Greetings to the Clue Community!

Dr. Clue News: 
Hello again everyone!

You’ve heard of treasure hunts, of course.  And most everyone knows about bike-building events.   But did you know that the two could be combined?   Well, that’s exactly what we did in Orlando this last week for 60 people from Ice Legal. Gathering at the posh Ritz-Carlton,  participants competed to solve clues and reach cool, mystery locations throughout the resort, acquiring varying amounts of points in the process.  After each treasure hunt round, teams also received items they would need for putting together their bicycles: ie. tools, bike parts, helmets, & decorations.  At the end of the day, after all the clues had been solved and all the bikes completed, a representative from the local YMCA came in with a group of kids, who all received brand new bicycles, created and decorated with love.  It was quite a beautiful day and entirely unique:  a treasure hunt bike build!

Do you have a meeting coming up at a large hotel or resort?    Let Dr. Clue transform the property into a puzzle-solving adventure with a charitable output.   Call us at 707-566-7824, or write for more information!

In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more puzzles for you to solve, a memorableicebreaker, and an article about how board games are applicable to business.  Enjoy!Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker Newsletter

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Frame Games

Last issue, we gave you these 3 puzzles:

t  r  a
l  a  f
g  a  r






Thanks to everyone who sent in a solution.  The correct answers were:

  • Trafalgar Square
  • Long time no see
  • Gross injustice

Our First-to-Solve was Kristen Wilson.  Congratulations Kristen!

This Week’s Puzzles:

Here are 3 more frame puzzles (without the frames).  As always, let’s see who can get them all the fastest and be named the “F2S” (first to solve).

1)  Hiiioiiiwiiieiiir


3)  H ijklmn O

Email your answers ASAP at:
Good luck!

This Week’s Icebreaker

A Game of Remembering

You’ll need: a range of objects. This range may consist of 2 or it may be more like 14 –
the exact number will depend on how many team members are taking part, so it’s entirely up to
the organizing party to decide.

How it works

1. Gather together various objects which are easily moved around and which the team
often uses in relation to their every-day work. This list may include various tools and
forms, office stationery and supplies – what these are depends on the kind of work the
team do.

2. Put these items on a table which the team cannot see, and which nobody will be able to
see by moving around (tip: don’t have a table in plain view with a cover over it. Although
nobody will be able to see the things, they may be able to guess!).

3. Now form the groups. Each one should be made up of either 4 or 6 people. Tell
everyone that the main goal of this activity is to work as a team to form an
understanding of the objects that are hidden from view.

4. Allow each team 60 seconds to view the table. This should be done in silence without
any communication, either vocally or by using lip-reading/facial expressions. Be careful
to observe at all times!

5. Once the groups have returned to their individual tables – which should be far enough
apart that neither can see or hear what is happening on the other – you should ask each
person to write down everything they remember seeing on the table. Nobody should talk
to anyone else, so that everyone is reliant on their own memory only.

6. Finally, ask one of the team members on both tables to draw up a list using everyone’s
feedback. This will prove that team-work always produces the best results.

Things you may like to discuss:

1. How much more was remembered when the team worked together than when
individuals worked alone? (We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well most
teams do!)

2. Is there some physical correlation between the items which were most commonly
remembered? Or do the items most remembered seem random and without anything in

3. Lastly, this activity proves without doubt that shared knowledge makes a team much
more productive than many people working on their own. Can you think of any situations
at work which would be improved if working as a team happened more often and team
members shared what they know with the group as a whole?

(With thanks to

———————————————————————-Featured Article

Board Games For Business
By Dave Blum

Long before Facebook, Instagram and Angry Birds, in an age long past (or so it seems), families spent hours together huddled around the kitchen table, enjoying spirited games of Monopoly, Sorry, the Game of Life, and Risk.    A welcome break from television — the chief electronic entertainment of the era — board games provided adults and kids alike a chance to interact with each other in real time: laughing, communicating, and strategizing together, across generations.

