MANY teams from previous years are expected to be back in this year's Hongkong Management Game. Mr Louis Ma, a senior lecturer in computing at Hongkong Polytechnic and leader of the team Bridge, which has won the game for two years in a row, is eager to join for the sixth time this year. ''Whether in teaching or business operations, the game offers a lot of opportunities for improving teamwork and simulation of business models,'' said Mr Ma. The Hongkong Management Game is organised by the Hongkong Management Association for the 23rd year and is sponsored by ICL (Hongkong), DHL International (HK) and the South China Morning Post. The game has been well-received by executives from local professional bodies, financial institutions, commerce and industry, public utilities and tertiary institutes. About 100 four-member teams apply to play each year, either as corporate teams or comprising members from different companies. The Hongkong champion team will receive a cash prize of HK$25,000 and the South China Morning Post Perpetual Trophy, and will represent the territory in the Regional Management Game to be held in November. The deadline for applications this year is March 18. The computer program SIMBA 5, developed by ICL, will be used in the game to simulate a competitive business environment. Participating teams will try to get the highest profit from the manufacture and sales of two hypothetical products. The composition of Mr Ma's team this year will probably be the same as last year, with individual members responsible for costing, plant capacity and pricing, as well as marketing investment and market share. Recalling last year's final round, Mr Ma said his team's decision not to over-expand plant capacity so as to avoid unnecessary strain on cash in the earlier periods had contributed to his team's success. They were also able to meet demand throughout the seven trading periods, while some teams with insufficient stocks were penalised. ''Perhaps, with the exception of personal relations and company politics, each participant in the game is able to gain insights into almost all aspects of business operations, including data analysis and report interpretation,'' he said. Mr Ma has employed a similar kind of computer-based management game to help teach his students the functional relationship between a company's various departments, as well as the development of business strategy and decision support systems.