Team activity – learning the play of words and art of story building with a fun riddle

We had a very interesting team activity today using a riddle I heard a long time ago and have often played with friends. Recently on, one such occasion I realized that this should be done within a project team as it has so many aspects to it that we can learn from.

 Rules of the game:

  1. Riddle to be shared with everyone and then we form 2 teams using. One of “MASTERS” and another of “DETECTIVES”
  2. DETECTIVES will try to solve the riddle by building a story using pointers from the riddle
  3. MASTERS will be given the full story and will then “light the way” for detectives, by answering as Yes, No, May be, Vague.

May Be and Vague are important !! May be means the MASTERS don’t know the answer but the question seems related to the plot. Vague again means they don’t know the answer, but the line of thought of DETECTIVES needs to be aborted. It’s not leading to the solution

  1. I played the role of moderator, dropping clues when required for Detectives and discussing Masters’ reply for tricky questions
  2. Since when I play this with friends it stretches over days, this activity was time boxed to 45 min, even if the riddle is un-solved. Last 10 min to discuss the experience

 Takeaways from it:

  1. Lateral thinking – the solving of problems by an indirect and creative approach, typically through viewing the problem in a new and unusual light
  2. Realizing the importance of art of ‘concise speaking’ using Precision Q&A
  3. Art of building story – Detective are given very little information and to create a story from that, to cling on to the key words was a great challenge and great learning
  4. Organization of thoughts – Detectives need to separate the thoughts which can lead to the solution and from those ideas that are not going with the story
  5. Play of words – 2 seemingly similar questions can have different answers – ‘Is the incidence related to the taste of food’ and ‘Incidence took place because food tasted good (or bad)’ – Have different answers
  6. Being a Master or guide is not as easy as it seems. For almost every question the masters had to consult either each other or the moderator. At one point – “Master Shifu” defended that we go with a ‘technically wrong’ answer just so he could lead the Detectives to the right path!
  7. Art of listening – Both teams needed to listen to what is being asked and what is being answered intently, else there is a good chance of making mistake
  8. Coordination and consensus building – Important for both teams!

 You might now wonder about the riddle but I will not detail it out. In case anyone reading this wants to experience it themselves, I could risk ruining it for them. Interested in playing this with your team? Message me and I will happily share the riddle / story with you


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