Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 14/01/2014

simulations miscellany, 14 January 2014


Some recent items that may be of interest to PAXsims readers:

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Kris Wheaton wants you to play Hnefatafl—especially if you are an aspiring intelligence analyst. Robert Beckhusen takes up the story at War is Boring:

You Have to Play This 1,600-Year-Old Viking War Game

Especially if you’re a diplomat, soldier or spy, says one ex-spook

Viking warriors storm into the torch-lit camp of a rival clan. Outnumbered, the ambushed Norsemen are far from their boats. Their one goal: flee to a nearby castle while keeping their king alive.

At first glance, Hnefatafl (prounounced “nef-ah-tah-fel”) might just look like a knock-off version of chess with Norse helms and impressive beards, but the game is at least 600 years older—already well-known by 400 A.D.—and is perhaps a lot more relevant to the conflicts of the 21st century.

“I love the asymmetry in this game. To win in this game, you absolutely have to think like your opponent,” emails Kristan Wheaton, a former Army foreign area officer and ex-analyst at U.S. European Command’s Intelligence Directorate. “Geography, force structure, force size and objectives are different for the two sides. If you can’t think like your opponent, you can’t win. I don’t know of a better analogy for post-Cold War conflict.”

For another “simple” game that also highlights the intellectual challenges of asymmetric conflict, check out Brian Train’s Guerrilla Checkers.

There’s even a Vassal module for it.

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The  European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research (EMCSR) will be holding its annual meeting in Vienna on  22-25 April 2014. In conjunction with that meeting a workshop will be held on “Game-based learning in systems thinking.”

Game-based learning is one of the current buzzwords almost everywhere, even if the successful examples are few and far between. The worldwide systems movement could greatly benefit from a critical survey of research and insight in this field, furthering the application of game based learning principles to various fields within the scope of the conference.

This workshop invites authors to submit extended abstracts demonstrating research, design or practice in topics like but not limited to:

  • games & systems
  • games as fail-safe spaces
  • systems, modelling & abstraction
  • games as simulations
  • exploration of cause/effect
  • transformational learning/transfer
  • gameful design
  • gamification
  • serious board games
  • social impact games
  • game-based learning

Prospective authors are invited to submit extended abstracts (not exceeding 800 words) in any of the topics listed above, not including personal information about the authors. Accepted papers will be allocated 30 minutes for oral presentation (including discussion).

Extended abstracts should describe either (1) thought-provoking ideas with the potential for interesting discussions at the conference, (2) the academic reflection of practical work in the space of game-based learning and social impact games or (3) mainly theoretical papers addressing one or more of the above areas.

Further details are available at the link above.

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The latest issue of Simulation & Gaming (December 2013) is now available, devoted to “the development of a Finnish community of game scholars”:


  • Simulation/Gaming in Finland
  • Subjective Experience and Sociability in a Collaborative Serious Game
    • Kimmo Oksanen
  • Social Network Games: Players’ Perspectives
    • Janne Paavilainen, Juho Hamari, Jaakko Stenros, and Jani Kinnunen

  • Hypercontextualized Learning Games: Fantasy, Motivation, and Engagement in Reality
    • Carolina Islas Sedano, Verona Leendertz, Mikko Vinni, Erkki Sutinen, and Suria Ellis

  • Formation of Novice Business Students’ Mental Models Through Simulation Gaming
    • Lauri-Matti Palmunen, Elina Pelto, Anni Paalumäki, and Timo Lainema

Guest Editorial

  • Development of a Finnish Community of Game Scholars
    • J. Tuomas Harviainen, Timo Lainema, Jaakko Suominen, and Erno Soinila


  • Immersive Technology Strategies
    • David Wortley 

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The latest (February 2014) edition of the Journal of Simulation is out, with articles on discrete-event simulation, dispatching and loitering policies for unmanned aerial vehicles, product and process patterns for agent-based modelling and simulation, simulating a crowd, and many other things beside.

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The Red Team Journal offers Five Reasons Why You Should Red Team Your Red Team.

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The new blog Powder Keg Politics gives a shout-out to PAXsims. Thanks!

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