Course curriculum

ABOUT The Course Content

This course can be purchased and self-led by any leader who will learn how to run the game with their team. Note the entire Winter Over Mystery Game takes place on a Miroboard. This course is just to set the leader up to run the session, (and to make payment). The fee is only to be paid by the team leader (not each team member)


Diagnostic Team Performance Simulations: Diagnose collaboration blocks faster / Aligned communication

These team performance simulations are deliberately themed with memorable research from Antarctica, and the insights gained are applied to real work contexts. The debriefing strategies focus on how to tighten team communication and collaboration processes for more effective collaborative problem-solving.

The Winter Over Mystery Game is a gamified exercise designed to test a diverse team's ability to communicate virtually - and in the process, to learn to share and sort through critical information in order to effectively problems-solve as a team.

Companies that select this program want to engage the team around the importance of planning, shared goals, cross stakeholder alignment, the ability for teams to recognize inefficiencies in processes and strategy and the ability to adapt and align leaders and teams.

The Winter Over Mystery Game is a Simulation & Gamified Activity and forms the core elements of this program. During the game, individuals in a team have to share information only they know to solve a mystery. The team will need to learn to communicate and sort critical from irrelevant information, in the process solving a problem that can only be solved as a complete team.  The simulation is deliberately themed with memorable research from Antarctica, and the insights gained are then applied to real work contexts.



  • To learn how to work as a team to develop hypotheses based on information available.
  • To show how to develop better knowledge as a team goes through multiple cycles of hypothesis development and testing.
  • To help teams understand leadership, communication, cooperation, and conflict issues in team problem-solving.
  • To look at how to design efficient processes.


  1. Leaders and  their teams that want to explore their communication patterns in a virtual setting
  2. Leaders who have participated in the full ON THIN ICE professionally facilitated sessions and would like to use the canvas for their teams.


  • Team size: 4-10  
  • Participants Game Time : 90-150 mins  
  • Leaders Learning Course Time: 60-90 mins


OUTLINE & FLOW (approx 2 hours)

  1. Practice Sandpit  (learn how to: name, change color, use sticky notes, meet your team)
  2. Read & understand the instructions
  3. Play The WOM-Game
  4. Scoring and discovering the mystery
  5. Debriefing (case studies, videos, questions and discussion)


The experience is debriefed after the simulation. The value of this debrief is that issues that arise in the simulation can be discussed in a safe environment to facilitate action planning and practical applications in the workplace.


The session is based on an authentic case study related to the US Antarctic McMurdo base station design. The scientists who used the original station realized that while individual components of the station were effective, it was not effective as a whole.  The new master plan demonstrated the value of an overriding strategy – including how to minimize and reduce distances between touchpoints, and how to improve the general processes and flow. The principles learned from the case study example are transferred to the workplace, and participants consider how teams can run more effective projects and meetings through better strategic planning. By focusing on the core and critical activities and removing ‘waste’, teams learn how to lead for more efficient communication and collaboration.


What is on this core elements canvas?

This core elements canvas version contains an intro short explanation to each step however please note that it does not contain extensive content, case studies or information. More extensive content is available through a professionally facilitated session. 

Delivery options:

The online Core Elements Collaborative Team Canvas & Gameboards are interactive tools that come complete with instructions & steps. They can be run by 

A. A professional accredited licensed facilitator as part of a full program, (extensive content, case studies, and debriefing)  -OR-

B. As an independently self-led session, by a leader with their team, &/or as a follow up after a full professionally run program. Comes complete with step-by-step instructions. (THIS COURSE PAGE) 

This online self-led course is designed for a leader to run the game with their single small team once. If you would like to learn about enterprise purchases (bulk) and  or full licensing please contact us at 


Our virtual ON THIN ICE  program uses gamification to create “virtual practice fields”. This allows individuals and teams to test assumptions and experiment with ideas without having to face real world reversals or setbacks. Companies need to create practice fields where issues that arise in the workplace can be isolated and focused on. This enables the team to see the consequences of particular actions and incidents that can occur very rapidly in the workplace and ensure they can be examined in more detail. The complexities of the everyday working environment can then be simplified and analysed.  Actions and attitudes that cannot be reversed or taken back in the real world can be re-tried countless times in a protected environment. 

Efficient teams need clear direction and alignment. This need is even stronger for distributed (virtual) and diverse teams, which have become the norm. Yet the skills required to lead these complex teams are not the same as those required for leading face to face. The leader must take on the additional role of managing unique team challenges complexities. Developing mutual goals and implementing these independently is hard work, so early wins are paramount. 


When Antarctic and NASA researchers studied decades of diary entries, they discovered that communication and alignment stood our more than every other issue combined. Through highlighting the issues that teams often face as companies attempt to keep pace with rapid technological and organizational change, it is possible to be better prepared for the impact.

Research on Antarctic teams in Isolated and Confined Environments (ICE) provides a wealth of information about the challenges of achieving success in these contexts. In this program, we draw on decades of research from ICE teams and apply it to contemporary teams using an authentic Antarctic theme. This provides a memorable and engaging experience with clear actionable outcomes. This session includes 2 interactive gamified simulations to recreate the dynamics of complex teams and then uses this experience to debrief in a safe environment and facilitate action planning outcomes.

The session is based on an authentic case study & debrief, related to the US Antarctic McMurdo base station design and drawing a metaphor to effective process within team communication. 

Good teams don’t happen by chance. Leaders need to understand the unique dynamics of culture and teams. The ICE tool assists with identifying and addressing challenge areas effectively to ensure team engagement, productivity and success.

Analysis /Feedback /Coaching Options

  • $500.00

    $500.00Analysis, Feedback & Coaching (AFC)

    Self-led teams have the option to upload their canvas / board / assessments to receive professional Analysis /Feedback /Coaching. Help to identify readiness & capabilities.
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Design team

Andrew Grant (BEd, Dip Tch)

Executive Director Tirian

Co-author “Who Killed Creativity” & “The Innovation Race”

Gaia Grant  (PhD, MSc, Grad Dip Change Leadership, BD (hons), BA, Dip Ed.)

Executive Director Tirian, Author, Doctoral Researcher & Lecturer
Associate Adjunct Faculty Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship | University of Sydney B
usiness School. 
Co-author “Who Killed Creativity” & “The Innovation Race” & Director of Tirian 

With contributing polar explorers: Matt McFadyen, Helen Jamoa,  Thaddeus Lawrence, & the late Peter Malcolm

The Full Suite & Follow up option

The current core elements game available in this course is part of the larger professionally facilitated program called 'The Reality of Virtual Teams: Processes'. (ICE-2 Examine) and part of a bigger program suite and blended learning integration options.


Included in the full suite is the following:

ICE-1: The Dynamic Reality of Teams: Team building program (face to face)

ICE-3: The Reality of Virtual Teams: People, which includes a more comprehensive simulation called "The Virtual Navigation Game"  & debrief.

ICE-4:  Beneath the ICE. A Deep dive Extending session with a full team debrief and strategic planning. 

These are all available as professionally facilitated session &/or under licence.


All programs can be complemented by

1) An introductory Pre-Course with essentials pack (digital notebook etc)

2) Follow up Learning JourneyEnsuring the learnings can translate into accountable workplace actions and goals.