Greenfield: a Supply Chain Strategy Game

I like to have projects that work on different parts of my brain. That way, when one part of my brain is tired, I can work on something else that strengthens another part of my brain.

I’m finally ready to reveal one of my more recent projects. I suggested to my manager a few months back an idea to develop a board game to teach Supply Chain strategic thinking. That project has since come to fruition.

With a small budget and a percentage of time from an artist and a graphic designer, we developed a board game that meets the following criteria.

  1. Fun to play
  2. Simulates reality (OK, so it isn’t perfect, but it gets the idea across.)
  3. Teaches people how to think about supply chain strategy
  4. Looks great

It is not quite finished, but I think we have accomplished just that.

Tim Kamarul is the artist for the box and the Distribution Center Tokens. I’m really happy with the colors and especially like the truck.

Jimbo Raleigh designed the board and the cards and did an excellent job dealing with my frequent requests to tweak one thing or another.

Greenfield5

 

Stay tuned, I’ll continue to post updates as things move along.

 

Footnote: a Greenfield in a supply chain is when you need to build a new Distribution Center, and you can put it anywhere you want. It is a green field.

Top Posts of All Time

I’ve posted 37 times in the past year. I haven’t figured out a good way to browse through the posts easily, so I’m posting them all in the order of views below. Enjoy!

Top 5
Splendor Strategy
Career Strategy 1: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Blokus Strategy
El Grande Strategy
Stratego Strategy

Next 5
Ticket to Ride
Gaming with children
Carcassonne Strategy
Quiet Paper Games for Church
Career Strategy 7: Up, Over, Out, or Stay

 

Rest of the List

Risk Strategy
Career Strategy 4: How to Get a Job at …
Career Strategy 2: Job Search
Rock, Paper, Scissors Strategy
Career Strategy 6: Effective Interviewing
Monopoly Strategy
Settlers of Catan Strategy
Pandemic Strategy (Guest Blog)
Career Strategy 8: Being a Good Mentor
Lord of the Rings: Confrontation Strategy
Career Strategy 5: Protecting your Personal Brand
Blokus Strategy 2 – Bayesian Probabilities
Career Strategy 3: Getting your First Real Job
Playing Games for Christmas
Christmas Strategy
Counting to 21 Strategy
King of Tokyo Strategy
Perudo: Liar’s Dice
Career Strategy Summary
Why We Play Games
Star Wars Epic Duels
Strategy for your Strategy
Party Game Strategy
What to do if People know your Strategy
Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Review
Dixit Strategy
Onirim Strategy

Onirim Strategy

Have you ever had a bad dream that you can’t wake up from? For me, it is always me trying to run, but not being able to move. I have found that my arms still work in these dreams, so I am able to drag myself along to try to escape. This cooperative game is based on that kind of dream.

In Onirim, you are trapped inside a dream and have to figure out how to escape by finding keys, doors, and matching locations to unlock enough doors to escape. The game is very fun to play, but it is also very hard to win. The deck is stacked against you. Additionally, you are going to have to shuffle those cards a lot, so if your shuffling technique is 52 card pickup, this is not the game for you. (Fortunately, they just released an app version of the game that shuffles for you.)

Here is my strategy, but you will still lose 50% of the time, roughly.

  1. Discard your keys to gain information and kill the nightmares
  2. Target all the same color so you can safely discard the remainder
  3. If a Nighmare card appears, do the following if possible.
    1. Use a key
    2. Lose 5 cards if you have a set or moon cards in your hand
    3. Discard your hand if you don’t need the cards there.
  4. Calculate the remaining cards so that you don’t discard something necessary

Discarding Keys

The game allows you to do a few things with keys.

  1. If you have a key in your hand and draw a door, you automatically unlock it
  2. If you draw a Nightmare, you can kill it with a key in your hand
  3. You can discard a key to rearrange the top five cards of the deck and discard one.

I like to use the key to rearrange the top cards because you usually will remove a Nightmare card, and you can arrange the cards to get exactly what you need in the order that you need them. Additionally, if you draw cards you don’t want, but there is a door, you can put that first in line to give you a chance to reshuffle to get what you need.

There are a few caveats to this.

  1. Don’t discard a key if it is the only way left to open that color of door
  2. Don’t discard a key if you already know what the next draws are, wait until you actually need it
  3. Don’t discard the key for the color you are focussing on.

Target a Color

In your initial draw, you will have more of one color. Start with this one and try to open all the doors of that color. If you do, it gives you significant leverage for the rest of the game in discarding those colors of cards. There are more Red and Blue cards than Green and Brown, so consider going for Red or Blue because you have better chances. (That being said, don’t discard your Green and Brown, or you won’t be able to complete the in the end.)

