This started out as a random idea at 5am but I think it might have legs. What if there was a board game that taught aspiring entrepreneurs about validation and warned them about building before finding a market? Allow me to introduce Ship or get off the pot - The Board Game.

The players would travel down a linear path with 3 loops in it. For now each one of those loops symbolizes a different thing stage in the entrepreneurs journey to starting a business:
* Idea Stage * Experiment Stage * Scale Stage

They each time they passed the point where the loop crosses whether they would continue or move forward would be determined by the amount of customers they have. If they have enough they move on. The goal is not to become a billion dollar company, only to be the first to get to the first 1000 customers.

What is the point of the game:

Its designed to demonstrate a couple of key principles:

Entrepreneurship is not a linear process:

Like everything else in life there will be setbacks. The key is to keep trying new things until you find what works.

Not all risk is the same:

"No risk, no reward" this is true but I hope to demonstrate how building a product before finding a market is not a good risk to take.

Your time has a value:

There are certain points in the game where I penalize you for using your chosen skill set by losing a turn.

Mentors, Co Founders, and Employees:

I use some simple rules to reward you for properly utilizing your mentors and co founders and penalize you for hiring on expensive overhead and employees to early in the game. I hope to encourage collaboration and mentorship.

Where I am at:

I started outlineing what the game would look like and how it would be played in a public repo on Feel free to contribute. In order to stay lean and follow my own advice version 0.0 will most likely be a hand drawn PDF of the board, pieces, and customer tokens that you can download print off and play with your friends. The only other thing that is needed is a single set of dice.

About the author