Nonviolent Resistance Video Game: A Force More Powerful

A Force More Powerful is a computer game about nonviolent struggle which is available throught the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. AFMP puts the player directly into the role of planner for a nonviolent movement seeking social change-a role that is challenging, demanding, and sometimes even dangerous.

A unique collaboration of experts on nonviolent conflict working with veteran game designers developed this simulation game to teach the strategy of nonviolent conflict. A dozen scenarios, inspired by recent history, include conflicts against dictators, occupiers, colonizers and corrupt regimes, as well as struggles to secure the political and human rights of ethnic and racial minorities and women.

A Force More Powerful is advertised as the first and only game to teach the waging of conflict using nonviolent methods. Destined for use by activists and leaders of nonviolent resistance and opposition movements, it will also educate the media and general public on the potential of nonviolent action and serve as a simulation tool for academic studies of nonviolent resistance.

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Info from their website:
AFMP is primarily a game of strategy, emphasizing abstract ideas and planning rather than reflexes, coordination or quick thinking. Its realism does not depend on resource-hungry real-time animation, but on the accuracy of its underlying political models.

Designed for those with no previous gaming experience and only basic computer skills, the game emphasizes substance over the flashy action common to many popular games. A sophisticated visual interface includes 3D views and animation, but the game is compatible with hardware commonly available in the developing world.

Game play is governed by detailed interactive models-of strategic and political factors, ethnicity, religion, literacy, material well-being, media and communications, resource availability, economic factors, the role of external assistance, and many other variables. Tactics include such basics as training, fund-raising and organizing, as well as leafletting, protests, strikes, mass action, civil disobedience and noncooperation. Many game-play decisions involve selecting which characters and groups should take part in the strategy, and weighing the benefits of such actions relative to their costs.

Game play involves the player's side (the movement) and an opponent (the regime). The regime is created by the designer of each scenario, and controlled by the game's artificial intelligence (AI). The player takes charge of the movement's material and human resources, assesses the strengths and vulnerabilities of the adversary as well as those of the movement, then chooses goals, strategies and tactics.

Groups are the game's basic political units, representing the interests and agendas common to every complex struggle. Recruiting characters and building alliances is a principal game activity, involving labor, business, government, agricultural, academic and professional, media, religious and military categories.

Scenarios involve these characters, groups and alliances, which interact with and against each other, depending on the player's decisions, the particular circumstances of the scenario, and the actions of the regime.

Playing one or more of the packaged scenarios, users will learn strategic planning, formulation of goals (such as compelling free elections or the resignation of a dictator), and the choice of tactics (such as strikes, protests or boycotts).

Each scenario is played within a physical environment which affects the conflict. A national map shows regions, cities, mining, industrial and farming areas, rivers, mountains, ports, and the transportation network. Within regions, zoomed-in city views are detailed down to neighborhoods and buildings. However, a scenario may take place entirely within a single city or region.

AFMP includes a powerful suite of tools with which users can re-create real-life political struggles, or create their own from scratch. It is an unprecedented way for users to learn about the principles of strategic nonviolent struggle, by making the decisions themselves.

At this writing, the game is available for $9.98 +shipping at this site.

I haven't used it myself nor spoken with anyone who has. If anyone has first hand experience with the game, let us know in the comments to this post.


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