University uses board games and RPGs to teach army doctors what to expect in a warzone

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31 July 2017
0T4A1880-86470.jpg Triage, Transport and Track (Sharon Holland via The Pulse)
Professor and veteran working on Cluedo-inspired simulation of camp outbreak

An American university has created its own custom tabletop games as a way of giving military medical students a taste of combat.

The Uniformed Services University of the Health Services trains doctors and nurses planning to serve in the US army.

As part of the institution’s Military Contingency Medicine course, professor and veteran Lt. Col. James Schwartz has co-developed a number of board games designed to simulate the events and situations graduates might face during deployment.

The first was Triage, Transport and Track, known as T3, which involves providing treatment to patients, with players needing to manage their time as the patients are transported to the correct facilities.

T3 was created with fellow professor Col. (Dr.) Justin Woodson three years ago, and has gone through multiple revisions based on student feedback since, Schwartz told USU news blog The Pulse.

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Woodson himself developed an adaptation of another education simulation game, known as the 'beer game', customised for medical students, and used his personal interest in tabletop RPGs to expand an existing USU live-action roleplaying experience, known as Operation Bushmaster, with a more fleshed-out setting, environments and rival forces.

Schwartz is now working on a follow-up to T3 inspired by Cluedo, which will aim to simulate the investigation and resolution of a mysterious outbreak at a base camp, all while sticking to correct military procedure.

Of course, the US military is just one arm of the country’s government to make use of the real-life benefits of board games – the CIA uses its own versions of tabletop favourites Pandemic and Magic: The Gathering to help train the intelligence organisation’s agents.

Main image: Triage, Transport and Track (Sharon Holland via The Pulse)


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