Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 24/03/2014

Simulation miscellany, 25 March 2014


Some recent items on conflict simulations, serious games, and similar topics that may be of interest to PAXsims readers.

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The Mind’s Lie is a free Android gaming app designed by Kris Wheaton (Institute for Intelligence Studies, Mercyhurst University), now available in beta version at the Google Play Store available now:

The game is designed to implicitly teach you and the other players (up to six players per game) to recognize confirmation bias, anchoring bias, stereotyping/representativeness bias, projection/mirror imaging bias, bias blind spot, or fundamental attribution error in more or less realistic situations. It is based on a successful tabletop game I designed.

Read much more about it at his Sources and Methods blog.

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This War Is Mine is a video game under development by 11 Bit Studios:

This War Of Mine provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle. For the very first time you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout. At night you get a chance to scavenge nearby locations for items that will help you stay alive.

Make life-and-death decisions driven by your conscience. Try to protect everybody from your shelter or sacrifice some of them to endure the hardships. During war, there are no good or bad decisions; there is only survival. The sooner you realize that, the better.

See also the coverage at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. (h/t James Sterrett)

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A call for papers has been issued for a special issue of the journal Traces.

This issue of the Tracés journal questions the relationships between play and games, on the one hand, and materiality, on the other – i.e. materials, objects, interfaces and infrastructures, as well as bodily aspects involved in play and games. Various forms of play and games can be studied in that perspective, such as gambling, board games, children’s games, role play and video games, among others. Contributors are invited to explore the role of materiality in play, to tackle the industrial, political, economic or legal dimensions of the materiality of games, their aesthetic or symbolic aspects, or to embrace the material aspects of “non playful” functions sometimes attached to games.


Studies devoted to play and games are increasingly visible in the humanities. This issue of Tracés aims at questioning this theme from an interdisciplinary perspective with a focus on materiality. It aims at probing the relationships between play, games and the physical and sensitive world.

Although materiality contributes to any experience of play to a significant extent, it has been little approached by game and play studies. Play and games have long been conceptualized separately from their relationship to materials, objects, technical interfaces and infrastructures, or to the body – presumably as a consequence to classic contributions which stressed normative or epistemological aspects of play and games (Huizinga, 1938; Wittgenstein 1953; Henriot, 1989). In the field of video games, such notions as the “virtual” and the “immaterial” have long prevented taking into account the material aspect of these games.

Play can be considered as an activity, framed by systems of rules or models for describing action, or simply bound to specific objects related to an activity or situation. This issue welcomes various definitions of games and play, to reflect on their relationship with materiality. Is materiality necessarily central to the study of games and play, and in what regard? Various types of games can be considered, such as traditional games (card games for instance), toys, digital games, role playing games, sport and all hybrid forms. Investigations can be based on various conceptualizations of games and play, in line with the paper’s research methodologies.

The editors suggest four major themes:

  • Materiality and the framing of play (“This part explores the construction of a frame for play, which can entail formal, normative, symbolical and material dimensions. Relationships between the rules of the game and players’ practices can be explored, in so far as they rely on material elements in the game.”)
  • Materiality and the political, economic and legal implications of game industries. (“Materiality plays a part in the organization of cultural industries, in their political, historical, economic and legal dimensions. Focusing on game industries, the role of materiality in manufacturing, distributing and commercializing games can be explored, as well as its role in marketing and advertising.”)
  • Materiality, representations and game images. (“This part is devoted to cultural, visual and symbolical aspects of games in their material dimensions. Contributors are welcomed to explore the visual and aesthetic dimensions of games as well as the social and cultural representations they can convey. Relationships between the materiality of components and the meanings attached to games and play can be interrogated.”)
  • Materiality and “non-playful” uses of games. (“Finally, this issue aims at dealing with situations where other aims than fun are devoted to games, for instance in ritual, educational, artistic or business environments. The values and roles of play and games in these contexts, and the amount of “seriousness” attached to them, can vary from one context to another. The limits and definitions of this activity are hence questioned in the light of its material dimensions.”)

Contributors can submit long papers  or shorter notes, and papers are expected to consist in first-hand original research, in French, English, or Spanish. Papers will be evaluated using a double-blind review process.The deadline for contributions is 15 June 2014.

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David Gooblar suggests that if you want students to come to class prepared, try rolling some dice.. Read more about it at his “Pedagogy Unbound” column at Vitae. (h/t Brian Train)

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The fourth annual Serious Play Conference will be held at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles on 22-24 July 2014.

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The 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning will be held at the University of Applied Sciences HTW Berlin, Germany on 9-10 October 2014. The call for papers will close on April 4.

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The Society for Modelling and Simulation International will be holding its 2014 Spring Simulation Multi-Conference (SpringSim’14) on 13-16 April 2014 in Tampa, Florida. Details here.

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At the recent World Affairs 2014 conference held in San Francisco on14-15 March 2014 included a simulation of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis:

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