The Open University's Chris A. Williams (who should be confused with the Chris Williams who comments here frequently, since they are the same person) has done a good thing by developing a nifty online simulation called Beat the Ministry, to accompany a joint OU/BBC television series -- on which Chris is lead academic consultant -- Wartime Farm (see also here and here). Beat the Ministry puts you in charge of planning British agriculture during the Second World War. You get to decide how much land to devote to farming, how many horses to use in ploughing as opposed to tractors, and how much land to allocate to the different types of livestock and crops. There are three rounds corresponding to the early, middle and late war periods. To maximise your score you need to take into account the way these choices interact with each other; for example, barley is good fodder so you probably don't want to skimp on that if you've decided to increase the number of horses used in order to reduce fuel and machine imports... and so on. There are also various crises which you'll need to respond to, such as labour shortages and the Battle of the Atlantic. Beat the Ministry is nicely done (especially the mock newsreel introductions), fun to play and should prove useful for exposing students to the kinds of decisions and factors that the real Ministry of Food had to weigh. Give it a go!
I haven't managed to actually beat the Ministry yet. But one thing I have learned: don't rely on the Australians.
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