Types of Games

Games and workshops can take myriad forms but we break our games into several broad buckets. Not all of the examples here are our own:

Vocab Games

These are games that introduce a field’s key concepts and vocabulary but generally lack mechanics that map to that field. Likely boxed games or apps that don’t require a facilitator.

Examples: CIA: Collect It All, Ship It, Kleptocrat.

Intuition Building Board Games

These board games have mechanics that map to the real world situation and, through play, players gain an intuition the dynamics and incentives.

Examples: A Distant Plain, The Partisans, Paying for Predictions.

Option Games

These games put players in the seats of key decision makers but limit them to a series of discrete decisions with pre-scripted outcomes. They may take the form of boxed games or facilitated exercises (sometimes called Seminar Games). Depending on the game, there might be some broader state tracking and minor mechanical systems.

Examples: You Make The Call, Winterhorn.

Brainstorm Games

These games have an explicit goal of generating new ideas. The players likely have some expertise in the subject at hand but there might be additional material that is taught before or during play. Forms included boxed game or facilitated exercise. Examples: Working Futures, The Thing from the Future.

Crisis Games

A small group of players are placed in a crisis situation with an open ended problem. There are some predetermined actions they can take but out of the box thinking is encouraged. These games are likely refereed, potentially with computer assistance.

Examples: Situation Room.


These games involve a large number of players, split into various factions. Each faction has their own goals and potentially unique mechanics. Players cooperate or compete across a variety of subsystems. Incentives and mechanics strongly emulate the real world dynamics. Game play can include various amounts of optimization (winning minigames), negotiations among players, and performance (giving speeches). These games often require multiple referees.

Examples: Machine Learning President, Watch the Skies.

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