European Political Science

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 494–518 | Cite as

short games series as new pedagogical tools: the international relations games show

  • Amandine OrsiniEmail author
Teaching and Learning


This article discusses the advantages and drawbacks of a new pedagogical tool that is short games series. As an illustration, it introduces what could be called the ‘International Relations Games Show’, a series of six short games that have been played with bachelor students to experience theories of International Relations (IR). These games were played twice during three academic years in IR introductory courses with 100 students each on average. They illustrate, respectively, the logics of (i) Classical Realism, (ii) Neo-Realism and Neo-Liberalism, (iii) Neo-Marxism, (iv) Heterodox International Political Economy, (v) Constructivism, and (vi) Critical Theories. The article is organized in two parts. Part 1 discusses why short games series are potentially interesting pedagogical tools. It includes a reflection on students’ evaluations of games. Part 2 develops the International Relations Games Show. The conclusion summarizes the main arguments and proposes ways forward. When adequately organized – not too long, with debriefing after the game and during the lectures, and with clear rules, short games series can improve attention, understanding, memory, general learning atmosphere, and favour success for all.


teaching international relations theories of international relations pedagogical analysis games 


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CReSPo - Research Center on Political ScienceUniversité Saint-Louis - Bruxelles BrusselsBelgium

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