Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Somali pirate simulator

Far be it for me to distract for Gary’s useful summary of the recent USIP simulation conference, but I just couldn’t resist pointing out Wired magazine’s online Somali pirate simulation, Cuthroat Capitalism: The Game.

You are a pirate commander staked with $50,000 from local tribal leaders and other investors. Your job is to guide your pirate crew through raids in and around the Gulf of Aden, attack and capture a ship, and successfully negotiate a ransom.

Of course, it certainly doesn’t claim to be a real simulation, much less an educational tool. However, it does highlight some of the trade-offs involved: Do you go for low-risk, low-value fishing boats, or high-risk, high-value commercial shipping? What negotiation tactics do use, and how do they affect not only the counter-offers of ship-owners, the morale of your pirates, the health of the crew, and the risk of a coalition rescue attempt?


After all, how often do you get to hijack fishing boats or oil tankers in your day job?…

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