Play14 in Madrid

23 Jun 2022

The other week I spent the weekend at Play14 Madrid. I've never been to one of the Play14 events before, but had heard great things about them, plus I knew some of the organisers.

The opening evening on the Friday was an outdoor escape room around the centre of Madrid, but unfortunately I could only go for the intro part of this, as my cousins band, Seafret, were playing in Madrid that evening, so wanted to get to see them play, as I've never seen them play before.

Play14 is an un-conference, meaning that the activities/sessions are arranged by the participants each morning, rather than having a pre-selected set of sessions. So it's very like the BarCamp style, so the setup reminded me a lot of the BarCamps I went to in Ethiopia back in 2012/2013.

There were 2 games that I ran, firstly an energizer game, "Port/Starboard", we used to play this a lot back when I was in the Scouts, but is fun and easy for anyone to play, and especially good with big groups. I did need to learn the Spanish for port/starboard/bow/stern (babor/estribor/proa/popa in case you're interested), but the other commands I did in English. The second game was the knife and fork chocolate game, again one I remember playing a lot as a child, but also fun with adults.

Both the games I ran we very much party type games, whereas many of the others were much more oriented towards getting an outsome/insight. A couple of the other games that I enjoyed were... 

Lego building... of course everyone loves Lego right... in this game we each had the same set of Lego pieces, then we were given 1 minute to build a tower, which we then had to explain, next was another minute to build a models that represented two of our strengths, and various other tasks, all related to building a Lego model in 60 seconds which we then had to explain to the group.

User story prioritisation, this is always a tricky one when there are lots of requests, but only limited time/resources. In this game we were given a set of 8 user stories and an overall project (a new restaurant catering for those with allergies). Firstly we each had to prioritise the issues, then discuss why we'd selected that particular order. The next part was to be given 100 tokens (representing money, in denominations of 1x50, 1x20, 2x10 and 2x5), and then place our investment on the user stories that were iimportant to us. The tokens couldn't be divided up further (eg split the 50 into 2x25), and we couldn't see the actual amounts others had put against each user story until we'd all used up all our tokens. This seemed to be a very useful way to figure out which user stories should be prioritised, and taking peoples preferences into account.

There were very few non-native Spanish speakers, perhaps I was the only one, everyone else was either from Spain or Latin/South America, so I got chance to practice my Spanish a lot. Although at previous events in Madrid they'd had many more foreigners attending, so were mainly held in English.

Certainly I'll be going to another Play14 event again, hopefully next year again in Madrid!