Europe 2045 is a computer simulation designed to support the teaching of social sciences in secondary schools. The form resembles strategic computer games, but it attempts to present to the players the political, economic and social issues of united Europe and the world today in as realistic manner as possible. In addition to obtaining factual information, the game supports the development of so-called key competencies: the ability to negotiate, critical thinking and team work.
In the simulation, every player represents a state of the European Union which he manages and represents in diplomatic negotiations. The player combines the powers which are in fact usually divided between the head of state, the government and the parliament. The game works as a multiplayer online turn-based strategy, which means that each batch is divided into several rounds and all states in the game are controlled by human players.
At the government level, the player determines the national policy of the country (from the amount of taxes, social benefits and the level of environmental protection, to same-sex marriage legalization, police powers and privacy protection). Furthermore, the player gives investment incentives which should convince domestic and foreign investors to invest in his country. Several factors play their role in the investors’s decision, just like in reality: The level and structure of taxes, the state of infrastructure and level of education in the country.
At the diplomatic level, the player may submit proposals to amend the policies of the European Union. The initial state of play reflects accurately the current situation in the EU. The players can both cancel the existing measures and introduce new measures. Each player tries to promote his own project within Europe, either alone or with other players in the team. The project represents in a simple way a kind of vision of how the EU should look like in the future (eg Project Green Europe supports environmental protection and investment in alternative energy sources, while the Conservative Europe project aims to preserve traditional values and Christianity). The final shape of Europe at the end of each batch is a result of the discussion and vote in a particular team in the class.
After a player logs into the game, he is informed about the most important events of the last round by the form of TV news. Details about them can be read also in the newspaper game. The game simulates the events and crises, presents to students the key issues of the current united Europe (migration, aging population, energy dependence, diplomatic relations with the United States and Russia, global warming, etc.). The player must deal with all these events and cooperate with team mates in looking for the most appropriate solution. During the simulation, the players can see both short and long term results of their decisions.
A sophisticated economic and social model is presented on a game server, a model which simulates the aging population, migration, market development, movement of industry and services, environmental change, satisfaction of the population and a large number of other variables describing the individual states and the European Union as a whole (eg culture, infrastructure, education, etc.). The development of simulation depends on the actions of players.
The game is available for free at www.evropa2045.cz.
The simulation was developed as a part of JPD3 the project "The promotion of distribution and use of information technology in teaching social sciences" which was financed from the budget of the European Social Fund, the budget of the city of Prague and the Czech Republic.