Dekanawidah: My Lessons Learned


I have been part of a very good collaborative game named Dekanawidah – A Liga das Nações Iroquesas (Dekanawida – The League of Iroque Nations) and would like to share my personal view about the game and the results of it.

Firstly, a brief explanation about the game: the participants are separated into 4 teams. Each team is a ‘tribe’. Since it’s a collaborative game, it means that, even that there are 4 teams playing, they need to work on small goals to achieve the main goal which is shared by all participants. So, or everyone wins or everyone loses. The table is divided in four territories. Each tribe has knowledge and domain about one territory. The tribes need to move on the table by using resources in order to complete each small goals (in the beginning of the game, each team receives 7 small objectives). Inside its own territory, which is known by the tribe settled on it, the use of resources is less than when you are moving inside a territory that you do not know. The teams can share information and trade resources between them. You can even just give resources to other tribes.

During the game I could identify three different and distinct moments.

In a first moment, with the teams ‘sailing through calm waters’, moving inside a known territory with enough resources, they cared about their own goals and expected that the others would take care of theirs in order to accomplish the main goal. In this moment, even if the teams are not using the resources, they weren’t willing to share or trade them with the other teams.

In a second moment, as the game difficult increased, the teams started to care about others’ goals and willing to share their resources, but still in a reactive way (‘if someone ask us, we can help’).

When the game got very difficult, the teams ‘realized’ that, even if they have concluded their own goals, they should help other teams or the entire group would not achieve the main goal. So, the teams that have finished their goals started to offer help in analyze other teams’ objectives, helping them planning and sharing the resources with those teams.

My main concern at the end of the game was: since all participants knew the main goal and the rules (possibility of trades, everyone’s victory or loss, small goals, etc) from the beginning of the game, why do they take too long to start to help each other? Why didn’t they work together since the beginning in order to create a unique strategy to win the game? So, the main lesson that I took from the game was: we do not need to wait for someone ask for our help to work with our colleagues in order to achieve a main goal and, maybe, if we help each other since the beginning of the ‘game’ (a project, a task, etc), the hard times could not come.

Nota: publicado originalmente em 2011 na Newsletter do Application Services, o departamento onde trabalho, na Johnson & Johnson.

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