I use this blog to reflect and distill my thinking about simulations and games for learning. I look for ready to use resources to quickly create active learning experiences that engage and inform. I also share, news, ideas, and just for fun.

13.11.13

Three Game Changers


These are games that changed changed how I view the world. I played all of them years ago for the first time. The insights from the games allow me to see examples of their lessons every day.

The MIT Beer Distribution Game--Not a drinking game, this game reveals the system dynamics of everything from a supply chain to the economy as a whole. In person it is a totalling involving experience. There are computer based versions but their impact pales by comparison. Playing and facilitating this game I have seen the same results time after time (boom and bust cycles) because as in life, structure drives behavior. Here is a short news story that demonstrates both the game and the impact. The recent super-typhoon in the Philippines is an example of how a disrupted supply chain impacts society.

Fishbanks--This game by Dennis Meadows demonstrates the phenomenon known as the tragedy of the commons. It is a computer supported board game. There are also simple classroom versions that don’t require a computer. The game has profound implications for the ecosystems of the planet. Here is a short video demo.  The challenge of meeting global climate change is an example.

StarPower by Gary Shirts--This one may be the most profound for me.  Here is a brief desciption from the simulation Training Systems Site. “Participants have a chance to progress from one level of society to another by acquiring wealth through trading with other participants. Once the society is established, the group with the most wealth is given the right to make the rules for the game. The power group generally makes rules which maintain or increase its power and which those being governed consider to be unfair. This generally results in some sort of rebellion by the other members of the society”. I have played and facilitated the game on many occasions (mostly with US and Canadian participants) and the results are just as described above. The 99 percent movement is an example of the game in action in the world.

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