Getting Everything You Need to Play the Agile Self-assessment Game

When I started with the Agile Self-assessment Game, there was only one deck of cards and a small document with playing suggestions. In the past years, it has turned into multiple card decks, in various languages, supported by many different exercises. Early 2019 I also released my book The Agile Self-assessment Game. I’m aware that with all the choices available it can be difficult to understand what you need and how to get exactly that.

This article describes what’s available for the Agile Self-assessment Game and where and how you can acquire what you need to play the game.

One book, many card options

My book The Agile Self-assessment Game provides games where you need cards to play them. Packages are provided in my webshop that consists of the book (paperback or ebook) and the English and Dutch cards. You can add the book, individual card decks, and supporting services to your shopping basket and check out. So if you want, then you can get everything you need at one place in one buy.

The book is also sold in all major (online) book stores, but unfortunately, these stores don’t offer possibilities to sell a package of the book and cards. Not even the option to sell the cards separately, as far as I know, you cannot sell digital downloads in online book stores like Amazon, Apple Books, Alibris, Barnes & Noble, Bol, etc. Leanpub is the only exception that I know of where you can sell packages of a book with digital downloads (more about that later).

There are many different card decks that can be used with the game formats that are described in the book. If you are new to the game, my suggestion is to start with the Basic Agile Cards, a deck of 52 cards that covers the agile values, principles, and practices.

There are also expansion packs for popular agile methods, like Scrum, Kanban, and DevOps. To support business-wide agile collaboration, I also created a deck of Business Agility Cards.

Finally, there’s also a deck of Agile Quality Coaching Cards; these cards can be used stand-alone (without the book or game) but also in combination with it.

Summing up, there doesn’t exist a “fixed” package of the book and cards, there are many different options.

Many of the card decks have been translated into different languages. Currently, there are cards for the Agile Self-assessment Game in English, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Czech, French, and German. For some, it makes sense to buy the English book with cards in their local language instead of English cards, making it possible for teams to play the game in their local language. Again, there is no single package of book and cards that suits all needs.

I’m also providing training to play the game. Most popular is the kick-off training, a one-hour remote workshop. that can be used together with the book and cards to understand how to play the game in your organization. This training is a service that I cannot offer through an online bookstore. It’s an add-on that you, if you need it, can easily get in my webshop.

Finally, there’s also a corporate edition of the Agile Self-assessment Game which includes the basic Agile cards and expansions packs for Scrum, DevOps, Kanban, and Business Agility, playing suggestions and experience stories, multi-team license, kick-off training and Free Lifetime Support, all in one buy for a reduced price. The only place where I can sell a product like this is in my own webshop.

Buying the book when you have the cards already

Early 2019 I published my 3rd book: The Agile Self-assessment Game. This is the first book specifically about Agile Self-assessments. In this book, I explain what self-assessments are and why you would do them, and explore how to do them using the Agile Self-assessment Game. I’m also sharing experience stories from people who played the game. With plenty of ideas, suggestions, and practical cases on Agile Self-assessments, this book will help you to apply assessments and help teams to improve.

At the time that I published my book, the cards of the Agile Self-assessment Game already existed for two years. Thousands of people all around the world already have them; they use the cards with the small instruction document that describes game formats. Or maybe they have created their own game format (I’ve heard from several people who did).

For people who already have the cards, buying the book The Agile Self-assessment Game gives them many new game formats that they can use to play games and experience stories that inspire them to create their own format. For them, it makes perfect sense to buy the book without the cards.

Many people who buy my book on Amazon seem to have the cards already. At least, that’s my assumption, based on the sales that I see in various channels and my webshop. This is why I decided to offer the book on Amazon without cards for a lower price (instead of a “package price” for book & cards), giving people the option to add the book to their game cards and not having to pay for cards that they have already.

The book The Agile Self-assessment Game was created using Leanpub. People who subscribed to the book on Leanpub while I was writing it, got updates free of charge. So they now have the final version of the book.

