Your developers can’t spend all 8 hours of the working day in front of a screen, especially not highly focused, so your office environment shouldn’t force constant work.
A board game is a fantastic way to ensure your developers get the rest they need. It also has the added benefit of boosting teamwork and collaboration between team members.
Table of Contents
1. Dungeons and Dragons
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The game is led by a Dungeon Master—the player who creates the world, designs the storyline and explains to the other players where they are and what their objective is.
The gameplay is set at the beginning of the 20th century, in the years leading up to World War I.
Players become one of the seven “Great Powers of Europe”—Russia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, or Austria-Hungary—and then try to grow their empire via alliances, negotiations, and sometimes betrayal.
There are no dice or other arbitrary elements, so the game’s outcome boils down to pure negotiation.
3. Burke’s Gambit
It consists of two groups of players: one that wants to save the Earth from an astronaut infected with a parasite and another aiming to weaponize the parasite.
The catch is—no one knows who the infected astronaut is. Furthermore, no positive players know who’s on their team, as everyone pretends they want to defend the Earth.
However, the villains do know who’s on their team. They all work together to gang up on the heroes.
Meanwhile, the bad guys have to lie, convincing others they’re doing the same.
In such situations, developers must lay out arguments clearly and convincingly—and this game can teach them how to do so.
The post below proves the game’s popularity among software engineers:
The premise was intriguing enough to interest this developer, as they ordered it for their workspace.
The game becomes difficult because although the players decide their moves five turns earlier, each player still performs moves one by one.
As a result, there’s a high chance a robot will be blocked by another, be bumped into several spaces, and so on.
The conveyor belt shown above is also a potential obstacle—these pesky contraptions can transport robots to an entirely new location.
5. Lovelace & Babbage
In this game, players try to program the first-ever computer.
Players begin on a starting two-digit number and then upgrade to a different number, using mathematical operations—for example, add/subtract by 10, reset the number to 55, and the like.
As gameplay continues, more complicated operations become available. Round numbers are eliminated, and instructions such as add 33 appear.
You can see these various operations in the image below:
As you can see, mathematical skills are essential for completing the game.
Developers are sure to appreciate the game, primarily because of the focus on computer engineering and the similarities to proper coding.
6. Quirky Circuits
Similar to RoboRally, Quirky Circuits is also focused on robots. However, this game is cooperative.
Each unit has unique functions and default moves, so the cards sometimes include different instructions depending on the robot used.
The instruction cards are placed face-down until the movement is executed, so players can only guess what moves the others will make.
In other words, deductive reasoning is needed to win the game. Players must anticipate what other players will do, and if something goes wrong, discuss how to fix it afterward.
The game was even called the king of programming games by this Reddit user:
Both the subject matter (robots) and problem-solving processes (reminiscent of debugging) are sure to appeal to developers.
To achieve this, some cards allow additional playing and buying, and then players can advance much farther during their turn and gather more points.
The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Although this is code, the same principle applies as in Dominion—chaining cards result in more functions, and each card enables playing another card.
8. Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar
These gears rotate during gameplay, taking figures to different map locations. You can view the gears below:
However, when placing a figurine, players must set them down on the least valuable resource spot.
In other words, if previous players visited that gear, you’re in luck—they’ve gathered the less valuable resources. Then, you can place your figurine on the more valuable fields.
All players choose their moves in secret, so no one knows what the other player will do next.
Not even the Bugs can communicate with one another to strategize a capture plan, and the Pixoid always moves first.
The game’s board is depicted in the visual below:
The game might remind you of Pac-Man, the concept is similar.
Although the gameplay isn’t complicated, it relies on concepts similar to programming and is sure to delight your developers.
10. Fields of Arle
The game’s board is divided into two sections: a Summer and a Winter season. You can see this below:
This makes planning difficult, as the worker figurines always bounce between the two fields.
There are multiple strategies and moves to choose from, all possible pathways to complete some of the game’s objectives.
The plethora of actions impedes intelligent decision-making, as the players’ brains are bombarded with options.
When the cognitive load becomes too excessive, developers lose the ability to make rational decisions.
If you’re ever in doubt about how to organize your next team building, give these board games a try.
From the long-winded Dungeons and Dragons to the simplistic Pixoid, there’s a game for every software developer. It’s just a matter of selecting the best one for your team.
With some games, cooperation between your team members is sure to increase, as they work together to win the game.
With others, they’ll develop other essential workplace skills, such as decision-making and time management.
Whatever game you choose, however, one thing is certain—your developers will definitely enjoy themselves.