U.S. Army Uses Strategy Game to Teach Cultural Awareness

October 13, 2011 -

The United States Army is testing a new PC strategy game that teaches captains who are being deployed to Afghanistan how to think like local village elders do. The game is called CultureShock: Afghanistan and is being tested at the U.S. Army Engineer School via the captains’ career course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The purpose of the game, according to its creators is to teach cultural awareness and to show officers what drives the decision making process of local leaders whom U.S. forces will have to encounter and communicate with.

The game was developed by IDS International of Arlington, VA. The whole point of the game is perspective, putting players in situations where they get to see the point of view of a village leader. The game starts with the player taking on the role of the village elder after the previous leader has passed away control of the fictional village is passed down to a son.

Tom Viehe, a research associate at IDS, talked about the game a bit at the recent Association of the United States Army annual conference.

“You enter the game having no influence at all, and you have to build that influence,” Viehe said.

Players log in each day and play the game for five to 15 minutes and make decisions based on events that occur in the daily life of the Afghan village. Most are mundane in nature such as crop and labor issues, while others deal with serious threats to survival like Taliban spring offensives and corruption. Each daily play session represents a week in the life of a village.

According to IDS International, the game is "bound by the real world physical, political and cultural restrictions of Southern Afghanistan." IDS is also working closely with Afghan-Americans to ensure realism, according to Viehe. The game also features a reference a guide called “AfghanPedia” that lets them search for cultural information. At the end of the eight-week class, instructors gather data to see how the students’ analytical and cultural understanding has improved.

Source: National Defense Magazine


 
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Andrew EisenAnd I'm off too. Play nice, y'all!08/01/2015 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenIn short, discussions of ethics in journalism? Totally fine. Said indie dev's sex life? Not okay.08/01/2015 - 11:31am
james_fudgeTry talking when you have hundreds of people tweeting at you at the same time :)08/01/2015 - 11:30am
Andrew EisenAnd yet, when 30-seconds of research showed that there was no relevance to said indie dev's sex life, many people kept talking about. Hell, still do to this day. I had a guy on Twitter pester me about this nonsense for an entire day last weekend.08/01/2015 - 11:30am
james_fudgeWhatever dude, you're here posting. No one's stopping you.08/01/2015 - 11:30am
Goth_SkunkBe advised: In approximately 30 minutes I'm heading out of town for an obligatory family reunion. This is being stated so that none can interpret my upcoming 24 hour hiatus as a tail-tucking turn from discussion.08/01/2015 - 11:28am
Goth_SkunkEven now, IronPatriot, MechaCrash, and Craig R. continue to attempt to shout me down and dehumanize me.08/01/2015 - 11:25am
Goth_SkunkWhat transpired afterwards was a concerted effort to shout down and dehumanize those trying to bring these matters out into the open. I remain utterly convinced of this to this day.08/01/2015 - 11:24am
Goth_SkunkAnd yet the sex life of this indie developer tied right into the matter of journalistic ethics, as investigations uncovered a great number of breaches of ethical conduct, both related & not. That scandal is the orifice from which the balloon is inflated.08/01/2015 - 11:20am
MechaCrashI am reminded of the saying about playing chess with a pigeon.08/01/2015 - 11:13am
Andrew EisenThis is supported by, well, what actually happened, but also the text of the actual leaks. That was Tito's question and what he and a few (four total, I think) were discussing.08/01/2015 - 11:11am
Andrew EisenNo, it's not. What was generally prohibited was not discussion of journalistic ethics or other GamerGate topics, but threads that were, for example, discussing the sex life of an indie developer. THOSE are what were locked and removed.08/01/2015 - 11:10am
Goth_SkunkI don't believe you. Not for a second. Every major site with the exception of the Escapist prohibited discussion of GamerGate in its early stages. That is a fact.08/01/2015 - 11:04am
Andrew EisenNo, that's a fact. Don't believe me, read 'em yourself. No one was trying to censor discussion of GamerGate.08/01/2015 - 11:02am
Goth_Skunk@Andrew: That's your opinion.08/01/2015 - 10:57am
Goth_Skunkfuture? I'd compensate you for your time, of course.08/01/2015 - 10:57am
Goth_Skunk@IronPatriot: Congratulations on a sweeping statement to remove the agency of people supporting GamerGate for their own individual reasons. Since you're so good at painting in such broad strokes, are you free to paint my apartment sometime in the near08/01/2015 - 10:57am
Andrew EisenWhich, as you can tell by actually reading the snippets that were leaked, is a shamefully disingenuous telling of what was actually said.08/01/2015 - 10:56am
Goth_SkunkAdditionally, to quote William Usher, "[s]ome of the members on that list actively used their platform to support and propagate a wide-sweeping media narrative based on lies and factual inaccuracies."08/01/2015 - 10:54am
Goth_Skunkthe forums of The Escapist. Thankfully, they were both unsuccessful.08/01/2015 - 10:53am
 

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