In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin is joined by Peter Seiler, to best game-based practices for getting to know others. Peter shares his game Top Tale and how it fosters a great experience for getting to know your fellow human. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get more content from Board Gaming with Education!
- Episode Topics (timestamps are for podcast episode | video time stamps are available on YouTube)
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Who is Peter Seiler? – 3:20
Peter Seiler is the game designer and publisher behind Yub Nub Games, located in rural area in Northern Colorado. He is a former Marine, a part-time rancher, and an inventor. He is currently a computer engineer by day at HP Inc, and his passion for inventing took an unexpected turn when he invented the game, Top Tale. He also was raised by with a legally-blind mother, Beth Seiler, who taught special education and K-12, and so Education has been a target market from the start for Top Tale. Beth is a published author of educational books, and helped greatly with coming up with the family-friendly topics included in Top Tale.
Overview of our Topic: Getting to Know Others and Game-Based Learning – 4:05
Dustin and Peter look at each of these topics separately before diving deeper into the discussion. Dustin looks at game-based learning and how you can use a game to learn about a specific topic, such as getting to know someone. Peter shares his story about designing his game Top Tale and how he implemented different strategies as a part of the game to foster a fun and open game experience.
Fostering a Game Experience for Opening Up – 8:24
Dustin asks Peter to share some insights between getting to know someone through traditional experiences versus a game-based experience. Peter shares some discussions on team-based exercises or other work-related activities and how he leveraged some of the things that worked well as a part of his game Top Tale. He also discusses how Top Tale creates stronger opportunities for deeper connections in a fun way.
Top Tale – 18:08
Dustin and Peter play a round of Top Tale. Peter also shares some experiences playing the game and some very positive feedback he has received.
Dustin Challenges Peter to a Game of 5-Second Rule – 31:39
Game-Based Learning and Getting to Know Others feat. Peter Seiler of Yub Nub Games – 143
Transcript automated and provided by otter.ai. [Using this link helps us continue to use this transcription service for future episodes.] Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript and may have errors in grammar, wording, and/or word choice.
Dustin Staats 0:00
Big gamers. Today’s episode we talk about getting to know your fellow human through game based learning. So we have Peter from Yaba num games, and we talked about his game top tail, and how he created this game to foster an environment to get to know your fellow human. This is an excellent game for teachers like myself, I would love to be able to use this in my class as a maybe beginning of the year icebreaker to get to know some of my students for my students to get to know each other as well. also really great for friends or family, maybe to get to know them a little bit more. It’s really cool some of the stories that Peter shares on this episode, and how his game created this really awesome environment and fun, safe space to get to know your fellow human the players you’re playing with. So check out this episode today. Before we get into the episode, I do want to share check out our newsletter signup below. That’s the best way to stay up to date with Board Gaming with Education. So let’s get into the episode.
Board Gaming with Education 1:01
Board Gaming with Education, a podcast for anyone curious about how games and education mix, we explore various topics like game based learning, gamification, and board games and the impacts they have on learning. here’s your host, Dustin stats.
Dustin Staats 1:19
Welcome to another episode of Board Gaming with Education super excited to be joined by Peter Siler. He is the founder of a yub nub games, I’ll have them tell you what that means. And also the designer of top tail, a game that was recently on Kickstarter. And we’re excited to have that at Board Gaming with Education soon to, you’ll be able to find it at other retail stores and on his site. But Peter, could you introduce yourself a little bit and then share a little bit about your game too?
