Performance Management Blog

Results Analysis of Typical Lost Dutchman Team Building Debriefing
Performance Management Company

In this short blog, we share a results analysis of a typical Lost Dutchman team building game delivery. We focus on sharing a simple overview and analysis of a typical game and discuss some key debriefing possibilities. I produce this post in 2018.

Jeff was flying off to Portugal to demonstrate The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team building exercise at the International Business Learning Games Conference (we did not win — our packaging was not “tight” enough and we had no real time to demonstrate the actual game — and he asked me to send him a typical “Final Results Summary,” which is why I wrote this up in this blog. What I thought to do was to also share that as a blog post herein, for the benefit of our many users who might find a quick review of the debriefing results to be of interest.

The game is about measured results and how collaboration, communications, and planning can work to optimize outcomes in the game and how those ideas can be implemented in the workplace. One or two teams can “beat” the game but it is also the overall results that are of interest to the Expedition Leader. It is great to have one team “win” but ALL the teams contribute to final outcomes. Collaboration is a key learning point from the deliveries.

So, below is a fairly typical analysis with a delivery for 5 tabletops (30 players) done with the board game and where we use an overhead projector to easily share the information about results. The critical factor, of course, is to link these game results to the behaviors and player choices that occurred — and to debrief around considered alternative behaviors for their workplace after the workshop.

Results of teambuilding game Lost Dutchman

A typical summary of results. 2 teams used all 20 days and note the dots on the right that show the Videos and the sharing of Turbos.

  • The final result was that the 5 teams collected $92,500 in Gold, averaging $18,500.
  • IF they chose to collaborate more and if they planned better, these teams could have collected $122,500 in gold and improved their average score to $24,500 with NO increased costs. 
  • This 32% increase in gold mined is accomplished with NO additional resources. It results simply from better play by the teams, who are free to ask for help from game leadership but who generally choose not to do so. (“Nobody ever asks the Expedition Leader for advice!”)

Seen above, the top performing team, Blue, mined gold for 10 days at $2500 in each day.

The lowest performing team (Pink) mined only 5 days because of their decisions and resource management pushing them to return on Day 18 and not having a Turbocharger.

TWO teams (Yellow and Lime) got both available Videos, so there were 6 Turbochargers available for the group. (See the dots at the right)

But only 3 of the 6 teams used a Turbo for their return from the Mine to Apache Junction, spending 7 or 8 days to return as opposed to 4 (using a Turbo). THIS was the critical factor, the use of a Turbo, in optimizing the overall results for the group.

Ideally, ALL teams should have all returned on Day 20 and all should have had a Turbo available for their use, but you can see that three teams returned earlier because of resource management and not asking for help. If either the Lime or Yellow teams shared their extra Turbos, results would have been dramatically improved.

The Lime and Yellow teams acquired Turbochargers at the start of the exercise by choosing to get “The Tortilla Flat Video,” presented to them as costing them to spend an extra day at Apache Junction before leaving but finding that the information in that video that, “teams find helpful.” One Turbo would allow them to move TWO blocks per day for the whole game; these two teams received three Turbos in each TF Video and could have shared the extras with two other teams. (Only the Blue team got one of the extras, as noted by the dot on the far right side of the summary.)

The Yellow Team did what we call A Perfect Play, getting both of the videos and leaving fully informed on Day 3, returning on Day 20 and mining 9 gold, an optimal result for a single team. But they did not share information or resources, what we call “My Team, My Team, My Team” behavior…

But the Blue Team got the benefit of a shared Turbo without it costing them a day, so they were able to leave on Day 2 and return the last day. This gave them 10 gold.

But what of the Green and Pink teams? With all the information and resources available to Yellow and Blue, why were none shared with them? They could have mined more gold if they stayed in the mine more than their 5 days.

The results of teams NOT collaborating and competing to win is the sub-optimization of organizational results. Teams trying to WIN will often not help those teams trying to succeed; they will not freely share information or resources that other teams would find of benefit or that would help optimize the GROUP’s overall results.

  • The teams returned with $210 in inventory, enough for 7 more days of mining.
  • And only 3 teams used one of the 6 Turbochargers that were available.

Performance Management Company

Dutchman IS just a game. It IS FUN. But there is a very serious side to debriefing the exercise for impacting organizational culture, focusing on collaboration, and generating more alignment to shared goals and objectives!

The play allows us to get into solid, substantial discussions about real workplace issues such as competition versus collaboration and to anchor to the idea that the goal is, “To Mine as much gold as WE can” in the workplace. Teams effectively choose to sub-optimize overall results because they fail to collaborate across tabletops and because they choose to not ask for help from leadership.

The Goal is to Mine as Much Gold as WE Can

I know that this fast overview leaves a lot of questions unanswered and that it is not a complete description of how the results of Lost Dutchman can be debriefed and linked to real workplace culture ideas. More complete explanations of the scoring and debriefing can be found in other materials in the packages we sell and in other blog posts.

In an earlier blog, I included a much more detailed overview of how this works. You can download a VERY detailed, 15-page overview and analysis at  “Linking Measured Game Results to Organizational Development Opportunities” by clicking on the link. This is really for the game owners looking to really understand the way we measure results and manage them in the debriefing.

This other blog post shares a good overview of how the results are captured and how they can be debriefed ( 

Dutchman is somewhat unique in the team building / team bonding world because it does have Measured Results, that capture the team’s choices and behaviors and that relate directly to improved workplace results and ideas for improvement. It is a fun and fast-paced exercise, but one that is not simply fun. It lends itself to powerful debriefings about organizational cultures and issues of expectations and feedback.

Please contact me if I can help clarify any of the above or provide more information,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools. He has been working hard to retire and has moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, which is a truly great place to live.


You can reach Scott at
Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Find more information about Lost Dutchman, go to

Here is a 2-minute overview of the new ONLINE virtual team building game:

logo for Lost Dutchman Virtual online edition





Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of the amazing Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game and the Square Wheels facilitation and engagement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced global presenter. -- You can reach Scott at and a detailed profile is here: -- Scott is the original designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game and the Square Wheels® images for organizational development.

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