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Thematic sessions

Thematic Session 1: Simulation Games for Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency response (1)

Duration: 90 minutes

(preliminary) Date: Monday 10th of July

Summary: Actors engaged in humanitarian interventions and emergency responses regularly work under ambiguous and hazardous conditions. Obstacles and problems that must be overcome reach from infrastructure that is only partly functioning, relevant information that is not accessible, up to hostile environments in fragile regions, which are characterized by political instability, absence of the rule of law and ongoing violent conflicts. In addition, crisis and disaster response typically requires a wide range of different actors that have to work together to effectively provide assistance.

Serious games have been proven to be an effective tool to generate creative ideas, communicate knowledge, train people and engage stakeholders to raise awareness and facilitate collaborative work on problem solving. What is more, games are especially valuable under the depicted challenging conditions and at the interplay between technical and human factors. Recently simulation-game approaches in the area of Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency response have received increasingly more attention, yet we are convinced that their full potential has not been reached.

The thematic session on Simulation Games for Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Response is motivated by the insight that simulation games can deliver memorable learning experiences, and support actors in complex real-life situations. Our intention organizing this session is to bring together researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines and areas of practice to share knowledge about the design, development, and evaluation of simulation games concerned with humanitarian operations. Therefore, the session will consist out of two parts. The organizers of the session will set up a strong connection between both with input from the scientific session to the more practice oriented one, and vice versa. We are looking for scientific presentations (1. call for extended abstracts). Further, we intend to turn into spotlight existing simulation games (2. call for game demonstrations) by organizing a forum for their demonstration and discussion. Above all, we are looking for submissions that contribute to the conceptualization of simulation games for humanitarian interventions and emergencies. Submissions are welcome from academics, practitioners, technical and domain experts as well as policy makers.

Session organizers: Philipp Schwarz , Yan Wang , Heide Lukosch , Bartel Van de Walle

Contact details:[at]



Thematic Session 2: The Facilitator of simulations and learning games – a multi-faceted worker in den Bosch and Bruegel landscapes

Duration: 90 minutes

(preliminary) Date: Tuesday 11th of July

Summary: The Facilitator of simulations and learning games – a multi-faceted worker in den Bosch and Bruegel landscapes. The theme of the 2017 conference is ‘Sustainable cities and smart infrastructures’. The facilitator of simulations is an essential contributor to all efforts to make our cities ‘sustainable’ and their infrastructures ‘smart’ and this panel session uses visual metaphors to explore the nature of that contribution in the 21st century. Much is expected of the person taking on the work of ‘facilitating’ learning in simulations and games. It is an immensely varied role, facing strongly contrasting expectations from different members of the ‘audience’ (participants, clients, peers, game designer, etc.). This panel will explore some of the many perspectives with which researchers are exploring expectations and behaviours of those who work as facilitators of learning in simulation/games based contexts. Expectations about skills, knowledges and affective domain capabilities are all subject to varying standards and assumptions about what might constitute ‘effective enactment’ in specific contexts. Behaviours are subject to an array of forces – from internal values and drivers to external actions of others – and facilitators are expected to be able to navigate their way through the hazards of the uncertainties and unknown of planning for future events and cities. Inevitably, each iteration of a simulation/learning game is ‘unique’. Repetitions are known to accumulate into patterns that may be anticipated, but are never absolutely ‘predictable’. The ‘landscapes’ within which facilitators work are both busy and challenging, and never ‘exactly the same’. The paintings of den Bosch and Bruegel are therefore suitably visual metaphors for the complexity of what is to be managed as each new group of participants create their own version of a specific simulation/learning game. And their art will contribute to the diversity of perspectives our presenters will bring to the discussion about the role of facilitators and facilitation in the process of building sustainable cities and smart infrastructures.

Session organizers: Leigh, Elyssebeth; Tipton, Beth; de Wijse-van Heeswijk, Marieke; Isaeva, Natalia; Roungas, Bill

Contact details: elyssebeth.leigh[at]


Thematic Session 3: Participation in Sustainable Cities and Smart Infrastructures

Duration: 90 minutes

(preliminary) Date: Tuesday 11th of July

Summary: Participation is an extremely important factor for successful development and maintenance of sustainable cities and smart infrastructures.

The idea of this thematic session (or workshop) is sharing ideas with colleagues in the field of simulation and gaming. The format is not a traditional research session were people present more or less related small pieces of research (I also appreciate this format in other cases – but this idea is a little different – with a touch of open space).

