prepare a critical review of Mission Zhobia (free) to be discussed in small groups (1 hour). Alternatively, prepare a critical review of Disco Elysium (3 hours+). Disco Elysium is available on PC on Steam, Epic Store or GoG and on MacOS via the Apple Store as well as on PlayStation 4-5 and Google Stadia (at your own costs).  

Group work preparation

1. What do you think about the player experience?  

2. What do you think about the learning experience? 

3. To what extent do you consider this game to be transformative? Why? 

4. What would you keep versus what would you change in this game? Why?

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