Sure. And thank you very much for having me. Ever since you nominated top tail is a Kickstarter of the month back in October. I’ve been super excited about you know, your old channel what you do. And it’s justification that this is the right audience. So anyhow, I’m Peter Siler. I’m, by day, I’m a motherboard engineer at HP. So, you know, highly technical, but at night, I’ve been doing this board game design and publishing for about the last three years. Prior to HP I was in the Marine Corps for five years, deployed in 2005, and 2007. And yeah, I went to school afterwards and started working at HP and then I currently live in northern Colorado. So yeah, thanks. So about the game top tail. Just real quick, it’s a it’s a party game, casual party game for two to 10 players, plays in 30 minutes or more. And it’s ad market as ages 10 and up. But honestly, I’ve played it with kids as young as four, they, you know, still get engaged. But if you have kids that are super young and no, no adults or no structure, it can get a little willy nilly. So yeah, but the game is all it’s all topics. And each topic is meant to solicit some sort of experience or story. And so the game is all about sharing stories or experiences. And then in each round, everybody responds to a topic, and then everybody votes for their favorite response. And so you’re voting for the top tail, and then the person with the most votes gets the card. If there’s a tie, then you have a tiebreaker round between the people that have the tie. And then you vote again, and the person that wins the tiebreaker gets all the cards. So you, you play either to a certain number of cards or just for a certain duration, but it’s super casual. But it’s focused on getting to know your fellow human.
Dustin Staats 4:01
That’s super awesome. And thank you for your service as well. And I’m excited to talk about more about the game. And I think that’s a really important topic for for teachers. And that’s why I highlighted it as something to check out for our community when it was kicked on Kickstarter. And I want to kind of define first before we jump into what getting to know us all about and looking at that idea of getting done to know your fellow human. It’s really looking at game based learning too. And that’s the idea of using a game to learn about a topic and I think it’s interesting that this game is being used to learn about your fellow human it’s a game based activity or game based game to learn about the players of the game. So can you share a little bit more about what was the idea of because I want to answer the question like what is what does it mean to get to know you, and maybe If you can share a little bit about the idea of what inspired the game to you?
Sure. So the game kind of evolved over three years, it started out as just a simple party game where it was a bunch of topics, and people submitted responses to the topic, and you vote on the favorite top or vote on the favorite response. So it was originally called top that. And it was more generic, it was more, you know, any old topic. And as we did a bunch of playtesting, I went to, you know, local breweries, conventions, wherever I could get it played tested, we, we found that it really worked well, when you had people sharing stories. And, especially, you know, if you have a group of people that are sharing stories about both kind of lighter and darker topics, then it really, it’s really interesting, what happens, all the players. You know, if you, say, have a dark topic, and somebody goes first, and they share something that, you know, they maybe wouldn’t be comfortable sharing, under normal conversation circumstances. Everybody else kind of sees, hey, this person sharing, you know, little bit more about themselves. And let me go ahead and share some about myself, that’s a little bit, you know, behind the curtains. And so this kind of everybody builds off of each other while you’re playing the game, both on the really positive topics, and in the little darker topics. And I can get into that a little bit more later. But it’s really interesting how people feed on each other, and people gain confidence hearing other people talk about, you know, experiences that maybe they don’t typically share. And that’s why it really evolved into a game about getting to know your fellow human, because you hear stories that people don’t often tell, and, and the topics are kind of designed around that, right? It’s not, it’s not, you know, topics that normally come up in conversation. And I stay away from anything political, or, you know, religious or anything that would be controversial. Because it’s, it’s really focused on the person’s background. And I found that, you know, you take it into groups of strangers or co workers or people that just casually know each other. Afterwards, people usually develop a deeper respect and understanding for each other. And, and, you know, it could lead to so much more positive outcomes in terms of people working better together. And, and just, you know, understanding is really key because I think, when people don’t understand another person, that could lead to fear, or it can lead on certainty. And this really dispels, you know, it dispels all that at the root, which is the misunderstanding of others.
Dustin Staats 8:21
Right, and I wonder, and so I want to kind of talk about, I agree with you, 100%, it’s important to kind of get to know, whoever we’re, you know, interacting with as a human, especially our peers, our friends, our family, our co workers, our students. So I want to ask, What is your experience with doing things like that, or trying to get to know someone that’s not a game based activity or game based game, and then using your game or using a game to create a more enriching, reaching experience to foster that?
