The Boardgame of Office Politics

Sometimes the stress of interdepartmental friction within organisations can get on top of you, especially between the business and IT when the going gets tough. Simple-Talk's answer is a board game to put it all into perspective. Instead of getting carried away, play the board game instead and reach catharsis.

Workplace Politics

a.k.a. Conference Call of Duty: Modem Warfare

In the interests of harmony and peace in this season of goodwill, we have released the game of Workplace Politics. Now you can reach catharsis, and purge that build-up of aggression in the office by playing the board game instead. Feeling under pressure from the Business, with your IT project slipping its dates? Play the board game, and feel the stress just drop away. Is your business suffering from IT delivering too little functionality too late? Turn tensions within your organisation into seasonal cheer as you while away those long winter evenings. If office politics start to loom large next year, you’ll just laugh and remember all those happy hours spent on your holiday having your offspring wipe you off the board to gales of childish laughter.



Workplace Politics is a strategy board-game for two players, based on the classic game of L’Attaque (or ‘Military Tactics’).

The action takes place at the HQ of Blue Arrows Enterprises. Malicious gossip at the water cooler has escalated into all out ‘war’ between the staff of the Business team and those of the IT team, who share a top-floor open plan office.


Each player controls one of the teams, comprising the staff members of that team, with job roles of varying levels of ‘seniority’, plus a number of ‘special pieces’, and a corporate logo. High ranking team members from one team can dismiss from the opposing team only those who are lower in the pecking order (with some exceptions).

The objective of the game is to find and capture the opposing team’s corporate logo, or to cause so many hostile employees to be dismissed that the opponent cannot make any further moves. Players cannot see the role of one another’s pieces, and so disinformation, guesswork, bluff and discovery are important aspects to gameplay.

The losing team has to surrender the entire office space to the opponent and relocate to the basement.

The board and playing pieces


The board represents two sides of an open-plan office at the HQ of Blue Arrows Enterprises. It is a board of (9Ã10) squares, divided by a water cooler and Office Spikey Plant in the middle of the board, each 2Ã2 squares in size.

There are two players. Each player controls 36 pieces, either blue or yellow, consisting of 31 individual employees in various job roles, 4 ‘special pieces’, and 1 corporate logo. The blue pieces represent the IT team, and the yellow pieces the ‘Business’ team.

A piece’s ‘influence’, for the staff members of each team, is determined by their position/seniority in the hierarchy or ‘pecking order’. The pieces in each team are as follows:

Seniority Ranking No. of Pieces Per team Business Team (yellow) IT Team (Blue)



Chief Executive Officer

Chief Information Officer



Finance Director

Production IT manager



Senior Business Manager

Senior IT manager



Manager of Manufacturing

Project Manager



Sales and Marketing Manager

Database Administrator



Human Resources manager

Technical architect




Development Team Leader



Office Geek

Software engineer



Security Man




Business Analyst



Major Data Leak

Hostile take-over


Corporate Logo

Corporate Logo





Setting up the board


Each players decide who will be IT and who will be the Business. Each player decides in which ‘cubicles’ (squares) to place each of their pieces, in their half of the ‘office’

  • Place the pieces on the four rows of squares nearest to you, leaving the two rows containing the spiky office plants and water coolers (i.e. which represent the centre of the open plan office) unoccupied.
  • Pieces can be placed in any order the player wishes
  • Each player places the pieces with their ‘faces’ towards them and backs towards the opponent, so that neither player knows the value of the opponent’s pieces.
  • The corporate logo may not be stationed directly behind the watercooler/spikey plant, in other words not on any of the squares marked X in this diagram:
  • If a square marked with an X in the above diagram contains a special piece (data leak or hostile takeover) then the corporate logo may NOT be positioned directly behind that square – there must be an intervening movable piece.

Playing the game: The Rules of workplace politics

  • Decide which team will move first (e.g. by tossing a coin)
  • Each player moves one piece per turn. The players take it in turns to move. The Data Leak and Hostile takeover cannot move, neither can the corporate logo.
  • Each piece can move one square, per move, either forwards, backwards or sideways, but not diagonally, with following exceptions:
    • The Intern and Business Analyst are allowed to move several squares at a time, backwards, forwards or sideways (but not diagonally), provided that the intervening squares are unoccupied and there is no spiky houseplant or office water-cooler in the way.
    • No piece may move into or through the central blue blocks, containing the Watercoolers or spiky house plants.

To ‘attack’, simply move a piece onto a square occupied by an opposing piece, back to back so that neither player can see the identity of the other’s piece.

Attacks can be made only back to back – i.e. from the square directly in front of the opposing piece. No sideways attacks, or attacks from behind.

A piece may not move onto an occupied square unless it attacks.

After an attack, both players reveal the identity of their piece, and the game proceeds as follows:

  • If the engaging pieces are opposing team members of unequal seniority, the junior piece is fired from the company and removed from the board, with the following exceptions:
    • The Intern can get the Chief Executive Officer fired
    • The Business Analyst can get the Chief Information Officer fired
  • If the engaging pieces are opposing team members of equal seniority, both piece are ‘fired’ and removed, with the following exception:
    • When an Intern attacks a Business Analyst, or vice versa, both pieces remain on the board.
  • If the piece under attack is a special piece (hostile takeover or data leak), the attacking piece is fired, regardless of seniority, with the following exceptions:
    • the office geek can defeat the Hostile take-over  
    • the software engineer can remove the major data leak 
  • If the piece under attack is the corporate logo, the attacking player wins the game. Any team member can capture the corporate logo.

Assembling the board and pieces

The game is easy to assemble from the PDF  linked to at the bottom of the article. Print it out from the PDF supplied on a good thick paper, and cut out each piece by cutting each column that contains each piece. Fold along the dotted lines at each piece’s head then fold out the two smaller flaps to form the base. Stick the pieces together as in the photograph, using the dotted lines as your guide. Hopefully, it should all be easy to put together.

Many thanks to Rain Cao for her design work to bring this board to life, and her patience with all the changes we made. The PDF file can be downloaded from the link below.