The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine
The play of Dutchman is based on a modern-day setting in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona
where the real Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is thought to be located.
Outfitted with all the resources needed, teams go on an engaging search for gold from the famous Lost Dutchman's Mine, first discovered by Jacob Waltz in the 1860s and lost since he died in 1892. All the action takes place from their table tops and within the room venue but thanks to a motivating scenario, everyone become part of a challenging adventure.
Team size is 5 or 6 people and there is no limit to the number of teams and participants (The game comes in several versions each based on the number of people playing). The exercise focuses on inter-table collaboration as its main outcome. It also links to quality, leadership, systems and policies, communications and planning, performance improvement and other organizational issues.
Participants enter the room and take a seat at a table with their other team members. On each tabletop is a colorful game map, a Grub Stake of resource cards, planning tools, job aids and assorted trinkets. Colorful bandanas and cowboy hats are optional but add to the visual impact and energy.
As the game begins, the group settles in to hear a brief history of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine and to learn the mechanics of the challenges they face.
Teams learn that they have:
- 20 days of 2 minutes each to manage their journey to the mine and back home to Apache Junction.
- 3 paths from which to choose with different risks, planning for weather changes and focusing on the optimal use of resources.
- the opportunity to gain additional information valuable to their journey's success but must decide if they are willing to delay their start by one or two days in order to obtain this information.
Once the Intro is concluded, teams have 15 minutes to plan. They must work together to make decisions about tactics, resource management, direction and risk.
The 20 days of play (roughly 35 minutes) begin and are marked by lots of lively interaction among players and teams in the spirit of collaboration and competition.
During this time, they'll discover the impact of their early decisions on their results. They can choose to get advice or collaborate with others. Once teams return to Apache Junction by the 20th day, they'll complete their paperwork, take a break and then return for a very flexible and high impact debriefing session targeted to specific learning outcomes and objectives.
The Debriefing session is what makes this exercise truly unique and extremely powerful as a tool for change and improvement. (See a more detailed discussion in our debriefing page.)
Often discussed is how this game parallels the need for leadership, clear themes of measurement, feedback and intrinsic motivation and the focus is on success and building on successes, using available information and best practices as well as engaging leadership and other organizations in a cooperative and collaborative workplace.
Participants appreciate the experience of Dutchman because they are able to learn ideas that can be applied to their jobs and workplace and they gain important perspective. Substantive action plans for change are common outcomes. They also have fun and increase camaraderie with their co-workers (motivating aspects of strong teams).
The entire activity, including the all-important debriefing, can be completed in 3 to 3.5 hours.
Dutchman can be easily linked to other content making it perfect for a great, full-day event.