I came across the seminar with lack of knowledge about how political world runs its system. I was taking international relation major during my freshmen year and instead of piling up my knowledge so that I can make it applicable for future references, I was stuck into ambiguous thoughts of shifting the major as none of the lessons seemed relevant to apply. I am glad to have an opportunity to be one of the seminar’s participants in "Simulation Game of Playing Politics" as I got a chance to finally be able to apply the knowledge I have had in mind for so long into something practical.
We had an opportunity to be players for certain rounds within the games. I have experienced a lot of things as a player such as challenges, patience, cooperation, fast-thinking, trust, and self-control. We played several types of games which required us to work individually or with a partner. We were given some handouts that would tell us what to do and the steps of the games were also written on the paper. There were a lot of challenges on the way as all of us as the participants had our own pace of understanding how the games work. We took quite a while to acknowledge the purpose of the games, the materials, or even we took longer to choose which games we would do next as most of them were quite interesting. I had a hard time understanding what was going on also as there were a lot of tensions within the room. Everyone had their huge desire to win the games and the ego was quite taking over the situation. When the tension arises, someone had to slip in between and tried to calm it down but the circumstances were got out of hand couple of times.
We needed a total amount of patience playing the games as usually some people would get stuck and confused during the games. I personally had that moment where I had no idea what to do next and how I should do in terms of participating without interrupting the process and I was glad that I had a partner to get me through the entire games. As I said at the very beginning, we also learned about cooperation during the simulation. I remember we had to play an election game where we tried to get the societies or parties’ attention so that we could get the vote from them. I worked with a partner who supposed to make a perfect duo in order to give the best election’s speech. We improvised the whole speech and we finally made it to get a high vote. During that time I realized that I have improved my fast-thinking strategy along with creativity as my partner and I had to quickly compile our speech ideas based on what the opponents were orating.
Being a player also taught me about trust. At some point, other players put their trust on me by offering their cooperation — based of kindness. It was truly hard to believe as the start of the game I was about to lose as we all played individually and everyone wanted to be a winner. In the middle of the game, someone offered me his help and it was quite surprising and it has increased my trust issue’s level. Every time I played the game I would have easily imagined myself on how I would do every step of the game in real life and when someone offered me a help I would literally double check the reason behind a person’s kindness. Based on what I learned one day before the seminar, we were discussing about rationality among mankind and what I remember, almost everyone will do something in terms of their favor which indirectly giving me an idea that there is a reason behind an open hand. As complicated as it sounds, I simply tried to find a meaning behind the man’s act of helping me through the about-to-lose moment and when I found out about his sincere kindness, then I realized that I just found out one of his weaknesses. It might sound bad for some people when they know I have misused someone kindness and turned him down to get to the highest point but everyone got into games to win,
and if someone didn’t come to fulfill his desire to win, then he weren’t supposed to play in the first place. The lesson is opponent stays opponent and once we got into the battle, the court is ours to own.
It was really surprising that some people would easily make cooperation with their own reasons of kindness because I believe that not a lot of politicians out there would apply this attitude. I personally had a hard time to choose whether I wanted to cooperate with others or not as the trust issue I mentioned before had spilled all over me. That was one of my discoveries of my own behavior. I also discovered my public speaking skilled as I nailed the election games with my partner. I was the type of person who is always lazy to talk and usually people misinterpret this act as shy. I was told couple of times not to be shy but at some point the thoughts I have in mind usually have been spoken up by someone else. During the election games, I was glad that I had my time to do my own speech so the laziness excuses couldn’t come in my way. Compared to the other players, I have discovered that everyone wants to be heard, everyone spoke up their assertion with huge passion and most of them voluntarily wanted to go first to have their opinions on the first line.
I am the type of person who would love to listen by allowing people to talk first and when something is missing that would be the time I come in between but I realize that if I have another opportunity to be involved in a games or discussion I need to change that attitude and start to be more active cause in any lesson or discussion, both ways have to received knowledge. If I have the second opportunity, I would also want to be more prepared, I remember I could not even finished to read the entire instructions for the games as we supposed to skim through it at least before the seminar. If I would have read all of them I am sure I would have played the games with less confusion. More preparations means more strategies on the list and that would totally make it easier to come up with better decision during the simulation, and high chances that it would probably get me to the top.
Apart from being a player, we also needed to act as an observer. Being an observer was kind of hard as we needed to know how they run the games without putting huge amount of interruptions to the players. I had a hard time understanding what was going on so I needed to skim through the rules again while the game was on the process. When the tension was at stake, it was one of the most interesting moments to watch as I personally think that when the players spoke up their issues, it is easier to analyze what was going on and it was easier to understand how the game ran. I personally think that we can gain most of the knowledge by being an observer as we could easily walk around and hear the entire discussions from each player, hear out their strategies, hear out their perspective over certain issues and for me being an observer means being impartial.
Another thing that was interesting to observe was how the decision making was made in order to create rules on our own. At some point, some rules on the game needed to be added in order to make everything went smoothly and at that time the players one by one spoke up their ideas on what needed to be changed, how they interpreted the rules that are written on the papers and what they thought were necessary to be used/not which reminded me on my very first research question on how rational choice affected decision making in policies formation.
Annisa from Japan, 2017