At SXSW, Sam Machkovech at Ars Technica got to play some of the board games CIA uses for training:
Another Clopper game game, Collection Deck, focuses less on collaborative work and more on the sheer act of collecting intel. It also differentiates between “things that are secret and not secret.” This collectible card game plays like Magic: The Gathering, Clopper says. Multiple players work to resolve intelligence problems (represented by cards laid on the table) while dealing with out-of-nowhere issues (represented by “reality check” cards that players can use against each other).
“You try to use a card representing an overhead satellite—you want to use that to take a picture,” Clopper says. “Another player throws down a ‘ground station failure’ card. Now you can’t use that one.”
Board games as team-building and educational tools are nothing new—and video games have been used as training tools for the military for years—but it’s fascinating to see that CIA has created its own games to specifically deal with the kind of challenges it faces. I doubt we’ll be putting these on our list of favorite board games any time soon.