Mittwoch, 8. Juni 2011

Oops? Agile Oops!

When I was a teenager we used to play a lot of board games. One of them was "Taboo", where you describe verbally a well known Term without using some defined keywords. Sounds easy? Just try to describe the word "humor" without using the words "lough", "fun" "black", "joke" and "comedian". In a competetive situation. Under time pressure. Not that easy, isn't it? But as soon as you are used to the rules the game tends to become loud, intensive and funny.  This is a game that is a lot of fun with bigger groups and we used to entertain a whole pub while playing it (well, I am not sure about the last part of the sentence - it might also be the case that the rest of the pub felt more irritated than entertained :-)).

Recently I attended some Open Space Unconferences where people used to meet at the bar in the evening and - yes, play. Sometimes I played with the others, sometimes I just observed them playing or just had nice discussions with people. But at a certain point of time it got hard to have any other discussions because what the gamers did got very loud, intensive and seemed to be a lot of fun. This reminded me to me in ancient times playing at the pub - and i thought it could be nice to have an agile game to play that can be both used for fun as well as for training. So I took some time to brainstorm terms from the agile world, define the no-go words and finally I took the prototype of Agile Oops! to the Agile Coach Camp Italy 2011 where I found some great people to playtest together with me. This is the result of those tests.

Playtesting Agile Oops! at ACCIT11

What do you need?
  • a group of people that know all those buzzwords that are used within the agile world (at least 4, best 8-10, up to 20)
  • a buzzer (something loud, e.g. a bell)
  • a timer
  • the Agile Oops! cards, or a subset of them

How to play? (Here is more detailed info and the exact rules)

The fun version of playing is quite easy, it is played with two teams against each other and against the timer.

  • Build two teams, choose a start player from the first team
  • The Second team gets timer and buzzer
  • Start the timer and the start player draws the first card: he now has to explain the term on the card without using the words below. No mimic. No gestures. The second team controls this and uses the buzzer, if something forbidden is used or done (be sure, they will do it with enthusiasm ;-)).
  • Each card that the starting team guesses correctly within the 2 minutes is one point  for them. All cards that had to be discarded or where the player did not know how to describe it are one point for the second team each.
  • The winner is the team which reaches first 55 Points.

Where to use it?

You can use it as a fun game for any occasion in the above described competitive way. You can also use it in a simpler way e.g. to deepen the learning and understanding after a Scrum workhop. Then you might just pass around some cards and let one person explain and the rest guess. This can make visible for the people how good their understanding is - you can only describe something with your own words that you understood well.

There are variations in the rules document and I hope that many people will add more ideas! For example you can use the cards with the terms also to play Charade or let the people paint the terms without talking (everyone in Germany will remember "Die Montagsmaler").

Available Material?

I have published the Agile Oops! under the licence of Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0  to be used for everyone. The following files are available:

You can contact me to be added to the google docs documents if you would like to contribute either with words, translations or variations. Of course you also might just leave a comment with your suggestions here. I try to find a way to offer a easy printable version soon.

PS: I will have a version ready to play for ACCDE11 - I hope that some of you guys will find some time to play there with me!

PPS: with special thanks for playtesting, ideas and help to @IlIlIIlIlIlIlII, @tonyxzt@fabioarmani@ojuncu@wasitova, @carloz - hope I forgot noone

6 Kommentare:

  1. Hi,

    first of all: Welcome to the world of blogging!
    Second: Sounds great, I´m also a big Taboo-fan, already thinking about when/ where to use this.
    Third: Would be great to get this via some kind of print-on-demand service, so I don´t have to tinker the cards myself!


  2. Hi Christian,

    thanks :-)

    I am looking for a way to distribute it easier, professional cards are quite expensive for this amount of cards (around 50,- € for three card sets a 55 cards). Sven is working on something, so stay tuned :-)


  3. Hi Jule,
    I love it.
    Please publish this also on TastyCupCakes.
    And mention it at the Agile games website.


  4. Hi Jule

    Really looking forward to play this game at #accde11 :)

    - marc

  5. I like this game a lot. We also use Taboo with the 'What were they thinking?' game (, but the learning points are very different.
    I was thinking, instead of using the cards, maybe you could just project the taboo words and have the playing team face away from the screen, while the opposing team and player face them.
    I may try this next week in my Scrum class!


  6. Absolutely brilliant! A key growth stage for a practitioner is the move from jargon to thoughtfully speaking in one's own terms from a deeper ubderstanding of the concepts. This game rewards those who can - and challenges those who cannot! Thanks for this contribution. Can't wait to play it!