PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Simulations miscellany, 21 August 2013

miscellanySome recent material on peace/conflict/development simulations and gaming that may be of interest to our readers:

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connectionsuk

Registration is still open until August 23 for the Connections UK interdisciplinary wargaming conference to be held at King’s College London on September 3rd and 4th. I’ll be there, as will be several other PAXsims contributors.

Registration for the conference (including lunches and dinner) costs £100, and should be done via KCL.

I’ll also be running and demo and playtest of the Humanitarian Crisis Game that I’m developing for classroom use, based on ideas from the Connections 2012 “Hati HADR Game Lab” (see here and here and here), as well as Gary Milante’s Crisis Response card game (featured on PAXsims here). I could do with a few more volunteers for the game, so if you’ll be attending Connections UK and are interested, let me know.

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McGillHSI

The McGill Humanitarian Studies Initiative as offering a multi-disciplinary program that includes both in-classroom learning (one evening per week, September 10 to December 17) as well as a 3-day Field Simulation (Spring 2014):

The course provides registered medical students, residents, public health students, and other graduate-level students with relevant backgrounds, mid-career professionals and humanitarian workers with the globally recognized competencies relevant to humanitarian work.  The course is created so course participants gained competency-based essentials in humanitarian response practice recognized by Non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s), Canadian universities and government as the standard for professional-level humanitarian training.

You’ll find further details at the HSI website. You can also find a review of the Spring 2013 version of the course by PAXsims contributor June McCabe here.

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The North American Simulation and Gaming Association will be having an online discussion on Twitter (#NASAGAchat) on August 29:

NASAGAlogo

Time: August 27, 2013 from 9pm to 10pm (EDT)
Location: Twitter, Twubs
Organized By: Melissa Peterson

Event Description:

One of the things we discussed last time was the large difference between the design and implementation of in-person games, board games and virtual or video games.

This time we will be delving into that in more detail. What are those differences, what are the pros and cons of each, and how do we decide what the best option is for a particular project?
Join us to learn or provide your expertise!

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digra2013conf

The annual conference of the Digital Games Research Association will be hosted by Georgia Institute of Technology at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta on 26-29 August 2013:

THEME: DEFRAGGING GAME STUDIES

This year’s proposed theme is a playful linguistic remix of the terms “frag” and “defrag.” Defragging is the computer term for reducing file fragmentation. Fragging, derived from the military term for killing a superior officer of one’s own unit, has become video game parlance for the temporary killing of another player.

In the early game studies community, a good deal of fragging (in all three senses) took place between various camps, schools of thought and disciplines. This included discussions as to whether or not game studies should split into more discipline-centered communities; however, the overall trend has been to continue to grow our field as an “interdiscipline” that includes humanities, social sciences and psychology, computer science, design studies, and fine arts.

Borrowing from the computer engineering term, the theme for DiGRA 2013 highlights this process of defragmenting, which both embraces and better articulates our diverse methods and perspectives while allowing the game studies research community to remain a coherent and unified whole.

DiGRA 2013 will take place immediately proceeding Dragon*Con, America’s largest multigenre fan convention. For more information, visit:http://www.dragoncon.org/

CONTACT

Questions about the conference?
Contact digra2013@digra.org.

Celia Pearce, John Sharp, Helen Kennedy
DiGRA 2013 Conference Co-Chairs

DiGRA Students have put together some useful research resources:

As our updated version of the Games Research Positions Map (http://digrastudents.org/games-research-positions/) has received so much positive feedback, the new “Games Research Journal Map” has been structured in a similar way. It is completely searchable, sortable (by journal name, discipline, publisher, or frequency of publication), and contains a range of important information about the different academic journals in the field that regularly publish games-centric research (e.g., impact factor, word limits, link to submission guidelines, etc.). Check it out here: http://digrastudents.org/games-research-journals/

We hope that this will soon become a valuable resource for students and academics alike! Please feel free to pass this information along to any other mailing lists/researchers who may be interested in such a resource.

Also, if there is a journal that has been overlooked, or see an error in one of the postings, please let us know via this thread (http://discourse.digrastudents.org/t/journal-research-map/) on the DiGRA Student forums. As the only known list of its kind, we would like to keep it as accurate and comprehensive as possible.

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In a very thoughtful review at BoardGameGeek, game reviewer (and insurgency groupie) extraordinaire Tom Grant has high praise indeed for Andean Abyss:

Volko Ruhnke’s Andean Abyss recently won the Charles S. Roberts award for best post-World War II boardgame. That deceptively simple statement means a lot more than it might seem at first glance. Andean Abyss is one of the most important wargames published in the last decade, a real watershed in the history of the hobby. And it’s a damn good game, too.

We were very positive about the game too, as you’ll see from our earlier review.

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This month in Seattle, the world championships for the fantasy-themed computer game DOTA 2 featured the largest ever prize for a digital game competition, $1.4 million. As noted in the  BBC’s reporting on the competition, it follows an earlier decision by the US government to grant P1 visas to professional gamers, much like internationally renowned athletes or entertainers.

Alas, D&D never paid like that…

2 responses to “Simulations miscellany, 21 August 2013

  1. Tom Grant 28/08/2013 at 4:05 pm

    Now I need to order a T-shirt with INSURGENCY GROUPIE printed on it.

    The word “frag” really makes a lot of sense. Not only is there a lot of fragmentation among computer-based simulations, serious games, wargames, training aids, and the like, but there are other types of game-like things used in “serious” settings (corporate strategy, market research, etc. etc.). We have a wealth of interesting case studies to tell people, but it’s pretty damn confusing from the outsider’s point of view. I’m kinda interested in this conference now, but presentation titles like “Ludo-Narratives vs the Meta-Chronotope” make me wonder if it’s worth attending.

  2. Rex Brynen 29/08/2013 at 12:21 am

    That, Tom, is what CafePress and Zazzle are for: your own line of branded clothes, mugs, and accessories.

    Regarding your final point, don’t get me started on the unnecessarily opaque conceptual jargon that characterizes a lot of “game studies.” I’ve had a couple of game-related books on the shelf for more than a year that I’ve been intending to read/review for PAXsims, but frankly I can’t get through them….

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