Yesterday I attended the global code-retreat 2013 in Vienna, hosted and sponsored by the Frequentis AG, organized by Michael Leber and facilitated by Peter Kofler (aka: the Code Cop).
The goal of a code-retreat is to have an relaxed environment in which to practice. The focus is not to finish the given problem, but to slow down and try to explore and come up with good solutions. It is done in pairs, and adhering to test-driven-development.
Developers get together and work on the same problem (typically the “game of life“) the whole day. The day is divided in “sessions”, each one having an unique “constraint” (for example: “don’t talk to your partner, all communication has to be through code”). At the end of each session, the code is deleted (this enormously takes away the focus on finishing) and we stand up to talk and exchange impressions.