viernes, 27 de diciembre de 2013

2013: The Year of Gamification

2013: A Gamified Year in 13 Pictures

The gamification year of @victormanriquey and a bit more in pictures.

Papers, Books and much more

The year started as 2012 finished: I read more books, studied more papers and developed all the theories that would later on appear on Epic Win. 

Gamification and Coursera

One of 2013's great events was Prof. Werbach's MOOC. It was a really nice course and it inspired me to create a bit more advanced course on the topic with

Epic Win Blog

Some weeks before, I started publishing all the materials that I had on Epic Win Blog. Several blogposts have received more than 4000 views. 

Gamification World Congress, Madrid

Probably one of the biggest gamification events in Europe. The Congress took place on the 20th May, 2013 and it was a fantastic chance to meet great people.


I started to work at PlayJugo in summer, and since then, we have developed two gamified systems and much more! We keep on working hard (and playing harder) every day.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Business School

At the same time, I started to collaborate with the IEBS, as a gamification associate professor for two of their master degrees: Mobile Business and Entrepreneurship.

Gamification Spain Meetups

Gamification Spain Meetups (GSM) started (and keeps on being) as a small community based event. Today, more than 150 people have joined the group and 2014 will see many more of these meetups. You can check it out at

EBE - Evento Blog España

It was my first experience at Europe's second biggest event of Social Media. I gave a gamification workshop for +75 people and met so many awesome people. Such a great time!

Social Raid

Social Raid was PlayJugo's first gamified platform, a gamelike experience for community managers and social media managers. You can check it out at

II GSM - Barcelona

With more than 75 people, free talks, workshops and many more activities, we had such a fantastic time at the II GSM in Barcelona. There will be more!

Family Team App

Family Team App is PlayJugo's second gamified experience, an app that makes your house chores more fun. It'll be available on the App Store in January 2014.

The 35 Mechanics Toolkit

After the huge success of the first version, and the amount of downloads of the second one, we decided to create our own design deck. It'll be available on Amazon in January 2014.

Iversity Gamification Design MOOC

2013 was an awesome year and we wanted 2014 to be as epic! So we created a new adventure on Iversity! Want to join us?

Last but not least...

Thanks to all the great people that have helped us on the way! You're great guys! 2014 will be an epic year!

Go Go Go!

Victor Manrique

jueves, 12 de diciembre de 2013

Gamification and Social Media: Aristotle, Backgammon and MMORPGs

Gamification and Social Media: Aristotle, Backgammon and MMORPGs

This Blogpost was originally published on Gamifeye by Victor Manrique. Check it out here

What do Aristotle, backgammon and World of Warcraft have in common? Why are MMORPGs so successful? And what happens when we combine games and social media?

What Backgammon has to teach us about games

Games have existed since ancient times. Some studies find the early origins of games in a small village called Shahr-e-Sookhteh (Iran), built in 3200 BC, where an old backgammon set, some dice and other game-related objects were found. What’s interesting about it is that researchers found that even in the very beginning, games were a social thing: backgammon was played in pairs, playing dice was a group thing, and pretty much all the ancient games involved some kind of social aspect. And there are many more examples. Just think of the Greek Olympics, the Roman Circus, or even the jousting of the Middle Ages; all of them were social games.
It’s at that point when you realise that social media games are nothing new, just a more technologically advanced version of something that has been there all along.

Why Aristotle and World of Warcraft have so much in common

Quite some years ago, the famous philosopher Aristotle said that we were the only social animals to be found, because we don’t just meet up with others for protection or feeding purposes, as many animals do, but because we feel like doing so. And that has changed everything, even games.

But let’s return to the present…

Have you checked out the most profitable game in the last few days? Do you know which games accumulate the most hours played per year? Any idea what the most successful and downloaded apps were of 2012?

If you were thinking about social games, you were spot on.

As it turns out, games such as World of Warcraft (WoW), League of Legends (LoL) or Team Fortress 2 (Tf2) were not only some of the most played games, but also some of the most profitable. And if we add Candy Crush, Hay Day or Clash of Clans – some of the most downloaded apps of 2012 – we immediately realise that Aristotle was right all along. Games were made to be social, and a very important milestone was hit when social media platforms implemented games within them.

Going Further: Social Media and Gamification

So what happened a few years ago when games came across the social media?

