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Team building games to play at work

2018-01-05

By: Dallas Petersen & Jeff Wright

Gaming is a big part of Lucidpress's product & engineering culture. Strategic, long-term planning... tactical attacks and counter-attacks... working together to save the world from a pandemic... What's not to love? The biggest challenge is figuring out how to play board games and still get all our work done. Here are a few things we've learned about playing (and working) hard as a team.

Related: How to lock in your team's productivity

Async FTW

Everyone has variable schedules, so we've found that playing asynchronously over several days (maybe even weeks) makes it easier to fit with busy schedules. It also eliminates the painful effects of analysis paralysis. No more waiting for players' min-maxing, spreadsheet-drafting minds to formulate that winning move; they can crunch the numbers without wasting other players' time.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you'd like to try out asynchronous gaming in the office:

  • Pick board games with longer turns that aren't dependent on other players. Examples: Terra Mystica, Caverna

  • Shorter-turn games are probably more difficult and disruptive to play asynchronously in the office.

  • In some cases, it might be better to have multiple short, synchronous sessions across several days or weeks instead of an asynchronous session. Examples: Ethnos, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne

  • Have a stuffed animal or other object as a turn marker. Put it on the desk of the person whose turn is next.

Sharky McSharkface

Sharky, one of our beloved turn markers

Celebrate winning (and losing)

We have traveling trophies for winners and losers in our competitive games. Bragging rights = great. Bragging rights + battle axe = amazing. On the losing side, our "Make Software Great Again" cap provides more than enough motivation—everyone fights not to be last. Hugely.

Winning and losing tokens

Motivation comes in many forms.

 

Dancing bird token

Another teams' loser prize. Maybe the hat isn't so bad, after all...

Co-op gaming goodness

By far, co-op games are the most-played games in the office. There are some good reasons for this:

  1. All for one... Co-op games unite the players against the game. Great for team-building.

  2. Flexible gameplay. If one of your teammates is too busy, you can play for them. Once they're available, you can catch them up on your joint progress.

  3. Pandemic Legacy 1 & 2. Just get these games. Their immersive narrative and unique twists on the classic Pandemic mechanisms have enthralled our team.

  4. Other popular co-op games include Castle Panic, Orleans (co-op scenario), Escape and Secret Hitler (a social deduction game, but there is team-based cooperation going on).

Final thoughts

"Play is the highest form of research." —Albert Einstein

"The enjoyment of problem-solving seems to be an evolved survival mechanism. People who enjoy solving problems are going to solve more problems, and probably get better at solving problems, and be more likely to survive."—Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct." —Carl Jung

Further reading:

BONUS: Creating a board game in Lucidpress

Did you know you can design your very own game boards in Lucidpress? Imagine how delighted we were to receive this tweet last year:

BullisbITlab on Twitter

Source: Twitter

This innovative teacher led his classes of 4th and 5th graders to brainstorm and create their own board game, from concept to rules of play. You can see evidence of their awesome teamwork in this post describing the creation process.

If you want to design your own game board, we recommend starting with a poster-sized canvas. From there, you can pull in shapes and text boxes to create the ultimate custom game board.

Lucidpress game board

Here we've thrown together the humble beginnings of a game board, with an arrow pointing to the document size option.

There's no limit to what you can create. Once you're done, you can download your board in high-resolution, print-ready file formats (such as PDF). Or, to make it even easier, you can order printed versions directly from the Lucidpress editor. It'll look great printed on our 18" x 24" glossy EPSON photo paper, and it'll only cost you a few bucks.

Want to design your own board game? Jump into Lucidpress and play around with shapes, lines, colors, fonts & more.

Free desktop publishing software

Get started

Dallas Petersen & Jeff Wright

Dallas Petersen is the Head of Product at Lucidpress, and Jeff Wright is a Senior Software Engineer. You can follow Dallas and Jeff on LinkedIn.

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