I have always been a fan of board games. When I was growing up, one of my favorites involved cargo ships, logistics and trade routes.

This past Christmas, I received a board game called “Kanban Automotive Revolution” (Stronghold Games). Unfortunately, I’m still trying to figure out all the rules, because the instruction manual is rather intimidating—it’s 16 pages long!

The game features an automotive plant manager named Sandra. You can choose her to have either a “nice” or a “harsh” management style.

The game board is comprised of five departments: testing and innovation; assembly line; logistics; design; and administration. The goal is to win the praise of Sandra by maximizing efficiency and productivity, which is measured in hours worked vs. value produced.

Games with a manufacturing theme are nothing new. In fact, back in the 1950s, a company called Selchow and Righter (the original manufacturer of Parcheesi and Scrabble) came out with a board game called “Assembly Line.” It allowed players to “assemble cars like the motor czars.”

More recently, an entrepreneur in Utah has developed a board game called “Robots on the Line.” As robot parts move down two conveyor belts on an imaginary assembly line, players must select components and build whimsical robots.

Has anyone else had experience playing “Kanban Automotive Revolution” or similar games? Do you know of any other board games that promote manufacturing or simulate assembly lines? Are board games a good way to teach production principles?