Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Welcome to Tahrir Square: A classroom simulation of the Egyptian revolution


Ora Szekely (Department of Political Science, Clark University) has passed on to PAXsims a classroom simulation she designed that explores the February 2011 overthrow of the Husni Mubarak regime in Egypt. Ahlen wa sahlen fi Midan Tahrir! (Welcome to Tahrir Square!) takes 60-90 minutes, and is designed for up to ten players: the Egyptian government (2 players), the Egyptian army, the Muslim Brotherhood, the liberal opposition (2 players), the US (two players), Saudi Arabia, and Jordan:

The date is February 2nd, 2011: protests have been ongoing in Egypt for a week

  • For Jordan and Saudi Arabia
    • Will you ignore them? Aid the government? Push for reform?
  • For the US:
    • Will you pressure Mubarak to step down?
  • The Egyptian government and army:
    • What will you do to retain power?  And for the army, how loyal are you, and to whom?
  • For the opposition:
    • How committed are you? Will you use violence? Or will you stick to peaceful methods?
  • There will be five 10 minute rounds.
  • During each round, you must each make a couple of choices, as indicated on your information sheets.
  • The decisions you make will effect what everyone else does, in one way or another.
  • All of the players have certain private information about their own incentives, preference, and what they will be forced to do under what circumstances.
  • Civil war, for the purposes of this simulation, is defined as two consecutive rounds in which both protesters and the army use violence
  • If Mubarak does step down by the end of the fifth round, we will hold elections. Any of the Egyptian players can run in them

The simulation makes clever use of private information to shape game play. Mubarak can be overthrown through particular configurations of either domestic or international pressure, although these may not be clear to everyone at the outset. Uncertainty is introduced via the roll of a die at key junctures, notably in determining whether soldiers open fire on demonstrators or the eventual outcome of possible elections. There are also a selection of random events to use, one per phase. Some actors are two-party teams, thus creating a sense of their internal policy divisions.

For more details, see her powerpoint briefing for students (pptx), the role description sheets (docx), and the random events (docx).

4 responses to “Welcome to Tahrir Square: A classroom simulation of the Egyptian revolution

  1. Elyssebeth Leigh 29/04/2013 at 6:42 pm

    Many thanks Rex. EL

  2. Rex Brynen 29/04/2013 at 8:22 am

    Opps.. fixed now.

  3. Elyssebeth Leigh 29/04/2013 at 5:57 am

    And to be fair – the game looks fascinating and an excellent example of how to design and use games for history and current affairs learning. I’m looking forward ot getting the details to do a trial.

  4. Elyssebeth Leigh 29/04/2013 at 5:55 am

    The PPT link only takes me to the random events soc. Can you fix this?

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