The Conduct of a Simulation Game

The Conduct of a Simulation Game

Roberta Masci (University of Calabria, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-930-4.ch010
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The chapter describes the phases of the simulation games presenting the role and functions of the game leader in each phase. The chapter also provides helpful advice on the different ways of conducting the simulation games and discusses the main difficulties that can arise in each phase and how to overcome them.
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The Phases Of A Simulation Game

Although there are many ways to organize and direct simulation games, their procedural architecture is made up of four fundamental and indispensable phases: opening, briefing, running and debriefing.

  • Phase 1. Opening. This initial phase is necessary for creating the relations, conditions and procedures of the game. During the opening phase, the desired aims are specified to the pupils, and the type of activity in which they will take part is carefully described, explained and questions answered.

In this way, attention is focused on the rationale of the game and on the aims and roles assumed in the interaction. This phase is intended to stimulate pupils’ motivation also, where possible, by encouraging them to describe previous experiences of participation in games or similar activities.

These first pieces of information allow the participants to become familiar with the simulation game, and the leader to clarify the rules. In other words, this is a phase in which a real educational contract takes place between the leader and the participants, which should give rise to positive expectations of this undertaking. The clarification of the rules and representation of the roles should allow each of the participants to become fully involved in the action, the process, and relations within the group.

  • Phase 2. Briefing. In effect, this is the preparatory phase of the simulation game, during which the scenery, i.e. the simulated context, within which the pupils will operate, is clarified, inviting the pupils to work hard for the resolution of the problem situation at the core of the game.

In this phase the aims of the simulation are stated clearly and precisely, the context in which it takes place and its characteristics are described in detail, the groups are formed and the roles are allotted to each participant and instructions provided.

The informative phase can also include some test games to allow the pupils to understand fully the simulation procedure, giving them a slow-motion run-through or rehearsal of the activities that will take place in the course of the simulation. In this circumstance, the teacher will explain the unfolding of events, phase after phase, and will try and answer all the questions that may arise on the rules, times and so on. The trial run is not always necessary but, if it does not take place, the teachers need to be ready to deal with any confusion that may arise later on in the first session.

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