Developing a three-part simulation game series for Phillips-Universität Marburg

Rosania in crisis

This is our most comprehensive simulation game project to date: Commissioned by the Center for Conflict Studies at Phillips-Universität Marburg, planpolitik designed a three-part simulation game series about the conflict in crisis-riven Rosania. Even though the country does not exist in reality, everything that happens there can be read about in any book about conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Political crises that escalate into warfare are hard to grasp for external onlookers. What are the driving forces and mechanisms that potentially lead to escalation? What are the real interests of the actors involved – including the neighbouring states? What is the role of the media? It was these issues – and others – that Marburg students at the Center for Conflict Studies were to experience in practice rather than examining them through theory – not least to enable a practical examination of relevant theories and concepts.

Therefore the Center for Conflict Studies at Phillips-Universität Marburg commissioned us to create three successive simulation games, with each game representing a different phase in the conflict. It became our largest simulation game to date, not least because we had to invent the fictional state of Rosania – its history, the ethnic composition of its population, its economic framework data, political interrelations and the role of its neighbouring states. Each of the three simulation games works individually, too, and each highlights a different dimension of a conflict: The first, an action-heavy game, highlights the building up of tensions in multi-ethnic Rosania under an authoritarian regime. Game two depicts an international peace conference held by the neighbouring states, trying to avert the Rosanian crisis. The last game shifts its focus again, away from high politics and onto the local level. Displaced people who are returning find their homes either bombed or squatted by others, as well as facing a number of other problems. A crisis in time-lapse and under the magnifying glass – after a point, who can still tell terrorists from freedom fighters, corrupt civil servants from guarantors of peaceful coexistence?

The Rosania series has been part of the regular curriculum of the Bachelor programme at Marburg since 2010 and has been played by hundreds of students since then. The separate episodes have each been regularly used, e.g. in foundations and sending organisations.

Facts + Figures

Target group

Students

Objectives
  • Experience the driving forces and mechanisms of domestic conflicts and their possible prevention through action and negotiation
  • Understand interests and motives of all actors involved in a conflict (incl. neighbouring states)
  • Provide an entry point to searching for a solution and, if possible, facilitate examination of relevant theories and concepts
Client(s)

University of Marburg, Center for Conflict Studies

Duration

18 months

Number of participants

20-40

Location(s)

Marburg

Language(s)

German, English

Competencies

Testimonials

  • We'd like to say a big thank-you for this fantastic cooperation. We are very happy with the result.

    Dr. Sina Schüssler, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Marburg