Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 01/04/2013

7th Vienna Games Conference FROG13

The call for abstracts for the 7th Vienna Games Conference FROG13 (27-28 September 2013) is out. The deadline for submission is May 25.


Exploring and Reframing Games and Play in Context

Vienna City Hall, Austria, Friday 27 to Saturday 28 September 2013

Conference website:


TL Taylor is a games and Internet researcher and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on play communities and experiences in online worlds, E-Sports, and professional computer gaming. She recently published Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming and co-authored Ethnography and Virtual Worlds.

Sebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher working on user experience, video games, persuasive technology and gameful design. He is interested in how code shapes conduct — and how to put that knowledge into practice. He is a PhD researcher in Communications at the Graduate School of the Research Center for Media and Communication, Hamburg University. He is also an affiliated researcher at the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg, and works as an independent user experience designer.

Jesper Juul is an assistant professor at the NYU Game Center. He has been working with video game theory since the early 1990′s. His previous book are the game theory classic Half-Real and A Casual Revolution. He recently published The Art of Failure a book that combines personal confessions about failure with philosophy, game design analysis, psychology and fiction theory.

More keynote speakers will be announced at

FROG13 THEME: “Context Matters!”

The activity of play is situated within different contextual constraints. Games contextualize the way we play and, vice versa, our play recontextualizes the rules and goals of games; culture, society and history contextualizes the way we create and experience games; language and communication are situating how we play and what games mean to us. The context of play matters and influences the impact games have on their players, on our society and culture. The study of context and frames that impact play raises the following questions: How can we understand the contextual characteristic of play? What forms of contexts and frames matter and why? What are constructive or problematic contexts of play? How can we study context and what methods appear appropriate to examine it? What context does game design and development establish? What is the contextual impact of technology on games and play? What media forms contextualize our play and how are the converging?

FROG13 focuses on questions, challenges and innovations in exploring the contexts of play – such as the cultural, personal, social, educational, theoretical, technological or historical contexts – and their impact. The organizers seek proposals covering all aspects of cutting-edge research on digital gaming, game design, game culture, game studies, therapy and economy within or across academic disciplines.

We encourage participation from a wide range of disciplines including Game Studies, Education, Psychology, Computer Science, Game Design, Cultural Anthropology, Fine Arts, Human-Computer Interaction, Media and Communication Studies, Philosophy, Social Science, Urban Studies, Digital Humanities etc … The FROG Conference facilitates the exchange of ideas and current research findings in an engaging and convivial atmosphere. Submissions are welcome on a wide range of topics, such as:

… Context, Design and Change: (Contemporary Uniqueness of Computer Games and Game Design)

Human play doesn‘t equal computer gaming: How does the appearance of computers and the emergence of a new sector of the cultural industry change our perception of playing? Is there a significant difference in growing up with digital practices? How do digital games change the way we live? And what alternate forms of play are of importance? And how do games, game design and game development determine the transformations in game culture? What does this mean for academic work, which is influenced by these circumstances as well, while dealing with these questions?

… Context and Competence: (Learning, Teaching and Experiencing with Games)

Today it is broadly accepted that computer games can trigger learning processes, that knowledge is acquired painlessly and that games foster highly demanded abilities (team-work, flexibility, multi-tasking, problem-solving,…). It seems likely to design games with specific educational intentions, while another important question waits unanswered: How does the handling of devices inform and entail these learning processes? Not only what contents and topics and to what extent they can be treated, but how is data processed, in what context are games consumed? Which competences are required to play a game, even before it can have any effects? How can we facilitate creative and unrestricted play in educational contexts that are restricted and instrumentalizing play? How can educational game designs reflect the contextual impact of play

… Context and Culture: (Signs, Symbols and Communities)

With nostalgia we look back at pixel-graphics; with pomp we stage E-Sport as mass-media events; with sincerity we fancy the creative work of game designers and the virtuosic performances of gamers. How are new signs and symbols within game culture invading our culture? Memes, emoticons, abbreviations and neologisms like „frag“ form new ways of expression, that are more and more commonly accepted. What kinds of significance do icons have that obviously come from computational or game practice and queue into pop-cultural discourse? How are ancient myths revived and refashioned through interfaces, narratives and game mechanics? How do play communities perform play and thereby impact the context games are played in?

