VNG International

Crisis management: The International Crisis Game



VNG International came to Salsaparilla for a simulation style game that would help strengthen city councils for crisis situations. A game which would be part of a learning program for municipalities in fragile states around the world.

VNG International is part of a Task Force belonging to United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); an umbrella organisation for cities, local and regional governments, and municipal associations throughout the world. This Task Force focuses on strengthening the role and position of municipalities in the prevention of catastrophe and improving operations in the case of catastrophe.


In order to create an applied game that would improve international cooperation and with which local governments could progress independently, VNG International assembled a resource group for us in the Netherlands. This resource group gathered information for us on success-failure factors during catastrophes in sensitive areas, both local and international.

We analyzed information provided to us by the resource group and set the game’s focus on the moment at which international aid workers arrive at the catastrophe location and the local government official must take control over all aid resources. This is the moment at which they must immediately establish leadership and at which the most gains can still be achieved.


The game had its play debut in the Philippines and immediately returned overwhelmingly positive reactions. To disseminate knowledge without the need for foreign aid, Salsaparilla trained a group of Philippine trainers to become game supervisors.

When Salsaparilla is brought in by NGO’s it most often involves areas where people are less well educated, with literacy and numeracy difficulties. Especially in these situations, applied games are the perfect way to transfer knowledge.

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