Motor City began life as a simple training workshop to show the impact statistical variance had on dependent events. I called it Herbie in honour of the inspiration for the game which was described in the book by Eli Goldratt – “The Goal”
The initial game had a series of dice rolls each with a modifier (e.g. D6+1, D6-2 etc) and the teams would attempt to predict throughput of a sequence of events. They would be asked to re-order the events to maximise effectiveness of the plant.
This exercise would trigger discussions around the amount of inventory and what the most effective sequence of work stations was. It was great fun and was a popular exercise.
The exercise covered aspects of the Theory of Constraints; of flow; WiP limits and even little’s law. But it didn’t convey the pull aspect of Kanban clearly and as it was tokens rather than cards it was not sufficiently representative of Kanban to be considered a Kanban game.
And so Motor city evolved from there, the statistical variance and dependent events has been kept but it has been adapted to include cards, customer orders, and a more defined Kanban feel but still retains the essence of the initial workshop.
As it turns out the game is fun in it’s own right even without the learning and is very re-playable which is a big distinction to some of the other Kanban games which are very contrived and linear. Motor City enables you to explore a variety of WiP limit techniques and or simply just have fun playing the game.