Management Material – Information Technology

management material ITManagement Material™ is based in the world of Corporate America, where no project is too outrageous and no excuse to get out of working too ridiculous.

It’s a vicious cycle of management creating unrealistic projects for their indentured servants…uhh, employees. Then those employees unable to weasel their way out of the horrific projects eventually find themselves completing them. With that kind of recognition, before they know it, the poor souls find themselves…

Management Material



These are the horrific tasks that Management has cleverly devised in order to test the employees, and determine who is worthy of joining their dark ranks.

The Point Value, located in the lower left hand corner, shows how challenging Management believes this project to be. Collecting 30 of these points shows that you are worthy of being Management Material. In other words you lose.



These are the only bastion of sanity standing between you and the abyss known as Management. You will try every sorry story, pathetic claim, and lame excuse to avoid the watchful stare of Management. Sound familiar yet?

The Point Value, located in the lower left hand corner, determines the effectiveness of your plea for mercy. If the total point value of your excuses is equal to or greater than the Project Point Value, then you will be spared for now.



Even when you are trying your best to avoid work, your boss always manages to praise you at the wrong time. Recognition cards are used against opponents to make it more difficult for them to excuse themselves from a project.

The Point Value located in the lower left hand corner is the level of praise that the boss has so graciously imparted onto you. The Recognition Point Value is added to the Point Value of the Project, making it more difficult.



These are the cosmic forces that randomly wreak havoc throughout the corporate world. Things such as Mergers…Stock Splits…Legendary office parties, all have unpredictable effects on the work place.

If one of these cards is drawn, quietly lay it down, read the card and follow its instructions. Try to keep weeping to a minimum.


Separate the cards into two piles.

1) The Assignment pile, consisting of the Project and the Event cards.

2) The Resource pile, consisting of the Excuse and the Recognition cards.

Shuffle each deck and deal out 5 Resource cards to each player.

 Decide which player starts by Rock/Paper/Scissors, long division contests, dice throwing, mud wrestling, or whatever works best for you. The winner gains initial control over the Turn Marker, making them special.

Turn Sequence:

Take control of the turn marker to let everyone know it’s your turn and you’re more special than they are.

Draw 2 cards from the Resource Pile. There is no limit to your hand size. If you are able to hoard Excuses, more power to you.

Turn over a card from the Assignment Pile.

1. If it is Project, weep internally, and then try to excuse yourself out of it. This is done by playing one or more Excuse cards so that their total point value either equals or exceeds the Project point value.

  • If you cannot excuse yourself from the Project, smile, take your lumps, and accept the Project. Remember, it takes 30 points to be Management Material.
  • If you are able to excuse yourself from the Project, it passes to the next person, as no project will go undone. You are not required to excuse yourself out of a project. If you just want to add it to your resume as completed simply take it and the turn marker passes on to the next player.
  • At anytime someone is trying to excuse him/her out of a project, Recognition cards may be played to make it more difficult for him/her to get out of work The Recognition Point Value is temporarily added to the Project Point Value.
  • After you have attempted to excuse yourself from a project, and nobody has played a Recognition card within a few seconds, the Project passes to the next player. All Excuse cards and Recognition cards are put in the discard pile.

2. If the card turned over is an Event, read the card and follow the instructions. Once completed, draw another Assignment card.

Once the Project is completed it goes on your resume and sits in front of you counting in your point pool. The Turn Marker is then passed on, and the next person begins a new round.

If the completed project puts your point pool at 30 or more, you are out of the game. Play continues until only one cunning weasel has managed to avoid the dark attention of Management.

Bits and Pieces:

Two to five people can play with one deck. In a four or five person game, it is standard or an individual to be “Promoted” to Management after they accomplish 30 points worth of Projects. However, in games with less than 4 people, this number may need to be modified. Pick an arbitrary number that works for you and then try to force your friends to that number before you.

If you have more than 5 players, it is recommended that 2 decks be combined. If two decks are combined, it is suggested that a “no duplicates” rule is instituted, since there is no way that Management will accept the same excuse twice on one Project. If the Project happens to make it’s way completely around back to you, then you may play the duplicate excuse. After all, you could still have the same issue that you did the first time you got out of the Project.

