Simulation and negotiation game design typically works from matching learning objectives to specific settings for delivery. Understanding how variables like student numbers, prior knowledge and available time and space for game play will look like is vital for producing efficient active learning environments. This paper demonstrates the challenges that are posed when that definition is lacking by presenting the process of creating an exercise for a distance-teaching programme. Strategies for addressing each of these elements are discussed, grounded in a central focus on resilient design. It highlights the need to design around a structure that can cope with such uncertainty and (relative) novelty, and the potential that is contained in such an approach for more conventional settings. In so doing, it reaffirms the need to have a conscious and transparent design and implementation process in delivering simulation and negotiation games that maximise student learning.