Frontex Files workshop
The third European Integrity Games workshop took place in Paris and Le Raincy (93), from 5 to 11 June 2022. During 5 days, 9 European participants from the 6 partner countries gathered to explore the theme of Frontex Files under the prism of integrity, ethics and transparency.
A European workshop to test the hybrid boardgame and 3D game
The workshop was organised and facilitated by La Transplanisphère and focused on the games created in collaboration by La Transplanisphère and Förderband.
As a reminder, the European Integrity Games project aims at creating 7 games exploring different themes related to integrity. These 7 games are created in two formats
– an escape game to be played in a collaborative group
– a 3D game for a solo experience
The main objective of this workshop was to test the beta version of these two games and to get first feedback and perspectives for improvements. The activity also aimed to train participants to implement the European Integrity Games in their own networks, communities and activities. Through group discussions, participants were able to gain new knowledge and a better understanding of the issues.
This helped to raise awareness, provide a nuanced overview of the issues, and stimulate participants’ own civic reflection on the management of Europe’s borders and migration.
Tuesday 7 June - Launch of the workshop
This first day was dedicated to a general introduction of the project, the workshop and the concept. Bruno Freyssinet and Marion Pollet gave a short presentation of the European Integrity Games project. The programme of the workshop was then presented, as well as its objectives and the practical aspects of the week to come.
After these initial explanations, an interactive session on the theme of the Frontex Agency was organised to introduce the subject. An interactive quiz was proposed. The aim was to assess the participants’ knowledge on the subject but also to familiarise them with the topic in a fun and cooperative way. The quiz questions addressed several aspects of the Frontex Agency, which were explored in the games that would be tested in the coming days.
The aim was also to do the quiz again at the end of the workshop, to see if the participants had acquired this knowledge on the subject during the workshop and through the games.
The afternoon was dedicated to the presentation of Blockchain games, their testing, and training in game mastering. The aim was to show participants what fully finished games look like, to promote these games and their use, and to train participants in the role of game master.
The participants first played the 3D Blockchain game together. This allowed them to discover the finalized game and to cooperate together. Then, Marion Pollet and Bruno Freyssinet presented the downloadable kit to set up the Blockchain escape game. With the help of the kit, the participants followed and set up all the steps to install the game.
Wednesday 8 June - Testing the 3D game
This second day was dedicated to the testing of the 3D game on Frontex, to the first feedbacks on the game, and to discussions and collective reflections on the subject.
The participants met at the Relais Culture Europe in Paris and started the morning with warm-up exercises. After a quick introduction to the 3D game and how it works, the participants played the game. Enzo Laverny, programmer of the Transplanisphere game, projected the game on a big screen and was guided by the participants. The participants were able to discover the different rooms of the game, think together, look for clues, solve puzzles, talk to characters and make important choices together.
After this experience, a feedback session was organised. With the help of a whiteboard, everyone was able to share their opinion on aspects of the game, their feelings and emotions after this experience. The exchanges were very rich, the participants liked the game very much and shared many ideas for improvement.
Then a first session on pedagogical knowledge was held during the game. A collective discussion was organised, on the different subjects that were tackled in the game, what the participants had learned during this experience on the different themes: Frontex in general, budget and recruitment issues, biometrics, drones and human rights.
Transplanisphere presented the last rooms of the game that were not yet finalised. She presented the tools for designing the game, including room diagrams, clues, puzzles and the structure of the game. This allowed the participants to discover the game design process and the tools used, but also the detailed structure of the game.
Following these explanations, a collective discussion session on the Frontex Agency and the associated issues of integrity, transparency and ethics took place. On the basis of what they had learned during the game and the explanations, the participants debated on the different topics and exchanged on the challenges of the management of the European Union’s external borders.
Thursday 9 June - Testing the boardgame on Frontex
For this third day dedicated to the testing of the boardgame on Frontex and the game design, the participants met at the Relais Culture Europe.
After the traditional warm-up session, Anne Sturm (German artist from Förderband who participated in the design of the game) and Transplanisphere introduced the hybrid boardgame on the topic of Frontex. The participants then tested the game together.
