Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 19/03/2013

simulations miscellany, Spring 2013 edition


As the northern hemisphere welcomes the imminent arrival of Spring 2013—evidenced by the view outside my front window this morning (above)—PAXsims is pleased to present another collection of conflict simulation and gaming news from around the internet.


Need a virtual continent? Look no further than “Missionland,” the four million square kilometres of politically-correct terrain data produced by the NATO Science and Technology Organization, Modeling and Simulation Group. You’ll find the full story at Defense News.


The folks at Reacting to the Past have announced the formation of a new “Reacting Consortium.”

Reacting Consortium is an independently chartered organization of colleges and universities committed to developing and publishing the “Reacting to the Past” series of role playing games and providing programs for faculty development and curricular change. Its broader mission is to promote imagination, inquiry, and engagement as foundational features of teaching and student learning in higher education. Institutions interested in exploring the benefits of membership should contact Dana Johnson, Administrative Director, at

We are already working to expand our outreach activities, as well as to strengthen our collaborative enterprise.  Several faculty workshops will be held in the coming months, including a Regional Conference at Pikes Peak Community College (Colorado Springs, April 19-21) and a special JALT Faculty Workshop at Sophia University in Tokyo (May 11-12).  Registration is also open for the Thirteenth Annual Faculty Institute at Barnard College (New York, June 6-9). Interested faculty are encouraged are encouraged to register early. For further details about the program, registration rates, and the call for proposals, please visit the institute web site.

Finally, the Reacting Consortium is developing a partnership with a new publisher, W.W. Norton & Company. Norton will be working closely with the Reacting Consortium Editorial Board to prepare revised editions of existing games and to publish new games, as well as to expand the resources available to instructors and students

You’ll find several forthcoming RTTP events and conferences listed on their website, including a RTTP Game Development Conference to be held at Central Michigan University on 18-20 July 2013.

This conference focuses on designing games for the pedagogical method “Reacting to the Past.”  We will play several Reacting-style games that are currently in development, discuss game design principles and processes, and work to expand and explore ideas for new games.

For further information, please visit the conference web site.


The latest issue (March 2013) of Simages—the newsletter of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association—has been published, with NASAGA news, several articles, and information on the 2013 conference. You can download it here.


At Forbes, Michael Peck comments on “Al Qaeda’s Goofy Video Game.” Technically it’s not really an al-Qaida game at all, but rather a game by a couple of AQ wannabe game designers, but he’s right that it isn’t very good. You’ll also find coverage at Foreign Policy magazine, Kotaku, and Globalpost.


What have the folks at MMOWGLI been up to lately with their Massive Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet? You can find out at DoD Live.


Kris Wheaton (Institute for Intelligence Studies, Mercyhurst University) offers more thoughts on game-based learning and intelligence at his Sources and Methods blog. What’s more, he’s also formed a gaming company!


We missed this one before: an academic paper by Nina Kollars and Amanda M. Rosen  on “Arming the Canon: Reviving the Foundation of International Relations through Games—another of the many game/simulation papers presented at the recent 2013 APSA Teaching & Learning Conference.

This paper attempts to add a layer of conceptual clarity to the study of simulations and games in international relations by classifying simulations and games according to their unit of analysis and the number of sources they attempt to incorporate. We present this classification and note the advantages and disadvantages of such a model with particular attention paid to the potential misuses of topic-based and multi-source games. We introduce a new unit of analysis, the question- or problem-based approach, and offer a new game to illustrate the potential benefits of such an approach. Ultimately we conclude that a large part of the answer to whether or not simulations are effective in advancing learning may depends on how a particular game is framed and executed.

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