The Founding of Statecraft Simulations, LLC
In 2007, while attending the study abroad program Semester at Sea through the University of Virginia, Sam Smith and Joe Jaeger met through their Political Science Classes aboard the ship while Juniors in college.
On semester at sea all classes are taught by professors from universities around the U.S. Dr. Mabbott or “Lord” Mabbott as he demanded to be called was struck by Sam and Joe’s interest in topics and eventually asked that they offer tutoring to help students from other academic tracts other than the social sciences.
While meeting to discuss the upcoming exam in Lord Abbot’s course in November of 2007, Sam and Joe talked about how cool it would be to have a computer based political science simulation going over course concepts.
On his return to the states in the summer of 2008, Joe spoke with his roommate, Adam Simmons, about the business concept. Adam was soon brought onto the team and the company incorporated in 2009 with Sam Smith as Chief Marketing Officer, Adam Simmons as Chief Financial Officer, and Joe Jaeger as Chief Executive Officer.
Finding the Statecraft Simulation
Initial design ideas for simulations proved fairly difficult. In a Co-Authorship with Dr. Nishikawa, Joe Jaeger helped design a short simulation game that was based on an article in Dr. Nishikawa’s Political Theories class as a research project.
While the simulation proved successful in delayed tests between a sim class and a “control” test class, it immediately became evident that building a fully automated and effective simulation would be challenging
The Roving Bandit Simulation, which was designed to last just 20 minutes, cost 3.5 Months of Design, 2 Months of Programming, Thousands of Dollars, and an Education Grant from Trinity University.
It was starting to become obvious that the team would need to find a simulation that was already heavily tested and designed by a Professor in Political Science.
In Fall of 2008, while Joe was working with Dr. Nishikawa his sister, Jana Jaeger (now Jana Jamail) was taking Dr. Keller’s Introduction to International Relations Course. Dr. Keller had created a simulation called Virtual World while a graduate student at The Ohio State University that had engaging game qualities inspired off of best selling strategy games and designed to convey over 50 IR Theories over 7 to 10 weeks of the semester.
Jana and Joe would talk multiple times a week about her simulation experience and Joe actually found himself drawn into the drama of her virtual world as they discussed strategies, the ever changing political dynamics between countries, and the economic, terrorist, environmental, and humanitarian crisis she was facing on a weekly basis.
It was evident that Virtual World was the perfect sim for the team. Shortly after Jana’s class she introduced Joe to Dr. Keller through a phone call. After many discussions Dr. Keller partnered with Digital World Construction, LLC (aka Statecraft Simulations) to publish Virtual World as a web based simulation called “Statecraft” in 2009.
After raising a round of investment the first version of Statecraft was published in December of 2010. In January of 2011, Texas Christian University was the first school to sign up and use the simulation.
Today Statecraft has been used in over 245 Universities in 13 Countries around the world with a 4.53 Instructor Satisfaction Rating in 2016 surveys.
Dr. Keller is currently working with Statecraft Simulations to create new sims for American Government, U.S. History, and U.S. Foreign Policy Courses.
The Vision of Statecraft Simulations
By creating fun, convenient, and highly effective simulation experiences for instructors and students Statecraft Simulations seeks to ignite student curiosity and passion for learning regardless of socioeconomic background or innate affinity for academic work.