A little EU crisis game

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How would you simulate this? Why would you simulate this?

For someone who’s supposed to be a scholar on the EU, I don’t do many games about the EU. That’s because there are plenty of options out there, plus I don’t often have reason to run these kinds of games, which normally need a significant number of students. Plus, it’s hard to do something that’s different.

However, fortune occasionally brings forth moments to change matters, and this is just such a moment.

As part of the INOTLES project, we’ve been running an online module with students from nine European institutions, learning about the EU. As a capstone, we’re spending most of this week in Brussels, doing a variety of activities, visiting institutions, and trying the local produce.

My contribution to all of this is a short crisis game. It’s a bit of a mixed affair, taking a very topical issue (not the one you’d expect, though) and re-creating some of the dynamics of the European Council (where Heads of member states meet).

I’ve had to flexible because final student numbers weren’t known until quite recently, plus I wanted a game that let everyone play an active role (Parliament games are particularly bad on this). Hence the verisimilitude is quite limited, but it gives the idea. The degree of peril involved is quite limited, but given that some of the students doing this come from the countries involved I’m hoping they’ll thrown themselves into it.

I’ll report back on how it went in my next post, but I’m hoping this joins my small collection of EU-y games that I’ve been building up (very slowly), that will allow more flexibility in approach than the usual approach of let’s get 200 students to spend 4 days discussing mobile phone tariffs. If we can get past simple, formalistic recreations of institutions and get into their logics, then we open up a whole new way of running games that is both accessible to instructors and still relevant for students.

Fingers crossed.

2 thoughts on “A little EU crisis game

  1. This looks like an interesting way to help students understand supranational institutions in an IR course. Or in a course on globalization. Two questions:

    Is the “EU-Ukraine Agreement” the one from 2014 that established a free trade area?

    The simulation is scaled for a class of 35 broken into two equal groups. Let’s say the class only has 12 students (more typical of the political science courses that I teach). Which actors would you drop from the simulation, if any? The European Commission?

    1. The Agreement is indeed the 2014 one: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/ukraine/

      And if you have a much smaller class then you go to individuals taking a role for each actor. From the current list, I’d think you could lose Ukraine without problem (since they play a lobbying role more than anything), then maybe France. Commission needs to stay in, as an actor concerned with the overview: also, they own the current Agt, so adds incentive to find way to preserve it.

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