Well, as many social media experts have said, it all went mad. All of a sudden millions of people started playing on a daily basis with their friends, and the time spent on those platforms skyrocketed. At the same time, and some years later, the trend of gamification appeared and the phenomena of social gamification – as gameful design applied within social media platforms – started with an increasing number of these type of experiences every single year.

So are there any social gamification examples out there already? And is there any difference between trying to get your public more engaged and making your social media teams perform better?

CaptainUP and Social Raid: 2 Great Examples

Social Media Gamification is a very new thing, and there’s still a long way to go, but up until now, we can see some great beta versions that are worth reviewing.

The first one is CaptainUp, a plug-and-play platform that allows you to engage the readers of your blog and social media channels; the second is Social Raid, a web based platform that turns social media teams into a group of raiders in search of performing their tasks better while having lots of fun.

Let’s take a closer look.

CaptainUP: Game Mechanics Made Easy

CaptainUp is a very simple and fun concept: Your blog readers are not fully engaged with your blog, so through a simple PBL (points, badges and leaderboards) system, CaptainUp turns your blog into a gamelike experience where you can reward users, see which are the top players and make them try to unlock fun achievements.

The “game” starts off when the blogger signs up at, and once that’s done, you have to adapt the system to your preferences, changing the points system if you feel like, modifying the badges’ storyline and text and customising the images shown. Whenever the system has been finally installed (after a little bit of coding on blogger, or a simple copy and paste with other blog platforms) you start receiving lots of interesting feedback and it’s up to you how the experience plays out on your site.

Finally, there are new gamification mechanics and more improvements coming out to the platform soon, so don’t miss out on them.

Social Raid: Gamify Your Communication

Social Raid, a platform developed by the Spanish start-up Play Jugo, is all about turning community management tasks into an epic adventure.
In Social Raid, a team of several raiders (community managers) work alongside their captain (social media manager) to improve their performance and develop a more impactful communication strategy for the accounts that they manage on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s essentially a SaaS platform where communication agencies, social media teams or community managers can publish, edit, and track the results of what they are doing while having fun. Besides, you can manage several social media accounts within the platform, making it easier for people who manage multiple social channels.

Right now the platform features a rich PBL system with an adventure theme, along with other gamification mechanics. More features are on the way over the next few months, such as power-ups, virtual rewards and a virtual economy. So stay tuned.

So games have never stopped being social, and in the next few years, more and more of them will embrace multiplayer modes and social mechanics. Meanwhile, the number of social gamification experiences will keep on growing until social mechanics become a new norm in game design.

Victor Manrique
+Victor Manrique 

domingo, 1 de diciembre de 2013

The Right and Wrong of Game Mechanics in Gamification

The Right and Wrong of Game Mechanics in Gamification: A radio show with Monica Cornetti

This radio show was originally published on Monica's blogtalkradio space. You can check it out here.

The Right and Wrong of Game Mechanics in Gamification

With Special Guest Victor Manrique - a Gamification designer ranked among the top gamification experts worldwide. In this episode of Gamification Talk Radio, we’ll be the rights and wrongs when adding game mechanics into your gamified project. Gamification and games are similar yet different, and one of the key points when designing gamified systems is that game mechanics have to be slightly revamped due to the lack of pure game play.

Monica and Victor will be discussing:

- Whether or not we can use game mechanics in Gamification

- The most effective game mechanics to use in corporate training and development

- The 3 most important factors to take into account before designing any mechanics

- Victor will give you real life case studies and examples of the rights and wrongs of game mechanics in gamification.

About Victor Manrique:

Victor is a Gamification designer at PlayJugo, a spanish based startup focused on helping people to achieve their personal and professional goals by playing games. He teaches gamification at the IEBS School as an Associate Professor as well as being the author of, a gamification-oriented blog updated on a weekly basis.

Victor is one of the organizers of Gamification Spain Meetups (GSM), an independent event for gamification professionals that takes place all over Spain and has been ranked among the top gamification experts worldwide according to

Victor Manrique

miércoles, 20 de noviembre de 2013

Gamification: What If They Don't Want to Play?

3 simple strategies to get your players in the game

How to make your employees use that expensive and fun software? What can I do if my readers don't feel like signing up for my blog game? Or how to get kids to play that really cool school game?

Your gamified experience is ready to be played and all of a sudden, no one wants to do so.  From now on, take this into account for gamification design: some people won't be as willing to play as you expected at first.

Last week, I gave a workshop for +50 people at #EBE13 in Sevilla, the second biggest event of Social Media and Blogs in Europe with more than 3000 guys attending, and one of the main things we did there, was to work on how to effectively get your players in the game, because if you miss the chance to engage them at once, you'll probably lose them forever.

