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Simulation Games for Preparedness, Readiness and Response

The CAPTRS Game Portfolio aims to set a new standard for preparedness through innovative simulation games that equip decision makers with the intuition, skills and systems needed to combat future pathogen threats and prevent cascading harms.

CAPTRS games are research-based and focus on cognitive processes as well as strategic, operational, and tactical challenges.

We are designing games for a wide range of players––from public health and healthcare professionals to scientists and engineers to elected, community and industry leaders––and to bolster preparedness across all stages in the decision cycle.

Pathogen Situational Awareness Game

Developed in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, this analytical game improves the collection and interpretation of outbreak surveillance data.

Reliability Game

A knowledge-acquisition game in which players interpret data under multiple layers of uncertainty to provide analytic training and improve surveillance systems.

Dengue Surveillance System (DSS) Game

Created for the Rockefeller Foundation’s India Project, this game supports critical thinking and improved decision-making during Dengue outbreaks.

Command, Control, Communication and Coordination (C3C) Game

Built with NSF support and in partnership with city leaders, this analytical game supports the design and testing of command, control, coordination, and communication functions for emerging threats. CAPTRS led City of Austin and Travis County public health and emergency response decision-makers through the C3C Game in 2023.

Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) Game (under development)

In partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the game supports the development of a conceptual model of a specific multi-dimensional AMR challenge to elucidate effective intervention strategies.CAPTRS plans to deploy the game in early 2024, in the hopes of battling one of the most pressing health challenges of our time. It’s a step toward a healthier, more resilient future.


Simulation games are exercises in which human participants play specific roles in a simulated environment which may serve as a use case or an abstraction of a real-world situation. Simulation games provide a safe-to-fail environment that fosters competition, collaboration and cooperation. Simulation gaming has a long tradition of providing training, informing playbooks and generating insights in the military (wargames) and business.

CAPTRS builds and deploys innovative simulation games to improve decision-making along the continuum of threat preparedness, readiness, response, and recovery. Our goal is to ensure resilience against future threats in a highly complex and changing globe. Our games support the development of cognitive and collaborative skillsets and the design of innovative technologies. 

Our rigorous approach to designing, developing and deploying simulation games draws on cognitive engineering, epidemiology, social science, AI and simulation. CAPTRS games are anchored in the concept that a threat response is not a monolithic challenge, but rather a dynamic cognitive process involving situational awareness, decision making, and action performance. Our games dissect this process, ensuring robust training for participants and coherent data for analysis.