The South China Sea: a highly complex web of interests of the numerous littoral states and international actors. This multi-layered conflict is the basis for our most technically complex, strategic simulation game to date.
On behalf of the Foundation of German Business (sdw) and the Inter-Foundation China Competence Programme for scholarship holders of all 13 scholarship programmes, we were allowed to translate this globally highly relevant conflict into a fictitious simulation game scenario: "The Conflict in the Gagonian Sea".
However, we did not want to simulate the umpteenth international conference. As important as it is to talk to each other, facts are often created in conflicts through the deliberate actions of the actors involved, which massively influence the conflict situation and the consequences of which must then be talked about again with each other. And so, in this game, sovereignty claims are not only discussed, but islands and atolls are occupied without further ado. Oil and gas fields are explored and joint production projects are concluded. Economic aid and investments do not only serve as bargaining chips, but are decided in the game and thus have a direct impact on the economic relations between the countries. The current military presence of the riparians as well as some important international actors in the waters of the Gagonian Sea also plays a major role in the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The exciting challenge was to present the dynamic developments to the participants in such a way that on the one hand they get direct feedback on their own actions and the actions of other actors, but on the other hand they do not get lost in a sheer flood of information. Our team spent weeks designing and programming to technically implement the action-oriented possibilities of the game on our simulation platform Senaryon and to clearly display them on an interactive map - resulting in a total of 495 individual actions that the players can take, 212 automated messages and 316 layers of the interactive map that can be shown and hidden.
The result is a hitherto unique, highly complex and action-oriented game with which we have raised our own standards for (already mostly very demanding) action-oriented simulation games to a new level.