Now that anything from a role play to a full-blown virtual world often is called a simulation, it can be difficult to know what a simulation is and what it's not. Experts likely will argue that issue until the end of time, but in the meantime, here are a few, by no means exclusive or exhaustive, categories that most simulations fall into.
Numeric. These are the simulations that give participants certain parameters (budgets, number of units, costs, etc.) and ask them to make business decisions based on them. For example, a supply chain simulation that tests learners' ability to make good decisions might give them data about production, costs, delivery times, and other parameters that should be included in any decisions about whether to make more, make less, or make the same in a different time frame.
Scenario. These simulations give participants decision trees to follow and give them feedback on the consequences of their decisions.
Interactive. Through the use of Q&As and other documentation, these simulations ask learners to respond to particular information that is presented during the scenario.
Manual. This category includes the board games and other methods that simulate certain conditions so learners see progressions and connections without the involvement of technology.