Kasey Carlson, Lisa Widmark, Jasmine Wettlaufer, Emily Smith & Amanda Barcelon
(Documents and deliverables uploaded to Project Documents)
Overall, this game should be a preparatory exercise for direct contact debt collectors (account managers) before they take their Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA) exam. If collectors are successful in the game, this is an indication they understand the concepts upon which they will be tested.
Based on our initial review of the course content upon which the game will be based, the learners will use the game to become better equipped to answer questions such as:
What is the fair debt collection protection act?
Who is the FTC?
Who does the FTC govern?
What is the CFPB?
Over whom does the CFPB have supervisory authority?
What entities can enforce the fair debt collection protection act?
Upon which rules should the collectors rely? Those will the most protection for consumers or least protection?
Describe the FDCPA.
What risks are associated with being a debt collector?
What is debt?
The policy covers many nuances of the law, so we would expect that the highest order objectives would be the focus on the game (such as those listed above). We are not experts on the policy, but would assume that those nuances, that have not yet been identified to use by the client, would result in additional learning outcomes for the players. This might include topics such as:
What is the difference between direct and indirect contact?
What areas of the policy differ from state to state?
How might my actions differ based on marital status of the consumer?
This is a Pilot program that will be used to prepare employees for the FDCPA exam. It can also be used as a refresher, even as a competition. All new hires will play this game during new hire orientation. The audience will be account managers whose ages range from 18-60+ and education level varies greatly. Company has locations across the globe and training would be to help refresh knowledge or to interact with employees. E-learning has already been created. The company tests twice as often as required by law.
All employees need to be aware of the FTC regulations and company policies/procedures. New hires need to pass an exam on such rules and policies. They need to understand the law inside and out because they will be held responsible for mistakes which could lead to firing, being sued personally or having their license revoked. Additionally, the company could be sued or shutdown.
Learners were not consulted about the development of the game because it is geared more towards new hires. Client doesn’t know about the audiences preferences and due to the limited time for rapid prototyping we are unable to do a complete analysis.
The game will be played with multiple players in a classroom setting in the training department. There will be 2-6 players for each game. Both the employees and managers can play the game together. The game will be part of their training and will help to prepare them for the exam on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.The volume of the game is not an issue, except that there may be more than one game being played in the same room.
The game will be played in a large classroom in the office building. There will be a generous amount of space for all players to play in small groups. The space will be set up with large tables for each group to play. This will occur at their offices around the country and around the world.
The tables are large enough for each small group and the chairs are movable. There will be plenty of space for each group in the classroom.
The game should last a maximum of 30 minutes. The longest a game could take with set-up and cleanup would be about 45 minutes. It will be designed to play with multiple rounds. Also, there will be different decks for the groups to play through so that they can learn the law, section by section. Replay is to be expected, meaning that employees would play the game multiple times, with different opponents and revisit the game as a review of regulations.
The game we are designing would need to be played face-to face. An electronic version could be created, but our team is focusing on a board game with cards and money. Everyone will be face to face in a new hire orientation as well as the biannual trainings.
The game will not require the participation of non-learners. The objective of the game is to assist with simple recall and help the players study. Both seasoned workers and new hires can play. Also, the game must be played with at least 2 players.
Our game is best described as a cross between Life, Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly. Our game will be called “Recovery” and the objective is for the players to collect as much debt as possible (at least $5,000) before getting back to home aka the company. Players will roll a dice and depending on where they land a category of questions will be pulled from (by the person to there right). Each category will be worth a certain amount of debt depending on the difficulty level of the question. If they answer the question correctly they get to accumulate the debt if not it returns to the bank in the middle. Both the question and answer are read aloud so everyone learns from it. Once a card is pulled it is moved to the back of the pile. Players will need to navigate the board which will have consequences such as you have the incorrect address move back two spaces or you collected within five days you win the bank money. Players may need to loop the board more than once if they haven’t collected enough debt yet. Our game is better than others because it combines knowledge for answering the questions, luck with rolling the dice and where you land on the board as well as strategy and money management to ensure they collect enough debt.
The cards in Recovery represent information from the FDCPA and the company’s bill of rights. Below is a sample of what the client hopes to have in a final training game designed to prepare new hires to take the test on Federal regulations..
During what hours can you contact a consumer by phone?
8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time
What happens when a consumer requests, in writing, for you to cease communication?
You can only contact them through a lawyer.
Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously is known as what?
Harassment and is not allowed
If an employer advises you not to contact a consumer at their place of employment, what do you need to do?
You may only contact the consumer at home
If a consumer is known to be represented by an attorney, can you still contact them?
Once a consumer makes a written request for verification of debt, how long must you wait to contact them?
30 day validation period
Because it may help you collect a debt, you tell the consumer that you are from the court or the police or some other agency. What is this is called?
Misrepresentation or deceit
Publishing the consumer's name or address on a "bad debt" list would be a breach of what part of the consumers bill of rights?
