Some Frequently Asked Questions:

(please scroll down or jump to a particular question by clicking on the link to its right)

1 - What is the licensing arrangement? Is it complicated? (click here)

2 - Is Lost Dutchman a good investment for a consultant? (click here)

3 - Is Lost Dutchman a good investment for an internal trainer? (click here)

4 - How many versions and options are there for delivery? (click here)

5 - How much time does it take? (click here)

6 - How does Lost Dutchman compare to other simulations? (click here)

7 - How does Lost Dutchman compare to Gold of the Desert Kings? (click here)

8 - Does the simulation work everywhere? (click here)

9 - How many people can play? / How few people can play? (click here)

9 - Is the game flexible in application? (click here)


1 - What is the licensing arrangement? Is it complicated?

The purchasing / user agreement is actually quite simple.

Buy a game -- use it.

One purchase allows you to maintain ONE set of game materials for use. This means you may not re-manufacture or split the game into two or more parts to run more than one simulation at a given time.

But there are no restrictions on how often you can play or where.

There are copyright restrictions on the use of the images, logos, and the like and protections are in place for the intellectual property behind the simulation.

We are supporting an active and positive collaboration with our purchasers for mutual gain. The more the game is played, the more exposure it will get and the better it gets for all.

We also try to provide our consultant users with leads and referrals since our business is much more a publishing business than a consulting or delivery business.

It is our long-term intention to continue to fill the pipeline with new products, simulations, and the like and to develop some high-technology versions of the materials. It is truly a global marketplace and we intend to be long-term players.


2 - Is Lost Dutchman a good investment for a consultant?

Absolutely Positively! And, Guaranteed!

Most of our game sales are to consultants, who give us great testimonials about its effectiveness. I stopped adding their comments a while ago, and only occasionally update them. You can see some here at this link and you can find more at my LinkedIn Profile page.

If you are looking for a solid team building exercise with very flexible links to your main OD issues or if you are looking to develop new applications and working with large organizations, Lost Dutchman is a proven profit-maker and a bomb-proof exercise.

We've proven it with children and with adults acting like children.

It has worked quite well with senior engineers and top executives as well as with front-line workers with limited reading and mathematics skills. It is used to teach leadership and communications / thinking styles. It is used for strategy implementation as well as for simple fun.

Lost Dutchman has also become an internationally-recognized brand name. It's gotten good exposure throughout the world. Yet our penetration into the potential marketplace is small.

The game is a proven success with participants worldwide. Thus, we think that most consultants doing team development or management retreats can use it with their clients in a high-impact manner. It's fun and is an outstanding simulation for a client retreat or conference.

There are no limits to the number of people who can play the game at a single time. We did an outdoor version of the game for 350 people with Torrington / Ingersoll Rand (instructions are in the Support Binder) and a 600 person game in a big ballroom with another. You'll love the instructional design and the ease of delivery!

A less-collaborative version exists for outside sales people, designed for Mike Brown when he was looking for some enhancement to use with real estate people where collaboration was not the main theme. Another version (Inventory Management) allows the Expedition Leader to coach teams as they play, offering a most interesting impact. A couple of folks wanted more complicated play so we developed Option B that makes the last 5 days more intense. You get all of these versions with the Professional Edition.

We think Dutchman offers the highest-value simulation in the marketplace. An outstanding value for consultant users who want to be in business for the long-term and want to offer something other than or along with products and services of their own design.

We even offer you low cost marketing materials as well as FREE links from this website to yours (and your email). You can take information from the site and put it on your website for marketing -- text, graphics and whatever...

Who else is collaborating with their user base like we do?

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3 - Is Lost Dutchman a good investment for an internal trainer?

Dutchman is a most flexible simulation that can be configured in a number of ways. The Support Binder has over 125 potential debriefing questions and a number of types of debriefings are suggested.

Generally, the simulations we deliver are for leadership retreats or sales conferences, often as large as 200 people and occasionally larger (600 is the largest thus far, but there are actually no limitations on size if one has a support staff). In that regard, it is exceptionally flexible.

But many clients use it as a kickoff to a week-long or longer training program (IBM corporate and EDS MPD are two such users) and then link various aspects of the game to issues of leadership development, personal style, communications, systems thinking, etc. The game has nice links to TQM and QFD, especially since it sets up a database for analysis. The package contains a complete Process Re-Engineering debriefing with worksheets.

What I really hope trainers and consultants will do is use the game with their local schools, both with administration and teachers and with students or student leadership. To that end, the simulation's Support Binder dedicates a full section of materials for discussion and debriefing. Our schools need the help!

The simulation is metaphor-driven, which gives it a great deal of flexibility. We have built in metaphors of Square Wheels® and a whole series of other illustrations.

It is a powerful and flexible tool, and thus a good toolkit for any trainer.

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4 - How many versions and options are there for delivery?

We sell four basic configurations:

LD3 for 3 teams of up to 6 people each or 18 people

LD4 for 4 teams of up to 6 people each or 24 people

LD6 for up to 6 teams of up to 6 people each or 36 people

LD Pro for unlimited numbers of teams and players

And, we have a variety of different delivery options for the game, so that it can be used in different ways for different purposes. The basic game plays really well, but you can nuance the design to emphasize one thing more than another.

Our High Collaboration modification allows even more collaboration to possibly occur, and measures the sub-optimization that often occurs. You can see more about this here.

We view our exercise as a flexible tool for organizational improvement rather than a "dogmatic, do it our approved, one way simulation."

And we are constantly open to new ideas and innovations.

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5 - How much time does it take?

Generally, we like 3 to 3.5 hours to introduce, plan, play and debrief. This allows us to move quickly but to also do an elaborate job of linking the debriefing to the issues at hand.

