Toll Free in US 800 942 2900 | Direct 858 450 3400 | Fax 858 450 3463|


Home/Mitch Shirts

About Mitch Shirts

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Mitch Shirts has created 5 blog entries.

Case Study: Professional BaFa’ BaFa’ – Building Cultural Competence: Tools to Foster More Productive Community Relations.

Introducing the Rules for BaFa' BaFa' Introducing the Rules for Professional BaFa’ BaFa’.

The Situation:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 Community Involvement Training Conference was held on August 4-6, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. The competition for presenters was very strong, they received 118 proposals and only had slots for 37 presentations. Skeo Solutions were excited to be chosen as one of the presenters for their training session, Building Cultural Competence: Tools to Foster More Productive Community Relations. Living and Learning the Alpha Culture. Living and Learning the Alpha Culture.

Skeo Solutions decided to incorporate Professional BaFa’ BaFa’ into the workshop and had received some encouragement from their EPA contact who remembered BaFa’ BaFa’ from her Peace Corps training some years ago. Living and Learning the Beta Culture. Living and Learning the Beta Culture.

The Approach:

Skeo Solutions Building Cultural Competence (BCC) training approach is very different from traditional USA “diversity” training. You can get a snapshot of it here:

According to the lead facilitator for this session,  Michael Lythcott, “The design is kind of an amalgam of materials I helped develop for Peace Corps Volunteers and corporate executive training’s I helped design while I was at MS&B International working to prepare US executives (and their non-matrixed spouses) for long-term overseas assignments.” Discussion and Analysis of BaFa' BaFa' Experience. Discussion and Analysis of BaFa’ BaFa’ Experience.

Skeo Solutions decided to integrate BaFa’ BaFa’ at the beginning of this full day training opportunity. According to Lythcott, “people […]

By | 2017-05-02T10:13:05+00:00 September 14th, 2015|Categories: BaFa'BaFa', Customers Used - Business & Government Agencies, Simulations|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Case Study: Professional BaFa’ BaFa’ – Building Cultural Competence: Tools to Foster More Productive Community Relations.

Links Related To Our Products

There are countless ways organizations have used our products in business and educational settings. Here are a few links to relevant websites relating to using our simulations. We are just starting this resources so be sure to check back often. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to have a link included.

Index of Topics:

BaFa’ BaFa’ – Schools & Charities Version
BaFa’ BaFa’ used with Medical Educators
StarPower – Leadership – Use/Abuse of Power
General Links To Our Website

BaFa’ BaFa’ – Schools & Charities Version

  • The Civic Education Project (CEP), an international non-profit organization, has supported grassroots efforts to reform higher education (very good description of how it’s been used and some take aways). Teaching and Learning Resources: BaFa-BaFa Game.
  • Sonoma State University Debriefing from BaFa’  BaFa’ (excellent series of discussion questions pertaining to creating and communicating in a community setting).
  • Debwewin project website: anti-racism initiative for […]

Inventory of Hunches

by Hall T. Sprague

Following are some guesses about the educational value of simulations. None of them is proved, but they are more than just idle hunches, since they were formulated by instructors and students with extensive experience in their use. These may help you to decide how you will use the technique and what the outcomes might be. […]

1. Maybe simulations are “motivators.” Their main payoff may be that they generate enthusiasm for or commitment to: (a) learning in general, (b) social studies or some other subject area, (c) a specific discipline like history, (d) a specific course, (e) a specific teacher.

2. Maybe a simulation experience leads students to more sophisticated and relevant inquiry. That is, perhaps the important thing is what happens after the simulation is over, when students ask about the “model” which determined some of the elements of the simulation, about real world analogues to events and factors in the simulation, about processes like communication, about ways of dealing with stress and tension. Maybe participation leads naturally into a critique and analysis of the simulation by the students, and maybe this can lead easily into a model building experience. And maybe the greatest learning occurs when students build their own simulations.