This customer owes $1000, if I tell them they owe $3000, maybe I can collect the $1000 and everyone will be happy. What is this called? Is it legal?
Seeking unjustified amounts, no
In some cases, legal action may be taken against some of our customers, are you allowed to threaten them with this information?
A customer on the phone gets angry and uses abusive or profane language, are you allowed to respond with similar language.
Are you allowed to communicate with third parties about the debt you are trying to collect?
What information can be on letters (envelope) sent to consumers?
No information, other that the debt collector’s address can appear on any envelope
Reporting false information on a consumer's credit report is illegal, is it illegal to tell a consumer that you may do this?
No, doing this or threatening to do so in the process of collection, is illegal.
Do you have to tell the customer the name of the original creditor for which the debt is being collected?
Yes, this is required and does not need to be formally requested.
Can you can use a fake name when talking to customers to protect yourself?
No, you must identify yourself and your company.
If you need to file a lawsuit against a customer, where do you need to do that?
In the proper venue, a location nearest the client.
A customer has the right to dispute a debt, what is your obligation in this process?
To notify the consumer of their right to dispute the debt
Our client, Roberta requested the following outcomes from the game. Though this is far too involved for the timeframe and pay scale, of this class, we will use these desired outcomes as categories for the game of Recovery. Each category will be a set of cards used to play the game. Due to the length of time that the game takes (30 minutes), one deck will be used at a time. This also allows for the game to be played many times without repetition.
Regulations specified by the Federal Debt Collection Protection Act (FDCPA).
Identify FDCPA prohibited practices and the consequences of noncompliance
How, with whom, when, and where you may communicate with the debtor (What happens when the person owing the debt wants to stop contact)
FDCPA mandated debt validation and dispute resolution requirements
Consumers bill of rights
From these 5 categories, the prototype of our game will deal primarily with #3
Our game players should eventually know everything on a near instinctive level. We are dividing questions into three difficulty levels which will be represented by three colors.
Level one cards (green) are easier questions including definitions of basic terms, true/false questions and company rules. Level two cards (yellow) are more involved multiple choice or short answer questions. Level three cards (orange) involves a scenario that the learner needs to solve or provide the proper procedure according to the FDCPA.There is no room for uncertainty in the final learning of our game players. However, we did include some squares that reinforce knowledge while lending an element of chance to the game. This does not apply to our content. You have to follow the rules of the FDCPA and the company or there will be consequences that may be severe. We have added some squares on the board that allow you to move ahead or move back. These are to reinforce some basic knowledge of dos and don’ts. Example: You called a customer at 9:15 p.m. local time, move back 2 squares.
Things that we want to include on the board include a headset as well as images representing the chance tiles. We will also include objects that debt collectors commonly use such as computers, phones, etc.
Our board will have a path in a cyclical pattern that will return to the home aka “the company”. Squares will be a pattern of three colors (corresponding with cards) as well as white chance squares that have directive written onto them. In essence, each player starts at the company with $0 and shares a goal of collecting and returning home with $2000. In order to do this, they will make their way around the board a couple of times.
We will have decks of cards by topic eliminating the need for the board to be divided into “different regions”. Since the board will be used with different topics or decks of cards we want to keep the images on the board more general.
This game will not rely on pieces to represent characters or vantage points. In short, the pieces in this game are used to move a player around the board in an attempt to get back “home” and to present players with opportunities to collect the $2000 needed to win the game. There is only one key role in the game, and that is the role of debt collector. Further, all players have the same role, so there is no need for differentiation on a role basis.
In this game, players will earn money by correctly answering questions of varying degrees of difficulty. While the questions are valued differently, the players will collect money, which, to a great degree, represents the “point system” for this game. The player to reach home first with $2000 wins the game; therefore, no other tokens are necessary to represent points for the players.
While this game is primarily skill-based (the skills represented by exhibiting knowledge), there are a few elements of chance that play well into the overall educational aspect of the game. There are three key aspects of chance, but none are based on any pieces or tokens; they are built into the board and happen based on the circumstances of the game.
While almost not worthy of mentioning, the first area of chance is simply based on using dice to move around the board. The number that a player roles and the areas of the board they land on are clearly based on chance. This is not different from most board games.
The second aspect of chance is built into the game board. Some squares have negative consequences that are out of the players’ control. The consequence happens just for having landed on the square. For example, a player might land on a square that says, “You did not consider the laws regarding contact frequency before you called the debtor 12 times in one day; go back two spaces.” This kind of chance reinforces areas of debt collection that could cause real harm on the job.
The third aspect of chance is “stealing,” and it only applies if there are more than two players in the game. Here is a potential scenario… player A reads the question, player B answers the question incorrectly and player C “steals” the question to try and answer it. C can only steal if B answers incorrectly, thereby introducing the element of chance. If C answers it correctly, s/he receives the dollar value of the card. If C answers incorrectly, s/he OWES the dollar value of the card and pays it back to the banker. The level of risk will increase based on how confident the learner is, how far along the board s/he has progressed and how much money has been earned so far. A player who is almost to home, who has $2000 and is uncertain about the answer may not want to chance an incorrect response. On the other hand, a player who is almost to home, is only $50 away from $2000 and is very certain about the response will likely take that risk to win the game.
