Proof that games have been training some of the world’s most amazing political actors for over 100 years: this week, my social media echo-chambers have been ringing with the “rediscovery” of Suffragetto, a game of activism and state violence designed by the militant British Women’s Social and Political Union circa 1908.

Militant suffragettes are pitted against a team of police officers in a quest to occupy the House of Commons while defending the famous Royal Albert Hall. While the police put women in prison, women put the police in the hospital. Players retrieve detained or injured pawns by negotiating prisoner-swaps.

There are too many great things to say about this: it is a present-day opportunity to learn about a pivotal time in the political history of British democracy, an astounding example of games as teaching tools in history, and an opportunity to cast ourselves back to the dramatic political climate of the day. And that’s just off the top of my head! Who says games can’t teach you anything?

Check out the fabulous article at Suffrajistu for a great summary with some fabulous pictures. But be sure to check out Georgia Tech’s critical look at the history of the game. Not only do they present the game in a its historical context, they even have all the files you need to create your own “print and play” copy—complete with schematics for 3D-printing the pieces!


Thinking “Inside the Box”

This is the first in a Lessons Learned series on essential resources for simulation development.

Natasha Gill’s e-book, Inside the Box: Using Integrative Simulations to Teach Conflict, Negotiations and Mediation, is (in my admittedly humble opinion) very nearly a one-stop shop for educational simulation development. While Gill designs simulations specifically to teach peacebuilding negotiation skills, her method and accompanying manual can be applied to the development of simulations of other political, social, and economic scenarios as well. I have explicitly adapted Gill’s “IN-Simulation” method in the design of LLST’s upcoming sim, The Day My Life Froze: Urban Refugees in the Humanitarian System.

Continue reading “Thinking “Inside the Box””

What We’re Reading – Justin Schon on Motivations vs Opportunities

As a geographer, I certainly have my problems with “push-pull” models of migration. Simply put, people move for many reasons; these motivations are difficult to describe, capture, or categorize, even for the individuals who are migrating. Real trouble starts when overly simplistic models are used to inform state or UN policy on migration. Physical violence and the economics of violence are more difficult to tease apart than most formal definitions of “the refugee” tend to assume.

In his article for the Political Violence at a Glance blog, Justin Schon proposes a more nuanced framework for understanding how movement and violence intersect, based on years of first-hand research with Syrians across the Middle East.

Continue reading “What We’re Reading – Justin Schon on Motivations vs Opportunities”

“The Day My Life Froze” – Peek at the Full Summary

Related to the recent first look at “The Day My Life Froze: Urban Refugees in the Humanitarian System”, Matt has another sneak peek for you: the draft promotional one-pager for the full simulation. Expect changes before the first public delivery of the course, but this is the structure you can expect to experience when you register!

The Day My Life Froze: Urban Refugees in the Humanitarian System – Draft Summary

Here is a direct link to the file.

In the meantime, if you or your agency is interested in arranging an exploratory test-run, contact Matt at

LLST at the WUSC/CECI International Forum 2019

A panel put forward by LLST, titled “Escaping ‘aidland’: Embracing multiple viewpoints through simulation-based trainings”, has been selected to stand among an inspiring list of finalists for the 2019 WUSC/CECI International Forum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

This year, the final selection will be made via popular vote. Voting is ranked by preference, with #1 being the highest.

Public voting for sessions is now open!

Continue reading “LLST at the WUSC/CECI International Forum 2019”

What We’re Reading – Vicarious Trauma on Bellingcat

Secondary trauma is a serious problem for remote analysts, but also for humanitarian workers who connect closely with people affected by conflict.

This week, LLST is reading Hannah Ellis for Bellingcat: a quick, accessible survey of secondary trauma among remote analysts observing raw footage of violent or graphic events. The piece is produced for analysts who work with online sources for Bellingcat (or on studies with similar methodology). Continue reading “What We’re Reading – Vicarious Trauma on Bellingcat”