Review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2012

Crisis of Nations

Saving the world is empowering, but this isn't the liveliest of sims

Subjects & skills
  • Social Studies

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: This simulation requires kids to cooperate with others to solve global problems.

Cons: The graphics are just OK, and gameplay gets repetitive quickly.

Bottom Line: Crisis of Nations lets kids become nations to work together to solve critical global issues; gameplay can get repetitive.

Teachers can use Crisis of Nations as a way to supplement study of global conflict and international diplomacy. They can set up groups of four students to play the game together or set up teams. This collaborative element is excellent in demonstrating that one nation can’t go it alone in the face of a crisis. After playing, a class can discuss which strategies worked and which ones did not. The game has a random element to its gameplay, so kids can discuss whether that helped or hindered their experience.

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Crisis of Nations is a simulation game where kids are put in charge of a country during an international crisis. They decide how to use the country's resources during global incidents, which can include natural disasters, border wars, or military coups. The player works collaboratively with either live or computer-generated allies.

To start, the player chooses a country, creates a flag, and joins the international community. When a crisis takes place, the player works in tandem with three other players (computer-generated, if you are alone; with other students, if the teacher sets up a class) to solve the problem by sending troops, economic aid, and other variables. A ticking clock lets you know that time is of the essence, and if your team cannot solve the crisis in the allotted time, you all lose points. If you do find a way to avert disaster, all the nations gain points.

Sometimes teammates can exert influence on you, forcing you to use up resources that you might have otherwise hoped to save for later. Players can easily keep tabs on their own resources andcan learn more about their collaborators by clicking on other informational boxes. When a player reaches an established point total, the game ends.

Full Disclosure: iCivics and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.

The animation and graphics found within Crisis of Nations are somewhat rudimentary, as if a board game had been converted into a computer game. However, the game lets kids experience some of the complex influences that nations feel when trying to avert a global crisis. They get to decide whether to spy on other nations, use diplomacy, or bring the military into a situation to force other nations to use their hoarded resources for the global good. While not as engaging as commercially available polished sims, this learning game lets kids cooperate with others to explore strategies that work. By playing, kids experience both the pros and cons of political alliances.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Played like a board game with kids taking turns, Crisis of Nations lets kids experiment with solving global crisis as they control a small country. The graphics are just OK and the game quickly gets repetitive.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids learn about global conflict by playing this simulation game where they must use their country's limited resources to avert international problems including war, famine, and natural disasters.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

A tutorial explains the basic gameplay, and then kids learn by playing through different games and trying strategies. Students can also access help in the game.

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