In our game if the players knowledge is low about the FDCPA law then the player will be unable to answer the questions and will not collect as much money. Resulting in them having to circle the board multiple times and most likely losing to another player.
In reverse if the players is very knowledgable about the FDCPA law they will be able to answer the questions correctly, have the ability to “steal” questions others answer wrong and ultimately only have to circle the board once to win.
All of our rules are based around the concept that whoever has the most knowledge to answer the questions correctly will earn the most money and thus win the game. This falls in line with our objective to teach new hires about the FDCPA.
We also added a rule that people can “steal” questions from others (if the player got the question wrong), but if the person who steals then answers the question incorrectly they get money taken away. This reflects the real world because in actuality debt collectors can personally be sued for not following the practices of the FDCPA.
Additionally, the dollar amounts a player receives for answering a question is based off the difficulty level of the question. We have three levels of difficulty. With the easiest being a definition recall and the hardest being a scenario based question of what is and isn’t ok to say/do based on the FDCPA. Receiving more money for a more difficult question reflects greater learning.
rules on how to win the game is that a player must circle the board at
least once and have a minimum of $2,000 to win arriving back home at
“the company”. If the player does not have the minimum $2,000 they must
circle the board again until they reach the home. The game involves
knowledge (answering questions, strategy (stealing questions) and a
small amount of chance (some spaces will have consequences such as fall
back a space/ jump forward, etc.).
Paths. If your content is about moving through a series of steps in a procedure or phases in a process, then your board may be dominated by paths that player pieces move along. Example content: passing a law, the rock cycle, getting your Masters. If there is a lot of flexibility in ways to get from the start to the end goal, then use Grid Movement. If the path needs to go through specific places, use Point to Point Movement. If you want to wrap the path in heroic garb, use the Quest mechanic.
Battlefield. If your content is about taking control over some kind of territory, then use the Hex and Counter, Area Control, Area Enclosure, Take That, or Worker Placement mechanics. This is applicable not only to actual wargames, but to games about building political support in specific precincts or states, controlling gang violence in a neighborhood, or eradicating a disease.
Place. If your content is anchored around a specific physical location, use a map as a board. This could also be used when the content is more conceptual and can be represented in a maplike way (like a concept map).
Intrigue, Duplicity. If you want to simulate a situation in which no one’s motives are pure, and what you see is not what you get, then use the Secret Identity mechanic. This is most likely to be useful as an auxiliary mechanic unless you're training spies or politicians.
Hidden Information. Part of the art of a game, as it is in teaching, is to withhold information at times. Use the Murder Train mechanic to add interest to content that has multiple facets like the layers of an onion.
Levels. In some aspects of life, the environment and affordances change once you reach a certain level of achievement. If you’re good at being an assistant regional manager, then at some point you can become a regional manager. With the new position, the rules for you change. Games reflect this with the Levels and Progression mechanics. It may be good to combine this idea with the Variable Player Powers mechanic.
Automaticity. If a one of your desired learning outcomes is factual recall, you probably want learners to master the facts to the point of automaticity. That requires repeated practice with instant knowledge of results. The Rock-Paper-Scissors, Simultaneous Action Selection, and Trick-Taking mechanics can be useful in these cases.
Building, Acquiring. If your content can be portrayed as a process of gathering or winning certain assets in certain combinations, then look at the Route/Network Building, Deck Building, Set Collection, or the Pick Up and Deliver mechanics.
Player Elimination. Normally, we want all players to be fully engaged throughout the duration of a game. If, however, your content involves high stakes situations in which the consequences of not performing well are dire, then the Player Elimination mechanic can drive that fact home.
Our game will take about 30 minutes to play.
It is designed to be played more than once.
The target learners are new hires of the company (collectors).
The context where our game will be played will be new hire orientation or refresher courses.
The core mechanic(s) of our game will be building/acquiring because players need to collect enough money to return to the company. They acquire money by answering questions.
The board will look like a rectangle with 24 or 36 squares.
There will be 5 categories of cards in our game. Each deck has 3 levels - easy ($50), medium ($100) , hard ($200). These will have questions and answers regarding policies
Players will take turns by rolling the dice.
When it’s not a player’s turn, they could be a banker, reader or stealer. One person is a banker (in charge of money). Person to the right draws, reads the card (reader). If the player answers wrong or time runs out, player to the left can steal. If the player to the left is wrong, the stealer loses the amount on the card (back to the bank) and reader reads answer. There is no stealing in a 2 player game.
Randomness will be created by rolling the dice. Squares will be colored to correlate with the level of card to be drawn. Also there are positive (extra turn) and negative (lose a turn, back 2 spaces) spaces.
The way to win the game will be to return to the company (home) with $2000. May have to go around the board more than once. Have to keep going all the way around again if you pass once.