Wheaton’s Viking game sparks interest of BBC


As a game connoisseur and inventor, Kris Wheaton, J.D., has pioneered game-based learning in the intelligence studies classroom at Mercyhurst University for years, deriving his inspiration from many sources, most recently the ancient Vikings.

Wheaton, an associate professor of intelligence studies, has created a new game modeled after a Vikings’ favorite known as Hnefatafl, or the “King’s Table,” which dates back to the Viking Age, AD 700 to 1100.

Wheaton spoke about his latest inspiration and the new game spawned from it, Cthulhu vs. The Vikings, Wednesday, Aug. 7, on PRI’s The World, a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine produced by BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH/Boston, which is heard on more than 300 stations across North America. Listen to the interview here.

Wheaton originally talked about the Vikings’ game and its classroom applications in his popular blog, Sources and Methods He spoke of its historical significance as well as the lessons embedded within it for the intelligence professional, among them insights into asymmetric warfare, strategy and cultural intelligence.

Wheaton’s own variation, Cthulhu vs. The Vikings, which is both a tabletop game and a comic is due out this summer.  It comes on the heels of two other games he recently invented: Widget, a card game that asks players to make unusual or outlandish widgets out of the words they have in their hands; and a tabletop game, The Mind’s Lie, that helps students identify cognitive biases and ways to mitigate them.

Recently, Wheaton took his games on the road to the Global Intelligence Forum in Dungarvan, IE, a biennial event hosted by the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst. There he hosted a “game night” for intelligence professionals from across the U.S. and Europe, showing them the value of games as teaching and learning tools.

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