The caveat to this is that you don’t want to completely ignore the other colors. Take advantage of whatever appears to maximize your chance of winning.

Nightmare Appearance

Almost always kill a nightmare with a key if you have one, unless it is your only chance to open a door. If you don’t have a key, you have to decide which is worse. If you have the cards you need to open a door, and especially if you have moon cards, you are better off discarding from the top of the deck. If you don’t need the cards in your hand, discard them instead.

Calculate Winning Needs

There are 16 red, 15 blue, 14 green and 13 brown cards. Each set of cards only has 4 moons, so don’t discard them if you can help it. If you know you have already used or discarded all the moons, you know you can’t discard the keys for that color. Often, you will know that the game cannot be won before you get to the end of the deck.

Have fun, I hope your dreams come true.

What other strategies have worked for you?

Dixit Strategy

Dixit is one of my favorite party games. Everyone can quickly learn and play, but there are subtle strategies that will lead to victory.

Here is my strategy:

  1. Use stories or phrases that target one or two people
  2. Play the card that fit into the stories of others
  3. Bluff when cards are revealed
  4. Think through other players thought processes, and watch their reactions

Storytelling

When it is your turn to suggest a story or phrase, think very carefully about what to say. Consider your audience. You want at least one person, but not everyone to guess your card. You most likely have experiences with the other players. Use those experiences to make a clue that only they could guess.

To prevent people from teaming up on you and accusing you of cheating, change around who your target player is each time. Make the clue sufficiently vague, but clear to that one player.

Playing Cards

This part of the strategy is super simple. Whatever clue they give, find the card that fits the story or phrase the closest. After submitting your card, here is where the fun part comes in.

Bluffing

Dixit is the kind of game that you can get a significant lead, but then people will start trying to not guess for you just to stop you from winning. The key to overcoming this is to bluff.

When cards are revealed, don’t do anything that would reveal which card is yours. If you aren’t great at keeping a straight face, make exaggerated gestures and comments on all of them.Say things like “There are so many good options.” “Ooh, this one is good.” and laugh if the card is funny, (even if it is yours.) Act genuinely surprised by all the cards revealed.

Guessing

When it comes time to guess, watch the storyteller closely. They often will reveal their card just by their reactions to the cards revealed. If not, think about what you know about the person and how their thought processes work. This can be pretty difficult if you don’t know them well but do your best here.

Often you can eliminate cards that you know can’t be it, and then just guess on the ones left over. You know your own, and you other players may accidently reveal their card by not being surprised, or making subtle comments.

You won’t get them all right, but you will get it right more often than others, leading to a sound victory.

 

Career Strategy Summary

 

With graduation in striking distance at universities across the world, I’m posting the list of my career strategies. I recommend you checking them out. In summary, learn what you like, do work that you like, manage your career, and give back.

Career Strategy 1: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Career Strategy 2: Job Search

Career Strategy 3: Getting your First Real Job

Career Strategy 4: How to Get a Job at …

Career Strategy 5: Protecting your Personal brand

Career Strategy 6: Effective Interviewing

Career Strategy 7: Up, Over, Out, or Stay

Career Strategy 8: Being a Good Mentor

Perudo: Liar’s Dice

Perudo is the original version of Liar’s Dice. The game was reinvigorated by its appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean where the stakes are undead service to Davy Jones.

Image result for liars dice pirates of the caribbean

My family plays this game whenever we get together because you can play with as many players as you have. It works just as well with 10 players as it does with 5. (We don’t play for undead service, just for glory).

The original rules are slightly different than the Pirates version. Each player rolls their dice inside their cup. You can look at your own dice, but not others. A player starts by saying how many dice of a type are under all the cups. (1s are wild.) For example, I would start and say 3 fives. The next player has to either increase the amount of dice or the number of the dice. He could say 4 fives, or 3 sixes, or anything higher than those.

If the next player doesn’t think that there are as many dice as the player just stated, they say “Dudo” which means, “I doubt”. Then if there is the stated amount, the doubter loses a dice. If not, the doubtee loses a dice.

You keep going until someone has one dice, and the rules change slightly. At that point, the person with 1 dice always starts the round, and no one else is allowed to change the type of dice, only the amount of dice. (once multiple players have 1 die, they can change it, but no one else can.)