Sure. So, um, I guess I’ll relate some experience from my day job. So I’m a, you know, computer engineer, and we’ve attempted to do like team building exercises. And really, it’s just trying to get people away from work topics, you know, going, going to going out for drinks after work or doing some sort of like our team link curling ones. So just random things that are are kind of designated as team builders. But you might kind of join in on a collaborative effort like that or, or get into a casual setting. But it doesn’t really do much to get, you know, get an understanding of what your teammates are all about. Because people can hide themselves really easily. In those types of settings, right, you can you can act on it. casual, you know, during a team event and still be hiding a lot about your personality or about your, your background. And if you bring top tail into the mix, you can’t hide or, I mean, you can, you know, you can either not answer a topic, or you can choose to do something that’s, you know, not too controversial. Right? But, but back to what I was saying before the game builds on each other, or people build on each other’s responses. It’s just less of an opportunity to hide who you are. And it exposes everybody, I guess. And I don’t want to scare anybody. It’s not, it’s not that people are going to learn your deepest and darkest secrets. It’s that people are going to learn where you came from, and you know, what you’ve gone through in your life. And it’s totally up to the individual what they share. Right, right.
Dustin Staats 11:05
Yeah, I mean, I think about games similar to this one, maybe not, I mean, not even close to the same in some regards. But it uses that idea of creating opportunities for you to be creative. I’m thinking of like, I don’t know, I I played Cards Against Humanity. That’s it. I don’t know. That’s not for everyone. I played it, like, you know, in college, but but it gives you that opportunity to be creative and be funny, because it provides that structure for you. And I seem, I haven’t played top down I’m excited for when it does come to check it out. It seems like top tail has that in place, but to share experiences is that? I don’t know if I’m kind of saying that right or not?
No, you’re I think you’re right on the money. So I had one reviewer. The quote was, if you like apples to apples, but think Cards Against Humanity is too risque, then top tail will provide a satisfactory middle ground. Okay. So he’s comparing it to two very popular games. Yeah. It’s kind of like an in between. And that was Vincent from dad’s gaming addiction. Okay. But I think different games try to have some sort of element of, you know, people showing their darker side or showing who they really are, but not really. I don’t know it. To me, you get a sense of the person, but you don’t get to know the person. Right. And so there’s, there’s a bunch of like, conversation games, you know, where it’s topics where, you know, what’s your favorite color? Or, you know, yeah, who do you go on your first date with that kind of thing? There’s a ton of those conversation games. And that’s one of the reasons why I put this as a two to 10 player. With two players, it’s not necessarily about top and the other person’s response. It’s more, you know, just getting to know each other one on one as a conversation. And this is, you know, essentially a conversation starter.
Dustin Staats 13:24
is a good first date of a good first date game.
Oh, absolutely. Um, you know, for instance, you know, social engineers would love this game. So you can find out so much about a person from the backstory that they tell before they pitch a story. So a lot of times when you’re playing the game, to really give a complete response, somebody has to give some backstory, they’ll say, I grew up in Cincinnati, I had three brothers, you know, my dog’s name was skip, you know, it’s like, they tell you a good chunk of information that you wouldn’t otherwise know. So that the story becomes more relevant or, or, you know, it makes more sense. So it’s, it’s really interesting how even hearing just two, three stories from each person, even if you just play a few topics, you can really get to know somebody you know, with with all the backstory information. So yeah,
Dustin Staats 14:36
yeah, that’s awesome. It’s kind of like I’m just thinking about when I just mentioned Cards Against Humanity. I had to frame that that statement with by giving a little bit of backstory.
Exactly. Yeah. So I know you went to college. I know that you you maybe played Cards Against Humanity, but you’re not so happy about it these days.
Dustin Staats 14:57
Yeah, exactly. It’s interesting. Cool. So do you see any potential drawbacks to using games like this, or any challenges to using a game for getting to know someone?
Sure. So the challenge I’ve found with this game is some people are really hesitant to let others in and to share about themselves. And so breaking through that barrier, I think is is always going to be a challenge for certain people. Really overt are really outgoing people really love this game, especially people that have a lot of history have a lot of experiences to pull off of, they love this game. But if if you’re dealing with somebody that doesn’t have a lot of experiences, or maybe they, they’re not comfortable with their, the other players, they may be a little bit more reserved. And so that’s always going to be a challenge. And remind me of the first part of that question.