In this digital age, have board games become mere relics of a bygone age?  And if not, what practical applications might they have today, not only for families but also for trainers, entrepreneurs, and business innovators?

These are some of the fascinating questions posed by Leigh Buchanan in a recent Inc. Magazine article (June 2013, p. 60) titled Chairman of the Board.    In his story, the author introduces us to entrepreneur Matthew Calkins, co-founder of Appian (a process-management software company).  A veteran gamer since age 3, Calkins engages in a most unusual business practice; every month he holds a night of board games for business.   During the course of the evening, he and his friends roll out as many as three new games, all of which the group is coming to fresh.  Says Calkin: “Since we’ve never encountered an experience exactly like this one, we have to adapt to what’s new with it.”
Beyond mere recreation and camaraderie, Calkins’ emphasis for these sessions is the lessons gaming can teach business leaders.  His discoveries include insights into the following areas:

Focus:  Notes Calkins:  “Typically leaders focus on outputs.  You know you’ve lost a sale but not that you are in the process of losing it.  Games give players a feel for the quality of their inputs, allowing them to quickly change tactics.”
Feedback:  “With games, you get feedback on whether what you just did was effective or ineffective…[as a result], I have developed very good early-warning detection.”
Sharpening Strategy:  “When I sit down at a game, I think, In this situation, victory will be derived from what intermediary state?   Then I direct my strategy to accomplish that intermediary state.”

Some of Calkins’ favorite board games include “Amun Re” (land acquisition in Ancient Egypt), “Acquire” (hotel investment) and “Tin Goose” (aviation entrepreneurship).  To this list, I would like to add my own favorite strategy board game:  “Agricola” (from Z-Man Games).     As struggling medieval farmers, your chief goal in Agricola is to build up your property with pastures and fields.   A successful outcome might be the planting of one field sown with vegetables and two fields sown with grain, the erection of three animal pastures housing cows, pigs and cattle, and the renovating of your home from wood to clay to stone.   But here’s the rub: in order to get anything done in Agricola, you need to grow your family.  You see, each family member represents one “turn” or action.   As important as family growth is in the game, feeding your people at the recurring harvests (six in all) is even more vital.  Failure to feed your family come harvest time results in *major* deductions:  three points per missing food!

For entrepreneurs in particular, Agricola teaches important lessons about how to manage your business expansion.    Yes, you most certainly want to ramp up your business “family” as quickly as possible; the more employees (family members) you have, the more work you can accomplish.   But balanced with expansion must be capacity.   Can you afford to pay/feed your people?    Are you ready for prosperity and all it entails?

Like Calkins, I’ve been a dedicated game player for quite some time now, hosting a bi-weekly Agricola meet-up in Berkeley, CA.  What else has the game taught me about business?   These three important lessons:

1)      Think ahead. Actions you initiate early can reap long-term benefits towards the end of the game.   The sheep you breed in stage one may turn into a whole flock by stage six.
2)      Timing is everything. There’s a right time for each action.  Yes, you want to renovate your home from wood to stone for extra points, but that’s usually a stage-four, not a stage-one, kind of move.
3)      Respond to the changing situation.  Keep track of what other players are doing. Although you may have started out with a field strategy, if everyone else is buying ovens to bake bread into food, perhaps you should shift your strategy and pick up a fireplace (for cooking animals) instead.

In an age that is growing more solitary, with people sitting alone in their rooms playing virtual games like Facebook Scrabble and World of Warcraft, or texting people who are sitting right there across the dining room table from them, board games offer a somewhat retro opportunity to unplug, together, with your friends, family and colleagues.    When you toss in the myriad business lessons to be gathered, the message is clear:   it’s time to start playing more board games    Or as we might say during our Agricola sessions, you’re bound to reap the benefits!

As always, thank you for being a part of the Dr. Clue Community!

Dave Blum, Editor, The Dr. Clue Friday Icebreaker newsletter