What is the PM Cardgame
It's unbelievable, but I haven't really explained it, have I?
For the past weeks, I've been writing about the process of creating a Product Management Cardgame. Earlier today I was sitting in the back of an uber, the gentle breeze of an open window caressing my cheek and it hit me: I never explained the game per se.
Embarrassing stuff. Let me correct that.
What is the PM cardgame
The PM cardgame is not an app or mobile game. It's a physical game, played with a real deck of cards. The cards are specific to this game. You can't play it with regular playing cards.
The cards are divided in Talent cards, Project Cards and Chaos cards.
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What are the objectives of the PM cardgame
Each player is a Product Manager at the same company, this means that there's some incentive to collaborate instead of just competing. There are opportunities for backstabbing but also helping a fellow player.
The objective of the game is to score points via the successful delivery of projects (I'm aware this name is not good in the context of Product Management, I'm figuring out something better).
If you only focus on delivering a lot of projects you'll probably neglect the risk reduction aspect of the game. And that means that you'll spend a lot of energy working on stuff only to see it fail in the market.
What actions players do in the PM cardgame
Players start with a few talent cards and a couple of project cards. Throughout the game, they'll match talent cards to project cards. While a project is ongoing, it is exposed to chaos. The longer a project takes, the riskier it is.
At the start of each turn, players draw cards from the Talent stack, the Project stack and the Chaos stack. In this order.
Players manage resources and balance factors
Players need to manage two resources:
Available talent to work on projects
Projects on their backlog
Players need to balance a few things:
Talent that is on standby (a player can only have up to 5 talent cards on their hand) VS talent that is working on projects
Do I place this lvl 2 engineer on this lvl project to make space in my hand for more talent cards?
Projects on the backlog VS projects being worked on
This project is rather talent-expensive (and has great scoring potential), do I keep it on my backlog, hoping for a good talent hand or do I drop it of the backlog to make space for shorter, less impactful but safer projects?
Each project has one of 4 types based on broader strategic objectives (Market Penetration, Market Development, Product Development, Diversification) and there are moments in the game where one type of project will get a bonus. This incentivizes players to adhere to specific project types at different moments.
What do the Chaos cards do in the PM Cardgame
Chaos cards are how we spice up the game. Chaos cards can help or hinder the player or players. They are all inspired by real things that happen during PM life:
a Reorganization effort leaves you with no team
an executive tramples over your backlog
you lose a good team member to the competition
You can probably see how Chaos cards affect your ability to deliver projects and score points.
How do you win the PM Cardgame
If you deliver enough projects to add up 10 points, you win.
This condition is particularly flexible, to allow for shorter or longer games
How do you lose the PM Cardgame
The simplest way to lose is to not win.
I'm currently playing around with an hardcore mode where you could lose to Burnout or being fired. This needs calibrating.
What are you doing with the PM Cardgame, right now?
The PM cardgame is being developed as we speak. I'm currently on its 3rd iteration and already planing changes for the 4th. I'm also quoting suppliers (in Brazil) to help me take it to production. The project is becoming less game-heavy and more logistics-&-production-heavy.
If you're interested in the mechanics of the game or how I'm trying to make it easy for beginner, these might be interesting:
I post weekly on the backstage of creating the PM cardgame.