Performance Management Blog

New Virtual Team Building Business Simulation – Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

We’ve been selling the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team building exercise for almost 30 years now as a really powerful tool to focus players on issues like collaboration and cooperation and leadership.

Now, we bring it to the marketplace to impact remote workers with many of the same dynamics of play that made the exercise one of the very best in the world for generating collaboration and ideas for improvement (based on a broad user base survey and their comments).

The goal is, “To mine as much Gold as we can,” to optimize overall results for the group. Alignment to group goals is the key to optimizing, yet even with the clear goals of collaborating, many players and their teams still choose to compete. So, they play and then discuss their choices and clearly see how competition generated less gold than their alternative choices. The design makes for a really powerful discussion about real workplace issues and opportunities for improvement. Guaranteed!

Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine debriefing card

And we continue to get feedback from a wide variety of users that this is the best teambuilding program in the marketplace niche in which it appears.

It continues to surprise me that the board game version of this exercise seems as fresh to me today as it did in 1993 when game materials were initially developed, fine-tuned and polished. I am also surprised that the opportunities for improving inter-organizational collaboration are still evident everywhere and corporate team building seems to continue to be an area of high leverage for impacting productivity.

With COVID, though, the nature of team building shifted from small and large scale group events to the new realities of working virtually and collaborating more globally. People no longer share office space with many of their teammates.

So, I want to announce that our board game version of this exercise is now available in an online form, with play enabled between up to 4 people connected remotely in a team and with as many as 6 teams in a pod. Thus, up to 24 players can work through the challenge of mining as much gold as we can in an online format that very closely parallels the new workplace. We are calling this our VIRTUAL version of the exercise pr LDV.  You can find information about the design by clicking on the image below:

Logo for the Virtual version of LDGM

We have had active consultants working with corporate team issues, worldwide, and the opportunities for trainers and internal consultants to use the board game version of the exercise and our new approach with virtual delivery seems like an untapped opportunity. After all, the workplaces have shifted and teams commonly work remotely on organizational development issues. So, we see a huge opportunity for leading organizations to see an advantage to using a bombproof exercise that generates the precise competitive behaviors that need to be better blended with collaboration and engagement opportunities as well as the need for inter-organizational alignment.

You can find a pretty solid description of the basic Lost Dutchman board game in this slideshare overview, which shares key design features and benefits. As we polish the virtual version, we will design into the debriefing many of these same features.

Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine overview slideshow

You can also find a solid video about how I debrief the exercise and link the behaviors exhibited to the organizational issues here. This is not a marketing video but a candid discussion of what I see as organizational realities and potential ways to impact performance improvement opportunities. The virtual version should parallel these same benefits:

Debriefing Ideas and Frameworks

An overview about how we use our Square Wheels illustrations as tools for debriefing the board game version of Lost Dutchman team building exercise is found by clicking the icon below:

Debriefing LDGM with Square Wheels

I hope you find this information and the links of use in evaluating our Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine game into your corporate team development. We are more than happy to discuss timing, costs, specific issues and desired outcomes for your improvement efforts at any time.

You can reach Jeff Simmerman directly at [email protected]rformancemanagementcompany.com for more information


For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Lost Dutchman Debrief

Dr. 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, now living in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can reach Scott at [email protected]


Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman CPF, CPT 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. -- You can reach Scott at [email protected] and a detailed profile is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottsimmerman/ -- Scott is the original designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game and the Square Wheels® images for organizational development.

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