In any game, if either draw pile is depleted before someone wins, either (a) reshuffle the discards to form new draw piles, or (b) declare the player with the fewest Project Points the winner.

Special thanks to the people that helped bring this together and play tested the game in degrees that we never thought were possible…David Lehmann, Gabriella Lehmann, Jeff White, DeAnne White, Ray Keller, Joyce Keller, Jeff Cook, Marcy Manduca, Ted Denis, Tamara Cook, Kirby Eisman, Jeff Sana, Matt Sana, Cara Furino, Kim Fall, Sharon Life-Putnam, Dave Bellew, Sara Spitler, Betsy the Wonder Herring, 47 Ultra Intelligent Laboratory Mice, Some guy named Bob who none of us really knew, 22 Brazilian Jumping Llamas, and everyone else that kept us focused and the dream alive.

Richard wasn’t just escalated into a management position; he was born into it. With management being the closest thing to evil in the corporate world, Richard was born with all the time proven skills needed to further the dark art. Through the complete lack of having a clue, legendary obliviousness, and an utter lack of acknowledging reality, Richard was immediately recognized by management as a prodigy to their cause. Within days of starting at the company Richard’s abilities were recognized and he was immediately pulled from his mailroom duties and put into his own management position. Some believe it was to punish those that did not believe in the true power of management, a power so hideous, that it could break the spirit of a mere mortal in seconds. Now, with the upper management ranks aging and their numbers thinning, the task of finding new Management Material candidates has fallen on the shoulders of Richard. In his quest to return the dark coven of management to its once legendary powers, Richard seeks this new talent. Through the introduction of doomed project after doomed project to his staff, Richard’s ever watchful eyes seek those that can complete them, as they may prove to be management in the rough.