Dustin Staats 16:03
Just any challenges or drawback, so I think you kind of answered it. As far as like challenges, you have less reserved, or more reserved people wanting to get involved. Um, so I’m wondering, how do you end the game? How would you encourage that person? Or does the game have some structure in place to encourage someone who is more reserved or less outgoing to kind of share more is? Maybe you mentioned the building on other players? Is that have you seen that kind of happen in games with less reserved players who kind of come out and start sharing a little bit more? Absolutely.
And you answered the question. But to build on that there’s no structured way to get somebody to, you know, talk about themselves. It’s more in the social aspect of playing the game where, you know, you you hear other people are telling stories about themselves. And so it encourage, it encourages each individual to share a piece of themselves for the sake of playing the game. And really, you could play the game without voting. You could play the game without points. And it still has a lot of the same results. The fact that you’re playing with voting and you’re playing with the points, is just a little extra incentive for people to open up because, right, it’s for the sake of the game, right? Yeah. It’s not like you’re just putting yourself out there for nothing. It’s to win the game, even though at the end, you don’t really care.
Dustin Staats 17:40
Right? No, that’s awesome. I mean, it’s something that we talked about a bit is the magic circle, right? Your, your the magic circle in the game is like an agreement that you have with other players in the game, and you want to all agree to try to win the game. And if those points are there, you’re all agreeing to, you know, open up and share more, or at least try to score points. And that seems like the game incentivizes opening up to do that. I wonder maybe if you could share, share a prompt from the game? And I will try to answer it. Sure. And then maybe we can go into the last couple questions. And that’s gonna be how do you approach less comfortable topics. But maybe you can share a prompt just to kind of it was an example. Sure. So
here’s the game. And it’s a magnetic flat box. Oh, cool. So instructions are in there. Oops, and then a bunch of cards. In it, this isn’t the final box. This is just a physical proof before went into production. But it’s, it’s pretty close. Awesome. All right. So I’ll just pick a card. Okay. So the card is worst experience traveling. And each card has a little caption at the bottom. It’s just meant to spark ideas or maybe get a chuckle out of people. But this one says combat deployments still count. And it’s kind of saying, you know, this is more of a personal or business travel kind of thing.
Dustin Staats 19:08
Okay. Um, worst travel experience. I mean, this one’s kind of, I don’t know, it’s kind of gross, but I’m going to try to make it not too gross. Other people will be watching this. So my wife and I, we before we got married, we went on a trip to what’s the country? Oh, my gosh, the Philippines. And we had taken a kayak to another island. And on the way back, I had an issue where I needed to go to the bathroom. And so instead of being able to make it to the island, I had to go on the kayak. And so I she didn’t know I was like, we were driving like rolling the kayak back and I was playing music. I was jamming out and singing, and then all of a sudden I got quiet and I guess she told me later she’s like, I don’t know. I didn’t know what was wrong and you kind of just got quiet So before we even got to the ocean, I had to jump out of the kayak. Make sure I could, you know, clean up before I was the everyone that kind of doesn’t know me too well, from Board Gaming with Education now knows a little bit more about me. A lot of friends and family have heard that story. But yeah. So yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. That’s cool experience of the game. Do you want to share one too?
Sure. Mine’s not nearly as controversial. So my wife and I, back when we were still engaged, we did this trip to Florida. And it was a cruise to the Bahamas and also some time in Orlando. And as part of the whole package, like they get you to go on a timeshare tour. Okay, and we had no idea what timeshares were or any of that. But so we go do this tour so that we fulfill the requirement. And they take us on the tour all the houses is Yeah, that’s nice. And then they get us into this room at the end and say, okay, what’s it gonna take to get you into a contract? And we tried to explain to them that we were poor college students, you know, absolutely no extra money to spend on this kind of stuff. But they kept us in there for two hours, trying to get us to sign contracts. And it was just one. Let me get my manager, let me get my manager, you know, this is the best we have to offer. And we told them up front, we weren’t going to do it. It was just it wasted the whole day and, and just spoiled the whole day. So yeah, yeah,
Dustin Staats 21:42
yeah, those timeshare people.
Yeah. Cool. So I guess I think you won that round.
