Microgames are small decoupled learning entities about a specific topic. Teams can play them to get up to speed in a specific field and can easily integrate them as part of their daily practices. They are especially useful for topics with large amounts of abstract knowledge, where knowing facts first is key.

With Stefan Zörner (@StefanZoerner), embarc Software Consulting GmbH, we have developed four microgames to illustrate the idea. Stefan is a well-known expert in software architecture and helps teams to develop their expertise to make the right architecture decisions.  We have chosen topics from his body of knowledge to create four microgames and playtested the protoypes with the GOTO Berlin Community – a big thank you to Dajana Günter, Catharina Tschinkel, Hypoport AG and all playtesters!!!

Each microgames implements the 4 principles of successful learning (see I likes AGES):

  • alert & focused over distracted
  • linked to daily work over theoretically applicable
  • positive emotions over pressure, stress and fear
  • small distributed learning units over „bulk“ learning

Here are our four prototypes – GitMatch, Micro Services Count Down, ArcAgimino & System Trumps:


Goal: Learn key concepts of a tool, e.g.

Get to know some of the
 most important git commands

How to play:gotonight_microgames1

  • 1st round: Play a game like Memory® with the cards upside up, so that you can see the commands. Match commands with their description.
  • After the first round, make a team guess: How many pairs do you dare to play?
6? 10? All?
  • 2nd round: Play a game like Memory® with your chosen number of pairs. Commands hidden this time.
  • 3rd round –  Each player adds their own pair with something s/he knows about git. Play with all cards.
  • The player who gathers
 most of the cards wins.
  • 4 players ∼15 min


Micro Services Count Down

Goal: To explore a new topic, e.g.

Discover what you can do
 with Microservices

How to play:

  • Shuffle the deck of cards and lay it upside-down on the table.
  • Take a card from the top and throw
the blue Story Cube-dices.
  • Whoever is first to connect an activity from a dice with the card gets the card.
  • If no one can come up with anything, the card goes back to the bottom of the stack and one dice is removed from the game.
  • The game ends if either all cards have been taken or no more dices left.
  • The player who gathers
 most of the cards wins.
  • 4 players ∼15 min



Goal: Combine different concepts and connect ideas, e.g.

Software Architecture & Agile

How to play:

  • Start with the set of tiles provided.
You can add more tiles of your own at the start or even whilst you are playing.
  • Shuffle the tiles pick one and place it in the middle of the table.
  • Each player takes 3 tiles on their hand.
  • One player starts to connect one of his tiles to the ones on the table, explaining the connection.
  • As an advanced rule only allow connections across domains, i.e. if you can’t connect and architecture concept with another one, the second concept needs the to be from the agile domain.
  • If s/he can‘t, he or s/he needs to pick up an additional tile.
  • The first player to clear
 their hand wins.
  • 4 players ∼15 min


System Trumps

Goal: Compare different concepts and share knowledge, e.g.

Learn about strengths and weaknesses of software systems

How to play:

  • Each player prepares a Top Trump®-like card of a system or technology of their choice. Key part: Numbers from 0 to 10 for different categories (like size, buzzword compliance …) .
  • Team up in pairs.
  • The starting player selects a category from his or her card and reads out its value.
  • The other player then reads out the value of the same category from their cards.
  • The best value wins the round.
  • Form new pairs. Repeat with different categories.
  • Discuss your systems and their strength and weaknesses afterwards.
  • 4 -8 players, even numbers work best ∼15 min


As with good food, instead of only reading the recipes, we highly recommend to play the games. Please contact us, if you are interested in hosting a similar „Game Café“ in your company or community.

Share your thoughts, ideas, comments with us: @learnical @StefanZoerner #lcmicrogames

Dieser Blogartikel ist zuerst auf www.learnical.com erschienen (12. Juli 2015) – Version 1.1.

Fotos: Stefan Zörner, Julia Dellnitz