Single-player Business simulations

In a business simulation, participants take on the role of management and make operational and strategic management decisions for their fictional company. In our single-player mode, participants do not play against each other in teams as usual, but against predefined computer competitors. In this article, we present how such simulations work and how you can use them in your educational program or training.

What is the single-player mode?

In this mode, a single participant or a group of participants plays against automated opponents. Business simulations in single-player mode can be played completely remote, without the need for a face-to-face event. The participants can make their decisions for the individual simulation periods flexibly and determine the pace of the game themselves. How the individual participants performed in the business simulation is measured by a high score calculated by the software.

The single-player mode opens up additional didactic possibilities compared to the usual business simulations in multiplayer mode. In a multiplayer business simulation, the groups of participants play against each other and their companies compete with each other on the virtual market. In addition to the practical application of theoretical knowledge, the main focus is on the interaction with the group. In contrast, the single-player version emphasizes independent work and self-reflection. This simulation mode offers participants the opportunity to deal intensively with economic issues, to learn independently and to question the decisions made.

What are the advantages and disadvantages compared to the conventional business simulation structure?

Advantages of the single-player version:

  • Uncomplicated handling: Thanks to the onboarding program, participants can easily familiarize themselves independently with the scenario and the simulation interface. Therefore, the single-player version requires less supervision by the seminar instructor and is especially suitable for courses with a large number of participants.
  • Comparability of the results: With the high score calculated by the simulation software, the performance of the individual participants can be objectively compared.
  • Business simulation on-demand: Since the participants play against automatic opponents, the place and time of processing the tasks can be freely chosen by the players. The participants learn in this mode at their own speed.
  • Self-reflection of the participants: Unlike in multiplayer mode, the period result of a competitor does not depend on the decisions of the opposing teams. In single-player mode, the participants can also repeat the business simulation at any time. This allows them to question their actions, discover possible mistakes in their approach and correct their decisions accordingly when they run through the scenario again.

Disadvantages of the single-player version:

  • No focus on the training of social skills: Through the discussions that take place in the plenum, the conventional management simulation trains not only technical knowledge but also social skills. This effect is largely absent in single-player mode due to the lack of group dynamics and the physical distance.

When does it make sense to use the single-player mode?

The single-player mode is ideal for introductory events and as an initial approach to complex economic topics. It is particularly useful in learning modules that provide little or no attendance time. With the help of the business simulation, learners can familiarize themselves with a business management topic. Through “learning by playing”, the attention of the participants can be won and a content-related foundation can be established for follow-up events based on the business simulation.

It can also be used directly in the business simulation seminar as an onboarding measure. The participants can first explore the business simulation scenario on their own in the single-player mode, before they then compete against each other in the multiplayer simulation.

Since simulation-based seminars at universities are often very popular and many students would like to participate in the events, the single-player mode can also be used as a kind of admission test: In order to participate in an offered seminar, the participants have to prove their business management skills in advance in a single-player scenario by achieving a certain high score.

How can the single-player mode be used in practice?

  • The 4 periods single-player option

A possible application concept for the self-calculation variant is the 4-period single-player version, in which the participants work on all four simulation periods alone. The duration of the game and decision times can either be left to the learner or determined by the seminar instructor. The four simulation periods can be played directly one after the other in a short period of time. However, a business simulation during the semester in which the participants submit their decisions on a weekly basis, for example, is also possible.

  • The 4 periods single + 4 periods multiplayer option

To combine the advantages of the single-player and the multiplayer mode, the two business simulation versions can be combined. The first four periods of the business simulation are played in single-player mode and are used to get to know the simulations and understand the interface. Afterwards the participants play four periods as a team against the other groups of participants.

Which simulation games have a single-player mode?

Our beginner-friendly business simulation, Business Challenge Essentials, provides a clear and practical introduction to business administration. It enables newcomers to business administration to learn independently and individually as well as to understand business contexts. During the game, participants are assisted by a virtual consultant who supports them in their decisions with evaluation reports. Business Challenge Essentials also includes a technical onboarding, which explains the interface to participants using playful elements.

Management Essentials simulates the business environment of a production company for innovative on-ear headphones. It impresses with its clear presentation of relevant key figures and an exciting storyline. The complexity and number of decision-making options increase continuously over the course of the simulation, making it a target-group-specific introduction to the world of business administration for newcomers. In addition to the single-player version, Management Essentials can also be played in multiplayer mode.

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