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Reacting to the Past: Extended Simulations and the Learning Experience in Political Science
Unformatted Document Text:  end of each session in both games that influenced strategies at the next session. Occasionally, I would also have to intervene as the instructor to answer questions about game and grading pro- cedures or, more commonly, to force an end to debate. Phase 3: Debriefing the Games After the last game session, the pedagogy again reverts to a more conventional framework. In Reacting games, the last assignment of the second phase is to read the sections in the game book concerning the actual outcome of the events in the simulation. This provides background for a discussion of the way the game played out and why. At this point that all students explained their victory objectives and discussed why they had either succeeded or failed. This can be quite re- vealing. For example, in my first class the French Revolution stalled due to the crowd heeding the advice of their factional allies, the Jacobins. The Jacobin objectives included controlling the influence of the crowd by limiting crowd assaults on the nobility and clergy. The result was that not enough inroads were made into the voting strength of the nobles. When the nobility joined the Feuillant to suppress the crowd and the Jacobins in the game’s last session, the majority of the indeterminates, seeing which way the wind blew, joined them. By referring to this outcome in our class discussion, I was able to make some trenchant points referring to the opportunistic re- sponse of different Iraqi factions to the Iraqi constitution and the difficulties of establishing sov- ereign governments in revolutionary situations. Similarly, the India game made the intransigence of the various ethnic groups in Iraq, despite the potential gains from cooperation, much easier for the students to understand. After all, they had been intransigent themselves in a similar situation. Iraq and “Lessons Learned” 10

Authors: Lightcap, Tracy.
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end of each session in both games that influenced strategies at the next session. Occasionally, I
would also have to intervene as the instructor to answer questions about game and grading pro-
cedures or, more commonly, to force an end to debate.
Phase 3: Debriefing the Games
After the last game session, the pedagogy again reverts to a more conventional framework. In
Reacting games, the last assignment of the second phase is to read the sections in the game book
concerning the actual outcome of the events in the simulation. This provides background for a
discussion of the way the game played out and why. At this point that all students explained their
victory objectives and discussed why they had either succeeded or failed. This can be quite re-
vealing. For example, in my first class the French Revolution stalled due to the crowd heeding
the advice of their factional allies, the Jacobins. The Jacobin objectives included controlling the
influence of the crowd by limiting crowd assaults on the nobility and clergy. The result was that
not enough inroads were made into the voting strength of the nobles. When the nobility joined
the Feuillant to suppress the crowd and the Jacobins in the game’s last session, the majority of
the indeterminates, seeing which way the wind blew, joined them. By referring to this outcome in
our class discussion, I was able to make some trenchant points referring to the opportunistic re-
sponse of different Iraqi factions to the Iraqi constitution and the difficulties of establishing sov-
ereign governments in revolutionary situations. Similarly, the India game made the intransigence
of the various ethnic groups in Iraq, despite the potential gains from cooperation, much easier for
the students to understand. After all, they had been intransigent themselves in a similar situation.
Iraq and “Lessons Learned”
10


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