So we asked ourselves one question: can we think of some simple strategies to get people to use our gamified platform? And the answer involved 3 things: Storytelling, Growth Hacking and The Lonely Dancer Effect.

Let's see each one of them in further detail...

Tell them an epic story

One of our best and most effective strategies was to tell a great story. It might seem a bit simple to you, but storytelling is a really powerful tool. Just think of how many worlwide famous startups got invested for their first time thanks to thrilling elevator pitches or why only some online videos go extremely viral while the others are left behind. Probably, it has to do with storytelling. So if we are going to tell a nice story... what kind of elements should we include in it?

Here are some great tricks to make it better:

- Start with a hook: epic stories always include some eye-catching moment in the very beginning to get the public into the story's magic circle. So whenever you start telling your story, begin with a funny moment, a jaw-dropping fact or some kind of moving moment. If you are to start using some kind of new gamified software in your company, show them all how cool it is in the very first minute, and how much it will change their daily tasks if they'd used it! 

- Tell them why: You got their attention, now it's time for you to get their interest. A very important step when advancing in your story is to tell your public why you gamified your platform, and how that's going to help them, or the ways they can benefit from it. Think for a moment about any of the last gamified platforms you saw, how many of them showed you at once what you'd win if you started playing? And how many were successful in doing so? 

- Call to action: No great story ends without an energetic or even subtle call to action. The call to action is the real purpose of your story, what you want people to do, or what you have tried to communicate during the whole narration, it's what you really want to achieve. 
If you are using a gamified platform on your site and you want users to create a profile and start playing, that's what your whole story should encourage! 

Foster a win-win growth hacking strategy

People just don't like signing up, that's a fact. Creating a new account somewhere means new passwords, new usernames, new mail notifications, and more boring stuff that you don't really want to put up with. But! Things can totally change if there's some reason to do so, and that's what we are trying to do with growth hacking!

In the very beginning of something, it's quite difficult to get the users to sign up or start using something new. That amount is usually called a "critical mass" and it's quite difficult to get to that point soon. Even if your storytelling convinced the players, if their motivation remains low, there's not that much you can do. When Dropbox or Iversity started up, they didn't have as many users as they do nowadays but... how did they get to that point? 

Both of these platforms offered a win-win system where people invited other friends to join, and every part got some kind of reward from it. It's a classical triangular relationship where the platform offers some type of incentives for existing users to invite new ones, and they both earn something (could be a direct reward or just the pleasure to discover a new great thing). It's a very simple strategy and works terrifically (good)!

So if you want people to join you gamified system, try offering a win-win mechanic where people can invite their friends to join; or you can even design it in a way that old users have to invite new ones to unlock special content. There are way many more possibilities but whatever you do, make it worthy for both new and old players!

Use the lonely dancer effect!

There's not that much to tell you about this strategy but one thing: JUST WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Already saw it? It's quite an old one but you can apply this kind of lesson to almost everything that has to do with crowds doing something. 

In the beginning, people will be afraid to use your platform, they won't have time, they'll tell you it's not the time for playing, or that the game is boring without them even trying it! And it might be that they are right but... not always, because people, simply don't feel like trying new stuff until others tell them it's great.

So if you want your players to join the game, be the first one in doing so! You'll probably gain some few users by then, so encourage them too, make them feel special and let them show others how fun it is!

Because at the end of the day, good stuff always spreads around through word of mouth but sometimes, it's already too late for us. So using these 3 great techniques, storytelling, growth hacking and the lonely dancer effect,  will help you avoid that!

Victor Manrique

viernes, 8 de noviembre de 2013

I Gamification Spain Meetup (GSM) - The Official Videos

Gamification Spain Meetups (GSM) is a community based event that aims to bring together the whole spanish community every 2-3 months.

The first event took place on the 26th of October in Zaragoza (Spain) and the event had talks, workshops, gamified activities, tapas, some surprises and many more great things. Next events will take place in Barcelona (14th december), Madrid, Valencia, etc


Want to check out what we did? See the introduction video!

The summary #gsmz

The Introduction - @victormanriquey @isidrorodrigo and @katamaniaco (ESP)

Oscar García (@kokopus_dark) - Gaming. Game Design. Gamification. Love (ESP)

Oscar worked with Jesse Schell, a pioneering game designer, at the Entertainment Technology Center of Carnegie Mellon University and at the moment, he offers gaming solutions in HR consulting at Cookie Box apart from leading the Gamification Master at the IEBSchool.

