What do Users think of Lost Dutchman? It's The Best!

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Over the past 20 years, we've gotten a lot of comments from the consultants and trainers who have purchased The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine (LDGM) teambuilding exercise. And many of them give us really outstanding testimonials as well as support for new spins and ideas. We decided to do a survey of users to try to get some quantifiable numbers as well as some across-the-board consistency in perspective. The results we got far exceeded our expectations, even though we know that the exercise is quite solid.

Let me add that, as a one-person design and development shop located in South Carolina, I do not do the kind of global competitive analysis that would tell me who all the competitors are and what their products do, how they are priced and distributed, etc. I know that the costs of many of them are extremely high (compared to us) and that most require some licensing and train-the-trainer fees for certification and that many have per-participant costs to use. We sell our games at a one-time cost and have people who have continued using them after 20 years. Based on phone calls and email conversations with satisfied customers and interested parties, we feel we are a quality player in this competitive gaming marketplace.

A survey was sent to our customers asking for their feedback and thoughts on Dutchman and comparing it to other tools they use. Responses were solid and there were numerous useful comments and clarifications. As a result of the survey, we are deciding to do NOTHING differently, but that we will add a new game as a follow-on exercise to Dutchman (or Gold of the Desert Kings (GDK), for that matter ) shortly.

What users relayed through the survey was that the Lost Dutchman team building exercise was Most Excellent, confirming the 20+ years in developing this simulation for global use by consultants and trainers. There were no real suggestions as to desired changes. And the impacts on desired results and outcomes still continue to be important and relevant in today's organizational development initiatives.

You can download a full summary of results by clicking on the link below:Dutchman Survey Results Summary

Our users are a highly experienced group, with 70% of respondents having experience with 6+ other team building exercises over their organizational development work. Most users (89%) have run Dutchman multiple times and 36% have run it more than 10 times. (One customer has run it with 50,000+ participants and the largest session of 870!). Half reported that their very first delivery was "wonderfully successful" while nearly everyone else reported success. (And I really do wish they would simply call me before that first delivery!)

We asked a really tough True / False question:

"LDGM is the best exercise I know of to work with senior managers on issues of strategy, alignment, and organizational collaboration."

Fully half (53%) said this was TRUE! (Only 9 people said this was False, which given the highly experienced and global nature of our users, is pretty fantastic. (We are NOT the slickest nor most expensive exercise out there but, apparently, the best value!) And comments were all supportive of the Dutchman's design, packaging and pricing.

Another tough question was about being the best exercise for OD and 30 people (55%) responded that LDGM is “the best overall team building exercise I have used.”

Awesome! Fully 100% would recommend the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine game to others for purchase and use, with 63% saying they would recommend it to ANY trainer or consultant. It seems to be that useful and that powerful for people's toolkits, given its price and flexibility.

As to value, two of three users (64%) strongly agreed that the purchase of the exercise represented an excellent value to their organizations and 11 merely agreed, with 5 people sharing a neutral response. Purchasing LDGM seemed to represent a good decision, in their view. And remember that these are all active internal trainers or consultants using the game to generate organizational change, collaboration and engagement. Many use it for general leadership development or implementing strategy.

The exercise was specifically designed to be useful for organizational development, strategic alignment, communications, leadership and team building. It was designed for impact.

  • Fully 7 in 10 agreed or strongly agreed that the simulation was effective in generating observable, “desired changes in behavior after the session ended, back on the job.” One person disagreed.
  • 96% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that, “the exercise linked well to our issues of workplace collaboration and performance management” with two people being neutral.
  • As to, "representing the Best Value for a team building exercise in the global marketplace," 21 people strongly agreed and 16 others agreed of 52 registered responses, or 71% of our users.

We framed questions to be a real test of perceived and actual value and even the neutral responses were supportive in their comments! It seems we are doing well out there, and no one would actually name an exercise they thought was better than ours.

We asked some tough questions and we got some great answers.

If you are looking for a really solid team building business simulation, one that does real building (rather than focusing on "bonding" like so many other exercises in the marketplace), check out our Lost Dutchman.

It is powerful and yet inexpensive. After all, fully three quarters of our users shared that it represented a Best Value in the global marketplace of tools for organizational improvement and communications.

a team building simulation exercose

If you call the office, you are highly likely to reach me directly. If you want to chat about the exercise, I really love doing that. If you have any questions at all, please bring them on!

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.


Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

Scott’s blog on themes of People and Performance is here.

Note: we would love to engage in a discussion about team building simulations, costs, and all that so please feel free to comment.


The specific wording of the questions on value appeared as follows:

10 - The purchase or rental of the exercise represented an excellent value to my organization.

11 - I saw desired changes in behavior after the session ended, back on the job.

12 - The exercise linked well to our issues of workplace collaboration and performance management.

13 - As far as I am aware, The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine represents the best value for a teambuilding exercise in the global marketplace for business simulations and designed exercises.

14 - If I moved to another company, I would consider purchasing the exercise if they had the need for improving teamwork, communications, engagement or leadership.

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