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Gaming Political Science

Comparative Government

Third World Farmer

Play as a farmer in the third world in this online game, making decisions about what crops or livestock to pursue, tools and infrastructure to build, and whether or not to buy crop insurance or protection from local armed groups. It demonstrates not only some of the economics of farming, but also how to manage family health, security, droughts and floods, and other challenges of survival.

Ayiti: The Cost of Life

From the Active Learning in Political Science blog post: "Ayiti is a simple but fiendishly challenging simulation of poverty in Haiti, created through a partnership between Gamelab and Global Kids, with support from UNICEF and Microsoft. It's a great demonstration of the effects of productivity shocks in conditions of poverty. The setting is a poor Haitian family that is struggling to survive; the player must decide how to allocate the family's limited resources, manage risk, and pursue goals." Available for free but geared more toward younger audiences.

Mandela's Choices, Conflict in Cygnia, and More

Associate Professor Nick Vaccaro of Doane College has created several text-based digital games oriented toward comparative politics and international relations. In Mandela's Choices, students play the role of Nelson Mandela and grapple with the key leadership decisions he must make between 1985 and 1993. Conflict in Cygnia is a constitution-making simulation in an ethnically-divided hypothetical nation. There's also a game of nuclear deterrence "Chicken" and an interactive version of the Prisoner's Dilemma for IR students.

Articles, Books, and Conference Papers

Ansoms, An and Sara Geenen. 2012. “Simulating Poverty and Inequality Dynamics in Developing Countries.” Simulation and Gaming 43(6): 713-728. Abstract

Ansoms, An and Sara Geenen. 2012. “Development Monopoly: A Simulation Game on Poverty and Inequality.” Simulation and Gaming 43(6): 853-862. Abstract

Asal, Victor, Steve Sin, Nolan Fahrenkopf and She, Xiaoye. 2013. “The Comparative Politics Gameshow.” International Studies Perspectives 1-12. Abstract

Austin, W. Chadwick, Todd McDowell and David Sacko. 2006. “Synergy Across the Curriculum: Simulating the Institution of Postwar Iraqi Government.” Journal of Political Science Education 2(1): 89-112. Abstract

Biziouras, Nikolaos. 2012. "Parties and Party Leaders in Belgium: Measuring the Learning Effectiveness of Role-Playing Simulations in Government-Formation Processes." Paper presented at the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Washington, DC, February 17-19.

Biziouras, Nikolaos. 2013. “Midshipmen For a Coalition Government in Belgium: Lesson from a Role-Playing Simulation.” PS: Political Science & Politics. 46(2): 395-9. Abstract

Clarkson, Stephen. 1970. “Simulation in Teaching Comparative Politics: Playing French Games.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 3(3): 462-70. Abstract

Garrison, Jean, Steven Redd and Ralph Carter. 2010. “Energy Security under Conditions of Uncertainty: Simulating a Comparative Bureaucratic Politics Approach.” Journal of Political Science Education 6(1): 19-48. Abstract

Glazier, Rebecca A. 2011. “Running Simulations without Ruining Your Life: Simple Ways to Incorporate Active Learning into Your Teaching.” Journal of Political Science Education 7(4): 375-393. Abstract

Haynes, Susan Turner. 2020. "Power Play: A Game Illustrating Power Transition in Authoritarian Regimes." PS: Political Science and Politics 53(1): 1-5. Abstract

Jimenez, Luis F. 2015. “The Dictatorship Game: Simulating a Transition to Democracy.” PS: Political Science & Politics 48(2): 353-7.  Abstract

Kaarbo, Juliet, and Jeffrey S. Lantis. 1997. “Coalition Theory in Praxis: A Comparative Politics Simulation of the Cabinet Formation Process.” PS: Political Science and Politics 30(3): 501-6. Abstract

Kirschner, Shanna A. 2012. “Teaching the Middle East: Pedagogy in a Charged Classroom.” PS: Political Science and Politics 45(4): 753-758. Abstract

Marsh, Christopher and James Cole Bucy. 2002. “Negotiating Russian Federalism: A Simulation for Comparative Politics.” International Studies Perspectives 5 (1): 373-383. Abstract

McCarthy, Mary M. 2014. "The Role of Games and Simulations to Teach Abstract Concepts of Anarchy, Cooperation, and Conflict in World Politics." Journal of Political Science Education 10(4): 400-413. Abstract

Naujoks, Daniel. 2019. "Refugee Camps and Refugee Rights: A Simulation of the Response to Large Refugee Influxes." Journal of Political Science Education DOI

Nishikawa, Katsuo A. and Joseph Jaeger. 2011. “A Computer Simulation Comparing the Incentive Structures of Dictatorships and Democracies.” Journal of Political Science Education 7(2): 135-142. Abstract

Obendorf, Simon and Claire Randerson. 2012. “The Model United Nations Simulation and the Student as Producer Agenda.” Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences 4(3). Abstract

Pallister, Kevin. 2015. “Teaching Globalization and Development through a Simulation.” PS: Political Science & Politics 48(2): 364-67. Abstract

Roper, Steven D. 2004. “Teaching Students How to be Revolutionaries or Reformers: A Course Simulation.” Innovations in Education and Teaching International 41(3): 245-253. Abstract

Shaw, Carolyn M. 2006. “Simulating Negotiations in a Three-Way Civil War.” Journal of Political Science Education 2(1): 51-71. Abstract

Shellman, Stephen M.  2001.“Active Learning in Comparative Politics: A Mock German Election and Coalition-Formation Simulation.” PS: Political Science and Politics 34(4): 827-34. Abstract

Switky, Bob. 2004. “Party Strategies and Electoral Systems: Simulating Coalition Governments.” PS: Political Science and Politics 37(1): 101-4. Abstract

Weiden, David L. 2009. “Comparing Judicial Institutions: Using an Inquisitorial Trial Simulation to Facilitate Student Understanding of International Legal Traditions.” PS: Political Science and Politics 42(4): 759-63. Abstract