Peacebuilding in Brynania

Simulating War-to-Peace Transitions


The Brynania simulation is intended to recreate many of the issues, challenges and operational dilemmas confronting real-life decisionmakers concerned with war-to-peace transitions. Participants (or teams of participants) will assume the role of the various parties to the conflict, regional actors, selected external states, international organisations and NGOs. The simulation is largely conducted by email, supplemented by occasional face-to-face or online meetings. In addition, a variety of critical resources are available via the web. Rex Brynen will act as game moderator/referee (a.k.a. “Control”)

Duration of the Simulation

The 2020 Brynania simulation will take place from 25 March to 1 April 2020.

Peacebuilding Course

The Brynania simulation is a part of the Peacebuilding course (POLI 450 / 650) at the Department of Political Science, McGill University.

Around the Site

Participants are able to obtain information on their roles and political situation within Brynania via the Information Centre which provides news and statistics on Brynania and Cyberia, and the Simulation Rules section. News and events will be updated in the Media Section both before and during the simulation. The Who’s Who? section will provide role and contact information on all simulation participants.


Participants are encouraged to read the Simulation Rules before the crisis begins. There are two central rules to remember:

Control is omnipotent. All simulation actions–deploying military personnel, engaging in combat operation, transferring or expending financial resources, undertaking relief initiatives, and so forth–are excecuted by emailing an appropriate message to me. If you can’t do what you’re asking to do, you’ll usually be told (unless you ought to have known better, in which case it will probably all go horribly wrong).

Control is omniscient, or is supposed to be. Thus, all communications must be CCed to me. Failure to abide by this rule is to invite a string of really bad luck. In the case of major face-to-face or online meetings, I’ll try to attend many of these. If not, you should either tape it for me, or send me a summary within 12 hours. Please include the prefaceSIM in all email communications, otherwise it will slip past my email filtering software.

In order to allow Control and his minions to get a reasonable amount of sleep during the simulation, emails may only sent between 09h00 and 21h00 on weekdays, and between 10h00 and18h00 on weekends.


In the past, students have highly rated the simulation as a learning tool. It can also be enjoyable, in an express-elevator-to-hell-going-down sort of way. However, it is also quite a challenge. These tips should help you make the best of it:

If you are in a team, the essential first step is to decide who is responsible for what. One person might be responsible for communications, for example, and another for drawing up development plans.

Discuss how your team will share information and coordinate activities. Let other players know, via Control, which address (or addresses) communications should be sent to.

Organize your communications capabilities. If you wish to use an email address for simulation purposes that is different from your regular one, please let Control know. If you are concerned about overloading your regular email account, you may want to consider one of the free web-based services–although be warned that these usually have limits on the amount of incoming mail that they will accept. Set your email client up with nicknames for the major actors (SRSG, Government of Brynania, etc.) so that you don’t have to continually look up email addresses. If you are one of the busier actors, you’ll need to check your email several times a day, and especially in the evening.

Make use of online chat/conference or VoIP software, like MSN, Yahoo, or Skype.

Use the preparatory phase to get your plans ready. If you don’t, you’ll spend much of the simulation playing catch-up. Peace mediators will have to be particularly active in this phase if they are to have a peace plan in place by the start of the simulation.

When fundraising (as either and NGO or UN agency) it is essential to have a program to present to donors –otherwise, they probably won’t give you any money. You can make up the realistic-sounding details (check out some real NGO websites for some ideas), but the budget should reflect the amount of money you plan to spend on the initiative.

Stay informed. Much information will come across the course listserv, but don’t rely on this alone.

Stay in character. You are all meant to be operating within real-world constraints, and in the real operations foolish initiatives usually result in embarrassing press, getting fired, or–in the case of peacekeeping missions–dead people.

Control, through judicious exercise of both divine powers as well as his familiars, namely crafty sim-sim birds, will punish those who stray wildly from their roles.

There are a lot of other lessons about relief, peacemaking, and development activities that you should have learned from the course. Try to apply them.

Note: Brynania is not a real country, and the information provided on this site is completely fictional.

August 2022