Adapting the DIPLOMACY board game concept for 21st century International Relations teaching

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/272994

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Mattlin , M 2018 , ' Adapting the DIPLOMACY board game concept for 21st century International Relations teaching ' , Simulation & Gaming , vol. 49 , no. 6 , pp. 735-750 . https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878118788905

Title: Adapting the DIPLOMACY board game concept for 21st century International Relations teaching
Author: Mattlin, Mikael
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Cultures
Date: 2018-12
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Simulation & Gaming
ISSN: 1046-8781
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/272994
Abstract: Background. This article reports on pedagogical experiences of designing and teaching an active learning international relations (IR) course utilizing the classical board game DIPLOMACY, with added game elements and modified game rules to make the game better suited for educational purposes. Aim. Game adaptations include team play, a dedicated peace mediator team, altered win rules and a post-game debriefing discussion on different cultures of anarchy. These elements were designed to overcome a shortcoming that the game approximates a worldview akin to offensive realism, which is not practical in contemporary international relations, and also normatively objectionable to many IR scholars. Method. Teacher experiences designing and modifying the course, coupled with student feedback on the course concept from three consecutive years. Results. Student feedback has been exceedingly positive, with a 4.61 average grade (n = 210 grades) on a five-point Likert-type scale, where 1 signifies poor and 5 excellent. Conclusions. Through game modifications, students turned a game infamous for its backstabbing and breaking of promises into a game that resolves in a mediated and negotiated outcome. The findings suggest that DIPLOMACY can be useful beyond teaching the realist worldview, and adapted to create a more accurate microworld approximation of international relations.
Subject: 517 Political science
DIPLOMACY
peace mediation
international studies
cultures of anarchy
516 Educational sciences
modifying games
board game
game rules
simulations
active learning
debriefing
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