Around two years ago I was introduced to a Kanban board game which we used as part of a training program and I really enjoyed it, it was a great learning tool but it had three major drawbacks.
- First it was heavily scripted and so it was only suitable for a single play through, you couldn’t replay it and get more out of it. It was not a game in that sense, it was much more of a training tool/prop.
- The second issue was that the exercise was taking 3 or more hours to run and whilst Kanban is a critical aspect of the training the return on investment was not sufficient.
- Finally it didn’t effectively address Little’s Law or the Theory of Constraints, there were aspects of that in the game but the heavy scripting meant that the learning was masked or even lost.
A New Kanban Game
It got me thinking and so I created a couple of workshop games that addressed this in more detail. One of those workshop games was such good fun that I expanded it and combined it with training. For the last year or so I have been running workshops using it and continually looking to find improvements and modifications to make it more fun or to emphasize the learning aspects.
I have now presented this at a number of Lean/Agile conferences and have had a lot of great feedback, including a lot of encouragement to publish it as a board game.
And so Herbie* – the affectionate name for the workshop game, became Motor City a Kanban based board game. That is first and foremost fun to play and re-play, but the game is under-pinned with an understanding of Kanban, Little’s Law and the Theory of Constraints. You can play the game without any knowledge of those and it will still be fun, but people that instinctively apply those practices or use them as a result of understanding will fare better playing the game.
*Herbie was named after the character from the book The Goal, by Eli Goldratt.
Game Prototype (Early Access)
The game is now in prototype, with a small number published for evaluation and for use in training and conferences, with the intent to publish the game more widely after getting feedback from the prototype.
To purchase the game…
The game is provisionally priced at $150 but for early access to the prototype it will be charged at $120
I’d love to hear of anyone that uses this as part of a training program or just as a fun game for your team to play.
If you would like a copy of the prototype board game for evaluation and feedback, please contact me.
Similarly if you are interested in training on the Theory of Constraints or Kanban and would like to use this game as part of that training, I would be happy to offer guidance on how to incorporate the training into a workshop.
Thank you to those that have supported and encouraged me, I can assure you that board game design is far more complicated, costly and time-consuming than I ever imagined. In particular thank you to Toby Gerber who has helped with the graphic design and turning my ideas into reality, I could not have done it without him.
6 thoughts on “New Kanban Game Available”
Dear Sir And/Or Madam,
I am contacting you with regards to getting a copy of this AMAZING looking game 🙂 pls thx 🙂
Can you email me at email@example.com please
I’d like to buy the game. Pls. Send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
i John – this sounds really interesting. I think I have used the game you mention, or at least one that had similar flaws – it takes too long for the reward and it seems heavily scripted so some of the learning objectives are lost.
I’m super keen to try this on several teams / orgs I work.
Couple of questions – how long does it take to play and how long to prep for as the facilator / lead?
And is a physical game that is shipped or is it online or downloadable/printable?
Cheers in advance
And good work with seeing it through – I imagine it took / takes a chunk of the your free time.
Hi Derek, when I use it in a workshop setting I do a talk on Kanban and WiP limits (happy to share slides) then play for 45 mins then have a discussion on learning- total time is 90 mins or less.
The game can also be played as a board game for fun, which is a bit more detailed but takes 60-90 mins for a full game.
It is a physical game rather than a download lots of component parts.
Hi John – sorry I missed your reply. Email coming you way to organise purchase.
And if you have some pre-canned slides that align with the game that would definitely be appreciated.