The simulation game method is a useful tool to uncover causes of conflict and its dynamics. One of the most complex conflicts when it comes to the number of actors and their constantly changing alliances is the current war in Syria. In order to enable students and pupils to better understand the underlying causes we transferred the conflict into a simplified model and created a simulation game. This transformation process was instructed by CRISP and realized together with six students from the chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the university of Marburg (Germany).
Together with the students we wrote the scenario, selected the actors relevant for solving the most urgent issues and developed the respective role-profiles. Furthermore, we also guided the students on how to implement the simulation game, with a special focus on the evaluation phase.
Then, for one and a half days, the simulation game was implemented with 11 pupils from 12th grade, who used the simulation game to develop a roadmap on how to implement a de-escalation zone in the fictitious region of Damaya in Syria.
The pupils very much appreciated the experienced-based way of learning and all of them stated to have increased their understanding of the conflict causes, its dynamics and especially about the different actors at stake. In particular, they highlighted the additional benefit of the simulation game in practicing theories of political science in a semi-fictitious setting.