This board game is based on the same scenario as the 3D game, with some adaptations to fit the board game format. It combines an application (on computer or phone) and cards of several categories (room cards / clue cards / enigma cards). On the room cards (which are discovered by the players as they build the Frontex building), numbers are written in several places. To search these places, the participants enter the corresponding numbers in the application, which then displays the object, character, clue etc. that is located in that place. Players can find clues, riddles, characters, objects or traps and have to draw the corresponding cards. They must then solve the riddles and complete their mission.
The participants worked well together to solve the riddles and complete their mission. A feedback session was then held. Everyone was able to share their opinion on aspects of the game. The feedback was very positive, especially regarding the game mechanics which were innovative and worked very well. Ideas for improvements were shared.
The afternoon was dedicated to a creative workshop and game design. The design process of the two games was presented and discussed, and the participants were able to learn the steps and techniques behind the creation of the games and to become familiar with the pedagogical aspect of serious games: how to raise awareness on a complex subject and pass on knowledge through a game experience.
Then, the design workshop was presented by Transplansiphere. Based on the different dialogues with the characters in the 3D game and in the boardgame, the participants were able to play the game characters and record their voices. These recordings will be used for the cinematics in the 3D game and for the audio in the boardgame.
This session allowed the participants to be really involved in part of the creation of the games but also to contribute to the games and leave a trace. Each participant was able to record their voice and play a character.
The day ended with an evening on a boat on the Seine, which allowed the participants to strengthen their ties and discover Paris in a friendly atmosphere.
Friday 10 June - Brainstorming on upcoming games
After testing the Frontex games, this day was dedicated to the next games of the European Integrity Games project.
The aim was to include the participants directly in the process of creating the educational games, as this aspect had been requested by the participants in the previous workshops. The morning was therefore dedicated to creative brainstorming on two of the upcoming games: the e-governance games and the public service games.
The co-creation of these two games having already started between the partners, the Transplanisphere presented the two subjects, the issues at stake and the latest advances in terms of scenario and game mechanics. On this basis, the participants brainstormed on the topics and on the mechanics.
This session was very rich and productive. Each participant was able to contribute his or her opinion, ideas and view of the situation in his or her country on the topics discussed. On both games, scenario prototypes were created together. The participants were thus able to immerse themselves in the challenges of creating educational games on European citizenship issues and develop their creativity.
In the afternoon, a student concert took place at the Albert Schweitzer high school (the location of the workshop and of the Transplanisphere residence). The participants attended the concert together, which allowed them to discover the universe of the Transplanisphere’s work, to enjoy this musical event together and to strengthen their links. The afternoon ended with a quiz. The participants did it again and got almost all the answers right, which showed their increased knowledge on the subject thanks to the workshop and the games.
Saturday 11 July - Evaluation and closing
This last morning of the workshop was dedicated to the evaluation and closing of the workshop. The participants then left, delighted with this week-long European experience.
In the end, this workshop largely achieved its objectives.
It allowed to get first feedback on the Frontex games and on the improvements to be made. The participants acquired new skills in game design and game mastering. They were also able to really participate in the creation of game elements but also in the creation process with the creative brainstorming.
A real discussion could be set up around these important and urgent subjects that are the management of European borders and migrations, they could discover many aspects that they did not know about this subject and become aware of it.
Feedback from participants
“It was a great pleasure to participate in the Frontex workshop! Variously happy with this trip – and, fraud, mind you!”
“I had a lot of fun in this workshop, I learned a lot about Frontex, a topic I didn’t know about, and about game development, which is an area I really like.”
“I’m really glad I took part in this workshop, I was really interested in game design and I learned a lot about the subject!”
“This workshop was great, it was fun, formative and collaborative! Finally, online games can bring people together rather than separate them!”
“Very cool experience, I learned a lot in this workshop and I hope that what I learned can be used in my life!”
“I am very interested in creative and non-formal education procedures, so it was very interesting for me to participate in an attempt to pass on knowledge about this topic through this medium. In addition, it gave me a bit more practice on how to participate effectively in collective proceedings.”
“The workshop was well organised, the topics were well explained, and overall it was a lot of fun to attend and participate.”
“I learnt a lot about Frontex and its function, we played games and debating about them was interesting. There was also a good energy in the group!”