Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 26/06/2013

simulations miscellany, 26 June 2013


Some recent simulation and serious games-related material that might be of interest to PAXsims readers:

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Box_FrontKris Wheaton, who teaches intelligence studies at Mercyhurst College, has developed a game designed to teach players about cognitive bias—The Mind’s Lie.

Inspired by the announcement of Intelligence Advanced Research Project Agency’s Sirius Program a couple of years ago, I set out to design a tabletop (i.e. card) game that would help people learn more about cognitive biases and hopefully learn to limit the effects of some of the worst of them.

My first two attempts were … OK … but I couldn’t quite get them to work.  Either they took too long to play or playtesting suggested that the learning effects were too small.

One day, though, it hit me – a design that was both manageable in terms of time and had good evidence to suggest that it would teach people not only how to identify bias situations in real life but also to apply effective strategies for mitigating the effects of those biases!  In short, I had a good game with proven mechanics and a testable hypothesis — I was off to the races!

This summer (finally), I am taking my best design, The Mind’s Lie, on the road to actually test it….

You’ll find more detail at the blog link above. We hope to playtest and review a copy at PAXsims in the coming months.

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Defense News has featured several recent report of interest to the serious gaming community:

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Phil Sabin delivered a presentation last month at the 6th Historical Analysis for Defence and Security Symposium on “Wargame Modelling of Past Conflicts in Preparing for Future Contingencies.” You’ll find it (and other presentations from the conference) at the link.

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Matt Caffrey and Tim Wilkie offer an update on the forthcoming Connections 2012 interdisciplinary wargaming conference:

Fellow participants in Connections 2012,

By now I hope each of you have learned of our preparations for Connections 2013.  Still we are E-mailing you for two reasons.

First, as a failsafe to make absolutely sure all our 2012 participants had received the work on this year’s Connections.

Second, and more importantly, we are writing to ask your help to spread the word on Connections 2013.  We need your help to reach people who we fear decided after sequestration hit they would be unable to go TDY hence participate in Connections 2013.  As you can see below, we have NOT been able to provide the full Connections experience virtually, but we have made a fair part of the conference available via VTC and call in.  We also need your help reaching people who never considered attending Connections but could call in for key elements.  For example, folks new to wargaming should find it very beneficial to call into Monday’s tutorial.

So, if you have not already seen it please read the below, then spread the word.

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Remember the old beer commercial, great taste vs. less filling?  The Connections team has worked very hard this year to make Connections 2013 both worth participating in and easy to participate in, even during this time of sequestration.  Through their efforts, chances are you should and you can participate.

We have a great agenda this year.  Those new to wargaming can learn enough through the Monday afternoon tutorials to benefit from the balance of Connections.  Our keynotes speakers are among our best ever; Dr. Thomas Allen, Deputy Director, Studies and Analysis, Joint Staff (via VTC), Dr. Peter Perla, author The Art of Wargaming and lead for wargaming at CNA and Col Chris Froehlich, Chief Strategic Planning Division, HQ AFMC. Other speaker panels will deal with wargaming in support of planning, programing and budgeting, as well as the effective wargaming of the far future. This year NATO will be conducting a Game Lab examining the utility of manual wargaming in both leadership training and rapid prototyping.  As always, Connections 2013 will include wargame demos, working groups and networking opportunities.

We have gone to great lengths to make Connections accessible even in the face of sequestration.  This year we have no official military sponsor and no conference fee. So, meals and refreshments will be “no host” and any speaker who would have required funding to speak in person will speak via VTC.

For those who cannot attend in person, virtual participation via remote access (both VTC and a call-in phone number) will be available for some portions of the program.  While participating via VTC or phone will not enable participation in the NATO game lab, demos, working groups, and other highly interactive elements of the program, much of the remainder will be accessible virtually.  See the attached agenda for which elements are scheduled to be accessible virtually. These elements are in italics.

The Connections experience is first and foremost about collaboration and idea sharing among the professional community and developing the professional connections among wargamers. Little if any of this can be accomplished over VTC or telephone.  Still, much can be learn remotely, especially by those new to the field.  We also hope as many people as possible will get a taste of the Connections by participating virtually this year, to whet their appetite for in person participation during Connections 2014 and beyond.

To learn more and/or register please go to CONNECTIONS-WARGAMING.COM.  There should be an element of Connections relevant to your mission and a method of
participation within your resources.  Connections 2013 is more relevant/easier to participate, a way to increase your wargame effectiveness, even in this time of sequestration.

Hoping to see (or at least hear) you at Connections.

Matt Caffrey
Tim Wilkie
Connections 2013 Co-Chairs

The form for registering as a virtual participant can be found here.

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