6 Managing the Game Within Crisis Exercises

6.1. Introduction

Crisis exercises are known to teach good practices for real situations, revealing the weaknesses of an organization facing the crisis or increasing the awareness of a possible crisis.

By primarily focusing the design and analysis of these exercises on a rational appraisal ex post facto, the essence of what happens during such a simulation is often lost: for example, the interactions between the players and their partnership, the varying levels of understanding of the situations, individual and collective strategies, risks and decisions made, the enjoyment of achieving some objectives and the disappointment from missed ones. We call this evanescent state “playful dynamics” or “Ludicity” (from ludus, not to be confused with lucidity), which strongly binds players in the same liminal space but disappears as soon as the simulation ceases.

In this chapter, we are interested in the playful dynamics at work when a group of trainees agrees to seriously consider for a few hours that they will live a virtual crisis situation together, and especially in (1) the key components of Lucidity, (2) the manifestations of Ludicity and (3) how to manage the Ludicity. To this end, we draw on the lessons learned from analyses of playful simulation, as well as the reflections of live action role-playing game players on their practices.

The bias used for this chapter is to consider the crisis exercise played in a simulation room as a game. ...

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