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. The four-leveled four foot square game board with its hundreds of pieces is not the most mobile teaching tool in the world. Two opportunities exist in the summer of 2012 to play the World Peace Game: in Charlottesville for a mixed-age group and in Memphis for 4, 5, 6, grade students. See the Master Classes page for details.
How can I buy the game?
The World Peace Game is currently not for sale. There are many ideas being considered regarding the best way to make the game available to teachers and students around the world. Some of the considerations that we are wrestling with is that a boxed game could stifle the creativity and ability of teachers to develop games themselves, going through the many design steps involved in designing learning. When we make a decision regarding the future of the World Peace Game, we will let everyone know through this site and our social media outlets.
What is the state of the game's development?
There is no paper manual…yet, but I have begun setting down a manual for a publisher, as it has existed only in my head all this time. Usually the game is passed on in a kind of oral tradition to generations of players at the beginning of every game. The book with Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt will be out in the beginning of 2013. What I am finding is that many teachers and students around the world are taking it upon themselves to design their own game to develop critical and creative thinking, inspired by the World Peace Game and are evolving their own best game! This is wonderful and I encourage anyone to try it.
I have thought about open-sourcing the World Peace Game, or simply putting a basic manual out. I am concerned that 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.
Will There be a virtual version of the game?
There may be a virtual version of the game. Right now we are considering options and key issues regarding how to create a dynamic and scintillating game while remaining true to the learning outcomes for which the game was designed. When we have news to share about a virtual game, we will let everyone know through this site and our social media outlets.
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 film. I am considering offering training for those who wish to become facilitators of the game but plans for this are not in the works yet. As you’ll see below, such an endeavor would be an extensive commitment involving many logistical concerns for both me and those who wish to undertake training.
Here’s what the game requires to be facilitated, played, and maintained:
Student 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 to allow opportunities for failure of the students at first, and then to 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 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 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 in its current incarnation is to observe a number of game sessions first. This is where training opportunities may occur in the future. The game play 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 to play depending on many factors involved in that particular game.
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. I would not want to create a shortened or simpler version of the game because the learning outcomes would not be the same.