Video game simulating the politics of exiting the European Union

Brexit: the video game

Watch a demo.

brexit_game_key

This game simulates the negotiations between Brussels and Westminster over the UK’s planned exit of the European Union. With the anti-EU Front National on the rise in France and anti-refugee sentiment sweeping the continent, the European Union could collapse if the British are allowed to exit the EU gracefully and painlessly. You play the European Union, and you must find a way to keep the UK in the EU.

Quick design notes: this game is intended to simulate a non-violent struggle for the future of Great Britain. As such, this is not a classic war game. You can take control of a region, but “control” does not represent a monopoly on the use of force. In this game, control represents the support of a majority of the citizens of a region and a dominant position within the institutions of a region. For instance, the EU player could achieve control over Scotland by winning the support of:

1) Scottish politicians at the local, national and EU level
2) Local news sources
3) Major businesses
4) Groups that can organize large scale acts of civil disobedience (public sector unions, football hooligans)

Once you’ve got all these groups lined up behind you, you effectively control a region. Scotland could simply decide to ignore London and stay in the EU. Scottish courts could enforce EU laws. Scottish police could refuse to deport immigrants from EU countries. In theory, the British government could send in troops to arrest local officials that do not follow British law. However, the threat of large scale protests or outright secession would probably keep renegade Scottish judges out of jail.

If Scotland, or Wales, or Northern Ireland, or the Grater London Authority, or City hedge fund managers want to stay in the EU badly enough, they will find a way to do it. Civil war, revolution and secession are all options, but winning an election is probably the easiest way to keep the UK in the EU. As such, this game plays out as a contest between policies that appeal to different groups of British voters. Free trade vs. control over immigration. Fewer EU regulations vs. retiring to southern Spain. This is clearly not a war game, but it is definitely a strategy game.

If you are looking for a good summary of the dynamics shaping the coming negotiations between the UK and the EU, this article is a good place to start.

If you like this game, try these:

King Salman’s War
Ms. Merkel’s War
Mr. Modi’s War
Water War: California vs. Colorado