Photos © Will May.
The World Peace Game is a hands-on political simulation that gives players the opportunity to explore the connectedness of the global community through the lens of the economic, social, and environmental crises and the imminent threat of war. The goal of the game is to extricate each country from dangerous circumstances and achieve global prosperity with the least amount of military intervention. As “nation teams,” students will gain greater understanding of the critical impact of information and how it is used.
As their teams venture further into this interactive social setting laced with highly charged philosophical issues, the skills needed to identify ambiguity and bias in the information they receive will be enhanced and more specifically they will rapidly perceive that reactive behavior not only provokes antagonism, it can leave them alone and isolated in the face of powerful enemies. Beliefs and values will evolve or completely unravel as they begin to experience the positive impact and windows of opportunity that emerge through effective collaboration and refined communication.
In essence, as meaning is constructed out of chaos and new creative solutions are proposed, World Peace Game players will learn to live and work comfortably at the frontiers of the unknown.
Show students that you are interested in what they love, respect them as individuals, respect what they love – and help them go deeper towards their interests.- John Hunter
How can I play the game?
John Hunter does travel and host World Peace Game sessions around the world. 30–35 children ages 9–12 play the 5-day morning game session, while 20–30 teachers observe the game in a Master Class. In the 5-day Master Classes, each morning teachers see John facilitate the World Peace Game with students, and in the afternoon Master Class teachers deconstruct what they saw and what this experience does for the learning structure and environment in the classroom. Teachers leave the class not only with an understanding of the mechanics of the Game, but also self-developed ideas and drafts of how they can create a learning experience for students that is engaging, challenging, and also of their own creation for any grade level.
How can I buy the game?
There are no World Peace Game kits for sale. Without the core principles engendered by a careful, trained facilitator, the World Peace Game might devolve into “just another war game.” Simply putting the game-in-a-box for sale would not be viable due to its complexity.
It was decided that a boxed or pre-packaged game might also stifle the creativity and ability of teachers to develop games themselves, going through the many design steps involved in designing the learning. We ask that site wishing to host John to facilitate the Game, use his specifications to build their own Gameboard structure prior to the Game event.
What is the state of the game's development?
While the book, World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements, published by with Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt is now available, John has begun setting down an additional practical manual, planned for digital distribution by the end of 2015.
Will there be a virtual version of the game?
A virtual version of the game has been considered. Key issues regarding how to create a dynamic and hands-on game in the digital realm, while remaining true to the learning outcomes for which the game was designed are a great design challenge. Subscribing to the newsletter will keep you up to speed on what is happening in that arena.
What is required to have and play the World Peace Game?
The game is actually far more complex than glimpsed in the TED Talk or in the documentary film. Here’s what the game requires to be facilitated, played, and maintained:
Students who play must:
- possess a certain “intellectual stamina” and can wrestle over an extended period of time with tough problems that are without quick or easy resolution
- can interact constructively with others different from themselves (diversity as much as possible)
- can forestall closure and handle the certain frustrations of endless challenges and conflicts as they collaborate to achieve peace
Teacher / Facilitators who wish to use the game must:
- know their particular group of students very well, as the game is entirely based upon relationships
- must be able to foster and watch without interfering, opportunities for initial failures of the students, though they ultimately achieve success
- be able to not know or understand just what the students are doing for a time, but have an intuitive understanding of their intent and discern how best to facilitate that intent
- be able to create appropriate new parameters / rules / procedures as needed to deepen learning suddenly
- be able to cede control of the classroom direction to the students while maintaining teacher-student collaboration, or in other words, to lead without leading
In short, charisma, compassion, connectivity, creativity, patience, and awareness are all necessary in great measure. It has taken me over thirty five years to develop enough skill to facilitate the game. Even now I am quite often in situations where failure is normal and routine, and I am completely in the dark about what to do next. This is normal for me now, but not everyone is interested in adopting the above prerequisites in their teaching or classroom style.
To ideally, to learn how to play the game best is to observe a number of game sessions first. This is where the Foundation Master Class participation comes in to play. The World Peace Game is completely different every time. It is immensely complex (deliberately so) with well-over 50 interlocking, local and global problems, and new ones popping up every round of play! The current board takes about 5–6 hours to set up, and normally 3 hours are allotted to simply explain to new students how the game works. The dossier / manuals given are about 20–30 pages long. A secure, undisturbed room space is necessary for the duration of the game which may take 6–12 weeks (in regular school settings) to play depending on many factors involved in that particular game. Master Class/World Peace Games conducted by John are 5-day intensives.
The game’s duration is also not that predictable. A flexible schedule is necessary. The game was designed to optimally accommodate 25–35 players. The structure itself claims almost a quarter of a typical classroom’s space, which may pose a challenge to give over that much space and time to one (albeit, multidisciplinary) project. Any amount of time less would not be sufficient. An extensive, long-term commitment is needed to implement this game successfully. There are will not be a shortened or simpler version of the game because the learning outcomes would not be the same.