Testimonials about Lost Dutchman

Here is what long-term user Jeff Taylor said:

I did a Dutchman last week for 13 people it went great. At day 15 it looked like all 3 teams would need to beacon home, I kept encouraging them to talk to each other. By day 17 they asked for a time out, and after lots of talking worked it out. What had been a very competitive group started working together and they all got back. Really cool! Being a natural work team --telephone customer service-- it just lead into a great debrief. I love this game, thanks again for contributing to our success.

Jeff Taylor (email)

I have used the Lost Dutchman numerous times within the Harris Methodist system and it worked magnificently. The simulation is applicable to both hospital and health plan situations and stimulates lots of open discussion and effective planning. It's my personal learning simulation of choice!

Nic Stevens, nicstevens@hmhs.com


Let me encourage you to consider "In Search of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine," a great management game developed by a fellow TRDEV-er, Scott Simmerman. I have used the game with several of my clients. The feedback is fabulous.

This experiential learning tool places participants in small teams to plan and undertake a trek into Superstition Mountains to find the famous Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. Participants report that the experience is very engaging and lots of fun. The game itself takes about 2 hours to play -- and the time goes very quickly.

The powerful learning comes in the debrief after the game. Participants recall their behavior and their reactions to other people's behavior. True character and work culture are exposed. And they see it themselves! Their experience in the game sets the stage for great learning about communication, teamwork, leadership.

If you'd like more input from me on our experience using the game, feel free to drop a note. If you would like to explore having one of our team come to lead some people in your group through the game and train you (and/or some of your people) to lead the game in the future, we'd be pleased to talk about that.

Best wishes,
Jim Brown jim@strive.com

I can certainly recommend the game as it is one of the very few that model communication and cooperation (or the lack thereof), and lead the participants to discover by their own actions, and the counteractions of others, their hidden barriers to cooperation. (And this revelation almost always flies in the face of corporate assurances that 'we are a team, all pulling together.')

Within an hour, a quiet, even reticent, group becomes a hive of action, and by conclusion, its a shouting horse race aided by the pressure of time of each round. People's native behavior begins to leak out despite their reserve, and finally becomes a torrent. At the conclusion of the game, the timing of the debrief is critical. The group is reasonably open, exposed, and I go straight into the debrief rather than adjourning them to lunch or snacks (although snacks can be placed in the center of each table so that they can work through that time of the day)

Having used Square Wheels before Dutchman, I gravitate to the use of a subset of the Dutchman-esque version of the Square Wheels foils to help tease out the debrief. Your mileage and comfort may vary. Skill in debrief is critical as it is here that you gain actionable information from the group. If your group facilitation skills, especially to a hostile group, are not what you wish, you might consider using the cartoons to walk you through the debrief. (I usually find that I drive the entire debrief off of less than 15 foils selected on the fly from a group of 40 culled form the master set.)

Best regards, Gordon Housworth

Intellectual Capital Group LLC ghidra@modulor.com
Tel: 248-626-1310 Web: http://www.modulor.com



We continue to be amazed at the overwhelming response we have received from adding "Search for the Lost Dutchman's Mine" to our teambuilding offerings. We have experienced great success with "Square Wheels" over the years, and utilizing the "Lost Dutchman" has only added to our reputation as one of the premier 'team' specialists in the US. The Dutchman / Square Wheels" products are by far the most requested sessions that we offer.

Our clients range from computer software superfirms to financial giants to small local manufacturers. "Dutchman" has been a hit with all who have experienced it. Our clients have found it an excellent tool for getting organizations to see the need for change and ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING as a result of attending the session.

And we don't have to try to stuff a square peg in a round hole...we can customize for a perfect fit for the client every time.

I also want to thank you personally for the time and effort you have expended on our behalf supporting and customizing "Lost Dutchman" and "Square Wheels". It is this time and support that makes these products such a joy to use.


Michael Robinson
Triad Training and Consulting
Winston-Salem, NC

(Note: Mike has been using the materials almost 5 years)

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My program went exceedingly well, especially for a first time through. With almost 100 people, it was hectic. My two Master Traders had not had an opportunity to review your training materials that were sent them and I was somewhat concerned and we did a crash course 30 minutes before the start. To say the least, there was mass confusion at first, but as the exercise progressed, things started to work out.

In the debrief, some of the attendees brought up the topic of confusion. I made it part of my debriefing and we likened what we experienced to what happens with change in our organizations. Confusion is acceptable as long as we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. It almost seemed that for our purposes as a team coming together, even the Expedition Leader and Master Traders need to experience the chaos occurring with change.

Our debrief was powerful and the level of activity was high as the group wanted to do things versus sitting through their management retreat. Thanks for all your help and suggestions.

Michael C. Brown mcbassoc@fea.net


I am writing to let you know how much I enjoyed playing the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine simulation. What a wonderful experience! I played it with a group of thirty businessmen from a company as a trial run, and the response was overwhelming.

Having played Gold of the Desert Kings over 40 different times, I was thoroughly impressed by the improvements and changes that have been made in the design and in the product of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. In a word, it's top drawer."

The metaphors, as you said, are much cleaner. I noticed in the debriefing that the discussion was much more lively. Folks got the point very clearly. I was thrilled at the time the game took; we were able to get through the game and the debrief in approximately two hours and forty-five minutes, which was roughly the playing time for the cut down version we did of Gold of the Desert Kings.

Dr. Sam Horn
Vice President, Academic Affairs
Northland Baptist Bible College


I wish to thank you for the opportunity to purchase and use "The Search for the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine" exercise in my training and consulting practice. As a result of my association with you and your product, I have been able to successfully expand the scope of team building programs that I offer. Not only have I recouped my original investment ten times over, use of the "Dutchman" in organizational settings has led to many other related training and consulting opportunities for my firm.