Dolors Blasco (@Dolors_Blasco) - Smartick, matemáticas a un solo click (ESP)

Dolors is the people engagement director at Punto Extra, a gamification consultancy with several years of expertise in applying gamified solutions in business and education. She formerly worked at companies like Accenture or Boehringer Ingelheim.

Jose Carlos Cortizo (@josek_net) - Cómo la gamificación puede ayudar en el funnel de venta (ESP)

José Carlos Cortizo is the co founder and CMO of BrainSINS, formerly founder of Wipley, the gamers social network. Besides, he's also a business angel and investor in companies like SinDelantal, Tockit or 5mimitos.

Do you want to know more about our events?

Are you a gamification expert and feel like giving a talk?

Do you want GSM to organize an event at your place?


jueves, 24 de octubre de 2013

Can We Use Game Mechanics For Gamification Design?

The Reasons Why Game Mechanics Will Not Work With Gamification

Whether you are a game or gamification designer, I'm sure we can both agree that gamification is not a game. It has to do with games, but it's not the same.

I've enjoyed so much (and still do) playing all kinds of games for my whole life, from SNES retro games to modern ones like Guild Wars, GTA, Final Fantasy or Team Fortress 2. At the same time, I've been working on gamification, designing better or worse (not always the outcome is great) gamified systems, and I came to the point where you could say: "hey, this gamification design thing is not the same as game design".

It's totally true that Gamification comes from games, since games were first in understanding how human motivation really works and the main keys to user engagement. But once we have stated this, and after working on it for a while, anyone can see that they are not the same. Game and gamification designers are doing similar yet different stuff.


Game designers try to create and deliver meaningful and fun experiences to the player, while on the other hand, gamification is a design technique to increase people's motivation towards some objectives through fun. Fun is a one of game's most important characteristics, it's inherent to games, but in gamification, we have to create that fun, it's not there since the very beginning cause tasks or duties aren't meant to be fun. And that changes all.

But why are we talking about this?

Game Design vs Gamification Design

Well, because anyone that truly wants to understand gamification must study game structures and how they are designed. Both game and gamification design are really complex and demand quite a lot of design expertise and experience. However, their main elements might be called alike, but they are quite different.

When it comes to game elements, I usually quote Jesse Schell's 4 Pillars because it's a nice and easy approach to understand what games are mostly made of. Furthermore, we can use those key elements to explain gamification main components. As we'll see on this blog soon, all 4 pillars are going to be different whether they are applied to games or gamification, but it'sthe mechanics the element that differs the most when designing gamified systems. So that's why for now, we'll put the focus on them.

But...what are game mechanics?


What Are Game Mechanics?

There are several definitions of game mechanics and not everyone agrees with them, but for our purposes, it doesn't really matter which one to take, because they all share things in common. So let's go through some of the most popular definitions:

  • "Mechanics are a synonym for the “rules” of the game. These are the constraints under which the game operates. How is the game set up? What actions can players take, and what effects do those actions have on the game state? When does the game end, and how is a resolution determined? These are defined by the mechanics." (LeBlanc et al, 2004)

LeBlanc focuses on rules and constraints as the main factor of game mechanics, but he also includes the concept of mechanics as verbs, actions that players take.

  • "A game mechanic is one complete loop of interaction, such as a single mouse twitch, button press or foot stomp that can be traced through the game’s programmed response and back to the player over and over again. Another way to think about mechanics is as verbs. What are the player’s abilities in the game? What can the player do?" (Swink, 2009)

Swink focuses more on the actions, those full interaction loops, the idea of the player's abilities and ways of movement. Verbs are also present in this new definition

  • "Game mechanics are the core of what a game truly is. They are the interactions and relationships that remain when all of the aesthetics, technology, and story are stripped away." (Schell, 2008)

Schell gives a more simplistic definition of game mechanics that is based on the fact that mechanics will remain when the game has been stripped away of everything else; the idea of mechanics as everything that relates to the game's core.

  • “Game mechanic is another term for what others might commonly call a rule. Among those in the industry, though, the term mechanic is commonplace. Mechanics are how something works. If you do X, then Y happens. If X is true, then you can do Y. In Monopoly, if you land on a property, you can buy it. If you roll the higher number, you get to go first. Each is a simple mechanic." (Brathwaite and Schreiber, 2009)

Schreiber and Brathwaite are also putting the focus on the idea of actions combined with rules as the key factor of game mechanics.

