The CIA is Using RPGs and Tabletop Games to Train Operatives

If you’re in the CIA, you need to be able to think quickly on your feet and roll with unexpected situations when you’re in the field. While you can most certainly thrust a trainee into a real-life field operation or create an elaborate test environment, the CIA has been using a more unique method of problem-solving and intelligence-gathering training: games.

As i09 reports, the CIA actually debuted some of the card games and board games that they use in training at this year’s SXSW. Right now, they have three games that they use, and are still developing a fourth. So what are the games? Essentially, they’re similar to games we play. One is called Collection, which plays a lot like Pandemicand centers around CIA analysts collaborating to solve various global crises. Another game teaches operatives and analysts to collaborate effectively with other law enforcement agencies as they work to capture El Chapo.So why did the CIA start using games to train their people? According CIA Senior Collection Analyst David Clopper, these games aren’t only a creative way to quiz operatives on their knowledge, but they also help agents see the value in collaboration. According to Clopper, collaborating well with other operatives and other law enforcement agencies is key to intelligence gathering.

As we see gaming used increasingly in schools, in therapy, and in other forms of training, it’s really no surprise to see that the CIA has found success training operatives with RPGs as well. Of course, if you want to try your hand at some of the games off of the CIA’s tabletop shelves, you’ll be waiting, well, forever. Though attendees of this year’s SXSW were allowed to check out the games, there are no plans to make them available for anyone outside of the CIA. Althought the CIA’s games are being kept under lock and key, we can still use their new training method to our benefit. The next time someone gives you a hard time for spending too much time playing tabletop games and RPGs, you can just tell them you’re just preparing to be recruited by the CIA.

What do you think of the CIA using games to train their operatives? What valuable skills have you learned from gaming? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image: Pandemic/ Z Man Games

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