The Game

Game Description

The World Peace Game refers to two levels of teaching. On the one side the children are learning about the different correlations in our world and their geographic challenges, on the other side it strengthens social competences of the students, like teamspirit, decision making and to think about the following consequences. They can make these experiences in a protected environment and can develop useful skills.

Four countries and Institutions (World Bank, United Nations, Legal Council and dealers) are coming together in the World Peace Game to solve issues and crisis in the world like: hunger, refugee crises, protesting minorities, energy production, the building of satellites, fishery, agriculture, and a lot more.

Within the first phase of the game all the different game-pieces on the board are explained by the game leader. Figures from the game “Ludo” which feature power plants, green areas which serve as cropland and glittering fishes in the ocean. After being introduced to the game- board the introduction to the crisis report is following. Every crisis is shown on the game- board. Armed conflicts are represented through red markers, the oil, which is leaking out of a tipped over oil tanker is gaining in size every future day and shown by black paper on the board.

During the second phase of the game, the game leader is choosing four minister presidents of the countries, the chairperson of the World Bank as well as from the Legal Council and the armed dealers, also they choose a weather god. Essential while doing that is, that the decision to take the function is made by the person which is asked. The children can also reject. Afterwards the minister presidents and institution leaders set together their team. The saboteur is going to be chosen by the game leader in the following days. The scope of crises first seem unmanageable, the future introduction is tiring , but as soon as the children are allowed to start the negotiations, they are starting to get an overview and develop step by step the solutions to the conflicts. The teacher is becoming the moderator who is leaving the open room to the students and is meeting the decisions made by them only with three questions: Is it reasonable? Can you live with the consequences? Can you afford your decision?

The game is won, as soon as all crises are solved and every country increased its initial budget. Way more important, than those facts which are easy to spot, are the social competences gained by the students during the game, because those are carried by them out of the game and into their regular lives.

The greater challenge as the solving of the conflicts are the social and group dynamic processes, the children are facing during the game. Every position within the country, the prime minister, the the deputy minister, defence minister, finance minister or the equivalent positions in the institutions are having important responsibilities. In the beginning of the game it seems as if every single player is so much claimed by their tasks, that finding a solution for the world as a whole seems unimpossible. The game is designed though, that a cooperation within the country, and later on across the country-borders, is inevitable happening. Tough negotiations and exacerbate discussions are giving the students, in a safe environment, many skills needed for their future lives. Decision making, standing up for them in public, compromise, are part from the World Peace Game the same way as failure of a new idea is and the search for new solutions. The students become familiar with their limits, discover new skills and talents, research, experience disappointment, and train how to argue for your decisions and stand up for them in public.

The extreme joy, when the game is won, is rewarding all of the negotiators which have also been trembling. There is no way to put it into words, what tension is falling of the students, when all crises are checked and and all budgets are controlled.

Not only the teachers, also parents are reporting from the social competences the students have gained and which they still discover long times after the game. They are reporting from the shining eyes the children get every time they talk about the world peace game.

Game – Board

The game board is put together by four squared plates of perspex, which are connected with a metal rod and on top of each other, visualize the four levels Ocean, Ground, Airspace and Outer space.

On those levels the crises are represented by hundreds of figures. They are multidimensional, are happening on all levels and are connected in a way that one level can not be seen detached from the others.

Four continents, with their resources like oil deposits, cities, universities, soldiers, refugees, ships, boats, nuclear power plants, and alternative energy sources, the associated air fleets in the airspace, the satellites in the outer space, the fish stocks and submarines in the ocean.

It includes the tipped over oil tanker as well as the killer satellites and the sunken city. It dose not only visualise the crises which need to be solved, but also it awakes the spirit to start the game and creates a realistic reference to the own country so the children are not only getting an insight in the abstractly placed issues.

In the Outer space natural resources are being exploited, spaceships are moving towards black holes, satellite telescopes and killer satellites need to be deactivated.

Also in the Airspace a lot of things are happening. Every country has an air fleet which frequently needs to be tanked and landed, so they do not crash down. There are clear borders in the air space, also here conflicts might occur. Through the movement of the clouds the air space is able to have a direct impact on the occurrences at the ground.

On the Ground there is by far the most to see and to observe- land masses, islands, ship fleets , fisher boats, farms, armed conflicts, refugees on boats, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, solar panels, minority conflicts, religious confrontations, natural catastrophes and a lot more. As varied this representation sounds, it also looks so diverse on the game board and gives the students an overview in the changing world.

Under the Water there is the sunken city, endangered species and submarines, a fresh -water spring which could could save the harvest of the farmers, if it wouldn’t be located below the ground of the neighbour land.

All this and a lot more is shown on four 120x120cm perspex plates. It spurs the imagination, gives a real reference to the manifold crisis and constitutes the universe in a simplified way, which is still highly complex.

Impact/ Feedback

Everyone wants to play this game and everyone wants to learn from John Hunter.

150 teachers have already been taught to be game leaders in Europe and have brought this new and innovative method of teaching into their classrooms. Almost 1000 students in Austria have already tested out their personal strengths and social competences and got an overview over the global issues, within this game. In the school “Stiftsgymnasium Melk” the World Peace Game is already offered in every first grade. The impact of the game is described the best way by the teachers and students which have had experiences with it:

Gerade für unsere Kids wäre das World Peace Game eine tolle Chance, scheinbar unmögliche Dinge doch zu lösen. Die Kinder lernen dabei nicht nur komplexe Aufgabenstellungen zu bewältigen, sondern auch miteinander zu kommunizieren, Verhandlungen durchzuführen, Kompromisse zu schließen und schwierige Entscheidungen zu treffen.

– Matthias, Lehrer

Der Entwicklungsprozess, den ich bei den Schülerinnen und Schülern in Emmersdorf in nur einer Woche erleben konnte, war überwältigend. Sie kamen rasch aus sich heraus, verhandelten wie echte Politikerinnen und Politiker und lösten weltweite Probleme innerhalb des Spiels in nur einer Woche.

– Sophia, Lehrerin

Das Spiel bringt Menschen über Länder- und Kulturgrenzen hinweg zusammen.

– Eva, Lehrerin

Wir haben über wirkliche Probleme in der Welt gelernt und gemerkt, dass Erwachsene nicht immer die besten Entscheidungen treffen. Es hat mir auch gezeigt über Probleme anders nachzudenken und mich mehr für meine Umwelt zu interessieren. Ich schmeiße meinen Müll jetzt nicht mehr einfach auf den Boden.

– Kirsten, Schülerin

Wir haben etwas Wichtiges gelernt: Probleme lösen ist nicht gleich Abkommen unterzeichnen. Es ist wichtig auch auf die Menschen zu achten.

– Jakob, Schüler

Es war ein wichtiger Punkt, als wir begannen nachzudenken, was würde denn das Volk denken, das wir repräsentieren?

– Mohammed, Schüler