On Leanpup you can buy packages of the book and cards, although I had to limit the choices in packages to keep it understandable. But at least you get the book and cards in one buy, that is, the ebook edition only (Leanpub doesn’t sell paperback books).

Getting the book & cards

By now I think it’s clear that the game and cards are actually a product with many different options and variants. I tried to price everything according to the value that it can bring. I do believe that the prices that I charge are moderate and very reasonable. You can get the ebook and 196 coaching cards for less than €27. The business value that you can realize by playing the game can be 10 to 100 times that, maybe even more.

My challenge was (and is) how to make it easy for people to get what they need to play the games, no having to buy more than needed but also no less. How do I do that?

These are the possibilities that are available to get the book & cards:

Nowadays many people buy the book on Amazon or on Bol (in the Netherlands and Belgium). They may not know that the book is also available in my webshop. Or felt safer buying the book on Amazon or Bol, which I can understand.

Disclosure, when you buy the book on Bol, you actually buy it in my Bol partner store Ben Linders Publishing. I get an email from Bol and I will ship the book to you :-).

Where my webshop is the most flexible solution for getting exactly what you need, online stores like Amazon or Bol have a much bigger outreach. Also, many people have an Amazon account or are used to buying books online in their favorite bookstore, so it makes sense to offer my book in as many online bookstores as possible.

But, as mentioned earlier, people will need to go to my webshop to get the cards. How do I support that?

Adding cards to your book

For those who buy the book in an online bookstore, how do I make it clear that they need to get the cards? And how do I make it easy to get them?

On the online bookstore pages, there is a note that says:

The agile coaching cards needed to play the game described in the book can be downloaded for a nominal fee at benlinders.com/downloads.

This note aims to make it clear that you need the cards to benefit from the book. Buying the book without the cards (unless you have them already) doesn’t make sense, the book is about playing games and you need cards to do that.

What I do for those who buy the book elsewhere is to invite them to my webshop to buy the card decks that they need, even before they buy the book.

Inside, the book also provides information about how to get the cards. In the section Getting the Cards it states:

The basic Agile Self-Assessment Cards deck has 52 cards with statements on applying agile principles and practices. These cards can be downloaded in PDF format in my Agile Games webshop.

Expansion packs with additional cards are also available in the webshop. These packs contain cards with statements covering specific principles and practices from agile methods and frameworks.

Registering your book

I give Free Lifetime Support to people who buy my services and products. This includes all of my books, games, and other agile coaching tools, no matter where you buy them.

To be able to give this support, customers need to connect with me. If they buy something in my webshop that happens automatically. If you buy my book in an online bookstore, you are also entitled to Free Lifetime Support. But then you need to take action to let me know that you bought one of my products (makes sense, doesn’t it?).

In the book I mentioned: 

Register your book today to get access to supporting materials and download the card decks for playing games from this book with a discount at benlinders.com/agile-self-assessment-game.

Although there are some that buy the book on Amazon or in another online book store who register their book (registration is completely free btw), many don’t seem to do that. Due to that, they miss out on the possibility to buy the cards with a discount.

If you haven’t registered your book yet, you can still do that!

After registration, you are taken to the page benlinders.com/assess-agility/ where you can see the discounts that are offered. This page also makes it easier to select cards and buy them through my webshop. Sure, it’s a page that tries to sell cards and additional services, but it’s honest and transparent on what you get and prices are very reasonable.

Getting what you need to play the Agile Self-assessment Game

Giving all the different choices it can be difficult to find out what you need and where to get it. The information above aims to help you, but it’s a lot of information and might confuse you even more.

There’s an easy solution though. If you are unsure about what to do or where to buy, send me an email and I will help you. Contact me via benlinders@gmail.com so that I can support you to get what you need at the best conditions and lowest price to play the Agile Self-assessment Game.

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Ben Linders

I help organizations with effective software development and management practices. Active member of several networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer.

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