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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, the Pathogen Situational Awareness (PSA) Game is an analytical game for improving the collection and interpretation of infectious disease surveillance data.

COVID-25 Game

Covid-25 is an award-winning game created by Professor Mathieu Muratet. It is designed to give government leaders, scientists, and the general public experience navigating the challenging interplay between a deadly pathogen, government policy, and individual behavior. See how it improves your decision making skills!

Reliability Game

Imagine a dynamic tool that not only hones the decision-making prowess of key stakeholders but also facilitates the seamless integration of cutting-edge technologies into surveillance systems. All the while, it unravels the intriguing nuances of how individuals perceive and interpret data, colored by their unique expertise and the quality of data sources. This is the essence of CAPTRS’ Reliability Game, a multidimensional initiative that is designed as a training ground for key decision-makers who grapple with the complexities of our contemporary world.

C3C Game

Within the NSF-PIPP project, CAPTRS is dedicated to crafting an engaging and interactive game in collaboration with city decision-makers. This innovative gaming experience seeks to illuminate the intricate dynamics involved in effectively managing emergency situations. This Knowledge Acquisition Analytical Game (K2AG) focused on understanding and providing training for command, control, coordination, and communication (C3C) functions during an infectious disease outbreak. Participants delve into the intricacies of either the Command and Control structure, understanding how organizations organize themselves for seamless response, or the Information Dimension, unraveling the art of efficient information sharing. As the game unfolds, it challenges players to make informed decisions, bridging the gap between theory and real-world emergency management, ultimately enhancing our preparedness for future crises. 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

The AMR game represents a pioneering initiative in the realm of healthcare and global health challenges. It’s more than just a game; it’s a powerful tool aimed at addressing one of the most pressing issues in modern medicine—Anti-Microbial Resistance. At the heart of this project lies a commitment to comprehending the complexities of AMR. Partnering with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 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.

Rockefeller Foundation-India Surveillance System Game

Created for the Rockefeller Foundation Dengue Demonstration project, this game was designed to help participants think critically and make better decisions. The Dengue Demonstration game assists decision-makers in understanding what information they require and in making improved choices when dealing with a disease outbreak. This game builds on previous successful collaborations and emphasizes increasing awareness of various disease threats and enhancing decision-making in uncertain situations. It explores topics like the goals of the information system, the necessary information, and how to deal with uncertainty.


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.