Gamification of strategic thinking: A COTS boardgame for learning strategy development and strategy implementation (Covid-19 improvised online facilitation)
The Bundeswehr Command and Staff College (BCSC) conducted a seminar 'Gamification of Strategic Thinking' from 16. - 18. March 2020 with students from the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and Fernhochschule Hamburg. This paper describes the seminar from construction to end, the improvised online facilitation and reflects on the results and findings. Thereby, it contributes to the discussion of how to implement commercial of the shelf (COTS) conflict simulations (wargames) to education, in particular for political science and management. The seminar used the COTS board game 'Scythe' as the environment for strategy development and strategy implementation. Seminar goals were the application of management tools like SWOT Analysis, Kanban Board and the OODA-Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) to strategy development and strategy implementation in a competitive environment characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). Five teams consisting of five players each competed for two days, had to use the decision-making process several times and had to face the consequences of past decisions. Furthermore, four team members (80% of all participants) had to red-team other competitors and thereby learned how to implement a (business) wargaming technique into the decision-making cycle. 100% of the participants had to develop a strategy, either their own or their adversaries' strategy. Several surveys evaluated students' perceptions and performance. 90% of the participants would recommend the seminar and 80% would recommend Scythe as a tool for teaching strategic thinking. The insight is particularly fascinating for the community of professional wargamers regarding the question of how to introduce new personnel to the field of professional wargaming. The lead author planned the seminar as an on-premise seminar. However, due to COVID-19, the TUHH and the BCSC cancelled all on-premise seminars. The lead author had to facilitate the seminar entirely distributed out of his living room using a variety of web 2.0 collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting and, of course, WhatsApp.