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Ways to Use the Project Risk Game
Helpful Information for Instructors

The Project Risk game can be played successfully in many different formats and venues. This section of the web site is dedicated to providing you with best practices to help make your training experience rewarding and enjoyable.

Helpful Instructor Downloads

Thinking Outside the Game Box

Most instructors purchase Project Risk to help teach risk management strategies, project management fundamentals, and earned value status reporting. However the game is also a great way to capture team members working patterns as they apply to these topics:

  • Decision making
  • Risk Psychology: Understanding Risk Personality Types and their implications for project decisions
  • Reserve analysis and usage
  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Willingness to work productively with competitors
  • Dealing with stress
  • Rescuing troubled projects
  • Communication
  • Stakeholder management
Using the Project Risk Game to Teach Earned Value

Earned Value Sheet - Optional Project Risk game learning component

An optional Earned Value exercise comes in each Project Risk box.

In addition to using the Project Risk game to teach good project management practices and risk management, it also can be used to teach earned value. Click here to download a spreadsheet and chart of the project planned value so that learners can track their actual cost and earned value based on their game performance. Only one sheet is needed per team.

Here are a few tips when teaching earned value in conjunction with the Project Risk game:
  1. When calculating the actual cost, remember that although the value of most of the steps is 1 chip, the value of the executing steps is 5 chips each.
  2. When calculating the actual cost, DO NOT factor in the project funding - which consists of the 50 chips to start at Initiation, and then the additional funding of 10 chips upon passing each additional process group.
  3. When calculating the actual cost, DO factor in the cost of implementing your risk strategies.


Set-Up Tips
  • Stack the chips in piles of 10. This makes counting faster.
  • If you are using the Earned Value sheet (optional) lay a red and a black pen on top of the sheet so they don't have to search for them later.
  • Open the workbook cover up next to the game board so that it is displaying the roadmap graphic. That indicates that learners are supposed to use it as opposed to holding the workbook for later.
  • Lay the instruction sheet right on top of the game board and encourage early arrivers to read the instructions.
  • If you have teams competing against each other, consider using a flip chart to track the period progression of the teams.
Team Chip Rewards for Learning

One flexible method for the instructor to reinforce learning and to help dispurse funds to struggling teams is to offer chips (usually in quantities of 2-5) for teams who volunteer first to take a test. Then when the first team volunteers you tell them they must look at you during the Q&A, and not at the game board.

Ask the team to do one of the following:

  1. State the 5 process groups in order
  2. State the 4 negative and 4 positive risk strategies
  3. Look at Risk Card X and give a real-life trigger example
Tips for Playing with Large Groups

The Project Risk Game has been successfully played with groups sizes up to about 45 with one instructor. However it can get to be challenging to field all of the questions and to control the game play. Here are a few tips to consider when your group size exceeds 4 game boards:

  1. Instead of having each team roll their own dice, you can have one announcer (possibly you/the facilitator) roll both dice. This helps ensure that the teams will follow your pace, it helps you direct them with each "period" saying "Have your project manager pawn move forward 4 spaces and pay the bank now." Then roll the black dice, and together read what the risk card rolled says.
  2. Consider having a co-facilitator help you by walking around and assisting all of the players. You can train your own co-facilitator, feel free to contact us. We love to come out to assist with Project Risk play.
  3. If you don't have a co-facilitator, request that the questions get asked publicly instead of individually so that you don't spend time answering the same questions over to each team.
  4. Consider skipping the optional Earned Value part of the game to help simplify the process. 
Alternative Approach for Learning the Lingo

If the game is being played to help reinforce the workbook and terminology THEY HAVE ALREADY LEARNED, consider playing with this additional twist.

For each "period" the pawn lands on a step. A player on the team must define what that step is. Rotate the assignment to state the definition between players. Instruct teams to select who will be the first definer before they begin.

Briefly (and in your own words) define the step. If player can define it without resources, there is no penalty. If they have to look it up in the glossary, they should look it up – read it and as a penalty, take one team member pawn off the game board.

Try Before You Buy?

You may have Successful Projects lead the Project Risk game with your audience without buying the game boards for the normal cost of a facilitated workshop (rates vary depending upon length, location, and details). Then if you would like to have us leave the Project Risk board games with you for your continued use, you will save the shipping cost and also receive a discount for the "slightly used" board games.


Please contact us for a price quote and date availability.

PMO Version

Click here to download the PMO Version information.


Thank you to Richard Seigler from Loyola University for inventing a wonderful twist on the Project Risk board game.   Richard calls this the PMO version and it includes the option to hire a consultant (pawn), an added  management reserve (extra chips), it ties the schedule to the number of team members involved, it adds a “heroic approach” option, and has a different end scoring approach.

Copyright 2017 by Successful Projects