… Context and Communication: (Media, Convergence and Controversy)

Not only multiplayer-games are social events, the act of play always references a broader social and communicative context. In consequence, social forms of play open possibilitites for meaningful experiences but also for conflict, discrimination, racism, and hate speech. FROG13 specifically wants to provide room to explore the problematic phenomena of hate speech. How is our society answering to the potentials but also problematic issues of virtual worlds? And what novel insights does the violence and addiction debate offer? Here as well, content is not the only matter of interest: What kind of thinking about interactivity and sociability are provided through out the gaming discourse? What policies are executed and on what are they based on? How do we address questions related to violence in games? What ethics are applying to games and how are they negotiated? How did the awareness for the communicative aspect of gaming change design paradigms? How does the media influence the way our society thinks about games? How do different media forms collide in games and how are they influencing each?

Abstract Submission:

All authors are invited to submit an abstract of research work relating to FROG13 subject of “Context Matters!” in either English or German and according to the specifications of the different forms of presentation. Authors are required to submit their abstracts online at: no later than 25 May 2013 in the forms of:

PRESENTATIONS: In assignment to FROG13 topics authors are required to submit a short mini-abstract (150 words) and a profound extended abstract (PDF File) outlining the topic, thesis and methodology of the paper abstracts (1000 words) for their talks (30 min.).

FROGA KUCHA: This is the Viennese Version of Pecha Kucha but limited to 5-7 mini-presentations in a row, in which you show 20 slides, each for 20 seconds (exactly 6’40” in total). The images forward automatically and you talk along…. and the audience will give immediate feedback. (Abstracts 500 words as a PDF File + 150 word mini-abstract).

FROG POSTER, GAME & PROTOTYPE PRESENTATION: At FROG13 a poster, game and prototype session is providing space for classical Viennese Coffee Culture. You bring your ideas, games, prototypes concepts and research topics and results, we provide a unique atmosphere, a beautiful space, good coffee and time for you to discuss your ideas with colleagues (Abstracts 300-500 words as a PDF File + 150 words mini-abstract).

All abstracts will be reviewed and judged on originality, quality and relevance to the Conference. All accepted abstracts will be printed in a book of abstracts, which will be distributed during the Conference. Authors of accepted abstracts (for regular presentations) will be invited to prepare a full paper for publication in the printed proceedings of FROG13 at New Academic Press (f.e. see the FROG13 proceedings

Important Dates:

  • Abstract submission: 25 May 2013
  • Notification: 20 June 2013
  • Conference: 27-28 September 2013
  • Full paper: 21 October 2013
  • Proceedings Publication: March 2014

Registration for the Conference & Conference Fee:

  • Early bird: 15 June – 15 August 2013; Registration: 16 August  – 26 September 2013
  • Conference fee: € 125,- / Early bird: € 100,-
  • Conference fee for students & staff members of youth organizations: € 60,- / Early Bird: € 50,-

The registration fees includes admission to all sessions, a printed copy of the Book of Abstracts, coffee breaks, lunch on 28 September and the Conference Dinner on 27 September.

Conference Program Co-Chairs:

Jason Begy (Concordia University); Jennifer Berger (University of Vienna); Mia Consalvo (Concordia University); Clara Fernández-Vara (The Trope Tank, Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Henrik Schønau Fog (Aalborg University Copenhagen); Simon Huber (Universität Wien); Fares Kayali (University of Applied Arts Vienna); Christoph Klimmt (Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media); Nikolaus König; Jonas Linderoth (University of Gothenburg);  Konstantin Mitgutsch (MIT Game Lab; Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Scot Osterweil (Education Arcade); Alexander Pfeiffer (Danube University Krems); Alenka Poplin (HafenCity University Hamburg); Herbert Rosenstingl (Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth); Steve Schirra (MIT Game Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Abe Stein (MIT Game Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Jaroslav Švelch (University in Prague); Michael Wagner (Drexel University); Jeffrey Wimmer (TU Ilmenau)

