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Subject: Board games for team building? rss

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Hillary wilson

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Every 3 months or so we do a fun/team building day at work. Sometimes we review policy, sometimes we have a "team budiling expert" come in, sometimes we go bowling. I suggested that I take a day to teach board games and the boss said yes and gave me the day she will be out of town. We have about 15 employees and I will try to have other experienced gamers with me to help out/lead games.
I'm thinking we should definitely do pandemic and I should be able to get enough copies that we can all play. Any other suggestions for games that non-gamers would enjoy that would be considered good team building exercizes? I would prefer co-op or team games, but party games or anything that would be good for a large group is fine as well. Also, what should we steer clear of? There are a couple of games (like balderdash, funny friends and loaded questions) that could quickly degenerate into a very work-inappropriate conversation. We are a very casual workplace, but I don't want to play something that very easily becomes completely filthy.
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Sequence or SET, played with partners?
 
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William Keech
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Try Wits & Wagers using teams. This is how I was originally introduced to the game. Making up a team name was almost as much fun as the game itself.
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Marc Zukerman
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wrkeech wrote:
Try Wits & Wagers using teams. This is how I was originally introduced to the game. Making up a team name was almost as much fun as the game itself.


I second this one. Fantastic idea...
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I played Space Alert for the first time last week and it demanded more teamwork than I have ever needed in a boardgame before. It's a bit rules-heavy though and may not be easily accessable to non-gamers.

Brian
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Chris Funk
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Catan is being used at a lot of tech companies now for team building in a corporate environment. It's more gauged toward getting different types of people interacting with each other (i.e. lawyers are negotiating, accountants are working numbers and probabilities, etc.)

Word On the Street is a possible. Teams using combined vocabulary to win.

Pandemic would be a good choice.

Perhaps Ghost Stories or any other full cooperative.

Honestly, I would consider any game that isn't cooperative as long as they involve interaction between player to complete the game. Any game that fosters crtitcal thinking and planning would also do just fine.
 
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Neil Whyman
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I suggest Together. All of you can play at the same time. It is all about finding win-win solutions that are not perfect for anybody but good enough for all.

Family Pastimes have a wide variety of coop games that may be of interest.
 
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Pandemic is the best game I know of, for newbie gamers. It is also the best co-op period that I've played although there are some I haven't played.

Other good co-ops I have played are more complex than Pandemic:
Shadows over Camelot (maybe not too bad for newbies)
Lord of the Rings (not for newbies)

other popular co-ops I haven't played
Battlestar Galactica
Ghost Stories - maybe not so bad for newbies, based on "average weight"
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Bill Wright
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Scotland Yard ... 5 people work as a team to catch Mr. X

Carcassone ... To win, you must place tiles in locations that help others, and convince them to place tiles that will help you

Diplomacy ... Could either be GREAT ... or a Disaster!
 
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whistler
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I think that Pandemic could be one of the best team building games available. The theme is not too geeky for nongamers, it is easy to learn, and it doesn't take too long. Because it only plays four players, I think that it would be ideal to have four copies on hand for 15 people. I also think that it would be good to have players fill out anonymous surveys about the gameplay, with questions geared toward the interaction. For example, did one player seem to take control of the game, and if so was he a good manager or a control freak?

If you must have all 15 players in the same game, Wits & Wagers, is a good suggestion.
 
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Laurence Parsons
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My boss did this last year. He thought that Diplomacy would be a great team-building exercise. (2 turns a week)
Eventually somebody won, but we all hated each other for weeks.
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Hillary wilson

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Wits and wagers is an interesting idea, but I've never seen it played as more than 2 to a team... We would possibly have more than that. How do you think that would work?

Also, I had a thought... big idea? not sure if we could make that work with 12-15 people or if we would need 2 copies or what. It's exceedingly cheap, so buying another copy wouldn't be a problem.

Diplomacy is an amazing game, but it really takes the right type of person to play, and there is definite potential for more sensitive players to get hurt. I am in an office full of sensitive people, you have to be to do what we do... so I don't think this one is a good idea (and I can almost tell you right now who would win).
I Will have to research some of the others.

I keep toying with the idea of space alert, because it really simulates crisis management (which is good for workers at a social service agency), but it's such an insane game, i'm not sure how a bunch of complete newbs would do. Everyone in the office is great at what they do, and a lot of them have a lot of great general intelligence, but some of them aren't as smart as others when they are outside of their world. If I decide to do this, what do you think would be the best way to teach it to a bunch of non-gamers? Like I said, I will try to have experienced gamers with me, and the people I have in mind have mostly played space alert, so they each could take a lead position in the crew (I prefer com or security to captain and think that those roles are equally important and that security is probably the hardest) as could I... Or we could play with co-workers as crew and "experienced helpers" as Com only (there's a suggested 6 player variant where you have the 6th person do the work of com or com and security only--they dont move pieces, put down cards, etc.).
there were several other coops that i have played suggested, but i forget what they were and there were reasons i didn't want to do some of them.
 
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Hillary wilson

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"Pandemic is the best game I know of, for newbie gamers. It is also the best co-op period that I've played although there are some I haven't played.