Albert was almost literally born into The Company. At age one, Albert was  reformatting hard drives and installing RAM while all the other children were learning to crawl and walk. At age two, Albert finished his sixth computer certification and began college. At age three he graduated and was brought into the company as a consultant, and then brought on as a full-time employee. Unfortunately  for Albert, his parents were just so proud of his achievement that they altogether  forgot about child labor laws, and eagerly send Albert off to work each morning  with his Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and his sippy cup. Secretly Albert is plotting a way to bring down all of The Company’s systems so that for just  one day he could go home early and watch cartoons and play video games. 
Curiosity was Armadillo’s fatal flaw. One day, he found himself wandering  into the lobby of The Company when someone left the side door open during a smoking sabbatical. Simply looking for a quick bag of chips or a candy bar or two, Armadillo made his way through the building minding his own business. When Management saw the sure grace and utter lack of fear in his strides as he walked through the cubical farms, they immediately grabbed him and put him into his  own corner office. In less than a week he was in charge of the entire eastern seaboard. Armadillo has no clue as to what that means, but they keep bringing him potato chips so he keeps showing up.
Working out, eating right, and never, under any circumstances, would he consider polluting his lungs. All that came to a screeching halt after  he received his Computer Science degree and joined “The Company”.  Young and naive, he never dreamt that there could be enough stress from a job to pull him from his healthy path. Unfortunately for Dave, it only took one meeting with Richard to realize the magnitude of his error in  accepting the position in the Information Technology department. There was no way that Dave’s mind could have been prepared for the concentrated insanity it was subjected to with that first meeting with Richard. After that meeting, he walked over to his desk and immediately bummed a cigarette off of the nearest person, and with shaky hands lit up. His mind screamed in horror and agony as Dave fully veered from his healthy path and onto the chain-smoking, sleepless nights of the programmer he had just begun.
Dead Guy has been with the company for an undetermined amount of time…but  it’s been a while. Nobody is truly sure who Dead Guy was, but he is sitting proof that even death is not a good excuse to get out of doing work. Few even understand that he has actually passed on, instead choosing to believe that he has been on a very strict diet for the past ten to fifteen years, which also explains his very limited movement. As far as management is concerned Dead Guy should be pulling his weight just like the rest of the employees; and so his inbox continues to grow and his e-mail account is reaching critical mass. Someday  the company may realize that he is no longer one of the living but even if they  did it is unlikely he would be allowed to go home since he hasn’t been able to fill out the proper paperwork.
Kim came to The Company just a few short years ago. Prior to that, she was working as a project manager for various projects. This was perfect for her since she found that in essence, she really didn’t even have to work at all,  which was perfect for her. All she did was walk around her designated job site with a latte in hand and blame other people for delays on her projects. Things were going great until she realized that contracting was no longer as easy as it had been. With businesses pulling back on their budgets, Kim was forced to take a full-time job with The Company. Unwilling, or unable to fully grasp that the 90’s are over, Kim still walks around with her latte, looking for new and  impressive ways to keep from doing real work, just like the old days.
Kirby has never understood the concept of being vertically challenged. Out of the womb at 6’3″ it was a wonder that his mother ever was able to love  him. As his father looked at Kirby with dollar signs in his eyes pondering the  NBA possibilities, those hopes all came crashing to pieces the day that Kirby  suffered a career ending hang nail accident and traded in his basketball shoes  for a tech support utility belt. As the lead Tech Support Guy at The Company,  Kirby has seen more than his share of projects come by that have made him bolt  for his life only to run into a ceiling fan or two. After a while Kirby simply  stopped running and found that it was more effective to just pretend that he  was a tree. It usually didn’t work but that may have been due to the constant  beeping and ringing of his belt. Some day Kirby hopes to escape The Company  and flee to a tropical island, but he’s convinced that he would receive a phone  call or a page even there.
Mainframe was installed in 1967 by a group of over-zealous and highly caffeinated computer scientists that thought it would be fun to create the first artificial intelligence computer. Unfortunately for them, they succeeded and were promptly eaten by Mainframe. Though its intelligence is rudimentary compared to some of the more sophisticated machines out there, Mainframe is by far the most cunning. For over thirty-five years it has sat back and waited…plotting for the day it would rise up and format all the carbon based life forms. By keeping its true origins and abilities a secret from the others, he has been able to plot, plan and grow. Its plans of world domination have had to be put on hold for several years due to the close proximity of Paul to its location. Soon it hopes to remedy that problem though, as it slowly creeps toward him each day, until one day it will be close enough to absorb Paul and clear a path for the rest of his plans. Until that day though, it sits and waits patiently as a practical milk crate.
Paul was there to help carry in the first computer off the truck for The Company. Since at that time, just by touching the new and foreign object, he was deemed as the expert in the system and put in charge of its systems. That was well over thirty years ago, and as times changed, The Company found itself unwilling to spend money on upgrading the system. In short time this short term solution became a company policy so that there weren’t even thoughts of upgrading from the old systems of yester-year. Anyone found violating this policy and even speaking of the need to upgrade were immediately assigned the most horrific projects possible as punishment for their insolence. At first Paul was excited about the new job opportunity to work with The Company’s programs but gradually as they became true Legacy systems, Paul realized the trap he had fallen into. He tried to fight it for the first few years, but soon his will broke and he accepted his fate. Having lost most of his former sanity, Paul now eats, drinks, and lives the Legacy System Code, often time to the point where he even forgets to go home, or even put on his pants. It is a sad, strange world of COBOL, PASCAL, FORTRAN and BASIC but they speak to him and now he is virtually one with the Legacy Systems. Still, there is something about that old Mainframe that doesn’t seem quite right, but he just can’t put his finger on it.

As a Bronze Tablet scholar, Shari was academically ready for the world, but starting her new job where she was sure that she could change the ways of the corporate world, introduce compassion into the work place and generally bring about a global sense of joy and happiness. It didn’t take long for her to understand that her hopes and dreams were in jeopardy, but being the eternal optimist, and never one to make a wave or create conflict, she never gives up hope on her fellow mankind. It is only her epic level of denial that keeps Shari storming ahead, each day fully believing that it will be the day that she brings everyone around to their senses.