Universität Wien FIND

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice. Inform yourself about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

Warning! The directory is not yet complete and will be amended until the beginning of the term.

150122 VU Strategic Gaming in the South China Sea (2021W)

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


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Up to 50 students from different disciplines and both Bachelor and Master programmes can register for this course (EcoS students enjoy priority concerning the enrollment).
If you find yourself on the Waiting List for this course, please make sure to be present at the introductory meeting on October 8th.

We plan to convene this course in class. However, if the epidemiological situation deteriorates in November 2021, we may have to move the game days to January 2022, switch to a hybrid mode or to an online format. Students individually need to make sure to meet the requirements for on-site attendance and provide the necessary evidence in accordance with the regulations issued by the Federal Government of Austria and/or the University of Vienna at the time of the meetings.

The date of the introductory meeting is 8 October 2021 (15:00 s.t. until 18:15; Campus Altes AKH, HS D, Hof 10). Attendance is mandatory. Students who will not attend this meeting, will be deregistered from the course. Waitlist-students please make sure to be present at this meeting.

The two game days will be held on the weekend of 6 and 7 November 2021 (9:00-18:00). Attendance of both game days is mandatory.
At the final meeting on 21 January 2022 (13:15–14:45), the lecturers will provide feedback on the written assignments. Attendance at the final meeting is optional.

Friday 08.10. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal D Unicampus Hof 10 Hirnforschungzentrum Spitalgasse 4
Saturday 06.11. 08:00 - 20:00 Seminarraum Koreanologie 1 UniCampus Hof 5 2I-O1-12
Seminarraum Ostasienwissenschaften 1 UniCampus Hof 5 2I-O1-05
Seminarraum Sinologie 1 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-10
Seminarraum Sinologie 2 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-18
Sunday 07.11. 08:00 - 20:00 Seminarraum Koreanologie 1 UniCampus Hof 5 2I-O1-12
Seminarraum Ostasienwissenschaften 1 UniCampus Hof 5 2I-O1-05
Seminarraum Sinologie 1 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-10
Seminarraum Sinologie 2 UniCampus Hof 2 2F-O1-18


Aims, contents and method of the course

In the South China Sea, Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam dispute about overlapping territorial and sovereignty claims. Being supposedly rich in oil and gas resources as well as minerals and fish, these nations claim “islands”, reefs and rocks. However, most claims are legally and politically contested, notably the so-called nine-dash or U-line claimed both by Beijing and Taipei which covers about 90 percent of the South China Sea. China does not comply with the 2016 award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which rejects the legal base of the nine-dash line under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

As the South China Sea is a globally important sea line of communication, outside actors such as the US, Japan, India and the European Union have a strategic interest in maritime security, further complicating the overall security situation. The US responds to China’s land reclamation activities and the militarization of its artificial islands with dispatching its navy and regularly conducting Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) to uphold international law. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have so far failed to draft the envisioned regional Code of Conduct to mitigate the territorial disputes. ASEAN, however, is not engaged in concrete talks to resolve the disputes as China only negotiates on a bilateral level with the Southeast Asian claimant states.

This course is a negotiation simulation, simulating a real-world scenario in the controlled setting of the classroom. Simulating a complex conflict from the realm of international relations, participants form groups of “diplomats” (3–6 students) representing states and international organizations. Groups simulate the role of their respective actor and interact with other actors with the aim of fulfilling their 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 the game days.

Day 1 (approx. 3:15 hours): Introductory presentations. Students will get practical information about strategic gaming and negotiation skills (M. Mandl) as well as on the disputes in the South China Sea (A. Gerstl). At the end of day 1, students will form actor groups, namely ASEAN, China, the US, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. Depending on the number of students additional groups can be formed (Taiwan, India, Australia, Russia, the EU …).

Day 2 & 3 (weekend): At the beginning of day 2, each group will formulate certain targets and the 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 formal and informal bi- and multilateral negotiations in order to formulate a common agreement at a fictional ASEAN-organized meeting (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.

The main aims of the Strategic Gaming are:
- Gaining knowledge of the complex constellations in the South China Sea disputes, the overall security situation in East Asia and of the impacts of different conflicts on each other
- Acquiring a deeper understanding of the interests, positions and policies of the parties concerned
- Developing skills to enhance strategic thinking, acting and negotiating in complex negotiation situations.
In our case of the South China Sea dispute, students will form groups of “diplomats” representing the key actors (3–6 students, depending on the total number of students). These groups will include the main regional and external actors (i.e., China, the USA, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan ...) and international organization (ASEAN/ASEAN Regional Forum).

Assessment and permitted materials

See "Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab"

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The grade will be determined based on the submission of two course-related papers (written in accordance with the standards of good academic practice) and active participation during the game.
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 of the introductory session, submission of papers and continuous attendance at both game days are a necessary pre-condition for a positive grade.
The types of assessment and assessment ratio may be subject to change if the epidemiological situation changes.

Examination topics

The grade will be determined based on the requirements listed above.

Reading list

A comprehensive game plot and an introductory literature list will be available on Moodle for registered students. Students are also required to research additional literature to prepare for their actor’s role, game days and individual papers.

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Th 13.01.2022 05:08