During the last months of my working life the apprentice trainer of the company I was working for asked me for help. He felt that in many seminars his pupils showed severe lack of interest and attention; especially in those hours where the topic includes some less exciting stuff. I suggested to use some kind of “game” as a teaching tool which should include elements of random, luck, and fun. I asked him about the contents of a certain lesson, about the required knowledge, about specific questions - and got to work.
One week later I accidentially passed by the seminar room. While usually there was big silence, this time there was big noise, cries, and loud laughter. The trainer reported that the “game” had been a total success, he had never seen so much engagement. From this experience I reckoned that a similar method might serve as an appropriate tool to be used for boring judging clinics. For a judges seminar in Germany I set up a suitable layout for this special purpose. Here’s what I did.    
Basically it’s a board game with dice. The board has a path which has little “fields” ( places?) . Also you need some kind of chips. The players throw the dice, and dependant on the figures shown on the dice they move forward. Several of those fields are marked. Whenever a player hits one of those marked fields, he has to answer a question or follow a command. A moderator will ask these questions or order the commands.
 
  THE BOARD
Depending on required and/or desired size this board can be made from one piece of cardboard/ wood/ plastic sheet. The one I made for the trainer consisted of four square cardboard pieces which can be joined together on a table. The “path” was made from paper strips glued to the ( colorful ) base plate. To make this whole thing look more funny, I used some cartoons glued all over the board.
                               
If the number of players ( = judging apprentices !) is small and they can assemble around one table, one whole sheet should do fine. If however there’s a large number of persons, a large game board is needed. This should be produced so it can be pinned to a large board or a wall, so that everybody can see it. My own board measures a modest 130 x 90 cm ( about 50 x 35 inch ) because that’s all I could draw on my building board.
CHIPS : As long as the whole game happens on a table, any tiny subject will do ( you might even use some old OS 35 S spare parts !). When the board is shown vertically in front of the players, some kind of pins with different color is necessary. The moderator must move the pins.
 
DICE : It’s reasonable to choose not so small a size - in order to avoid a lengthy search for a minute subject trying to hide under tables, pockets, feet, etc. once it has fallen down ( don’t ask how I know ).
QUESTIONS : Of course we need some serious questions first. After all this is the essence of our project. It’s generally accepted that asking questions is a better learning method than just teaching = talking ( students are forced to use their brain ). So we’ll have to find some questions which may test the knowledge of the participants. The questions can easily be found by reading the rules, in this case especially the Judges Guide which is where our judges should be competent at. If a player can answer the question - fine. If not, the whole audience should discuss the topic. Of course the moderator must have a rule book handy, in order to lead the discussion and to find the correct answer finally. A few examples of questions are given here:
  How many laps have to be flown after release of the model?
How do you judge 4 loops instead of the required 3 ?
What do you do when wind direction changes ?
Are you allowed to consider gusts ?
Can a pilot try a manoeuvre twice ? etc.etc.

       
COMMANDS : Now this is the fun part! Like in most games the “random” or “luck” aspect is exactly THE effect which can control and reduce the earnestness of a situation. This doesn’t mean that we have to include some crazy nonsense. Quite the contrary: in pointing out some typical errors, giving clever advice about what to do and helpful hints about what to avoid, - and doing this in a humorous way is one of the best ways to teach. You know, people learn best when they are in good mood !! So let’s find some funny commands.

You don’t give more points to your favourite pilot - move 5 fields forward
You’ve carefully read the Judges’ Guide - move 4 fields forward.
You didn’t forget the sun glasses - move 2 fields forward
You at least write down figures readable - move 1 field forward
You have no idea of the rules - move 5 fields backwards
You drink alcohol during judging - 4 fields backwards
You watched that curved blonde too much - 3 fields backwards
You take this job too easy - 1 field backwards

 
   
CARDS : In order to have a continuous flow of proceedings and to not let the whole affair end into foolish chaos, questions and commands have to be prepared . I decided to have these all written down on little cards. These are mixed well, and the moderator reads one everytime a player hits a marked field, no matter whether it’s a question or a command. Those cards should be of practical size, maybe that of popular playing cards. Since writing text on each card is extremely circumstantial, I’ve used my computer to design those cards. I have used Corel Draw, but it can be accomplished with WORD just as well.  
 
  First I have chosen a practical size which gives me 8 samples on one sheet of paper ( DIN A4 ). Then I decided on a suitable motiv ( in this case a cloud ). The cloud shape should take the text for questions and commands later. Of course you can choose whatever style you might prefer, and you can use and add all kinds of clipart available if you wish. When the first design is done, you can easily duplicate the layout to fill the whole page. Some dotted lines were drawn to allow eight samples for one sheet; these lines also serve as a guide to show where to cut the cards. This file is saved, because it will serve as a base design for different layouts.  
                     
With this file opened, we can now add any text we want - be it the questions or the commands. For the questions it is recommended to also include the paragraph in the rule book where the answer can be found. I do know that to find a rule in the rule book is just as easy as to find a pin in a hay barn. So - to give precise advice on the “card” should be a most helpful recollection for all present. When all text is typed in, pages can be printed. I have not used many colours on the design, it’s only black and white, and maybe some light grey. If one wants to separate questions and commands, the graphics can be printed on different shades of coloured paper. The prints can be glued on stiff paper and cut out to finally have the cards.

Of course the cards shown on this page have German text. In case this language sounds somewhat strange to you, may I invite you to look for better understandable pages at

www.fai.org/sporting-code/sc4_f2_controlline_pdf . There you will find the new 2009 edition.This may also serve as a good opportunity for recapitulation of the rules ( once more !).
                                                     
                                         
                                                     
With a small group of people each participant can throw the dice. However that’s not suitable for a large group. In this case several persons should form a group, throw the dice, answer the questions, and mover their “pin” on the game board - together.
                 
 

A few years ago we ran a judges seminar on the Klippeneck ( a well known glider airfield on a mountain in Southern Germany). It was exactly the same huge success as the trainer has had with his apprentices. Indeed it’s astonishing how excited adult men can get about a simple board game !

One last hint: judging from my experience, discussions will be hot and emotions will get high. You will need a moderator with a strong personality to keep things under control. Also it’s a big help if all participants have their own rule book ready. It’s not easy to find the respective paragraph in that voluminous rule book. To get an idea of how my game boards looks like and to get an inspiration for your own display should you ever plan to run a similar excursion, just click on that little cube button.