For any questions, please contact or visit the Conference website

Sequestration is no game as MORS military operations research conference scrambles for a new location


The Military Operations Research Society is the largest association of military OR researchers in the world,  and its annual conference is a place where the American operations research community (including wargaming and simulation design experts) have been discussing and advancing the discipline since 1957. However, with budget sequestration having led to tight restrictions on military participation in conferences and workshops, MORS is now scrambling to relocate its annual symposium which was to have been held at the United States Military Academy (West Point) in June:

MORS was informed late last week that the Office of the Secretary of the Army has not approved the waiver request for the United States Military Academy (USMA) to host the 81st MORS Symposium, making West Point unavailable this year.

As a result, the 81st MORS Symposium will be moved to the National Capital Region (NCR). The exact location is still being arranged and further details will be provided as soon as they are available. We would like to share our plans for proceeding:

A. Every effort is being made to keep the Symposium on the same planned dates 17-20 June, 2013.

B. The Symposium will be restructured into sessions at the Composite Group level, rather than at the Working Group level, in order to make them more compatible with potential venues in the NCR. Working Group leadership will be coordinating their presentations and discussions with the Composite Group leadership.

C. Every effort is being made to allow presenters to have the opportunity to present in person or remotely via Defense Connect Online (DCO) or similar video teleconference system.

D. If you have submitted an abstract you will receive a MORS questionnaire asking if you can attend the Symposium in the NCR, attend only to present, or present remotely.

E. Everyone who has registered for the Symposium may request a full refund until June 5th, 2013, if you determine you cannot join us at the new location. Please contact Liz Marriott at or 703-933-9070.

F. Note that if you have made a hotel reservation at West Point you must call the hotel and cancel your reservation. MORS cannot cancel reservations made by individuals even as part of the MORS room blocks.

MORS is fully aware of the uncertain environment and the current restrictions affecting our community. Denial of the waiver request by the Army may affect Army personnel differently than others and we encourage you to check with your command or organization to determine if you can present your work, either in person or remotely. MORS continues to work with the other services to determine the status of their waivers.Moving the Symposium at this late date is a great challenge, but MORS firmly believes it is worth the effort to preserve the opportunity for the OR community to share work, exchange ideas, and keep our community focused on moving forward.

Let us take this opportunity to thank the Symposium Program team headed by Tom Denesia, all of the Working Group Chairs, Co-Chairs and advisers, the other session Chairs, and the USMA site coordination team for the many volunteer hours spent preparing for this Symposium. Your dedication and support to MORS is greatly appreciated.

There will be more details in the near future, please look for updates and check the MORS website,, for the latest information on the 81st Symposium.

Very Respectfully,

Mike Garrambone

MORS President

Susan Reardon


As previously noted at PAXsims, sequestration has also led to the postponement of a planned MORS special meeting on professional gaming, and has also affected efforts to organize the 2013 Connections interdisciplinary wargaming conference.

War—and maybe peace—returns to Brynania

Yes, it is that time of year again: on Wednesday morning we launch the annual Brynania civil war simulation at McGill University, involving over one hundred students from my POLI 450 (Peacebuilding) and POLI 650 classes. Once again this year we also have students from Lisa Lynch’s JOUR 443 (International Journalism) class at Concordia University participating, assuming the role of the World News Service. This will be the fourteenth time we’ve run the simulation at McGill since 1998.

Once the simulation starts you’ll be able to follow some of the action at the WNS website, via the #Brynania hashtag on Twitter, and via the special issues of the (simulated) New York Times that you’ll find in the media section of the Brynania simulation website. However, that only scratches the surface: the SIM runs 12 hours a day in semi-real time for a full week, and generates 10-15,000 email messages. Don’t expect any PAXsims blogging from me until it is over.

You’ll find more on the simulation in this article in PS: Political Science & Politics. There are also video reports produced by TV McGill and McGill University, and a couple of audio reports by the CBC Radio and Adam Bemma. Finally, if you want to immerse yourself in more of the rich musical subcultures of Equatorial Cyberspace, check out the sounds of Cyberia.

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