I also wish to thank you for your continued marketing and technical support. Your ongoing communications and idea sharing has made my business relationship with you very enjoyable and rewarding. In addition, you have always represented yourself and your firm with professionalism and integrity.

I look forward to maintaining an association with you that is mutually beneficial. Please let me know if I can ever be of service to you.


Michael Madras email: madrasco@bellsouth.net
Cary, NC
(January 8, 1999)


This note is to strongly recommend "The Search for the Lost Dutchman's Gold," by the Performance Management Company, for application in your academic or business-services programs.

I learned of the Dutchman, and the associated Square Wheels materials, while consulting with EDS on developing their engineers and manufacturing-change leaders with interactive, simulation-based, learning activities. I've been using a process that puts participants in company roles as they modernize their operations. That, however, is a fairly time-consuming,Iabor-intensive simulation. Dutchman provided the perfect short, dynamic supplement to other activities.

I have used Dutchman to help organizations with teamwork, leadership and strategic planning. During the past year I have also begun using it, to very significant advantage, in our academic curriculum. I've devoted one three to four hour class to the Dutchman in courses concerning Leadership and Communication in our Masters Degree programs in Management, and in Information Management & Communication. It engagingly involves the student participants in interactive, hands-on, practical application of skills and knowledge in a fun and business-meaningful environment. One of the beauties of the exercise is its flexibility in addressing multiple objectives in a "modular" fashion. I typically extrapolate the "lessons learned" concerning teamwork, communication, leadership, strategy/planning, and resource management.

Another exciting feature of the exercise is the ability to "dress it up." For example, being jealous of 16-year-old millionaires, I have a Leann Rimes tape playing country music before I enter the room. I've also drawn some rave reviews for my Final Exam. Imagine a group oral exam, with 30 people split into five-person teams, competing or cooperating to get the best one-minute answer to twenty questions superimposed on Square Wheels slides, e.g., "What are the Square Wheels of the typical Human Resources function?" "What are its Round Wheels?" "How can HR help the firm get out of the mud?"

The Dutchman is a solid approach to facilitating people's learning of basic business-management content through experience and discussion. Use it to serve your needs. Good luck and have fun!

Michael Wood, Ph.D.
Vice President, Chief Academic Officer and Dean
Walsh College - mwood@walshcol.edu

Hello Scott,

I appreciate your follow up. In fact, we ran Dutchman today, with all needed supplies and copying done, and it worked quite well. As you know, anything complex and worthwhile takes a couple of runs before one knows where and how to tweak it to get the effects one wants, but as a tryout it was very successful.

David Hagen, dfhagen@ibm.net
about a game he ran in Istambul - never having seen the game played



I recently conducted "The Lost Dutchman" exercise in an adult degree completion course at a university here in San Antonio. The course was an org. psych. course in teams and small work groups. I used the exercise as a "final exercise" (NOT exam) to allow people to see what they had learned about working in the team environment.

We played the game one evening and I debriefed it during the next evening session. I used the Ice Shards option. I think it adds greatly to the dynamics of the game. I would have caught one team (without a spare!) except that the team was playing the survival option so intensely that they were already past the middle block on the way back to Last Chance Gulch. The students, who had been learning in teams throughout the course, heaped praise on the exercise as an excellent learning experience.

The next day I put executive management and the department directors of the San Antonio Water System through the exercise (38 participants). We played the game, took a break to eat lunch, and then debriefed the exercise in terms of leadership and teamwork. It was a real eye-opener! So far as I know, this was the first time the participants admitted in a public that they don't "play well" together. The game started what I believe will be a great new adventure into openness and teamwork discussions in the company. The CEO/President was effusive in his praise of the effectiveness of the game.

Incidentally, two teams each stayed a day in Last Chance Gulch. At the gold mine one team was trying to sell "cave cards" for at the rate of one days' worth of gold earnings for each card! No other teams understood what the cave cards were for, nor did the owning team explain them. I referred to the behavior as "passive-aggressive collaboration" during the debrief. The other team sold a turbocharger to a team struggling to get back. It made the question about, "what is gained by hoarding resources?" especially thought-provoking and revealing about what goes on in the work place. I have used the game both ways now, and I much prefer the ice shards (and the worthless shovel) approach.

Thanks for creative changes!

Best of luck,
Bob Strange (210-704-1136) San Antonio Water System

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Thanks once again for your quick customer service in processing my order for the Lost Dutchman and Book of Square Wheels. I was working with a very narrow planning window, and your responsiveness to my needs saved the day.

Now that I have facilitated the Lost Dutchman, I can say I have discovered a "goldmine" of team development and training Ideas. Thanks to the user-friendly facilitator's manual and easy to follow instructions, I was able to lead a group of 50 new employees through a very effective learning experience on a simulation I had just received. With just a few hours of preparation, you helped me look like an old pro at leading the game.

Since the group with whom I was working was a newly formed team, had not known each other previously, and were about to startup a brand new $35 million textile plant, I needed something that would lead them to discover the power of collaboration, communication and trust. The Lost Dutchman did this and more. Most of all, it was fun!

I have already received inquiries about using the simulation with a group of senior managers, so I may have the opportunity to lead another "expedition" very soon. Meanwhile, I appreciate all the support you have given me. If I can ever share my success story with any other "prospectors," please feel free to give them my name.

Jim McCammon
Isothermal Community College
Business and Industry Services
(former employer)