Our games – Dice Of Debt

About the game

Dice Of Debt illustrates the importance of reducing technical debt. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s the accrued problems that software teams create when they cut corners in writing and testing code. The game is simple, easily played in 15 minutes or less.

Dice Of Debt is going to be part of a package of materials that the Agile Alliance is producing to help people combat technical debt. We will post more specifics when we have them. The current plan is to publish this package by the end of 2015.

In the game, you play an Agile software development team. You have 10 sprints in which to create the most software value that you can. You start with some technical debt, which is bad. You can invest in measures that reduce technical debt, which is good. These measures don’t come for free, however, so you have to choose wisely.

Dice Of Debt is a good example of a serious game that can address two different needs:

  • Education. The game helps people understand a particular topic through “experiential learning.” Some hands-on experience with the topic, even in a simulated and simplified form, can be a powerful teaching tool.
  • Simulation. Someone can use the game to explore different options, eventually selecting a strategy with a better chance of success. Dice Of Debt, for example, shows the potential value in applying the Agile principle, “Do the hard things first.”

This game is free to use. Just please be sure to give us credit! If you have questions, drop me an e-mail.


Playing the game

To play Dice Of Debt, you will need…

  • 12 regular 6-sided dice. It helps to have 8 of one color, and 4 of another color, but these are not required.
  • Print out the rules. Here’s the link.
  • Print out the scoring sheet and the tracking sheet. Here’s the file containing both.
    • If you want to play the variant version, print out the rest of the file and follow the instructions for creating the cards.


Game stats

I’ve been keeping track of the average scores, per game, which is currently 206.5 as of 09/12/15. Also, here is a graphic showing the average velocity, per sprint.