Dustin Staats 21:52
Maybe well, we’ll, you can vote in the comments. Yes. See you who wins the top tail there. So I wonder if those are, that’s a pretty easy topic, you might have someone open up about something that’s a bit uncomfortable, or more, I guess, serious? How would you approach or how do those things get approached in the game? Like, what are some? Maybe you mentioned the the bottom part on the card that kind of helps to lighten the mood sometimes. But what have you seen with people playing the game? And how was comfortable topics are approached?
Good question. So first up, I tried to balance the game as best as I could. Probably 60% of the topics are fairly light, maybe another 20%, or kind of middle ground. And then 20% are the heavier topics. Right? So I extremely favor the lighter hearted topics, because the worst thing that can happen is you play a game and you only play six cards. And all of those cards are dark. And, you know, yeah, not topics that people are usually comfortable sharing, you usually have to primer that with some lighter topics, or some in between topics. So it’s it’s luck of the draw in the end. But I try to get people to get more comfortable opening up about darker topics by first opening up about lighter topics, and kind of gradually working, working into it. Now that again, it still happens where the first card you draw is something a little darker. But I think balancing the game’s topics is one way to address it. In the rules, it states clearly that if you’re uncomfortable answering a topic you can pass, so or if you just don’t have a good response, or if you don’t think you’re going to win, win the round. Everybody can always pass I’m going to pass it just means that you don’t get to have your response voted on right. There’s nothing to vote on. Right. So you forfeit the round. But I think it you know, it’s it’s easy for people to pass because usually you’re not getting super competitive about the game. So people have an easy out. But at the same time people don’t like to pass. People like to be involved in the game. And so for the sake of playing the game, you know, they’ll they’ll submit some sort of response. Right. And then another aspect is that people are encouraged, to be honest. But it’s not anywhere written in the rules that you have to be honest. And so, you know, worst case scenario, you make something up or you tell somebody else’s story. you relate to experience. That happens your sibling or acquaintance or friend?
Dustin Staats 25:03
Yeah. Awesome. So I can go back to my story and say it was all made up. Yeah.
Awesome. Sorry, one more thing on that. So you’re right, the the caption at the bottom is meant to make the topic seem a little less scary. So I was just reading through some of them and about 10 cards and I got to this one. But it’s the time you thought you would die. And the caption is, or perhaps did you die? Are you dead quick check for a pulse. So, you know, the caption is meant to be light hearted or Spark ideas. But some people take this one really hard. Like if, if they themselves, you know, saw the light at the end of the tunnel, but came back or they know somebody that, you know, had that experience, it’s really close to them. It can hit them pretty hard. And so I think while people are thinking of responses, when they hear everybody else share their story that might give them a little bit more confident in sharing their story. Yeah. But again, if you draw this one first, or, you know, some of the heavier ones, it can shut people down. But hopefully it’s only temporary.
Dustin Staats 26:26
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you have you have other light light hearted cards to kind of help, I guess lubricate that I use that term because of board games, social lubricant to kind of help the conversation and the game experience. Cool. So do you have any thing else to share? before we head into our game? Or maybe some last words for anyone that’s looking at top tail?
Oh, yeah. So there, there’s just a few experiences examples of playing the game I wanted to share. Okay. So one was with family, we were playing top tail after Thanksgiving, and it was probably only about 12 of us. So my wife side of the family, big, big side of the family, but we played top tail for about two hours. And one thing that really stood out about that game was one of my wife’s nephew’s is autistic. At the time, he was probably 14 years older. So you know, being that we played two hours, we’ve covered a ton of topics, but one of the topics that stood out in my mind was your worst bully experience. And whether that’s you as a bully or, or having somebody bully you. And he shared that he had this bully. And, you know, he used words like I seriously wanted to kill him. And he, he ended the story saying, you know, that he’s not, he’s not a bully. And he doesn’t want to be mean to this other person. And he actually confronted this, this bully, and tell them essentially, you’re not worth it. I’m above this. And after the game, his grandma who’s his, his guardian, she came up to me and said, You know, he opened up more than he’s ever opened up in therapy or with me, or anywhere. And she’s thanked me for the whole experience. And so it’s it’s experiences like that, that have really fueled my passion for developing and publishing this game.