3. Maybe simulations give participants a more integrated view of some of the ways of people. Maybe they see the interconnectedness of political, social, interpersonal, cultural, economic, historical, etc., factors. Maybe simulations help people understand the idea of a “social system.” Maybe the simulation experience helps them integrate ideas and information they already have.

4. Maybe participants in simulations learn skills, decision-making, resource allocation, communication, persuasion, influence-resisting. Or maybe they learn how important those processes are. Maybe they learn […]

By | 2017-05-02T10:13:30+00:00 October 16th, 2013|Categories: Simulations|Tags: |Comments Off on Inventory of Hunches

Barbara Steinwachs describes BaFa’ BaFa’

Note: Garry Shirts sent out a request for facilitators for BaFa’ BaFa’ to the NASAGA (North American Simulation and Games Association) news list. In reponse to that request one of the NASAGA members asked, “What is BaFa’ BaFa’?” This is Barbara Steinwachs’ answer. Reprinted by permission of Barbara Steinwachs. […]

In response to designer Garry Shirts’ request for Northwest facilitators for BaFa’ BaFa’, someone asks “What is BaFa’ BaFa’?”

First designed in the mid 1970’s and recently revised, this is one of Garry Shirts’ (also the designer of the classic StarPower, which explores power relationships among haves and have-nots) most used and wonderful simulation games. Originally developed for the Navy, for cross-cultural misunderstandings faced by young sailors (Sandy Fowler was on the original research team), BaFa’ BaFa’ immediately became a generic game for use in many multicultural settings: international cross-cultural situations, domestic “diversity” issues, teacher-student, doctor-patient, & any setting where two groups of different “cultures” engage with one another.

It sets up two hypothetical cultures, Alpha & Beta, in two different rooms. The cultures are carefully constructed to be different from one another but with basics which can be misinterpreted if you come from the opposite culture– e.g. leadership, currency, activities, etc. In a very simple format, participants visit the other culture in small groups for a few minutes each. After each visit, each culture briefly discusses what happened and what was learned during the visit. When everyone has visited, the game is over. A splendidly designed debriefing guides players to explore their interpretations (mostly misinterpretations because they were made based only on the home culture experience of the one interpreting) and compare them to what actually was going on, and why.

Even though the visit […]

By | 2017-05-02T10:13:45+00:00 October 14th, 2013|Categories: BaFa'BaFa'|Tags: |Comments Off on Barbara Steinwachs describes BaFa’ BaFa’

Philosophy of Science, What Is a Game?

By BERNARD SUITS, University of Waterloo

By means of a critical examination of a number of theses as to the nature of game-playing, the following definition is advanced: To play a game is to engage in activity directed toward bringing about a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by specific rules where the means permitted by the rules are more limited in scope than they would be in the absence of the rules, and where the sole reason for accepting such limitations is to make possible such activity.

Prompted by the current interest of social and behavioral scientists in games and encouraged by the modest belief that it is not demonstrably impossible for philosophers to say something of interest to scientists, I propose to formulate a definition of game playing. […]

1. Game-Playing as the Selection of Inefficient Means. Mindful of the ancient canon that the quest for knowledge obliges us to proceed from what is knowable to us to what is knowable in itself, I shall begin with the commonplace that playing games is different from working. Games, therefore, might be expected to be what work, in some salient respect, is not. Let me now baldly characterize work as “technical activity,” by which I mean activity in which an agent (as rational worker) seeks to employ the most efficient available means for reaching a desired goal. Since games, too, evidently have goals, and since means are evidently employed for their attainment, the possibility suggests itself that games differ from technical activities in that the means employed in games are not the most efficient. Let us say, then, that games are goal-directed activities in which inefficient means are intentionally (or rationally) chosen. […]

By | 2017-05-02T10:13:53+00:00 October 14th, 2013|Categories: Simulations|Tags: , |Comments Off on Philosophy of Science, What Is a Game?