Your mission: Unseat the chief executive officer

Online game takes users into the world of office politics

A new office is handing out a most unusual employee handbook to its workers. The mission statement: Unseat the chief executive officer.

A Toronto business has turned the ins and outs of office life into an online game where players compete in the “toughest, meanest, slimiest office politics,” according to the Web site located at In this game, players are urged to “backstab, hire and fire" their way to the top.

The game posts five new moral and ethical questions each week. For example, “Your boss is desperate for someone to speak at a tradeshow. Do you go?” Users vote yes or no and learn the up-to-date results of the poll. Users then start, or join, a meeting. That’s when the fun really starts (see how to play the game below).

The game is the brainchild of husband-wife team Bill and Franke James of James Gang Advertising Inc. was launched in August and has about 1,800 registered users. It was inspired, in part, by recent well-publicized corporate scandals such as Enron and Worldcom.

“From the outside, everything looks peachy keen and then on the inside there’s a certain amount of rot,” Franke told the Ottawa Citizen. “I think we’re just fascinated by it and saw an opportunity to produce an entertaining game that was using this as a basis.”

But the site has a more serious side. Players are asked to fill out an optional survey form, and the demographic and psychographic profiles will be used as research data for the study of online communities and social networks.

How to play the game

Then users have the option to start their own meeting or join an existing one. Whoever starts the meeting is boss of that meeting. Here’s how the play goes from there:

•The boss opens the meeting and tells everyone how to vote.

•The other players submit secret votes, but can post public comments.

•The boss opens the secret votes he chooses, trying not to open any that may be opposed to the way she wants the group to vote.

•With each matching vote, the meeting score goes up 10 points. All players with open votes get points.

•If the boss opens your vote and it’s a “backstabbing” vote, you get double points. Everyone else gets nothing.

Points are accumulated through different meetings to figure out who is the CEO of the entire game. At last check, that honour went to a user known as “redsonja13” who had accumulated 114,380 points.

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