The height of the black maze was too short so a lot of kids figured out they could "hack" the game, by moving the controller piece fast enough so they could have the top player piece bypass the maze walls without having to go through the obstacles. For the next iteration, we'll explore either doubling or tripling the maze height.
Some of the buddy leaders observed that the gates were unclear for the kids to see that they need to flip the piece. For the next iteration, we might play with color more since the black maze and gates kind of blend together and make it hard to see. Maybe going back to MDF.
Because we had an open top, a lot of kids wanted to pick up the pieces to move it instead of using the controller to flip the top piece. We aren't sure how to resolve this problem other than creating a top where the player pieces are not movable at all. However, after telling kids that it's an honest system, many of them respected the rule that they shouldn't cheat by moving the piece or bypassing through the walls.
We need to use epoxy to adhere everything next time. We used epoxy to embed the magnets so it's impossible to take off from the 3D printed materials, but we only used bondene to attache the 3D printed materials to the 3D printed materials. That proved insufficient because the kids liked to play rough after they got the hang of the game and some of the blue and red pieces separated. It was a quick fix with more bondene, which we luckily brought. Overall, nothing substantial like the table broke. But we'll be sure to use the strongest adhesive for everything next time so it is truly kid proof.
There was a craft issue in that the maze wasn't centered when we adhered it to the acrylic top. Because of this, the kids were hitting the table frame and having a hard time moving the piece. Next time we'll make sure to give sufficient margin space between the table frame and the maze.
OVERALL: The kids were really intrigued by the flipping action of the magnets. After all the kids in a group had a chance to play, many would want to switch sides to see what the other side was like. Some wanted to play a solo game and go from one side to the other. These were very smart kids, so after they played a few rounds, they got the hang of the magnets and we had moments where four kids would be playing at once (we made 4 controllers and 4 top pieces in case a pair broke), trying to see how pieces attached, what would happen if they crashed into each other, and much more. Ultimately, the test was a success in terms of creating a balance between fun and learning. But we can definitely improve on clarity of the gates to inform when to flip, and creating more obstacles or levels. We've already been discussing adding bridges, leds when someone gets into the middle, pieces that you have to pick up before getting to the middle, and possibly a scenario where two kids have to work together to get a piece from start to finish. Maybe a rotating table? The iterations are endless.
Is this a good/useful/informative piece of content to include in the project? Have your say!