Stoneage Team Game

A Team simulation that shows playfully, what kind of communication and mode of operations help to build better products. 

Based on an idea of X. Detant

Game content

  • card with the moves for the colours and the commands in stoneage language
  • bricks to build the buildings
  • cards with buildings (right corner of the cards, there you will see the „value points“ for the building)
  • two maces (I call them the feedback maces)

You just need one of this game to play it with two teams simultaneously.

Before you begin to play

  • draw a chart (x – round 1, round 2, round 3, y – value points) where you can write the value points of each team after each round. The game has three rounds. 
  • Make sure that on each table are some pens and post its
  • Explain the movements for the colours and the commands carefully
  • There are two basic rules:
    • The developer team must not see the card of the building until they say, that they are finished
    • Nobody is allowed to speak any other language then the stoneage language during the seven minutes of building

Round 1

Set Up

There must be a „wall“ between the artifact to build and the explainer (e.g. the case of the game so that the manager can not see, what the developer builds.)

  • One person as the manager
  • At least one person as a builder (developer)
  • One person as the customer

Before the first round begins:

The customer draws a card, where he can see a building. He has 5 minutes to describe this building in words on a piece of paper. The table oft he customer, where he writes down the instructions should be far away from the table, where the developers are. After he is finished, he has to give this concept to the manager. Make sure, that he does not interrupt the development of the building.

Game (7 minutes)

From now on nobody is allowed to speak English (or any other language developed after the stoneage) The manager has 7 minutes to explain what the builders have to build. During the round he can ask the customer, if there are any problems in understanding, what the customer meant. They can speak silently in English. Make sure, that the developers do not listen or hear anything. When the developers think, that they are finished let the manager show the card for a short review . If the building is correct and there is still time, then the customer can draw a new card and write the next instructions down. Usually this will not happen during the first round.

Mark the Result on the Chart.

Retro with all players (3 minutes)

  • Ask about the problems they had
  • Ask what could be improved

Usually the main problems are the box and that the manager did not really understand, what the customer wanted.

Another problem could be, that the team wants to decide where left, right, front, back is. They can use the post its to mark these directions on the table.

After this Retrospective recommend following improvements:

  • Remove the box, so that the manager can see, what the team builds
  • Remove the manager (or change his role), so that the customer now explains directly, what he sees on the card (note, that there will be teams, which does not want to remove the manager. If they have other solutions, like customer and manager are a team and explain together, they can try their own improvement.)

Retro within the teams (2 minutes)

The team can now speak for 2 minutes to make other team specific improvements.

Round 2

Set Up

  • No box between developer and customer.
  • Customer tells directly the team what to build (If the team decided, that they want this improvent in round 1)

Game (7 minutes)

Customer or Manager (depends on what the team decided) draws a card. During the next 7 minutes no other language than the stoneage language is allowed. If the team finishes the building, the customer can review it. If the building is correctly build, the customer can draw another card and continue with explaining the next building.

Mark the Result on the Chart.

Retro with all players (3 minutes)

  • Ask about the problems they had
  • Ask what could be improved

Usually the main problem now is that the stoneage language has no words for feedback.

After this Retrospective recommend following improvements:

Introduce the Feedback mace. The Explainer can give feedback by hitting the developer. One hit means ok, two (or more) hits on the head means not ok. He also can hit himself, when he explained something wrong.

Retro within the teams (2 minutes)

The team can now speak for 2 minutes to make other team specific improvements.

Round 3

Game (7 minutes)

process as usual, but with feedback mace.

Mark the Result on the Chart.

Last Retro with all players (depends on left time)

  • What did you learn during the game?
  • Which actions helped to have a better result? Why?
  • Why has one team better results than the other one? (if there is a significant difference)
  • Which where the most usefull improvements?

Some sample Learning objectives

Some ideas to change the difficulties from the lovely players at play4agile 2018

  • Round with a „distant worker“, who does not see everything
  • Have a builder blindfolded and only resource deliverers can see, give stuff to the builder.
  • Round 2 with also writing the concept, but also transparency for the manager

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