How the game is played?
General presentation of the game
“We are in the country of Haddar. This country was attacked by the army of Deldar, a neighbouring country, and the armed conflict has continued for 13 months. The players, as inhabitants of Haddar, move around on their territory.”
Raid Cross, intended for young people aged 12 to 18 years of age, is presented as a course linking various “posts,” situated in a country at war. At each post, the players are confronted with a different aspect of the conflict. To deal with it, they take on successively the roles of civilians, soldiers and humanitarian workers.
What is a post?
Each post involves two phases, and is the subject of a separate information sheet. In the first part of the game, the players play the role that their team leader and the facilitators have explained to them. This support activity places the players in different hypothetical situations of armed conflict. The activities are calculated to illustrate the rules and to show the players their practical application. In this way the participants become familiar with international humanitarian law, which during the game is also called “the law of war”.
The post’s second phase, following the role-playing activity, takes the form of a discussion between the team leader and the players. This debriefing provides an opportunity to explain the rules that the players will have had to put into practice themselves in the course of the activity.
The team leader
Each group is headed by an instructor who acts as team leader. He has a dual function. First, he is the referee for the players on his team throughout the course, and he supervises the transitions from one post to the next. Second, he conducts the debriefings at the end of each post activity. Accordingly, the team leader must be able to explain humanitarian law and to answer any questions from the players.
His main qualification is thus not any knowledge he acquired while preparing for the game, but rather his ability to supervise a group of players and to adapt what he has to say to the members of his team.
For this reason it is vital for the team leader to take enough time in advance to assimilate all the rules by carefully reading the information sheets, or even taking a course in international humanitarian law if possible.
Advice for conducting a good debriefing:
The debriefings follow activities that support them. A debriefing must therefore always begin by focusing on the preceding activity and the players’ reactions to it. Accordingly, the team leader should begin by asking the players about their own actions, and then, after having them reflect on those actions, explain to them the rules described in the information sheet for the post.
The team leader must also make sure that every member of his team participates in the discussions.
In response to objections from the players, he should not hesitate to return to the basic principles of humanitarian law: respect for human beings (“a wounded soldier is no longer an enemy, but a suffering human being”), the prohibition against going beyond what is necessary to weaken the enemy and win the conflict (“a civilian does not represent a military advantage for our enemy”) and finally, above all, the idea that not everything is permitted in times of conflict.
How the game is played
To play the game, teams of eight players or fewer are formed; they will all play at the same time, rotating through the posts in no particular order
Setting up the game for a large group
The game set-up can be adapted to accommodate a group of more than 32 players. One possibility might be two shifts. Thus, at each post, while one team performed the activity, another team could be conducting its debriefing. By this means the number of teams could be doubled.
Another option is to duplicate the activity at each post so that it can be performed at the same time by several teams; all the teams can then hold their debriefing together. If there are not enough staff, team leaders could be dispensed with, and the debriefing could be conducted by a post facilitator. In this case the teams would move through the course on their own, under the charge of the oldest player.
The Trial activity might seem a little long for a large group (owing to the greater number of defendants and the increased length of the proceedings). Accordingly, it might be preferable to opt for the General Debriefing, which can be held in small groups instead of in full forum.