Faculty Advisor

Wilkes, John M.


The International Space Policy Game "The Chinese Conundrum" is a live-action role-playing game for 20-30 players who are asked to participate in a UN conference to address the implications of the establishment of a permanent Chinese lunar base. The conference participants are the U.S. (inc. NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan (inc. NASDA), Russia (RKA), and China (CSA). Each entity was represented by 4-6 delegates whose goals were to protect their nations' interests and advance their own personal agendas in a competitive sociopolitical atmosphere. Surpisingly, in the pilot run, Russia aided China in achieving their goals on schedule by furnishing replacement launch facilities to them. The other agencies established a cooperative effort to found an international moon-base as an avenue to Mars. Participants gained greater understanding of technical capabilities and organizational structure of several space programs and the sociopolitical interactions of those bodies. This sort of game has high potential for teaching about, and motivating future study of, science and technology in the context of a social studies oriented game, and thus is a promising vehicle for integrated education and multidisciplinary studies.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 1999

Project Type

Interactive Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Social Science and Policy Studies