Monday, May 15, 2017

Is The CIA Using RPGs As Training Tools?

What comes to your mind when you picture CIA training? Probably a lot of physical action, like trail running, hand-to-hand combat drills, and hours upon hours spent in the hazy cloud of gun smoke that fills the firing range. Agents have to learn to recognize patterns, to understand motivations, and most importantly, to learn the value of dissembling.

According to i09, though, the Central Intelligence Agency has a rather unexpected set of tools in its training bag now. Roleplaying games.

You can't drive this until you hit 12th level.

Gamification With A Security Clearance


As I said way back in 2015 in The Very Real Benefits of Playing Roleplaying Games, there are all kinds of reasons to grab some funny-shaped dice and sit around a table. But while socialization and entertainment are two of the big reasons for most of us, organizations like the CIA seem more concerned with other uses RPGs have as a learning tool. Things like risk assessment, problem solving, team building, and other useful applications. And what to do when the deck is stacked against you, and you've got limited options.

Murder, evidence destruction, body disposal, arson... the CIA, or your game's party?
At 2017's SXSW, there were a few examples of the games agents play in order to get their minds going in the right directions. There was a board game called Collection, which was a Pandemic-esque game where players had to work together to stop a global threat. There was a card game version, as well. There were even more intricate games where agents dealt with more variables, and more intricate missions. The goal was to get them used to functioning in a group dynamic, to help them think outside the box, and to achieve common goals.

Who says RPGs are just for kids?

That's all for this Moon Pope Monday update. It's a little short, but hopefully it makes for some good table talk when your group next gets together. If you want to keep up to date on my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you'd like to help keep Improved Initiative going, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron. All I ask is $1 a month, and that buys both my everlasting gratitude, as well as some sweet swag.

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