Universität Wien FIND

150098 SE Strategic Gaming (2018W)

North Korea

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 15 - Ostasienwissenschaften
Continuous assessment of course work

For BA students of EC A153 (Intercultural Skills East Asia): This course can be chosen as substitute for VU History of East Asia as the latter will only be offered once per academic year. Although offered as MA seminar (EcoS, Sinology), this seminar will be held on BA level.

++++++ IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This course will be offered as seminar

(SE) with 10 ECTS for students of the MA program of Sinology. Here, students need to write an extended seminar thesis. For all other students (MA EcoS, Complementary Study Programme: Intercultural Skills East Asia [EC Interkulturelle Kompetenz Ostasiens] as well as all other study programs) this class will be offered as SE with 4 ECTS. Here, the final paper will be a much shorter evaluation paper. Please understand that students cannot choose between both versions due to technical reasons.

EcoS and Sinology students who have already participated in the Strategic Gaming on the East China Sea can take this course as well, it will count, e.g. for EcoS, as a different M4 course. ++++++


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Introductory Session: 14.12.2018, 10:30-14:30
Game Days: 19. and 20.1.2019

Friday 14.12. 10:30 - 14:30 Hörsaal 16 Hauptgebäude, Hochparterre, Stiege 5


Aims, contents and method of the course

In 2013, tensions on the Korean Peninsula grew again after North Korea tested new missiles, leading to the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The pace of the missile tests increased significantly in 2016 and 2017. In July 2017, Pyongyang tested its first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) which can potentially reach the territory of the United States. In harsh tweets US President Trump threatened North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (“little Rocket Man”) with “fire and fury”. The United Nations expanded its sanctions on Pyongyang.
In 2018, however, there seems to be a new, positive dynamic: After sending his sister to a meeting with South Korean officials during the Olympic Winter Games, Kim Jong-un met both the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in twice. A historic meeting with Donald Trump took place in Singapore in June 2018. Suddenly, a peaceful resolution of the crises on the Korean peninsula seemed possible.
Yet, concerning the key issue of denuclearization, North Korea and the US still have different opinions about its exact meaning. There is also the possibility that minor incidents can be used either by Washington or Pyongyang to halt the negotiations. In addition, even if the conflict parties sign an agreement, there remain question marks concerning the monitoring process. All in all, prospects towards peace are fragile.
This course takes place as a strategic game. A strategic game simulates a real-world scenario in a controlled setting. Simulating a complex conflict from the realm of international relations, participants form groups representing states or organizations. Groups simulate the role of their respective actor and interact with other actors with the aim of fulfilling a set of objectives (“national interests”) utilizing a certain range of means. Interaction of actors is based on a fictional, yet realistic plot distributed to students before game day.

Day 1 (14.12.2018, 10:30-14:30): Introductory presentations. Students will get practical information on strategic gaming (J.F. Loher) as well as background information on the crises on the Korean Peninsula (R. Frank, A. Gerstl) and negotiation skills. At the end of day 1, students will form actor groups.

Day 2 (19.1.2019): 09:00-17:00: Preparation in groups, bi- and multilateral negotiations (formal and informal), Six Party Talks meeting in the afternoon.
Day 3 (20.1.2019): 09:00-17:00: Evaluation of six party talks, bi- and multilateral negotiations (formal and informal), final Six Party Talks meeting in the afternoon, feedback & evaluation.

Day 2 & 3: At the beginning of day 2, each group will first need to formulate certain targets and then define means of reaching these targets based on each actor's individual position in the conflict, the overall strategic situation in East Asia and the scenario drafted in the plot. Groups will then be able to enter into bi- and multilateral negotiations in order to then negotiate a common agreement at the Six Party Talks (taking place on both game days). Actors do not necessarily need to agree on a common solution, but rather continuously aim at enforcing their own interests.

Assessment and permitted materials

The grade will be determined based on the submission of two course-related papers and active participation during the game. Please note that type of assessment as well as ratio of assessment differs depending on your study program:

Assessment #1:
Paper I: Analysis of the group's interests, aims and means: 30%
Active participation in the game: 40%

Paper II: Evaluation of the group's performance during the game: 30%
Attendance in the first session, submission of papers and continuous attendance at both game days are a necessary pre-condition for a positive grade.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The main aims of the strategic gaming are:

- Gaining knowledge of the complex constellations on the Korean Peninsula and the overall security situation in East Asia
- Acquiring a deeper understanding of the interests and positions of the parties concerned
- Developing skills to enhance strategic thinking and acting and negotiating in complex situations.
In our case of the dispute on the Korean Peninsula, students will form groups representing the key actors with between 3 and 7 students (depending on the total number of students). These groups will include the main regional and external actors (i.e. North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia). Another group will organize and moderate the Six Party Talks.

Examination topics

Reading list

A reading list will be made available on Moodle.

Association in the course directory

PR 421/422,
EC A153 (kann statt VU History of East Asia absolviert werden),
M4 für Ecos, Geographie MG-S6-PI.f/m

Last modified: Fr 08.02.2019 09:28