Let's see what's the meaning of this, and why it's important for gamification...


Game Mechanics vs Gamification Mechanics

So these definitions were made by some of the most famous game designers, and I could quote many others, but if we just go through these ones, some conclusions can be stated:

  • Not even the very best game designers can agree with a general definition of game mechanics. It's a very abstract concept and when it comes to the highly practical world of gamification, this theoretical discussion doesn't really matter.
  • 3 out of 4 definitions put the focus on gameplay actions, and Schell's one is related to them. Video games allow players to move within a space, they provide a great virtual environment for the player, some kind of real (actually virtual) "Magic Circle" where to interact while having fun.
  • Designers define mechanics as a set of rules, verbs, or interaction loops and there is no distinction between what we call gamification mechanics and components/elements. That links with our first point because it doesn't matter how you call them, it's all about a space where you move yourself, and you find it fun to do so.

However, and when it comes to gamification, we're facing a different context because there are no actions that can be fun by themselves. We need to create fun by implementing some mechanics to encourage people's motivation on taking those actions. Besides, gamification space and "verbs" are quite different because they are given to us, instead of us creating it.

In fact, that's why gamification has its own type of mechanics, some kind of revamped game elements or components (names don't really matter) that are adapted to the system's main objectives. This might sound a bit weird, but it's clearer if we think of an easy example.

So many games have quests or missions that guide us and mostly everyone knows what a quest is. The main thing about them is that they are fun to do, and require many actions, movements and time to be completed. On the other hand, and speaking of gamification, quests are a way designers have to turn dull tasks into fun missions. These actions are not fun by themselves but we make them fun using gamification mechanics, which is quite different.

Gamification and Games: Similar, yet different

This topic will for sure need more research and community feedback, but for now, let's put some final words to it in order to make this clearer and easier to understand:

  • Games are inherently fun, but in gamification we make (or try to) things fun


  • Games have spaces, actions, movements and verbs. In gamification, those actions are tasks, duties, or work, and those things are given to us in the very beginning
  • Game mechanics cannot be directly applied to gamification because they are similar yet different. They need to be revamped to match gamification special conditions


Any feedback, constructive critics, comments or questions are always welcomed! If you are interested in the materials I used for this blogpost, check this out, I basically analysed (again) 5-6 of them, plus many great game design articles and game designers points of view!


Just as a side note, I have my own special gamification mechanics that you can download for free here.




Victor Manrique


+Victor Manrique



martes, 15 de octubre de 2013

The 35 Gamification Mechanics toolkit v2.0

A simple and easy to use toolkit for Gamification Design by @victormanriquey


Shipping options

Print Out Version

The new 2.0 Version

This is the new version of my 35 Gamification Mechanics Toolkit. After the great success of v1.0 (that you can find and download here: Toolkit v1.0) I've been working hard for quite some months to improve and revamp both the mechanics design and the content itself. The former version was viewed more than 3500 times, received 85 G+ likes and has helped many people in developing their own gamification projects and I hope this new version will help many others!

This new 2.0 version includes: a new design steps system, revamped design & improved mechanics 

How does It work?

Player's Handbook

Download and print your cards. It's totally free and images are HQ! And remember it's better to play the game with your friends!

You'll have 35 cards, and 6 design levels that follow a color pattern. Organise them by colors and go to step 3! 

Every level means a step in the design process. Create infinite gamification experiences by mixing all the levels and mechanics!

Pink - Onboarding
Yellow - Late Onboarding
Orange - Midgame
Blue - Late Midgame
Green - Endgame
Purple/Epic - Everlasting experience

Let the magic begin!

Extra Step
If you want to know more about gamification design and the process itself, check this out:

Can I get the Official Deck of Cards?

Yes!!! Go to the top part of this post!

Saying thanks is important

There are many people that I'd like to thank for their collaboration in this toolkit. This is not the kind of thing that is done in one day, and many people have reviewed it, contributed to make it better or just gave some feedback. So for you all, THANK YOU!

Last but not least, I'd like to say thank you to: @daverage for his great advice, @isidrorodrigo for making this possible and allowing me to print the cards like a real "Magic:The Gathering" Deck, and to all the sponsors, speakers, and members of the awesome @GamificacionESP community for supporting this project. 


Victor Manrique
+Victor Manrique