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Gaming Political Science

Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

ICONS Project (University of Maryland)

The ICONS Project is high school- and university-level experiential learning program that uses customized Web-based tools to support educational simulations and simulation-based training to put students in the role of decision-makers tasked with trying to resolve current policy issues.


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.

A Small Crisis Game

Developed by Simon Usherwood, students play the role of a member of the Prime Minister's Emergency Coordination Committee for a large European country. Players make decisions about when to intervene in a crisis situation and learn some negotiation skills.

Articles, Books, and Conference Papers

Arnold, Richard. 2015. "Where's the Diplomacy in Diplomacy? Using a Classic Board Game in "Introduction to International Relations." PS: Political Science and Politics (48):1: 162-166. 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

Bridge, Dave, and Simon Radford. 2013. “Teaching Diplomacy by Other Means: Using an Outside-of-Class Simulation to Teach International Relations Theory.” International Studies Perspectives 15(4): 423-437. Abstract

Butcher, Charity. 2012. “Teaching Foreign Policy Decision-Making Processes Using Role-Playing Simulations: The Case of U.S.-Iranian Relations.” International Studies Perspectives 13(2): 176-194. Abstract

Chapin, Wesley D. 1998. “The Balance of Power Game.” Simulation and Gaming 29(1): 105-112. Abstract

Chasek, Pamela S. 2005. “Power Politics, Diplomacy and Role Playing: Simulating the UN Security Council's Response to Terrorism.” International Studies Perspectives 6 (1): 1-19. Abstract

Dougherty, Beth K. 2003. “Byzantine Politics: Using Simulations to make Sense of the Middle East.” PS: Political Science and Politics 36(2): 239-44. Abstract

Enterline, Andrew J. and Eric M. Jepsen. 2009. “Chinazambia and Boliviafranca: A Simulation of Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy.” International Studies Perspectives 10(1): 49-59. Abstract

Fielder, James D. 2019. "The Narrative History of the Chocolate Wars: A Short and Tasty Bargaining Game." Journal of Political Science Education 15(1): 82-93. Abstract

Flynn, S. E. 2000. "Drug Trafficking, the International System, and Decision-Making Constraints: A Policy-Making Simulation." International Studies Perspectives 1(1): 45-55. Abstract

Fung, Courtney J. 2019. "Negotiating the Nuclear and Humanitarian Crisis on the Korean Peninsula: A Simulation and Teaching Guide." PS: Political Science and Politics 52(1): 113-116. Abstract

Gibler, Douglas M. 2004. “International Constraints and the U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda: A Semester-Long Class Simulation using the Blackboard Web Platform.” PS: Political Science and Politics 37(3): 473-476.

Hazelton, William A. and James E. Jacob. 1983. “Simulating International Diplomacy: The National Model United Nations Experience.” Teaching Political Science 10(2): 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

Kanner, Michael D. 2007. “War and Peace: Simulating Security Decision Making in the Classroom.” PS: Political Science and Politics 40(4): 795-800.

Kauneckis, Derek L., and Matthew R. Auer. 2013. "A Simulation of International Climate Regime Formation." Simulation & Gaming 44(2-3): 302-327. Abstract

Kelle, Alexander. 2008. “Experiential Learning in an Arms Control Simulation.” PS: Political Science and Politics 41(2): 379-85. Abstract

Kerevel, Yann P., Philip Hultquist, and Margaret Edwards. 2017. "Multilevel Bargaining and the Negotiation of a Regional Trade Agreement: A Classroom Simulation." PS: Political Science and Politics 50(2): 576-580. Abstract

Kille, Kent J. 2002. “Simulating the Creation of a New International Human Rights Treaty: Active Learning in the International Studies Classroom.” International Studies Perspectives 3(3): 271-290. Abstract

Lantis, Jeffrey S. 2004. “Ethics and Foreign Policy: Structured Debates for the International Studies Classroom.” International Studies Perspectives 5(2): 117-133. Abstract

Loggins, Julie A. 2009. “Simulating the Foreign Policy Decision-Making Process in the Undergraduate Classroom.” PS: Political Science and Politics 42(2): 401- 407. Abstract

Orr, Shannon K., and Caitlin Buhr. 2019. "International Negotiations and State Interests: A Green Climate Fund Simulation." Journal of Political Science Education DOI

Posch, Konrad, and Matthew Stenberg. 2019. "Play Your Role: A Policymaker Simulation to Ground East Asian International Relations." Journal of Political Science EducationDOI

Preston, Thomas, and Martha Cottam. 1997. “Simulating US Foreign Policy Crises: Uses and Limits in Education and Training.” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 5(4): 224-30. Abstract

Raymond, Chad, and Kerstin Sorenson. 2008. “The Use of a Middle East Crisis Simulation in an International Relations Course.” PS: Political Science and Politics 41(1): 179-82. Abstract

Raymond, Chad. 2014. “Can't Get no (Dis)Satisfaction: The Statecraft Simulation's Effect on Student Decision Making.” Journal or Political Science Education 10(3): 302-314 . Abstract

Reuter, Tina Kempin. 2016. "Simulating Peace Negotiations: A Case Study of the Arab-Israeli Conflict." Simulation & Gaming 47(6): 818-836. Abstract

Rothman, Steven B. 2012. “Developing and Adapting Simulations Through Six Points of Variance: An Example of Teaching Applied Game Theory Through International Negotiations.” International Studies Perspectives 13(4): 437-457. Abstract

Shaw, Carolyn M. 2004. “Using Role-Playing Scenarios in the IR Classroom: An Examination of Exercises on Peacekeeping Operations and Foreign Policy Decision Making.” International Studies Perspectives 5(1): 1-22. Abstract

Silverman, Jerry Mark. 1977. "A Role Playing Simulation of Foreign Policy Formulation in the International Political System." Teaching Political Science 4(2): 163-184. Abstract

Stodden, William P. 2012. “Simulating Humanitarian Aid Decision Making in International Relations Classrooms.” PS: Political Science & Politics 45(4): 765-771. 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

Switky, Bob. 2014. "Simulating a Foreign Policy Dilemma: Considering US Humanitarian Intervention." PS: Political Science and Politics 47(3): 682-686.

Wendzel, Robert L. 1978. “Simulated Peace Conference.” Teaching Political Science 5(2): 219-226. Abstract

Young, Joseph K. 2006. “Simulating Two-Level Negotiations.” International Studies Perspectives 7(1): 77-82. Abstract

Zartner, Dana. 2009. “An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching International Law: Using the Tools of the Law School Classroom in Political Science.” PS: Political Science and Politics 42(1): 189-95. Abstract