Tonight I had the opportunity to co-facilitate game night with Nathan Abourbih. Other participants also contributed games to the pool of options we had. There were a lot of choices thanks in large part to Nathan.

Our goal was to build on the success of the last game night and prompt some purposeful discussion around gamification in the classroom. The last game night carried with it added cost that was unnecessary given the amazing space we have in the Hub and the number of games we collectively own. While people were arriving and treats were being made I had the slide deck below rotating automatically on-screen. It may have helped to prompt some of the talking about games we use in our classes. The discussion seemed to flow naturally.


Overall, I think the game night was a success. We had a lot of fun and generated several ideas for interprofessional collaborations for game development to be used in our classes. A few of the games we played can also be used as-is.

Some Games

We talked about using the game heads-up and some other easy to set up games in the classroom. In my classes, I think I need to have several games running at once to make this work. I also need to remember to keep my instructions super simple!

Exploding Kittens

Then we played exploding kittens. This game can be adapted to teach students about safety in a nursing context as well as other contexts. It was also discussed as something that could be used to simulate the dynamic nature of navigating healthcare systems. I could see making a card deck using the principles of this game for a variety of purposes. This idea can also be given to students as a project (I am teaching a class on teaching and learning next term). Students could develop games or something else as a teaching tool.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

This game can be used as-is in communication classrooms. Tonight I learned that fake exploding peers is a fun way to build relationships and communication skills. I am not sure why one colleague of mine in particular really liked blowing me up in both games. I would love to use this game but the problem is that it works best with small groups and my classes are large. If I set up stations with different games that students could rotate through it may work … I would need multiple facilitators. It is also best done using VR, but Cambrian does not currently have Steam installed so we need to find a good way to make this work.


I could see this game being adapted to an educational context. The rules in this game always change. It is a lot of fun to play. Setting goals is something that can be applied to a lot of programs. The rule cards could stay the same or be adapted to reflect real-world situations or even policy changes. Actions could be made to be discipline specific. We did not have the creeper or meta-rules in our game.


A lot of people seemed open to making and sharing educational adaptations of these games. I think that the Hub could be a great place to facilitate the sharing of games created by faculty that could be reused or adapted in other contexts. It would make gamification a lot easier if we collaborated! Now that we have this idea the question for the Hub team is how can we effectively share these educational resources? Can the Hub help us make the decks of cards look professional?

Future Suggestions

At the end of game night I tried to pull some ideas from the group. Some of these are my own and some are group ideas.

  • Clarify that people are encouraged to bring their own games in the session description and remind them the day before or the night of. I had reached out to those that registered and some key people from the last game night but I need to be really clear that people can bring games in. In fact, I need to encourage it because the more the marrier.
  • Timing – this is tricky. I think there is never a perfect time, but I need to try and find times that work for the people that show an interest in game night. This time I surveyed the ones from last game night. Next time I will survey the attendees from both game nights.
  • Squash the inner critic. Before the session started I was a little nervous. Wait, no, a lot nervous that no one would show up or that they would not like how flexible the plan was. It was fine. The people were amazing. I need to stop that negative self-talk.
  • Invite families. I think we need to explicitly open game night to the significant others of our faculty and staff. One of the reasons that some people came is to build relationships with their peers outside of their departments. Bringing significant others helps us get to know each other and gives the staff or faculty member a date night! Win-win.
  • We need more time! I could have stayed past midnight again. Games are fun. Some suggested having it all day on a weekend when it is colder out. During the summer months, people would rather be outside. Maybe in the Fall, we could try this idea.
  • Game night themes: board game night, card game night, BYO game night, virtual game night …
  • Grow game night. I think by implementing a bring a buddy system, choosing better timing, and having theme nights we can grow game night. Tonight there were more people than last time. When the group gets larger we will likely need to run multiple gaming stations.
  • Communicate more. Some participants were surprised that this was the second game night. Enhanced communication strategies will help to build awareness around game night.


This time of year is stressful for me. Game night was excellent because it was a lot of fun, provided peer engagement, felt productive, and got me excited about ideas for next term. I need more game nights in my life. Thank you to everyone who made it out. Hopefully, we can make the next one even better. Please bring a buddy to the next one! Um … when should we do it again?

PS: The last one was in February.

Laura Killam


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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