Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 01/10/2019

Recent simulation and gaming publications, 1 October 2019


PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address peacebuilding, conflict, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without subscription access to the publication in which they appear.

Spencer P. Greenhalgh, Matthew J. Koehler, Liz Owens Boltz, “The Fun of Its Parts: Design and Player Reception of Educational Board Games,” Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 19, 3 (2019).

Although board, card, and other analog games can serve as useful educational technologies, little research exists to support teachers’ efforts in finding analog games that are pedagogically appropriate or likely to be well-received by their students. In this study, the authors retrieved data associated with 208 educational games from the crowdsourced website BoardGameGeek. They used this data to summarize players’ description of games into 15 themes, mechanics, and genres that can support teachers’ comparison and evaluation of analog educational games. They then analyzed how these design features influenced player reception of these games—as evidenced by game ratings on BoardGameGeek. To do this, they used two models: a hierarchical regression (features were nested within themes, mechanics, and genres categories) and a flat stepwise regression (features were all at the same level). Both analyses indicated that themes were parsimonious and significant predictors of game ratings, suggesting that the theme of an educational game may be an important consideration for teachers. The findings of this paper present helpful initial guidelines for teachers, teacher educators, and others interested in educational analog games; however, holistic evaluation of analog games and thorough consideration of their pedagogical potential are important.

Donna Krawczyk, “7-Steps to Creating an Effective Simulation Experience for Educators in the Health Professions: an updated practical guide to designing your own successful simulation,” MedEdPublish, 10 September 2019.

Creating a simulation experience for learners can be a daunting task for educators. Through a literature search, this guide outlines a feasible method to effectively execute a successful learning experience for future health professionals through creating your own simulation event from scratch. By organizing this learning strategy into steps, an educator can easily reproduce their very own simulation and offer a highly recommended tool for enhancing health professional education within their in-class or e-learning curriculum. Reaching your students through simulation as a learning strategy does not have to be expensive nor does it have to be a complete re-enactment. To offer a simple but purposeful, clinically relevant simulation is also well remembered for real-life use. Simulation provides a framework for an experience to happen where a student is to engage prior knowledge into practice and the educator takes a facilitative role (Levine et al., 2003). Knowing when and where to use simulation and understanding its effectiveness is key in reaching your learners as well as offering appropriate debriefing. This paper will outline the skills you need and support your choices in which simulation event best suits the required tested outcome.

Matthew Price, “What Impact do VR Controllers Have on the Traditional Strategy Game Genre,” Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield, 2019.

With Virtual Reality (VR) technology becoming more accessible and popular, video games have been taking advantage of its uses. Racing games such as ‘Driveclub VR’, allows the player to have a higher level of interactivity than compared to their regular screen counterparts. This paper will investigate the impact VR technology can have on the Real Time Strategy (RTS) game genre.

This paper will give game developers who wish to develop a strategy game for VR, a list of recommendations that can help guide and influence their design process. The use of these recommendations will give the developer a template on how to create their VR strategy game, that has been guided by focus groups and research and will improve the quality of their control schemes and input mechanisms.

The project found that VR controllers can have an impact on the strategy game genre, but further development of the recommendations would be needed to see if they can be used in a fully developed game. Taking influence from various sources such as non-VR video games, VR Games/ Applications and tabletop games, a control scheme for VR games was created and made into a list of recommendations. The research into this found that participants design decisions were heavily influenced by Google Products such as Google Earth VR and Google Tilt Brush, this can be seen in the recommendations, especially when examining the recommendations for the UI. Other influence can be seen such as traditional strategy game style 3D spaces.

Michal Wolski, “This Game of Mine. Children’s Reaction to War in Video Game This War of Mine,” Filoteknos 9 (2019).

The article aims to analyze video game This War of Mine with The Little Ones DLC from the perspective of children characters. It argues that the game provides a double role reversal, which determines player’s ethical approach. The first reversal is based on the well-described mechanism of procedural rhetorics and consists of assuming the role of a victim of war rather than a warrior or a warmonger. The second reversal is established by forcing player to create an environment in which a child can be safe and play. In doing so, the player has to proactively maintain an illusion of control – the very thing the game itself constantly takes from them, leading to the bitter afterthought that war is most certainly not a game.

Malcolm Woodside, “Gamification is the future of learning,” The Cove, 12 September 2019.

Games have always been a part of learning. In today’s digital world, incorporating games and gamification is essential to contemporary learning. Monash University’s Professor Yeh Ping-Cheng has argued that ‘gamification is a must have teaching tool, because “students have grown up with videos and find it hard to concentrate on anything that isn’t a game”.’ These students, known as Digital Natives, have always lived surrounded by ‘digital’. Thus, to be effective, Army instructors should possess the relevant behaviours, attitudes, skills and knowledge (BASK) to select and implement appropriate gamification across their learning programs.

Army uses an array of games to learn and develop intended BASK. Role-playing games put learners in positions to apply the BASK to achieve required learning outcomes. The rivalry of well-designed team and individual competitions facilitate constructive learning. Deliberate gamification tends to improve engagement, motivation and productivity. It can teach soft skills essential to team work, such as collaboration, problem solving and resilience.

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