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When Your Simulation Game Bombs

What if your simulation game fails miserably? What if the participants behave in an unusual fashion and produce unexpected results?

Don't worry! Remember that a simulation game does not succeed or fail. It just gives data for debriefing. You have interesting data to be discussed during debriefing. Confess that you were flabbergasted by the results and ask for possible explanations. Say something like,

Usually, when I conduct this dollar auction, the top bid is around $6. Your top bid was only 70 cents. What do you think made this difference?

During the discussion, discuss the principles that are supposed to control the outcomes of the simulation. Encourage participants to re-design the simulation game to make it more predictable. For example, invite them to change the auction rules to guarantee a top bid of $10.

These speculations and manipulations will provide as many insights to the participants as if the simulation has worked like it should have.

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