Global Simulation: Spring 2019



INTL 4265: Global Simulation

Jeffrey D. Berejikian



The primary function of this course is to help students create, implement, and evaluate various foreign and domestic policy strategies. To do this, students will work as teams, managing governments in a complex multiplayer computer game. We will be using a version of the game Civilization IV to simulate the international system. You will be asked to create a grand strategy for your country and to implement it, to the extent possible. The primary challenge in this game is that you will be competing and cooperating with other countries, in real-time, as they attempt to implement their own strategies.

Throughout the course, we will also read and critically analyze the academic literature on foreign policy and international relations. There is currently a fierce debate between academics and foreign policy practitioners. Academics complain that practitioners donʼt adequately incorporate relevant social science research into their policy decisions. Practitioners complain that the kind of research academics undertake is of little practical use to them. Part of your job will be to use our game to reflect on the degree to which academic research – the kind of writing students are regularly exposed to in our major – is useful to real-world policymakers.

We will develop two-game scenarios in this class. The first involves the European powers just before WWII. Students will be assigned countries with the social, political, and military characteristics of the different European states in that period. This simulation thus accurately captures the incentives of European governments in this era; the major powers have competing interests, the lesser powers will need to seek alliances, increased security for any one country may pose a threat to others. However, the outcome of the simulation is not predetermined. A war between Axis and Allied states is possible, but so are other conflicts. Indeed, it may be possible for you, acting as governments, to avoid conflict altogether.

The second simulation is a kind of  “free for all.” Each country starts with precisely the same, minimal, resource base. Acting as governments, you are free to create and grow your society as you wish. Initially, there will be room to expand the territory of your civilizations and time to shape the political, economic, and religious structure of society without worrying about other countries. However, states will eventually encounter one another, come into conflict, and will need to form trading and security relationships.


General Comments about Class Requirements:

This simulation is intended to be fun; however, please understand that this is also a very demanding course. As noted below, several analytical writing projects will require considerable conceptual development. In assigning a grade, emphasis will be placed upon the quality of your analysis rather than on the simple completion of an assignment.

Also, while the reading burden is not heavy, the assigned readings often are challenging. Many of the articles you will read would be challenging for a graduate seminar on foreign policy, so you may have to read them more than once to understand the core arguments. However, donʼt worry. While some of the terminology and much of the statistical analysis will be confusing at first, we will go over it together in class.

There are five graded components in this course:

Unannounced Exams:

There will be three unannounced in-class examinations. Each will be worth 100 points. These examinations will focus on the concepts in the reading material and will ask you to apply these to your experiences in gameplay. For example, a question might ask you to define the relationship between complex interdependence and interstate conflict and ask you to explain aspects of your foreign policy in terms of this relationship. MAKEUP: If a student misses an exam for a university-approved reason, it can be retaken during the third hour scheduled for the final exam.

National Security Doctrine:

Each team will be asked to create a national security doctrine (NSD) for their countries. NSDs are public documents that serve several purposes. Foremost, they articulate the core values that a country is willing to defend. They also identify significant foreign policy challenges, articulate a government’s central objectives, and outline policies intended to secure these objectives. You will draft separate NSDs for each of the scenarios described above. The primary purpose of the simulation will be to execute, as carefully as possible, the policies outlined in the NSD. The goals articulated in NSDs will clash. Acting as the government, you must find a way to secure your goals despite this fact. Two actual NSDs are included in your first reading assignment and can serve as models for your document. Your NSDs will vary from these examples in that you will also have to articulate domestic policy goals. You will assign points to each specific foreign policy and domestic goal. You have a total of 500 points to assign (150 points to domestic politics and 350 points to foreign policy). NSDs will be submitted as a group, will be worth 100 points each, and will be approximately eight pages (max) in length.

Foreign Policy Log:

Each country will keep a foreign policy log that will be submitted as an attachment to your policy analysis (see below). The log (in the form of a real-time log) documents the choices your country makes in each round of the simulation, as well as describes how these choices were intended to advance the goals outlined in the NSD.  Be sure here to include your understanding of how the behavior of other countries affected your team’s ability to execute your NSD. These journals will form the basis of each country’s Policy Analysis. The journal can earn 25 points each and will be submitted as a group.

Policy Analysis:

At the end of each simulation, countries will draft a 10-page (max) assessment report. The purpose of the report is to evaluate your success in executing the NSD. Please note, the grading criteria for this project is not how successful you were in implementing the NSD. Instead, the purpose here is to clearly articulate the reasons why you were successful and/or unsuccessful in fully realizing your goals.  Assessment Reports will be submitted as a team and worth 100 points each. IMPORTANT: your function here is to take on the role of a policy analyst, rather than to justify the choices you made. Be critical, objective, and analytical in your approach. I will provide you with a template. Attach a copy of your log as an appendix to your report.

As part of the policy analysis, each country will conduct a series of “elite interviews” of foreign policy decision-makers in other countries. The focus of these interviews is to collect data to understand better the reasons why you were successful/unsuccessful in realizing your goals.

 Class Participation:

Group projects comprise a significant component of the course. Therefore, each member of a team will judge the other members on the quality and degree of their participation. These assessments will be delivered to me in confidence. Ten points are possible for each simulation.

