Difference between revisions of "Reflective Communication"

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Revision as of 07:45, 14 August 2019

!!!Add links to patterns listed here!!!

The one-sentence "definition" that should be in italics.

This pattern is a still a stub.

While Reflective Communication is possible to consider for players operating on their own (in a sense similar to Schön's concept of The Reflective Practitioner[1]), this pattern assumes that the Reflective Communication is between players.

Note: this pattern is modeled upon the concept of Reflective Communication first described by Engeström in 1987[2].


Left 4 Dead series? Pandemic


Players of Hanabi may be enticed by the game design to engage in Reflective Communication, but this is typically cheating since much of the gameplay challenge in Hanabi relates to not knowing what other players know.

Using the pattern

Engeström's concept of Reflective Communication builds upon the requirement that participants engage in five different types of activities. The first, that players recognize the perspective of other persons in a group, can be captured by the pattern Perspective Taking. The second, that players should participate as members of a group by constructively contributing knowledge, experience, and expertise, is in one sense given if one is playing a as intended but Togetherness encapsulates emotional aspects that arguably are connected to this activity. The third, that players recognize the need for other players and and manages them, can be expressed as that they take on the necessary Social Roles provided by a game. The fourth, that players work towards solving problems by identifying structures and procedures together, requires that the players engage in some form of Coordination. Finally, the fifth, that players build and develop knowledge and expertise, means that they either acquire Gameplay Mastery or Strategic Knowledge. Summarizing, the use of the patterns associated with the activities provide a basis for encouraging Reflective Communication to take place during gameplay but several other patterns can either encourage or modify how it can take shape.

For example, Reflective Communication can emerge in any game Multiplayer Games but may be against other players' best interest unless Cooperation is needed or wanted. While not necessarily implying Cooperation, games where players have Negotiation with each other can promote Reflective Communication although players engaging in it may use it as a way to manipulate other players rather than cooperating (so they may limit what the openly reflect upon and can led to Bluffing).

Looking more broadly, Reflective Communication can be encouraged in two main ways: one focusing on making players openly reflect on their own situations and possible actions and the other focusing on making players openly reflect on the other players situations and possible actions. The two ways are not contradictory, and providing one may encourage the other since players become more aware that performing Reflective Communication can be beneficial.

Alpha Player

Symbiotic Player Relations

Bluffing in games with Negotiation

Asymmetric Gameplay, Asymmetric Abilities, Asymmetric Goals, Asymmetric Information Collaborative Actions, Cooperation

Diegetic Aspects

Gaming with both Reflective Communication and Roleplaying can make players reflect as how their Characters would, i.e. reflecting diegetically to the other players. If other players reply diegetically, then the whole Reflective Communication can in effect be between Characters as well as between players.

Interface Aspects

Given that Reflective Communication is a pattern related to communication, how players can do it affects how the pattern emerges during gameplay. This means that Communication Channels can heavily affect if and how Reflective Communication takes place while a game is being played.

Narration Aspects


Social Interaction, Social Roles,

Reflective Communication can be problematic in some games since it breaks Diegetic Communication and can result in Non-Consistent Narration, both which causes challenges to Narrative Engrossment or issues with perceiving Diegetic Consistency. This can be especially problematic in games with Roleplaying, since Reflective Communication between players (rather than between Characters) becomes Non-Diegetic Communication between the people that typically are supposed to both uphold and perceive Narrative Engrossment and Diegetic Consistency. In games with In Character Conversations, Reflective Communication can break Diegetic Consistency if player perform the Reflective Communication while enacting their Characters.


!!!Add links to patterns listed here!!! Alpha Player

Can Instantiate

Social Interaction, Social Roles, Non-Consistent Narration, Non-Diegetic Communication,

Bluffing in games with Negotiation

Can Modulate

Multiplayer Games, Negotiation, Roleplaying

Can Be Instantiated By

in games with either Cooperation or Negotiation

Asymmetric Abilities, Asymmetric Gameplay, Asymmetric Goals, Asymmetric Information, Collaborative Actions, Coordination, Gameplay Mastery, Perspective Taking, Social Roles, Strategic Knowledge, Symbiotic Player Relations, Togetherness

Can Be Modulated By

Communication Channels

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Diegetic Communication, Diegetic Consistency, In Character Conversations, Narrative Engrossment


New pattern created in this wiki base upon the concept of Reflective Communication first described by Engeström in 1987[2].


  1. Schön, D.A. (1984). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action. Basic Books; 1 edition
  2. 2.0 2.1 Engeström, Y. (1987):Learning by Expanding: An activity-theoreticalapproach to developmental research,Helsinki: Orienta–Konsultit Oy.