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CIA releases rules and materials for its training board games

CIA releases rules and materials for its training board games

March 27, 2018 | By Alex Wawro

March 27, 2018 | By Alex Wawro
More: Serious, Design

Last week the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency released copies of the rules and materials used to play two of the tabletop games it devised to train operatives: Collection and Kingpin: The Hunt for El-Chapo.

As Ars Technica aptly points out, these documents provide some fascinating insight into how and why the Agency designs games for use as teaching tools.

In Collection, for example, 3-7 players pick characters from a list (weapons analyst, economic analyst, etc.) and gather around a board to try and collaboratively stop crises by generating reports (literally "rolling for reporting") and using those reports effectively.

They were shared last week in response to Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests made last summer by Douglas Palmer, who filed them after the CIA presented a panel at South by Southwest in March about games as training/team-building devices.

Incidentally, a copy of the CIA's prepared presentation for the panel, as well as playtesting notes, is included in the Collection document dump. You can find it, as well as the Kingpin file and updates on the two Palmer FOIA requests still outstanding (one for something called "Collection Deck", the other for a CIA game called "Afghanistan Sustainability: COIN Dynamics") on Palmer's Muckrock page.

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