 

Here is the strategy:

  1. Play the probabilities
  2. Play safe, but bluff
  3. Force situations 2 away from you
  4. When down to 1, bluff, but control the game

 

Play the Probabilities

You have some information about the game based on what you have rolled. Think about how many dice there are in play (suppose 20 for the example). Suppose you rolled two sixes. There are 15 dice you don’t know the result of, but on average, there should be 1/6 X 15 other sixes, plus 1/6 X 15 other ones (wild). This means there should be 5 other sixes on average. So you can guess up to 7 sixes.

 

Play Safe

Now, you know there should be about 7 sixes. There may not be, but you want someone else to get out, so play a little safe and call 5 sixes. The next person should probably say 6 sixes, and the person after says 7 sixes. At that point, the next player has a tough decision. There should be 7 sixes, but are there really? You have set them up so that someone will call it when it is not next to you.

You could probably even say 6 sixes and be safe, especially if you take into account how the other players react to you saying 5 sixes. If people are surprised, you may need to back down your number. Read people’s faces when you call things and try to figure out what they have.

Down to 1

Once you are down to 1, you don’t have much of a chance of winning, but you can send a lot of other players down to Davy Jones locker with you. If there are a lot of other dice in play, say 2 or 3 of the dice that you have. If not, just say exactly what you have. You don’t want to get out because you bluffed when you didn’t need to.

Once the other players have whittled down their dice, you will be facing other players at 1 dice. It becomes a luck game on who rolls the highest dice. If you roll a six, and they roll a 3, you say 1 six, and they have to say 2 of something. If you role something really low, there may be a benefit to saying a higher number and try to guess what they rolled, but it is a 1/5 chance of getting it.

 

Good luck!

Quiet Paper Games for Church

There is a delicate balance between making your kids listen during church, and just hoping that they are quiet so that they don’t distract others who are trying to listen.

This is the strategy for how to keep your kids distracted while you listen.

When I was younger, I remember when 3-year-old brother disappeared underneath the pew in front of us. We didn’t get to church early enough to get a good seat, so we were pretty far back. After a little while, I saw my brother’s head pop up in the very front row. Some nice people had him sit by them while my mother scrambled up to get him.

To avoid this situation in your future, I’ve compiled a list of quiet paper games to help you.

  1. Dots and Boxes
  2. Tic Tac Toe
  3. A little better (modified killing game)
  4. Telestrations
  5. Counting to 21
  6. Random Drawing
  7. Drawing with your eyes closed

Dots and Boxes

The classic dots and boxes game can take as long as you need and can be done very quietly. Start with ten by ten dots like below. Take turns connecting dots. If you complete a square, write your initial in the box and get another turn. Refer to the Dots and Boxes strategy on how to win.

Tic-Tac-Toe

After a few times of the regular version, it gets pretty monotonous. At that point, you can change things up by changing the rules. Here are some suggestions.

  • Reverse Tic-Tac-Toe. If the other person gets three in a row, you win.
  • 4 in a row. Make the board 4 by 4, and you have to get 4 in a row to win
  • Multiple playing areas. Make 2 or 3 Tic-Tac-Toe boards and on your turn, you get to play on any of them. You have to get 3 in a row twice to win.

A Little Better

My older brother and I made up a game called the killing game. Basically, you start by drawing someone or something and the next person draws a new someone or something that has to be strong enough to kill the thing you drew. This goes back and forth until there is an argument about whether the Death Star can be defeated by Voldemort.

Needless to say, my mom hated this game.

I since adapted the game to make it church appropriate. Instead of killing, you just have to draw something a little better. It works best with categories like; bad guys, super heroes, or Pokemon. We have even played the faster version around the dinner table where you just have to say someone a little worse. (The bad guy one got a little tricky with our kids because the worst guy they knew about was Bowser.)

Telestrations

There is an actual Telestrations game, but you can play it without all the extra frills. Take a piece of paper, and one person draws a picture. The next person writes what they think they are seeing in the picture and folds the paper so that you can only see the words. The next person draws a picture of the words etc.

You can have multiple papers going along the pew. You can even make it church themed by requiring the first picture to be scripture heroes.

Counting to 21

This is the same as the counting up game referenced here, except that you write it on a piece of paper. The game is pretty fast so it won’t last long, but you can change it up by adding multiple players, or changing what you must add up to. This is good for a few minutes of peace.

Random Drawing

I don’t mean just draw something random.

This is where one person draws a quick squiggle on the paper and the other person has to make something out of it. We often would each draw a squiggle so that both players could be drawing. I’ve seen the youth play this, and some of them get really good pictures out of it.

Blind Drawing

One player names something that you have to draw, and both players have to do it with their eyes closed. Whoever has the most complete picture wins. You can judge yourselves, or rope someone else in afterward.

What ideas do you have to keep kids distracted in church?