Zin Oblelisk Online

A mathematical team challenge - now for online meetings

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This challenging mathematical puzzle is made even more complex, by using made-up words in the fictitious, ancient city of Atlantis, where a solid, rectangular obelisk -called a zin - was built in honor of the goddess Tina. The structure took less than two weeks to complete and the group's task is to determine the day of the week on which the obelisk was completed.

To play, each participant receives 1-5 clues, which can only be shared verbally. Together, teams must figure out the day the Obelisk was completed. Success requires organization, leadership, coordination, listening, problem solving, and processing skills. Most groups require 15-25 minutes to arrive at a solution.


  • Have clearly defined goals
  • Collaborate! Work together
  • Share the leadership
  • Share knowledge-on complex tasks, one person rarely has all the answers
  • Listen to each other
  • Clearly articulate ideas
  • Manage ambiguity through discussion
  • Make sure everyone has a common understanding of terminology

USES FOR Zin Obelisk - Use this mathematical team challenge to:

  • Make discussions more productive
  • Enhance problem solving skills
  • Increase clarity of communications
  • Discover productive team behaviors
  • Foster participation and involvement
  • Improve awareness of others
  • Improve listening skills and questioning techniques

Enhance a variety of training and development initiatives:

  • Communication and Listening Skills
  • Problem-Solving
  • Team Building
  • Leadership Development
  • Cooperation
  • EQ & El Skills

TIME: 30-60 mins for Introduction, Gama Play, Debrief, and Closure.

PARTICIPANTS: 5-8 players per team; multiple teams can play against each other.

Working remotely? Email a few clues to each player and try to sort it out over the phone--maybe with a shared online whiteboard! After all clear phone communication is more important now than ever!

** TIPS **

Feel free to adapt the full facilitation notes included as a booklet in the card deck to the needs of your group and your material:

  • Display the instructions on an overhead, flip chart, or whiteboard. Or, give a printed copy to each team.
  • Keep notes during the exercise so you can refer to them during the debrief.
  • If the group did not discuss their process during the activity, share a handout explaining the definitions and differences between Task-Related and Process-Related discussions.
  • Record "learning points" on a flip-chart for follow-up and future reference.

This product is delivered electronically

Zin Oblelisk Online

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