Never underestimate your audience.
Give latecomers a quick and easy way to catch up.
Always be prepared for the unexpected and use it as an opportunity rather than treat it as a crisis.
Sometimes allowing the audience to craft parts of the tale ends up making the experience more fulfilling for everyone.
Provide gentle guidance if the audience is stuck – they will resent outright clue-by-fouring.
You’re designing for participants, not for audience.” Sure, some people (maybe even the majority of people) will choose to just watch the action, but for the action to happen you have to design in those opportunities. The more opportunities, for as many people as possible, that your design can support, the more the feeling of ownership and agency will develop among participants and audience. Ask yourself, “Where is the participant agency in this?"
Participation should be fun, not laborious.” Expecting participants to do something that isn’t particularly fun is bound to create mutual disappointment. Sometimes, the difference between laborious and fun is all in the presentation, like Tom Sawyer and fence painting. Ask yourself, “How could we make this seem more fun?
The participants and audience should never be the brunt of the joke.” This isn’t just about avoiding mean spiritedness, this is about creating rewards for the risk taking involved in participation. It wouldn’t be nearly as fun as for us to throw our shoes at you as it is for you to throw your shoes at us. Ask yourself, “How do we celebrate risk-taking and elevate particaption?
Shared experiences are the cultural currency of communities.” Communities form, in great part, from having shared experiences with each other: expecting communities to form without shared experiences is frequently painful and littered with landmines. Enjoying something together tends to make you enjoy each other: birds that flock together grow similar feathers. Ask yourself, “How does this become something people do together?
The cultural currency of communities looks alot like storytelling.” People tell stories to each other, and most of those stories are about what they have experienced (or what their friends and family have experienced.) When you create experiences for participants, you’re hoping to unlock that natural storytelling. Ask yourself, “How do we create the opportunity for participants to share their experiences?
Marketing can be subtle and still effective: entertainment can always be better.” Branding is binary: you either know the brand involved, or you don’t. The emotional rewards of participating in something entertaining, though, has no upward bound—it can always be more rewarding and more entertaining. Ask yourself, “Are we beating a dead horse to brand it again?
Pre-awareness/Ramp up: Get the word out before the actual experience begins (phone number, flyers) to build an audience base and anticipation.
Facilitate community building (secret passing icebreaker).
Blur the line between what’s real and what’s not, but don’t break it.
Provide a sense of discovery for the audience (even if it’s simple), rather than holding their hands through the entire experience .
Use technology to reach back and touch the players’ lives in surprising and unexpected ways.
Make sure it’s fun. Anyone can build something that’s tough or clever, but never forget it should be fun, first and foremost.