Build Your Own Agile Game

Build Your Own Agile Game


A few weeks ago, I and my family went on a camping trip, a couple of hours of drive towards the south of Adelaide, South Australia. The plan was to stay in a tent overnight and spend quality time with my family. After dinner weather got a bit windy and cold, so we went into the tent. I happened to have a game with me (Table Topics), the game was designed to facilitate a good and in-depth conversation between players. I suggested to play the game with my family and they welcomed the idea. After half an hour or so I was witnessing a transformation in the way we communicated. We laughed, cried and shared deepest experiences which were never surfaced before. This wasn’t the first time I tried to use a game to improve engagement. We tested games in sprint retrospective sessions and had a similar experience of increased engagement and collaboration levels. These and many more positive feedbacks encouraged David Clifford and I to think about why and how games are effective ways of conducting training sessions and agile ceremonies. We had some ideas and we learnt more as we did some research on existing agile games in the market. We also reviewed a few books on principles of games design and Serious Games. Eventually, we formed our ideas into a framework that covers the principle, mechanics and process of game design in the context of business and Agile facilitation specifically. We presented the framework at a conference and ran a couple of workshops to receive feedback from practitioners. The feedback was positive and many of the teams in our workshops ended up creating fun and useful games which could be used in their businesses. While we think this framework is a practical process to build games, we are sure with more contribution and feedback we can improve it and make a better tool. That is why we would like to invite you to download and use the guide to facilitate workshops to build games for your business and let us know what worked and what did not. Which principles worked, and which did not make sense in your context? Any new ideas that can help us improve this and make it more practical and fun?


How to run the workshop:

  •  Proposed workshop length: 90-120 minutes
  • Number of attendees: teams of 5-6 – the number of teams depends on the space
  • Workshop Agenda:
  1. Introduction to serious games (presentation file provided) | 15 minutes
  2. Activity one (guide provided) | 15 minutes
  3. Activity two (guide provided) | 45-60 minutes
  • Debrief: (30 mins) At the end of the workshop we ask the teams to share their games and learnings with others. Sometimes teams get to test play their game as well | 15-30 minutes

Supporting Material

Presentation file: Just a few slides to help you with facilitating the workshop

Game design guide:  This document will help the participants to understand the principles and mechanics of serious game design. The guide will be used during the activities of the workshop to educate the designers.

Activity cards: There are two activities in the game 1: Ice breaker and initial conversations around why games and reviewing the mechanics and the process of designing a game and activity 2: designing a game in groups of 5-6 people.

Themes: For the second and main activity the teams will pick a theme and build a game around it. We have given them a few challenges, but we advise the teams to take the freedom to change the challenges within the boundary of the theme.

Tropes: We have a table in the workshop with cards printed which gives the teams some ideas on the game design process. We try to use this as a way to help the teams which may struggle with forming and executing ideas.  We ask the participants to take a break and have chocolate (provided on the same table) and look at the cards which act like tropes in a video game (extra life, golds, etc.).

You can download all the above mentioned files from here

And when you have played with the guide and used it with your team, please come back and let us know what you got out of it and how we can improve it. Here is the feedback from

Thanks and have fun playing!

Saman Attarian

Saman Attarian

Saman is an experienced IT professional with over 13 years of expertise as a Project Manager and Scrum Master across a range of projects including, software development, system integration, business automation and process improvement. Saman has experience across industries including Manufacturing, Finance, Agriculture, Government and Internet of Things (IoT).

Saman is very passionate in coaching individuals and teams to achieve better results by cultivating a collaborative culture. He works closely with all key stakeholders including technical development and implementation teams due to his experience in software and product development. During the last few years Saman has been exposed to a range of cutting edge technical projects including IoT and integrated mobile and web development projects.

Saman has over 10 years of experience practicing and implementing the Agile methodology in various organisations.