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Below is the latest version of the facilitation guide. Since it is online, it might evolve and enrich over time. Good luck in facilitating this serious game and wishing you all the playful learning!

In the description below you’ll find the description of the base game. The goal of this game is to build a structure together that from both your perspectives is build correctly. You’ll experience how well you work together with shared resources/materials and having a mutual, however obfuscated, goal.

The goal of this game can however be different from session to session. We’ve created a container that could contain all kinds of learnings (see what we did there ;-)) 
Below you will see the first set of variants. Some of these variations could be completely new games. At 
Play4Agile 2023 a lot of variations will be added that are based on the Agile principles.


  • You’ll need the serious game of ‘Contain-It-All’* from The Serious Gamers
  • A timer: a smartphone or stopwatch will do
  1. Have 4 players play the game
    1. two players sit opposite of each other, they are the dock workers
    2. next to them are two others, these two are the logistics experts
  2. Put the container ship game board in between the dock workers
  3. Put all the blocks next to the game board (first few normal games remove the red block) 
  4. Place the deck of cards and the standee in between the logistics experts (first few normal games are played with the day cards)


Board game prices are going through the roof! You must have heard the news that prices for shipping containers have gone up by an insane amount. You work at the docks and with your help and skills we will be able to bring the costs down again. All you have to do is load the containers correctly and in the least amount of time. Will you be able to keep all containers on board and keep your nerves in check… will you be able to Contain-It-All?


You are about to place all containers (blocks) on a ship (game board). At all times you have to comply with these rules:

  • The players must use ALL containers, in normal mode this means all except for the red one (some may be completely hidden at times).
  • Each player is only allowed to view their side of the card and the construction. 
  • The containers must fit on the ship on the game board (4 x 4). It may also be smaller. 
  • No container may be positioned above an empty space, they are way too heavy for that.

Start the game!

  • The dock workers sit opposite with the ship and containers in between, the logistics experts sit next to them and have the standee and playing cards in between (not visible for the dock workers, as they have it ‘in their minds’)
  • You start at level 1. This means you set the timer at 2 minutes
  • Once you’ve set the timer the logistics experts place one of the playing cards in the standee
  • Now, each from your own perspective, the logistics experts give instructions to the dock workers on how the containers must be placed (remember the dock workers can never see the card, but the logistics experts can see what the dock worker on their side is doing)
  • When your side is done the first say ‘Contain’. Once the other side is also done, they reply with ‘It All!’ 

Now double check with the card if the construction indeed has all the containers in the right place on the ship. 

View from side A

View from side B

Top view
Looks like this containership will sail successfully! 

Now high five and go to level 2! If you didn’t load it correctly, reset and try the same level again!

  • Level 2: 1 min and 30 secs
  • Level 3: 1 min and 15 secs
  • Level 4: 60 secs
  • Level 5: 45 seconds
  • Level 6: 30 seconds

What level did you reach after 15 minutes of playing? Will you be the best-performing team?

HARD MODE: If you have completed the game and solved it in 30 secs with the day cards, then feel free to shift to the night cards. These require the red block to be added to the set of blocks, meaning it must be included in all constructions, even if it isn’t visible on the card (that means it must be hidden within the construction)



Different perspectives

Systems Thinking


  • What made you outperform/underperform as a team?
  • How was it not to be able to see what the card was?
  • How was it to have two logistics experts speaking at the same time?
  • How was the collaboration between logistics and dock worker?
  • How did you come up with communicating effectively enough?
  • Did it feel like both sides worked together or against each other?
  • How did you give feedback to each other?
  • What was your process of improving in this game?

Different perspectives and systems thinking

  • How did it feel when another person made your work undone?
  • How did you feel when you where finished and the other side wasn’t?
  • What did you come up with to share each other’s perspective?
  • Did you ever question if both sides could achieve your goal?
  • How did it feel not fully knowing the perspective/goal from the other side?
  • What does this tell you about your goals and goals from other teams or departments at your work?


Since this game is a container there will be many variations. In order to help you develop new variantions  we’ve created a (basic) design module to create cards. Here is the ‘Contain it all card designer’.

Play4Agile – Agile principle variations

Play4Agile modes – Many different game/varations that will teach you something about Agile principles

Just the Two of Us

This mode only plays with two players at a time. Get rid of the logistics experts and have the dock workers see the plan themselves. 

Debrief shifts:

  • How did it help having both the plans and the construction being done by the same person?
  • What is the role of communication in this mode?
  • How did it shift from the four player mode, were different things being talked about?
Mirror Image

The rules are the same as the ‘Just the Two of Us’-mode above except for 1 important rule:
You put down the containers from the other player’s perspective. This means that the player opposite of you will see what is on your side of the card once you start putting up the containers (and vice versa).

Debrief shifts:

  • Different perspectives are hard to see
  • Obfuscated information (slower feedback)
  • Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes takes quite some extra effort and time

Footnote: You can find roughly comparable components in the games La Boca and Recto Verso, which were certainly inspiration for this serious game.

Who are you gonna call to learn more about serious games? The Serious Gamers! 😉

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