3 Strategy Games to Help You Succeed in the Workplace

Your next move could be your last move, whether you’re running a business or playing a game. But did you know that playing strategy games could actually improve your work performance? Strategy games can help you win at work. By combining tension and a high chance of failure, strategy games create an environment that relies on effective decision making, making them excellent ways to train your mind to take on your next professional challenge.

What games are most effective, and why? Take a look below at some of the best strategy games to help you take career to the next level.


The original strategy game, chess is played by two players. Each player has 16 pieces, all with varying rules and limitations, and players must fight to get close to the ‘king’.

Why does it help at work?

For CEO of Simply Business Bill Pena, chess has ties to some of the biggest concerns of a chief officer, including people, strategy, and adaptation. Pena talked some of his big takeaways from the game in a recent article for Entrepreneur:

  • Every piece has a purpose. From pawns to queens, every piece on the chess board has a purpose, just as every member of staff has a purpose. A team of high performers doesn’t always spell success: you need helpers, testers, maximizers and people who will push your culture.
  • Play the board, not the plan. In chess, just like in business, your opponent is always trying to predict and prevent your plans. The most successful businesses are able to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Winning is a goal, not a strategy. Analyzing actions and their outcomes, along with skilled pattern recognition, is the definition of strategy. The actions that give initial success are very different from the actions that spell success in the long term.


Scrabble is a game where players use single-letter tiles to make words. Letters are assigned a point value and players are scored according to their creativity.

Why does it help at work?

Scrabble is full of workplace lessons according to leadership expert Shellie Karabell. In a recent article for Forbes, she explains: “Play enough Scrabble and you will come to view the world around you differently. You will look at opportunities differently.”

What will you see differently? For Karabell, it’s all about the big picture, and learning things such as:

  • Build on what’s gone before. Be creative in the way you view the board (and your business). ‘Ally’ has less bang for its buck than ‘laterally’.
  • Not everything is a major strategic victory, and sometimes a quick win is the best that you can do. Don’t beat yourself up: sometimes you just need to add an ‘s’ and call it a day.


Poker takes a variety of forms, but most of them are played with a deck of cards and a hefty bet.

Why does it help at work?

It’s time to plan your next poker night: there’s no better way to learn the art of negotiation than a poker game.

For Dan Rust, behavioral expert and author of Workplace Poker, this card game could have a dramatic effect on your career. In a recent article for Forbes, Rust said: “Develop a baseline understanding and awareness of the people to recognize when something changes, and explore what that might mean.”

Global Poker has identified tell-tale signs of weakness and strength that translate from the poker table to the boardroom table. Fluid speech, smiling, and rapid breathing all indicate strength, whilst holding breath, biting lips and blushing are signs of weakness. Watch for these signs at your next meeting, and look for any changes in patterns that can indicate successes (or struggles) at work.

Whether you’re an avid chess player or just looking for an excuse to get friends together for a Scrabble or poker night, these games are sure to increase your strategic thinking skills.

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