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Why I Have Games in My Office

Many of my clients and partners have noticed the board games behind me in Zoom calls. Isn't it unprofessional to have tabletop games in my office?

This is a deliberate choice. I firmly believe in the educational power of games. They are not just pastimes but effective tools for learning, cultivating skills such as strategic thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving. The only true way to understand a concept well enough to apply it in practice is experiencing it, and the controlled environment of a game is perfect for that.

If you’d like to integrate games into your coaching toolbox, this blog is a recommendation for a couple of options. You can either read through it, or fill the quiz I created to help you choose.

My Favorite Games for Nurturing Engineering Culture

Burgle Bros.

Skills: Collaboration

This game sharpens collaborative problem-solving and decision-making. Players are on a bank heist, evading security to grab loot. Ideal for teams struggling with consensus, playing Burgle Bros can improve team work.

Between Two Castles

Skills: Negotiation, Iterative development

This game challenges players to design a castle with limited resources and high uncertainty, promoting small, calculated advancements. Players must negotiate to choose the best castle layouts from a shared pool of options, simulating real-world project collaboration where adaptation and incremental decisions are key.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Skills: Incident Response, Collaboration

For DevOps teams, staying calm during urgent debugging is crucial. This game, where a player defuses a virtual bomb guided by teammates with a manual but no bomb view, mimics high-pressure outages. It offers insights into team dynamics and stress readiness, ideal for teams new to on-call duties. Try it at your next team event.

Hellapagos

Skills: Negotiation

Players are stranded on an island with limited resources and must negotiate for survival, making critical decisions under resource constraints. Every choice counts as you balance cooperative strategies with competitive dynamics, reflecting the tough trade-offs often required in project management and team environments.

Lean Poker

Skills: Incremental Delivery, Collaboration, Incident Response

Specifically designed for software teams, this gamified workshop requires rapid and continuous delivery of incremental improvements. Participants must collaborate effectively to adapt their strategies in response to new information, simulating a realistic start up/scale up environment where innovation is key.