Board Games and Political Theory- Summary

Having completed the research project this post is a summary of my work and insights.

My goal for this project was to use board games to help explain the nebulous and sometimes confusing theories of International Relations (IR). To do this I wanted to elucidate the parallels between specific IR theories and concepts and specific rule-mechanics in board games.

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Board Games and Political Theory- Part 3

After completing my analysis of Risk, Settlers of Catan, and Diplomacy, I moved into the third phase of my research: educational application. This part of the project was the most speculative – since I have no educational training other than my own experience as a student – but was also the most enjoyable. Connecting the intricacies of IR theory to my longtime passion for board games was gratifying. I believe the potential for board games in education, specifically in the teaching of IR theory, is great and, as of yet, mostly untapped.

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Board Games and Political Theory- Part 2

After completing the concept diagram of IR theories and concepts I began the next step of my research: analyzing board game rule-books. I consider this phase to be the ‘meat’ of my research. The concept diagram (phase 1) was compiled to enable board game analysis and any educational applications of the relationship between board games and political theory is dependent on said analysis.

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Board Games and Political Theory- Part 1

Before I begin to analyze popular board games for their relationship with International Relations (IR) theory, I needed to create a comprehensive pool of all IR theory since one did not previously exist. Having a single source for all of my reference work when conducting analysis of board games will reduce any errors resulting from cognitive bias (forgetting, lack of understanding, etc..) It will also help to delineate the ‘edges’ of my project. Creating a single source to reference before conducting analysis will eliminate the temptation to cherry-pick theories from the sprawling IR-literature.

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