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Simulation game about land grabbing

The game can make its players experience the dynamics of conflict.

The game can make its players experience the dynamics of conflict.

A multinational company plans a huge palm oil project. Local famers fight back, because some of them will have to be resettled. – This is the context of a new simulation game for students, developed by FU researchers.

News from Aug 06, 2018

The simulation game “Conflicts over land” (available only in German: “Konflikte um Land”) has been designed by the BMBF-young researchers group GLOCON (“Global Change – Local Conflicts?”) at Freie Universität Berlin, focusing on conflicts over land and resources in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. The game’s target group are students from the faculties of political and social sciences as well as geography.

Global processes such as rising commodity prices, the search for alternative sources of energy and the financial and economic crisis have increased the demand for land by large investors. This leads to various problems worldwide. In these conflicts, parties have to deal with questions of the use and accessibility of land and resources. Usually, huge companies and locals are facing each other, while politicians on the national as well as the local level have to decide whether to support the foreign investors or their local communities. These conflicts form different alliances, for example between international NGOs and local farmers' associations.

However, conflicts can develop different dynamics and processes depending on the location. Actor groups take different positions depending on the conflict and do not act uniformly. The simulation game is designed to convey those different conflict dynamics to students. It helps to understand the various positions, arguments and power structures by letting students experience the different roles of the stakeholders in the simulation.

The participating 16 to 34 players slip into the roles of local famers, NGO’s national and local officials as well as mediators, the CIA and journalists from opposing newspapers. The latter ones’ task is to comment on the ongoing discussions from different perspectives.

The game is available as an Open Educational Resource (OER) in German here.

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