Grading Scale

A 100-93A-  92-90B+ 89-87B 86- 83B- 82-80C+ 79-77C 76-73C- 72-70D 69-60F 59 and below

The Principle of Fair Play

To create a meaningful learning experience, you are required to adopt the principle of fair play. This means that you are asked to play the game as it is set up, and not attempt to alter the play in any fashion whatsoever. Violation of the principle of fair play constitutes cheating in this course and is a violation of UGAʼs academic honesty code.

For example, one could obtain cheat codes online that would allow your empire to skip levels of development, acquire advanced technologies, or to collect resources and capacities without having to progress normally through the levels of built into the simulation. In this class, all such tactics are prohibited as they diminish the classroom experience for your students. Please engage the game as intended, without alteration. This will ensure that all students have the same opportunity to learn from the simulation.

Outside Game Resources.

Now, research and cheating are two entirely different things. The distinction here is between effectively playing the game as it is designed versus seeking an unfair advantage. You are encouraged to do as much research as possible into how the game is played and how best to implement your strategies and goals. There are numerous resources online that discuss game strategy, tactics, etc. You are free to research and deploy any strategy intended to help you manage your empire more efficiently, so long as you are not unfairly manipulating the ordinary course of play.

For example, two resources to get you started:

Civilizations 4 Game Guide

[Caution. This is a 3-party site. It is safe, however, and it will ask you to create a new account. The account is free, and you can deactivate it after you download the guide (as a PDF file). If you do not wish to create an account, the manual is also available via splash screens.]

Introduction Civilizations 4

Finally, I strongly encourage you to become familiar with the game as soon as possible. We will have one class session to familiarize you with the game.  However, the simulation is very complex. You are free to practice in the computer lab in Candler Hall, where the simulation will take place, or you can buy a copy of the game online for $20.00. If you want to get started, this is perhaps the best way to practice before the simulation begins.  If you choose to do this, please make sure you get version 4, not version 5.

Timetable for Readings and Completion of Assignments

As this class meets on a seminar schedule (once a week), complete the readings before class. Typically, we will spend the first hour in a lecture format and discuss the readings. We will then break, and spend the remainder of the class playing the simulation. All the readings are available via the noted web link or through UGAʼs online journals.

PLEASE CHECK THE SYLLABUS EACH WEEK. There are several core concepts that we want to deliver, and these readings are assigned below. However, because the simulation is unstructured, each class has a different set of experiences (a lot of conflict characterizes some, others utilize international agreements, etc.). As a result, I will likely change the readings as the simulation evolves. This way, we can match the research you confront directly to your experiences in gameplay.

Digital Distractions:

While I fully understand the benefits of taking notes on a computer, the potential for distraction outweighs these benefits. Please make sure that laptops, cell phones, and tablets are put away during our lectures and discussions. During the simulation, one team member will be responsible for keeping a log of your country’s decisions. We have computers available in the lab to use for this purpose, but you may also use your laptop if you like. However, cell phones, etc. are to be put away during the gameplay.


Week 1: Jan 10

Introduction: Explanation of the course, responsibilities, and syllabus. Form teams for simulation.

Week 2: Jan 17

Training session and practice game: Familiarize with the simulation through gameplay.

There is a lot of reading for this first week. But much of it is background information to help you in understanding the purposes of the national security doctrines that you will construct for your countries.



National Security Strategy of the United States, 2015 Obama

National Security Strategy of the United States, 2006: Bush

Week 3: Jan 24

National Security Strategy #1 Due

Begin Simulation WW11 Simulation

+Glen Snyder. “The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics” World Politics 36:4 1984

Week 4: Jan 31

Conduct WW11 Simulation

+Paul Huth and Bruce Russett “What Makes Deterrence Work?” World Politics 36:4 1984

Week 5: Feb 7

Conduct WW11 Simulation

+Ron Mitchell (1994) “Regime Design Matters: Intentional Oil Pollution and Treaty Compliance” International Organization 48(3): 425-458

Week 6: Feb 14

Conduct WW11 Simulation

+Robert Jervis “The political Implications of Loss Aversion” 1992 Political Psychology

Week 7: Feb 21

Conduct WW11 Simulation

+Richards, David (1996) “Elite Interviewing: Approaches and Pitfalls,” Politics 16(3): 199-204.

+ James Fearon “Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands versus Sinking Costs” Journal of Conflict Resolution. 1997. 41:1

Week 8: Feb 28

Second Examination: Jervis

Week 9: March 7

Half-Day day simulation

Conduct Elite Interviews

** March 14 Spring Break**

Week 10: March 21

First Policy Analysis Due

Assessment of team members due.

We will also reshuffle team members for the next round of play.

Week 11: March 28


Week 12: April 4

National Security Doctrine #2 Due

+Alexander Wendt “Anarchy is what States Make of it: The Social Construction of Power Politics” International Organization 1992 46:2

(Suggested Reading Dryzek and Berejikian “Reflexive Action in International Politics” British Journal of Political Science. 2000. 30:2)

Conduct Free for All Simulation

Week 13: April 11

Conduct Free for All Simulation

+Thomas Buergenthal “The Normative and Institutional Evolution of International Human Rights” Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Nov. 1997), pp. 703-723

Week 14: April 18

Full-Day Simulation! (reading not discussed in class)

Week 15: April 25

+John Oneal and Bruce Russett “The Classical Liberals Were Right: Democracy, Interdependence, and Conflict 1950-1985” International Studies Quarterly Vol. 41 No.2 (1997)

Half-Day Conclude Simulation

Conduct Elite Interviews

Final Policy Analysis due: May 3, by 3:30 pm