Planspiele – Strukturierte Rollenspiele um reale Konflikte

Was sind Planspiele?

Planspiele sind eine Kombination aus Rollenspiel, Ressourcenmanagement, Fallstudienbeschreibung und Kommunikation. Prinzipiell schlüpfen die Spieler*innen dabei in einem Szenario in die Rollen verschiedener Akteure und erhalten vor Spielbeginn ein Briefing über deren Interessen, Motivationen, Ressourcen sowie den Ablauf der Spielrunden, in der sich die Spieler*innen über ein gemeinsames Vorgehen verständigen sollen.
Die Wirksamkeit des Planspiels liegt dabei in der Agency der Spieler*innen: Es werden die verschiedenen Standpunkte nicht nur vermittelt, sondern in ihren Entscheidungen und Widerständen auch erfahr- und erlebbar gemacht. Eine Debriefingphase verknüpft die im Spiel gewonnenen Eindrücke – auch Emotionen – mit realweltlichen Aspekten des Spiels.

Die nachfolgenden Hinweise zu den Planspielen sind passend und wertvoll für Betrachtung, Planung, Einsatz und Debriefing auch anderer didaktischer Spiele ab einem gewissen Komplexitätsgrad!

Capaul und Ulrich (2003, 14) definieren Planspiele so:
„Das Planspiel versetzt die Teilnehmerinnen in eine fiktive Situation, die ein vereinfachtes Abbild einer speziell ausgewählten, realen oder hypothetischen Situation ist. Während mehreren Spielrunden machen sich die Teilnehmerinnen mit dem Szenario vertraut, sie analysieren die Ausgangslage und die Ziele, führen Verhandlungen und fällen konkrete Entscheidungen. Daraus wird mit Hilfe des Planspielmodells die Ausgangslage für die nächste Spielrunde ermittelt. Der Einsatz eines Computers ist dabei nicht zwingend.
Während der anschliessenden Transferphase werden die Erfahrungen aus dem Planspiel mit der Realität verbunden. Während dieser Reflexionsarbeit entwickeln die Teilnehmerinnen ihre handfesten Erfahrungen aus dem Planspiel zu praxiswirksamen Handlungswissen weiter.“


Gamedesign: Cooperation

„Opposition. Oh, say the politically correct. Those bad, icky games. They’re so competitive. Why can’t we have cooperative games?“
– Greg Costikyan (1994), „I have no words & I must design“

Competition, opposition, comparision, struggle is a valuable motivational aspect of games. But you don’t always have to pit one opponent against the other in a simple, static player vs. player situation like in chess or most other two-player strategy games. One of the preconditions of this is, of course, that the game will allow for players to interact in a collaborative, supportive way. Weiterlesen

Causality in history: Chrononauts

„Chrononauts is a fascinating, whimsical exploration of time travel, causality, and possibility covering many fascinating and significant events of the last century or so.“

– Andrew Looney

„Chrononauts“ by Anrew Looney (2000) is a card-based game where the players play time travellers able to alter historical events by flipping specific cards, linchpins of the timeline. Those altered events may cause a ripple effect by altering follow-up events, some quite obvious, some funny and nifty: Why would the New York World Fair 1939 have German Cake in an alternate timeline?


Three learning theories mini games

For my seminar „Games, Play and Education“ I’ve scraped together (via skinning, modding, recontextualisation) three minigames. These should serve as an intro to the three learning paradigms of Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism and their possible realisation in games via their very different gaming mechanisms.

The 32 cards and the rules can be downloaded as printable PDF (three pages) via this link: ThreeLearningTheoriesMinigames.



Gaming: A cheat mode for reality

I’ve noticed that rubberbanding (aka levelled gameplay or dynamic game balancing) is a good metaphor to describe what Lev Vygotsky, a russian educational scientist, described as keeping a learner in the ‚zone of proximal development‚. This means that the environment – parent, teacher, virtual learning environment – keeps up a certain level of difficulty in its tasks, to further emerging abilities in the learner. Coincidentally – or not so – this goes quite well with theories (for example Brian Sutton-Smith) that play and game are the most fulfilling when experienced in a state of internal insecurity of the outcome.

Thus rubberbanding is a game designer’s meta cheat to keep the player in the game and the learner hooked to the knowledge.

It could be discussed whether any game, by artificially creating rules facilitating a fair, inherent meaningful and fulfilling gaming experience is a cheat mode for the game we call ‚reality‘ and a tutorial mode (or editor) for the game we call ’society‘.

A path unwanted: Impossibly realistic games

One of the distinctive criteria of games compared to ‚reality‘ is their loose connection to the latter, a worksafe simplification of rules and goals. This doesn’t mean that these games are simple to play, but that rules and metarules are stated or can at least be relied upon as unchanging background as long as we play the game.

The same two mechanisms, simplification and a stated stable background, are the cornerstones of politics, especially in times of war. Knowing the enemy, recognizing the enemy, destroying the enemy, all executed in an unerring, straightforward mode.


A path less trodden: Realistic impossible games

There’s a category of games which deals with ‚the impossible‘ as main theme. This is an approach which takes an entirely different direction than the quest for more realism in gaming. Most mainstream games usually strive for physical, contextual or emotional realism: Realistically behaving objects and environments, relatable everyday settings, involving and intriguing characters.

Each of this categories has a counterpart, be it an M.C.Escher-like warped universe or a Black-White-Shift of invertible negative space of the same ilk, a Lewis Carroll-like twisted conception of reality’s relationships or the Oliver Sacks‚-like madnesses of people both strange and affectionate.

The german expression ‚verrückt‘ would fit well, meaning both ‚crazy‘ and ‚pushed out of place‘. It’s a radical change of view, both forced on the player and also a necessary precondition to understand and play the game.