"The role of the Expedition Leader is to help teams be successful and mine as much gold as they can. The role of the teams is to have fun, return to Apache Junction, and mine as much gold as we can to maximize Return on Investment!"
People say The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine is a fantastic team building simulation. (click here for some testimonials)
Participants join others at tables set for 6. On the tabletops are a map, resources and other information about the exercise.
The role of the teams is simple: "Mine as much gold as we can and maximize ROI." The role of the Expedition Leader is to help the teams be successful and the key is to work together and have fun.
Putting on cowboy hats and colorful bandannas (which adds visual impact and energy) for their journey, the group settles in to discuss the history of the Lost Dutchman mine and to learn the mechanics of the challenge.
Once we start, teams have about 15 minutes to complete their planning and begin play.
Teams then have 20 days of 2 minutes each to manage their journey to the mine and back to Apache Junction and can choose from 3 paths with unknown risks, planning for weather and resource use.
When mining, teams get 10 ounces of Gold worth $3,000 for each day in the mine. Managing resources and information to maximize their days mining gold is a primary objective.
Actual play finds teams competing more than collaborating by sharing information and resources. All teams will be successful, but ineffective systems and processes will minimize payoffs for some of them and teams will allow a variety of factors to hamper optimizing overall results.
Mining as much gold as we can is really about optimizing Group Results rather than the results of any single team.
In debriefing, many issues relating to the workplace can be addressed, depending on desired outcomes for the session.
Discussions often focus on goal-setting and the sharing of information and resources. In this simulation, as in the workplace, there is little benefit for competition or speed -- good planning pays dividends.
We often spend time discussing how this game parallels their need for leadership, clear missions and visions, and issues of teamwork and collaboration and making plans for change.People have fun and share ideas that apply to their jobs. Substantive action plans for change are common outcomes.
Teams from all over the world have found Dutchman to be a fascinating journey and highly positive conference experience.
It's fast-paced and high impact -- a highly memorable experience for all.
We have different playing options, one of which makes the game a bit more complicated and adds a lot of intra-team and interteam interactions toward the end of the game. Essentially, we jump up complexity by adding Ice Shards!! on Day 16, warning teams about them and making the Spare Tires invaluable. We also add a Shovel resource, "just in case the gold is buried." It never is, so the resource is useless. This version adds a second option for play, one that generates the individual behaviors that can be linked to DiSC or MBTI and thus extending the debriefing for a day or more. Formal linkages are being established to these programs by various consultant-users.
Another delivery option adds extra Cave Cards, a resource that allows them to not need Tents and thus shift resources. In this version (Assay Office Version), teams also get an extra ounce of Gold each day of mining. They could choose to share these extra Cave Cards to allow the group to mine more gold. Generally, they do not. It is one more interesting debriefing point!
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