In this session (or workshop) findings are a starting point for sharing ideas, findings and experiences, reasoning about them, and bringing together researchers and project leaders.

Based on recent findings of my research teams (partly research in progress, partly published research) some key factors for participation will be discussed: Challenge(es), Intrinsic Motivation, Positive Emotions, Autonomy, Consequences, Team-Atmosphere, Individual Values.

Input is based on research in

·         A Long term program (six month on a traditional sailing ship) with simulation and experiential learning

·         Challenges and individual development

·         Facilitation of Experiential Learning

·         Talent Development

·         Autonomy in learning situations

and experience in simulation projects and simulation design for political education.

Session organizer: Thomas Eberle

Contact details: thomas.eberle[at]


Thematic session 4: Game didactics

 Duration: 90 minutes

 (preliminary) Date:  Wednesday 12th of July


 Session organizer: Martijn Koops



Thematic Session 5: Addressing millennial organisational challenges through game tools

Duration: 90 minutes

(preliminary) Date: Wednesday 12th of July

Summary: A flourishing of game designer-researchers and companies developing games for organizational development can be observed in such countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, UK, and Canada. They all have the intention to connect otherwise ‘silo’ organisational practises and provide fresh, novel perspectives on organisational matters of concern through game tools. However, they are also increasingly concerned with how to address organisational challenges that arise due to the fact that new collaborative technologies are introduced and subsequently lead to a fast changing organisational landscape. Therefore, in this thematic session we explore the questions: How can game tools support millennial organisational challenges? What does this mean for the way we think about organisational game design?

 Session organizers: Sune Gudiksen

Contact details: sunekg[at]

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Thematic session 6: On the Architecture of Game Science

Duration: 90 minutes

(preliminary) Date: Thursday 13th of July

Summary: A comprehensive and coherent view on game science is needed that connects three levels of inquiry: the philosophy of science level, the science level, and the application level. Advances in physics have impacted on the philosophy of science, on modernism and postmodernism, and as a consequence, on game science. Being able to understand the current position of game science requires that we are aware of its scientific roots, and future options for research and professional practice.

 Session organizers: Willy Christian Kriz, Jan Klabbers

Contact details: willy.kriz[at]

Thematic Session 7: Serious Moral Games

Duration: 180 minutes

(preliminary) Date: Thursday 13th of July

Summary: The purpose of this thematic session is to bring together experts from diverse disciplines and areas of practice to share knowledge about the design, development, and evaluation of serious moral games (SMGs), i.e. games that explicitly try to stimulate learning in the moral domain. The 3-hour session will begin with the presentation of four papers, which investigate the potential of SMGs. In the final hour, we will involve all participants in an interactive discussion to network and generate ideas.

Session organizers: Markus Christen, Johannes Katsarov, David Schmocker, Carmen Tanner

Contact details: smg[at]

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Thematic session 8: Simulation Games to Understand Decision Making in Transportation

Duration: 90 minutes

(preliminary) Date: Friday 14th of July

Summary: Transport is the physical process of transporting goods and people via train, air, ocean, (inland) waterways and roads from an origin to a destination. With the eye on achieving the objective of seamless transportation the optimisation of operations of the four different modes (rail, air, road, ocean/ inland) is considered necessary. In addition, terminals serve as nodes that connect modes of transport and absorbing inefficiencies in the rest of the transport chains.

Multimodal transportation nodes are complex systems. Many different interest groups are involved in such systems and all activities are interrelated. Especially efficient decision making processes are necessary for functioning transportation nodes.

Simulation games (SG) are designed to provide new insights about the behaviour including decision making of all actors involved in transportation. Furthermore, through games complex transportation problems are simulated and the reaction of the players and the choices they make provide an insight on possible solutions. Gaming can also promote the collaboration between the different stakeholders and raise awareness on the advantages of information provision on system performance. Multiplayer SG offers an environment where participants from different interest groups try while making collaborative decisions to achieve the same goal that is complete the game with the best possible score. Thus, players can understand the behaviour of all the actors and the collective impacts of their decisions.

In SG participants take up a specific role and react in different situations opposed to them by a simulated environment. SG can be either used a research instruments or as a training instrument.

The scope of this session is to demonstrate simulation games with transportation applications. Session participants are invited to present the games they have developed. They can demonstrate either the game itself and let the other participants play or give a short presentation about results of the game sessions. Games can be both in analogue and digital form, single player or multiplayer.

Session organizers: Shalini Kurapati, Maria Freese, Ioanna Kourounioti

Contact details:

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