An Overview SIMSOC (which is pronounced sim-sock and stands for simulated society) is the most versatile role-playing game in the world. It has been used by hundreds of thousands of people and tens of thousands of groups, in introductory sociology courses and business seminars, for firsthand understanding of the forces that determine success or failure in any group or society. Coordinators accustomed to the previous edition will find no cumbersome rule changes -- this edition is simpler yet broader than its predecessor. New to it are:
Simpler, streamlined rules.
Increased size levels so that SIMSOC exercises can accommodate up to ninety people.
A way to simulate generating private capital through direct investment.
Numerous options covering everything from cellular phones to e-mail, which can be used at the coordinator's discretion.
Readings from professionals and popular authors like Robert Putnam and Nicholas Lemann to address issues important to sociologists and managers of complex organizations.
Use SIMSOC is appropriate for any group that wants to learn the nature of group dynamics and leadership or social organization and control. Big businesses like MGM and Lucent Technologies, charitable organizations, and local governmental agencies have all found it a useful teaching tool for over thirty years, as have college- and graduate-level social science students. Required from You The coordinator must set up the game and collect and distribute various materials during it. Beyond that, he or she needs only to observe what is happening and focus post-game discussion and efforts on pertinent issues. General Parameters The SIMSOC Coordinator's Manual contains complete instructions and all the materials needed for play. Also required are:
Participants: Groups of up to ninety for each SIMSOC exercise.
Time: Fifty to ninety minutes, five to ten times, for a total of no less than about eight hours.
Space: Ideally four separate rooms, but the game can also be run in one large or two medium-sized rooms.
Equipment: Each player needs the SIMSOC Participant's Manual and a pencil. One Coordinator's Manual will be needed for each group of up to ninety participants. It can be obtained, for a $5.00 fee, by writing, on letterhead, to:
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William A. Gamson, the former President of the American Sociological Association, is also a former Guggenheim Fellow and Professor in Boston College's Sociology Department. He is the creator of SIMSOC and author of Talking Politics, The Strategy of Social Protest, and Power and Discontent, among other books.