Conflict, Terrorism, and War


From the website: PAXsims is devoted to the discussion of conflict simulations and serious games that address issues of security, development, and peacebuilding for educational, training, and policy purposes.

Peacekeeping the Game

A political science simulation created by Michael F. Goon. “The game is designed to entertain and educate about the long-term challenges in fostering lasting peace in war-torn countries. Using peacekeepers and points of economic aid received from international sources, you will try to secure your nation, form a moderate government, and structure a market economy.” Game is designed for 3 or 4 players. Available for free.


This online game has teams of students run fictional countries in a world facing terrorism, resource shortages, and climate change. In addition to negotiating with other states, students face two sets of domestic policy challenges: the various interest groups in the country who clamor for particular projects and actions, and the dynamic of working with teammates responsible for different aspects of policymaking. There is an individual cost to each student.

World Without Oil

This alternate reality game asks students to consider how they and others would respond to a world where oil becomes scarce and expensive. Ten lesson plans walk students through the fear, the shortages, and the violence, using films and blog entries written by the original players of the game. This game is free to use.

Articles, Books, and Conference Papers

Baylouny, Anne Marie. 2009. “Seeing Other Sides: Nongame Simulations and Alternative Perspectives of Middle East Conflict.” Journal of Political Science Education 5(3): 214-232. Abstract

Belloni, Roberto. 2008. “Role-Playing International Intervention in Conflict Areas: Lessons from Bosnia for Northern Ireland Education.” International Studies Perspectives 9(2): 220-34. Abstract

Biswas, Bidisha. 2012. “Teaching International Crises with Online Simulations: A Case Study of an India-Pakistan Crisis.” Paper presented at the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Washington, D.C. Abstract

Franke, Volker. 2006. “The Meyerhoff Incident: Simulating Bioterrorism in a National Security Class.” PS: Political Science and Politics 39(1): 153-6. Abstract

Gilley, Bruce. 2013. “Using a Virtual History Conference to Teach the Iraq War.” Journal of Political Science Education 9(2): 222-235. Abstract

Hunzeker, Michael A., and Kristen A. Harkness. 2014. "The Strategy Project: Teaching Strategic Thinking through Crisis Simulation." PS: Political Science and Politics 47(2): 513-517. Abstract

Jefferson, Kurt W. 1999. “The Bosnian War Crimes Trial Simulation: Teaching Students about the Fuzziness of World Politics and International Law.” PS: Political Science and Politics 32(3): 588-92. Abstract

McCarthy, Mary M. 2012. “Is an Abstract Game or Role-Play Simulation Better to Explore Anarchy, Cooperation, and Conflict in World Politics?” Paper presented at the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Washington, DC, February 17-19. Contact

Sabin, P. 2012. Simulating War: Studying Conflict through Simulation Games. London, Continuum.

Schofield, Julian. 2013. “Modeling Choices in Nuclear Warfighting: Two Classroom Simulations on Escalation and Retaliation.” Simulation & Gaming 44(1): 73-93. Abstract

Siegel, David A., and Joseph K. Young. 2009. “Simulating Terrorism: Credible Commitment, Costly Signaling, and Strategic Behavior.” PS: Political Science and Politics 42(4): 765-71. Abstract

Stoll, Richard J. 2011. “Civil Engineering: Does a Realist World Influence the Onset of Civil Wars?” Simulation and Gaming 42(6): 748-771. Abstract

Stover, William James. 2007. “Simulating the Cuban Missile Crisis: Crossing Time and Space in Virtual Reality.” International Studies Perspectives 8(1): 111-120. Abstract

Stover, William James. 2005. “Teaching and Learning Empathy: An Interactive, Online Diplomatic Simulation of Middle East Conflict.” Journal of Political Science Education 1(2): 207-219. Abstract

Williams, Alexander J. and Robert H. Williams. 2011. “Multiple Identification Theory: Attitude and Behavior Change in a Simulated International Conflict.” Simulation and Gaming 42(6): 733-747. Abstract