With larger groups of 100 - 200 people, because you are only as fast as the slowest team, we generally request a minimum of 3 hours.

With smaller groups, you can play and minimally debrief in 2.5 hours.

If you are using the exercise as part of a longer, multi-day training session, you can play and summarize results within 2 hours. You then defer much of the debriefing specifics into the course content itself.

We have teachers who introduce the game in one class, play the game in the next class, and debrief it as desired during the course. The kinesthetic nature of the exercise, as well as its engaging interactivity, tends to make the memories of the game quite strong and thus a key learning point made later generally works quite well.

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6 - How does Lost Dutchman compare to other simulations?

Dutchman is not a pencil and paper team building exercise -- it is a full-blown, interactive tabletop simulation designed to engage participants in a highly interactive and stimulating team-based challenge.

The exercise has evolved from our experiences with other training tools and was designed to be metaphor-driven and not simply a "game for a game's sake." It is outcome-oriented and a powerful learning tool.

Dutchman is fast to play but sufficiently complicated to be engaging and challenging. Our Professional Edition offers a number of alternative design deliveries to generate slightly differing outcomes and key learning points. It is often used for strategy implementation, project management training, and strategic planning purposes, for example.

Unlike some other exercises, it does not contain falsehoods or traps to catch or deceive people -- it is designed so that teams will communicate and collaborate. It becomes the teams' decision as to whether they work together with other tables or not and whether they get strategic planning information before starting. Teams have sufficient information and resources to be successful. Teams take risks, but do not "die" if they fail to plan effectively.

Dutchman is somewhat unique in that it was designed so that many aspects of the simulation can be measured. We can, for example, measure the sub-optimization that occurs when teams do not work together or share information. We can track the performance of the team on objectives and goals.

And it is challenging enough that we have had teams play the exercise more than once, striving to develop a strategy to optimize results (that delivery design is detailed in the materials of the Pro Version of the exercise).

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7 - How does Lost Dutchman compare to Gold of the Desert Kings?

We're often asked that question. GDK was in the marketplace a few years before Lost Dutchman. And we did have extensive contact with that early game, with Scott being the first US agent for Eagle's Flight.

There are many points of comparison.

For a detailed comparison of Gold of the Desert Kings

and

The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine, please click here

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8 - Does the simulation work everywhere?

Probably not. <grin>

As the Lost Dutchman developer, Scott Simmerman has led highly successful sessions for 11-year old kids at a YWCA, top managers of government in Hong Kong, senior school teachers in Singapore, consultants and managers in diverse places as Johannesburg, Copenhagen, Brugge (Belgium), at a "trainers meet trainers session" in Malaysia and a wide variety of other programs worldwide. It has been played thousands of times and we've worked hard to continually update the program.

Personally facilitating more than 200 sessions of the simulation, I can honestly say that we've gotten desired results in every case (except for a very late evening session with a group of significantly intoxicated sales managers!); we've gotten very good to excellent reactions from participants. Some of those sessions were as few as 7 people and one session was with 600 participants. One client, an Indian software company, ran the exercise with 870 people in one room!

Generally, we prefer sessions of 30 to 100, where there are enough teams to generate some "action" yet the group is small enough that discussion of key learning points and action plans is possible.

Our network of trainers and consultants continue to offer outstanding feedback as well as suggestions for continuous improvement. I would guess that Eastern Europe and South America are the only places where we've not had at least some exposure.

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9 - How many people can play? / How few people can play?

Generally, the preference is a group of 36 people - 6 teams of 6 - for a focus on teamwork and collaboration in the organization. This size allows for difficulties in tabletop communications among the team about things like risk, route, strategies and the like and also good interactions between teams.

One of the suggested roles for a team is The Collaborator, and we explain that they can often discover that other teams have better strategies and plans. With 6 collaborators running around, it generates a lot more activity.

With teams of fewer than 6 people, play actually seems easier since communications are improved and there are fewer people to agree on a team's main goals. The more people, the more buy-in is required and more potential difficulties can occur.

We have played the game with a LOT more than 36 people (often for more than 100 and a few times with more than 500). It is harder to manage this activity but much of the learning is "leader led and tabletop discussion" in orientation anyway.

We've delivered the exercise with as few as 7 people and it plays quite well (2 teams of 2 and one of 3). The play is generally a bit more collaborative in nature but the teams still compete and they do not optimize results for collaboration.

User feedback indicates that these mid-sized deliveries of 16 to 36 are fairly common and well liked by facilitators and participants.

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10 - Is the game flexible in application?

Absolutely!!

And we pride ourselves on its adaptability -- it is one of this game's special attributes.

We have lots of consultants with all sorts of viewpoints, experiences, processes and products linking the metaphors and experiences of the simulation into all sorts of other aspects. One client kicks off their 2-week training program with Lost Dutchman and then keeps returning to issues as they discuss and work on various aspects of leadership development. Another 3-letter company uses it for their 6 week experiential management development program and have purchased a number of games from us for use worldwide. And another company has purchased 5 or 6 of the simulations from us for various links.

A large, international institute for training purchased its copy of the cd-version and then used it for about 40 training sessions for one of their courses. They also planned on using it in a variety of their week-long programs as a kick off. A well-known foundation uses a version of the exercise with their inter-city leadership development programs -- it sets the stage for their other content.

Since we started selling it in 1993, we have continued to make improvements in the game design and delivery options.

And we have a number of delivery options in the Professional Edition of the exercise that allow more bartering, negotiation and trading of resources and that demonstrates all sorts of interpersonal styles and influences. We have included a framework to teach Strategic Planning and there are links to strategy implementation, teaching motivation skills, project management and many other kinds of options.

Leadership and communications are our major themes, but the simulation is metaphor-driven with strong links to systems thinking and organizational dynamics.

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