Dustin Staats 28:52
Yeah, that’s a really cool story. I think a lot of teachers can relate to that, that have used games in our classroom, because you do see certain sides of people that you don’t normally see when we play games, especially, I mean, your game has that opportunity to allow people to share experiences that they might not normally share. That’s really awesome.
Yeah, and that’s one of the darker topics. So not to scare anybody I’ve said a lot that might scare people, but really, it’s it’s a light hearted casual game. Yeah, no,
Dustin Staats 29:24
I think I mean, hopefully, at least with our travel experiences that can kind of shed some light on how lighthearted it can be. Cool. So any last words before we head into our game, maybe some final tips or reasons why you should check out top tail?
Sure. So first, there’s a few different ways to try the game before you buy it. I’m all about you know, putting out content so that people can have an informed decision. There’s a printed play. So it’s on my website, you have node games.com There’s a mobile app. And the mobile app is still kind of in the early stages of development. But it’s a, it’s going through some facelifts right now, but it’s available on both Amazon or by Amazon on Google Play for Android. And for iPhones, Oh, cool. Bye. But it’s, you know, a very simple app. It’s got 25 card topics, so that you can get through a game or two and understand whether you like it or not. And it’s also an alternative. Once you have the physical game. You can, you know, play top tail anywhere you go. And there’s actually in each physical game, there’s a unlock code. Oh, cool. So it’s a one time code, you’ll be able to create an account and then unlock those cards that you purchase physically, in the mobile app. So you have us wherever you go, yeah. And so free ways to try before you buy. There’s also table topia and tabletop simulator. So I encourage people to try it. You know, it’s it’s not for everybody. But if if it is something that sounds really interesting for you. I did the Kickstarter, I’m fulfilling orders. Hopefully in August of this year. It’s in production currently. After that, I’m going to have it available on Board Gaming with Education website, and hopefully, we can work out some sort of promo from there.
Dustin Staats 31:30
Yeah. Awesome. I didn’t realize you have the app. And now I think I might have to try it out. Yeah, please. Yeah. Today, at least try it out before they comes. Cool. Alright, so we’re gonna, we’re gonna move into our game.
And I mentioned we’re gonna play five second rule. I’m gonna share my screen here. Alright, so we’re gonna play a five second rule, you essentially have to name three items in the category before time runs out. Animals. Lion, Tiger bear. Plenty of time, plenty of time. And the next category things you find outside. Fish, trees, birds. So you got one, you got one so far. And the next category electronic devices, phone computer monitor. That that one got to. And the next category insects,
Bee, and Caterpillar? Oh, this is barely not sure if they’re? Yeah, I don’t think the caterpillar
Dustin Staats 32:45
will count it will count it. You named three named three adjacent related categories. So that’s three. Right. And the next one superheroes.
Oh, Superman Batman, aka man. Oh, no,
Dustin Staats 33:00
I think you got it. But for some reason I went to the next one. All right. Next one.
board games. Oh, Settlers of Catan. Top tail site.
Dustin Staats 33:14
Ooh, got it. Awesome. Thank you. Five, five, I would say we have five out of six. That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. All right, Peter, thank you, again, so much for coming on the show. If anyone wanted to keep up with you, or keep up with top tail, where might they do that?
Sure. So my website has a way to subscribe for my newsletter. I don’t spam people I actually only been sending like one email per quarter. So if you want to subscribe, I’ll just announce key events and any opportunities like if I’m doing promotional sales or whatnot. Also this my social media accounts, so yub nub games on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That’s where I update the community a little bit more regularly. So follow along on any of those for updates.
Dustin Staats 34:09
Awesome. So thank you so much. And I’m excited to check out top tail maybe check out the app here soon.
Awesome. Yeah, and again, the app still fresh. Still working out bugs so let me know if you have any issues and anybody can reach out to me. Peter yub nub games comm with any questions or, or whatever.
Dustin Staats 34:31
Awesome, thank you. Thanks.
Board Gaming with Education 34:36
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