Simulation Game „Playing Politics“

Simulation Game „Playing Politics“

Practical experiencing theoretical concepts of
political interactions and bargaining

Simulation Game as Block course in Winter Semester 2017/18 for BA & MA Students at the Europe-University Viadrina, Frankfurt/O., Germany



WED 1st Nov. 6-9pm Introductory session (mandatory)|

Presentation for download → here


FRI 24th Nov. and SAT 25 th Nov. 10am-5pm, and SUN 26 th Nov. 10am-3pm (all mandatory)



The purpose of the simulation game „Playing politics“ is to show practical implications of theoretical approaches and models of political interactions. Politics are calculated and calculating interactions between self-interested political actors – individuals, politicians, political parties, pressure groups, national governments, and alliances of countries. The simulation game presents political action as simple games, disclosing imperfections and dilemmata, and exploring complexity of the „real“ world in a playful atmosphere.

The theoretical-analytical part of the seminar focuses on approaches and models from game theory, rational choice theory, action theory, and bargaining and negotiation theory. Participants will elaborate on these models, select and develop an analytical focus and instrument in a first step. The second step is both, playing games and observing from a metalevel perspective – the group will be divided into sub-groups then. The third step is reflection on games and writing a paper.

Participants will develop their skills in reading and writing scientific texts, in asking good (not only scientific) questions, and joyfully improve their personal bargaining skills. They will investigate political sciences theories, and will experience how to do empirical research in a small scale.


Literature (Selection of Relevant References)

Axelrod, Robert (2006): The Evolution of Cooperation. Revised ed., Basic Books: New York.

Davis, Morton D. (1997): Game Theory: A Nontechnical Introduction (Dover Books on Mathematics). Basic Books: New York.

Elster, Jon (2007): Explaining Social Behavior. More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York.

Fisher, Roger / Ury, William (2012): Getting to Yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in. New edition, Random House Business Publ.: London.

Laver, Michael (1997): Playing Politics. The Nightmare Continues. Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York.

Laver, Michael (1997): Private Desires, Political Action: Invitation to the Politics of Rational Choice. Rev. ed., Sage Publications Ltd: London.

Olson, Mancur (2002): The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. 2nd printing with new preface and appendix (Harvard Economic Studies), Harvard University: Cambridge Massachusetts.

Schelling, Thomas C. (1990): The Strategy of Conflict. Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts, Reprint, Wiley Publ.: London.

Schelling, Thomas C. (2006): Micro Motives and Macro Behavior. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, London.

Tsebelis, George (2002): Veto Players. How Political Institutions Work. Russell Sage Foundation: New York / Princeton University Press: Princeton (NJ).


Preconditions for Participating in the Simulation Game

Curiousity for a different seminar format and playing games. Commitment for active participation, self responsibility and self organisation. Good command in English. As the simulation game will only works with numerous players, the number of participants should be at minimum 20 persons.

Students have to write a short motivational letter why they would like to participate on the simulation game, and to indicate whether they are BA-students or MA-students. Therefore, prior application is mandatory via email: playing.politics[ätt] Deadline for sending motivation for participation is SUN 22nd Oct. 2017. The winners will be informed in time.


Information on Seminar

Students from both, Bachelor and Master degree are welcome:

BA: Practice Module / Advanced Social Sciences

MA (MASS, European Studies): Practice Module / Module Politics and Culture/ Option Module

Differing requirements are taken into account by the lecturer.

All questions on seminar details and certificate requirements will be discussed at the first session, on WED 1st Nov. 2017 from 6-9pm. And, there will be given a short intro by the lecturer to speed reading scientific texts, the art of asking powerful questions, doing empirical research and writing scientific texts (e.g. essays).


Certificate / Grading

Grading: 3/6 ECTS

Details on the prerequisites for a certificate are discussed at the first session on WED 1st Nov. 2017.