Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Humanitarian Crisis Game tournament 2014

htmlimport_trophyI will be running a mini-tournament of the AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game for some of my POLI 450 (Peacebuilding) students this term. I have posted the tournament rules below, both for my class and for those who might be considering how to integrate this or a similar type of game into a large course.

  • Participation in the tournament is  optional.
  • Teams may consist of a minimum of five and a maximum of eight players, who will be divided among the four roles: Carana, United Nations, NGOs, and the HADR Task Force. To form a team, simply announce it in the appropriate online (myCourses) discussion forum. Up to three teams may compete.
  • Each tournament game will consist of 15 minutes of instruction in game mechanics, followed by 2.5 hours of play. Student are welcome to read the rules in advance, and an optional orientation will take place in advance of the tournament games. All games will be held immediately after class on a Monday or Wednesday.
  • If the players complete the emergency phase of the game (Day 14) before 1.5 hours have passed, they gain three additional Relief Points. They also gain 3 RP if they complete the recovery phase of the game (Week 12) before the game ends.
  • The game ends as soon as 2.5 hours have passed, and is immediately scored.
  • All participants gain class participation credits. In addition:
    • All members of the team with the highest number of Relief Points will gain additional participation credits.
    • The player(s) with the highest number of Operations Points in each of the four roles (Carana, UN, NGOs, HADR-TF) will also gain additional participation credits.
    • In the event of a tie, both OP and RP will be considered.

In this particular case, 10% of the POLI 450 course grade is based on class participation. While this usually takes the form of online discussion, I do sometimes credit other activities—including both this and my modified version of the Afghan Provincial Reconstruction game which I will be running again this year.

* * *

Update: Having posted the announcement to our class website at around 8pm on a Saturday night, the first fully formed team was announced 8:25pm, with the second team at 9:17pm, and the third at 11:38pm. There was also a request for a fourth team–all told, 28 volunteers, or one quarter of the class, all within a few hours on a weekend.

I can’t schedule a fourth group, but I have added a new opportunity for participation:

  • One or two students may assume the role of journalists for each game session, responsible for writing up a report of what happened for the course website.
  • Journalists will also receive the same participation credit as do the players. Moreover, the journalist(s) responsible for the best game report (judged by the course instructor) will also receive an additional participation bonus.

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