European Political Science

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 218–227 | Cite as

building resources for simulations: challenges and opportunities

  • simon usherwood


One of the most notable challenges of getting colleagues to try out simulations in European studies teaching is the overcoming of start-up costs. In particular, the creation of a scenario from scratch or the adaptation of an existing game can be daunting. The article discusses these challenges and their origins in the fundamental assumptions that simulations make about both the world and pedagogy. In particular, the tension between the simple rules that are understood to capture real-world phenomena and the complexity that those rules produce creates not only an excellent learning opportunity but also a barrier to developing useful resources for simulation designers. The article offers a number of ways that such a barrier can be overcome, including the development of a simulation designer community, use of online guides and the creation of simulations that teach about simulation design. These ideas are illustrated with a number of practical examples.


simulation games pedagogic resources curriculum design theory of simulation games 



Earlier drafts of this paper were presented at the American Political Studies Association Learning and Teaching Conference, February 2013, Long Beach, and at the EU simulations workshop, Mainz. Thanks to Victor Asal, Peter Bursens, Petra Guasti, Nina Kollars, Heidi Maurer, Arne Niemann, Chad Raymond, Amanda Rosen, Gretchen van Dyke and others for comments on the article.


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • simon usherwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PoliticsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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