Agile Battleships



This game was created by James Scrimshire


This game is designed to allow participants to experience and reflect on different on the importance of “Responding to change over following a plan”. They will feel the effects of different-sized feedback loops, from the big bang to the empirical.

Learning objectives

  • Responsiveness is vital to success
  • Generally speaking, the tighter we make the learning feedback loop, the more successful we can be
  • Too fast a feedback loop (in this game being able to change strategy at will) is often worse than a small batch. This is because having a pause to consider what we’re going to focus on next and designing a short term strategy for it ensures that there actually is a strategy. Additionally, there is a lot of overhead (waste) in making a decision every turn when hunting for the next ship.
  • The time taken to plan the 40 shots in this game is almost entirely waste



MODE: Small groups of 1-6 players


  • Battleships sets with instruction inserts


  • Decide: how many team you want. This can be anywhere from 4 upward, depending on the group size and the amount of battleships kits you have.
  • Instruct: Ask players to form into teams and sit appropriately.
  • Handout: Give each team a battle ships kit
  • Inquire: Check players are familiar with the game, and explain the rules if needed
  • Instruct: Ask the teams to place their 5 ships onto the upper grid
  • Handout: Give each team a bag of 40 blue pegs
  • Instruct: Ask the teams to design their battle strategies by placing the 40 blue pegs onto the lower grid

TIMEBOX: 5-10 mins



MODE: Small groups of 1-6 players


  • Handout: Allow each team to choose a mission parameter at random
  • Instruct: Read your missing parameters, and keep them secret!
  • Support: Visit each team, and endure they understand the parameters
  • IMPORTANT: If playing with more than 4 teams: ensure each opposing teams have different mission parameters.
  • Instruct: Begin the battle

TIMEBOX: 15-20 mins





Make this scoring chart while the game is playing:

Hits Sinks