You’ve probably been to at least one event – meeting, seminar, offsite, retreat, whatever – that featured a team-building and/or people-meeting exercise of some sort. And regardless of whether it was the tired ol’ “soap opera name” thing or the dreaded “meet and greet shoe pile” or some other wretched bit of management-magazine quackery, you probably rolled your eyes, went through the motions, and pretended like you cared just so you could put it behind you and forget all about it. Which is too bad … the idea of something simple and fun to start conversation and get people into a productive and contributing frame of mind is great. But when that something is a tired old idea that came from some white-bread stuck-in-the-1970s corporate bag o’ tricks, well, the actual result is usually just 5 wasted minutes and a lot of grumbling amongst the lackeys and minions.

Enter Spaceteam.

Spaceteam pretends to be a game for 2 to 4 players. And yes, it is a pretty good game, although it’s fair to say that it stretches the boundaries of that particular definition. There are no rules presented to the players, there is no achievable goal, and you win or lose (and really, since there is no way to win you are going to eventually lose) as a group. Which doesn’t sound like a lot of fun until you realize that the game rewards initiative, cleverness, co-operating and … most of all … shouting at each other.

A lot.

Now translate those ideas to the first five minutes if a meeting and you can see where this is going. There will be shouting and laughing and blaming and general ruckus – all of the kinds of thinks that groups of humans love to do, but in our “civilized” age often need a push and a prod to indulge in. And Spaceteam is the perfect prod.

The game is free to download and play, and the only restriction is that every player must have their own iOS device – iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch – and either be on the same wireless network (which is probably a given) or have bluetooth turned on. March your troops into a meeting, have them all download this, divide them into equal-sized groups of three or (better) four people, and turn ’em loose to see which group can get the best score in three tries. Then clear the decks and get into whatever your meeting is really supposed to be about.

Click here to grab Spaceteam at the App Store right now, and in case it needs to be repeated: It’s free. Enjoy.

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