Some recent items on conflict simulations and serious games that may be of interest to PAXsims readers:
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Brian Train is making many of his innovative wargame designs available in print-to-play format via his new publishing initiative, BTR games. Those that are currently available include:
- 1848 (European uprisings)
- Andartes (1947-49 Greek Civil War)
- Civil Power (“a tactical study of urban disorder”)
- Green Beret (1964-5 in the Central Highlands of Vietnam)
- Kandahar (southern Afghanistan, 2008-10)
- Land of the Free (radical politics in the USA during the Great Depression)
- Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso” insurgency in Peru)
- Tupamaro (Urban guerrillas in Uruguay, 1968-72)
…with more to come. You’ll find the details at Ludic Futurism.
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Virtual Battlespace 2 (VBS2) by Bohemia Interactive has merged as a standard simulator for NATO ground forces training in recent years. Now VBS3 is being rolled out. It not only allows the appearance of avatars to be customized to reflect the physical characteristics of actual soldiers, but also enables their in-game performance to be linked to data on their real-life weapons qualifications and physical fitness. Thus skinny soldiers who can run but shoot poorly (that was me!) are skinny, run well, and shoot poorly.
The newest version also contains many other changes, included the ability to customize the appearance and behaviour of civilians and irregular forces through plug-ins. According to Ars Technica:
VBS3 can be used by Army units to train on a variety of tasks anywhere they can get access to networked computers. It should provide training on over 100 types of Army-specified “combined arms” tasks—including setting up and operating a checkpoint, aerial assaults, and calling for artillery support. Using its multiple map support and procedural terrain filling, it can model a three-dimensional operational area of up to four million square kilometers, with “high detail insets” for areas of specific interest. It also includes improved artificial intelligence for civilians and adversary forces, using “ambience” plug-ins to model urban or rural civilian activity and insurgent group behavior.
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This year’s Origins Game Fair (11-15 June, Columbus OH) will again feature staff wargaming. This piece at GrogHeads will tell you what to expect.
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This year’s Serious Play Conference will be held at the University of Southern California (USC) on July 22 – 24. Details at the link.
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Now that game designer Mark Herman has retired from Booz Allen Hamilton, he promises to be more prolific on his wargame design blog. You’ll find it here.
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Interested in the classroom use of historical simulations? Have a look at Charles Gleek’s blog Games Without Frontiers.
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The latest version of Tom Grant’s podcast I’ve Been Diced features John Ponsike discussing insurgency and wargame design:
John Poniske, designer of Hearts & Minds, King Philip’s War, and Lincoln’s War, discusses the reasons why he developed a different game system for each of these games. Plus, John tells us about some upcoming designs, including games about the Plains Indians Wars and the Haitian rebellion.