Management Material – General Office

management materialManagement 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 for 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.

Anna is a master’s degree honor roll graduate from Harvard Business School. Having worked with the company as an intern for many years, Anna thought that she understood what was needed to succeed in the corporate world. Getting her master’s degree was to be her ticket from the company to someplace she would be respected and understood for her abilities. Unfortunately for Anna, she failed to read the small print on the financial aid package provided by the company. Unbeknownst to her, when she accepted the money from the company in order to finish her degree, she signed a binding contract that stated she would have to remain with the company for the next 25 years. The shocking revelation of her mistake has made Anna a bitter woman, but she still can’t sit back and watch chaos reign in the office. It is her curse, but she knows no other way.

Cooler was promoted to management in 1993, after a severe drought left many of the senior managers in the company unable to take their daily shower. With panic ensuing, Water Cooler came to the rescue by providing a pivotal moment of bliss in an otherwise office melt down moment. Thanks to Water Cooler’s unquestionable generosity, the senior managers were able to sponge bath themselves and thus avoid any odiferous situation that might have caused severe embarrassment. With the ability to provide both hot and cold liquid, Water Cooler is the prime example of how managerial leadership can save the day.


Steve isn’t just “A” salesman…he’s “THE” salesman. A man spoken of in prophesies and legends who would come and grind all other sales men into dust under his heel. Genetically engineered to have the perfect smile, Steve uses his talents to full advantage. With his impossibly perfect hair and his perfect sales voice, he has made a living out of separating people from their money. At one time it was even said that he was able to hypnotize customers with the gleam that sparkles off of his teeth. It is widely believed that Steve was giving sales pitches even when he was still in the womb, but it has yet to be verified, as science hasn’t invented a method to tell when Steve is lying. Before coming to work for the company Steve was a used car salesman guru. Known throughout the land as the “King” for his ability to sell, his career took a drastic turn one day when his co-workers successfully pulled off a revolt over fear of his superior ability. In order to save his skin, Steve went into hiding…finding a position with the company. It’s not used car sales, but its close enough.
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.
Promoted to management in the late 1980’s for his advanced work on environmental issues, J.R. really stands out. Without even trying J.R. has been able to stay under budget without exception. Part of that may be due to the fact that J.R. has never had a project completed, or even undertaken by the department he is in charge of, but no doubt this is all just speculation from those that are jealous of his advanced management tactics. Before being promoted to oversee the customer service department, J.R. watched over the finance department for six years from on top of the filing cabinet.
Babs was born into a wealthy family and encouraged to pursue a degree in Fashion Chic from a prestigious private university, where she devoted herself to offering free consultations to fashion-challenged Computer Science majors with promising careers. Babs’ dreams of a high-society future were dashed when her father, on a hot tip from the family’s Pizza Delivery Specialist, invested in a scheme to turn icebergs into energy. Daddy had heard of cold fusion, and was sure his market savvy would secure his family’s future forever. By the time Daddy saw the Pizza Delivery Specialist on America’s Most Wanted, it was too late. The stock backing Babs’ trust fund wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on, and Babs was forced to drop out of college to join the ranks of the working middle class. Through one of her father’s old polo buddies, Babs landed a job with The Company and has been there ever since. She has managed to make a career of overseeing the corporate dress code, watering the plants, and laughing at all the boss’s jokes.
Bob has a master’s degree from a prestigious college…at least that’s what he likes to tell everyone. Like Anna, Bob also graduated from a college called “Harvard”, however the college Bob attended was spelled Harvvardq. The “q” is silent and the college was technically located on an oil platform off of the coast of Guam. Nobody ever really asked if Bob truly attended the school or simply purchased the degree from the back of a comic book. Funny how the company never seemed to check his references…. As a career milestone, Bob actually coined the term “slacker” when describing his position to the IRS…he thought it was a form of engineering. It was Bob who stole your lunch from the refrigerator.
Henry is a man lost in his own little world. He has no idea of what the date is…let alone the decade, and seems to enjoy it that way. It’s not entirely known if Henry was ever truly hired or if he just came with the building when the company moved in…Henry has just always been there. Because of the lack of documentation to suggest Henry’s origin with the company, it is widely rumored that he has been with the company even before it was founded. Some speculate that he used to work for a company that previously held the office space, but just didn’t receive the memo about their moving out. And so, not knowing any better, even though all the personnel, and the name of the company had changed, Henry just kept coming to work. When asked directly about it, he’s been known to crack a wide grin and get a distant glassy eyed look to his eye before giggling to himself and wandering off without answering the question. Whatever the secret is, the company has fully accepted him into their ranks, and he shows up each day in an ever happy mood. His co-workers are still trying to verify if Henry’s delirious actions are truly due to happiness, or rather some terrifying insanity. They just hope if it is insanity that it’s not contagious.