Other good co-ops I have played are more complex than Pandemic:
Shadows over Camelot (maybe not too bad for newbies)
Lord of the Rings (not for newbies)

other popular co-ops I haven't played
Battlestar Galactica
Ghost Stories - maybe not so bad for newbies, based on "average weight""

Shadows over camelot - maybe depending on how many copies i can scare up
LOTR - agree, not for newbs, and I haven't plaued it.
BSG - definitely not for newbs because of complexity, length and specificity of theming. I have played it like 1.5 times, and it's almost too much for me and I play a lot of stuff and I'm not a dummy. Also, this is set in a very specific universe and most of my co-workers would not be familiar with it.
Ghost Stories - I agree with the rating of "average weight", however, it is one of the harder games to win... much harder than pandemic and much longer than space alert. It's not extremely complex, but it requires a lot of thinking and there's a lot of stuff you have to deal with. There is a set amount of ghosts that come out before the big evil guy comes out and about halfway to 2/3rds of the way through the deck is when we have always started getting to the point of working on delaying player death just long enough to get through the next turn or two. This would also be hard for me to get 4 copies of.
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Ben Verhaevert
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I would second Pandemic as a good co-op game.
Shadows over Camelot tends to be too dull with more players.
Ghost stories is fun but it is a difficult game to win and that might put some people off.
Nostra City has some co-op traits (get rid of police rais, try and get the Don innocent)but on te other hand has some lovely backstabbing as well.
The circle sems like fun and coop but I haven't played it yet.
 
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Bill Allen
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I tried Pandemic at work running 3 separate games of 3 players (with me providing background advice on rules and the like) ... and it worked really well:

Team Building Exercise #1

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whistler
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hippyhillary wrote:
Wits and wagers is an interesting idea, but I've never seen it played as more than 2 to a team... We would possibly have more than that. How do you think that would work?


I've played with 4P teams in my college math classes, and it went well. Also, there are big team W&W events at Origins and GenCon that are quite successful.
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HEre's an idea for Pandemic... what about setting up multiple games with a single Infection deck that applies to every table and identical Draw Piles?

You would need to rid the draw deck of special cards that allow for the manipulation of the Infection and Discard piles. You would also need to modify the rules that dictate how many Infection cards you draw each turn. BUt with that done, each table would face the same challenges, with the only variable being their own decisions.

Afterwards, they could compare notes on how it went and perhaps you could create some sort fo scoring system to rank the teams. The best teams could talk about their approach to the game while the teams at the bottom could speculate on what they did wrong.

Brian
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Nick Deifel
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bwridge wrote:
HEre's an idea for Pandemic... what about setting up multiple games with a single Infection deck that applies to every table and identical Draw Piles?

You would need to rid the draw deck of special cards that allow for the manipulation of the Infection and Discard piles. You would also need to modify the rules that dictate how many Infection cards you draw each turn. BUt with that done, each table would face the same challenges, with the only variable being their own decisions.

Afterwards, they could compare notes on how it went and perhaps you could create some sort fo scoring system to rank the teams. The best teams could talk about their approach to the game while the teams at the bottom could speculate on what they did wrong.

Brian


This is a GREAT idea!
 
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whistler
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bwridge wrote:
HEre's an idea for Pandemic... what about setting up multiple games with a single Infection deck that applies to every table and identical Draw Piles?

You would need to rid the draw deck of special cards that allow for the manipulation of the Infection and Discard piles. You would also need to modify the rules that dictate how many Infection cards you draw each turn. BUt with that done, each table would face the same challenges, with the only variable being their own decisions.

Afterwards, they could compare notes on how it went and perhaps you could create some sort fo scoring system to rank the teams. The best teams could talk about their approach to the game while the teams at the bottom could speculate on what they did wrong.

Brian


Well, the teams would still have different player decks, so there would be more variability than player decisions. Because players use their cards, you couldn't use a common player card deck without creating a pencil and paper bookkeeping mess.

It's a neat idea, and worthy of a thumb, but I'm not sure that you could make your goal achievable without a crazy amount of effort.
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I haven't played Pandemic in a while so my memory of the rules is a bit hazy. But... seeing as how each players draws a flat 2 cards per turn, and if the "GM" were to, again, rid the deck of any special cards that allow for deck manipulation (extra cards, etc.), wouldn't that ensure that identical draw decks for each table would remain synchronized?

Brian
 
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Wink
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Covert Action

Are You the Traitor?


Dixit has to be in this conversation.


Intrigue might be asking for trouble but could be fun.
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Hillary wilson

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i am aware of dixit, but if we have more than 12 (it depends on whether or not all of the part time staff is required to go), I'm not sure how it would work, other than using 2-3 copies... I'm pretty sure there's only one copy of dixit circulating in my groups right now.
 
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Clay Hales
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Nothing says team building like Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. ;)

In all seriousness, I would say Pandemic.
 
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IrishFire Herself
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We like Cranium Wow and Cluzzlefor team games. Cluzzle isn't played in teams, but there's quite a bit of interaction as you ask each other what in the WORLD they have sculpted!
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whistler
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bwridge wrote:
I haven't played Pandemic in a while so my memory of the rules is a bit hazy. But... seeing as how each players draws a flat 2 cards per turn, and if the "GM" were to, again, rid the deck of any special cards that allow for deck manipulation (extra cards, etc.), wouldn't that ensure that identical draw decks for each table would remain synchronized?

Brian


But you would have to sychronize them to begin with. After shuffling a deck and inserting the epidemic cards, you would have to make sure that the other decks, with epidemic cards, were ordered in EXACTLY the same way. That would be a pain. On the other hand, if you only used ONE deck, the players would have to keep track of cards in some other way, which would be a bad experience.

Also, the notion of common cards makes it more difficult for players to make use of an important rule: players may freely look through the discard piles at any time.
 
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