Friday, October 15, 2010

Reflection #8

This past week was quite different from our usual discussion based classes. Walking in on Monday, I was filled with curiosity as to how this game would play out and how each and every student could play a role in the game. I was anxious to see how we could incorporate what we were learning into a board game and how the teams would work together. Yet, there was one catch. I feel I didn’t do as much as I wished to. I understand that there is a need for one secretary and diplomat, but then there’s the rest of the team trying to contribute, but really idly standing by. Not having played either of the two primary roles, I felt that I could not get as into the game as I wished to. That is not to say that my team’s secretary and diplomat did a great job, because they did. In fact, they did an excellent job of foreseeing moves and strategically planning. Rather, I feel that the game could have played out in a more inclusive way.

A solution is that it is mandatory for the roles to switch throughout the days of the game. For one half of the class, two of the team members act as the secretary and diplomat. During the other half, the roles switch to two others. This way, all team members must be on their feet and attentive at all times. The same procedure would follow during the next class as well. In this sense, the game would be more inclusive and less geared towards those only playing an ‘official’ role.

Besides that one glitch, I felt the game was quite interesting and exciting. It was a great change in pace and a fun way to learn. I think it was a success, and hopefully another class will be devoted to a game like this in the future.


  1. Elana! You could totally join the Brown nation and try to rule the world with Chris and I! =D Seriously though, I can see your point, if you're not part of the main show it's hard to stay engaged and involved at times. I'm curious if you tried talking to your teammates about how you felt and if/how they responded. I think that part of the reason why the game is set up in a slightly exclusive way is to show that the people of the nation (aka the people who aren't the Diplomat or Head of State) do get angry when they feel they aren't being heard or incorporated in planning and that they will act out (voting those in positions of power out). I’m glad you still enjoyed playing, even if it wasn’t as fun as you’d hoped. We’ll have to play classic Risk sometime, and then you can be both the Diplomat and the Head of State! =D

  2. My sentiments exactly. For the first day of the game I was a mere advisor, which basically consisted of me running between the Head of State and the Diplomat, trying to stay involved while periodically not seeing the point in doing that. Then on the second day, Colin so kindly appointed me as the Diplomat after our wonder coup. Suddenly, the game made so much more sense. Having an actual position is the only way to gain a meaningful experience from the game, which is a major flaw in design. I agree that we should have forced rotation. Even though, this would not accurately reflect world politics, it would allow everyone to use the game as a "lab experience."

  3. Elana! I am so so sorry! It gets very hectic for Kate and I when we're playing - I do a lot of pacing, as you may notice - and it's very easy to get caught up and forget to keep not-Kates up to speed. I'll tell y'all what's going on on Monday, promise!

  4. Elana, I could not have said it better myself. The game of Risk was a fantastic learning tool that was able to get our noses out of books during midterms week and actually apply what have been learning these past months in World Politics. While we had a great group, I think the way the game was structured made it very difficult for our other team members to feel like each one of us could contribute.

    I agree with your suggestion of having a mandatory replacement of the Head of State or Diplomat during the game. Another suggestion could be for the other players on the team to be the ones who are responsible for forming alliances and communicating with members from the other teams. I think communication within each team together was an area that was lacking in not just ours but other groups too. This problem could be easily remedied by our solutions for next years class when the classes play Risk.