PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 01/05/2016

Call for Panelists: Connections wargaming conference panel on “Wargaming: A Crucible for Concepts”

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PAXsims is happy to post this announcement on behalf of Stephen Downes-Martin regarding the forthcoming Connections 2016 interdisciplinary wargaming conference.


This year’s annual  “Connections US” wargaming conference will be held 9-12 August 2016 at Maxwell AFB, AL. Given the Secretary of Defense-level interest at achieving a 3rd Offset Strategy through innovation and the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s personal involvement in catalyzing innovation through reinvigorated wargaming, this year’s Connections will likely be one of our most important. The Connections 2016 theme is advancing Wargaming As A Catalyst For Innovation.

For conference details see the webpage at: https://connections-wargaming.com/

The theme of Panel 1 at this year’s conference is: “Wargaming: A Crucible for Concepts”, and the objective is: “Discuss wargaming techniques that explicitly test to destruction proposed innovative warfighting concepts in order to identify those worth pursuing.”

We invite you to submit a title and abstract to be a panelist on Panel 1 at Connections US 2016!

There will be three panelists, each will speak for twenty minutes, followed by a 30 minute discussion during which the panelists will challenge their own and other panelists ideas in a collegial debate between themselves and the conference participants.

We ask panelists to organize their thoughts and talk around the four questions:

1. What wargame design techniques do we need to determine where or how an idea or concept fails?

2. What are the required player characteristics for wargames that explicitly seek to know where and how an idea or concept fails?

3. How do we generate innovation using wargames that explicitly seek to know where and how an idea or concept fails?

4. How do we know if it is the concept that fails or the wargame design has failed (for example missing input data)?

If you are interested please send your title and abstract to both of us BEFORE FRIDAY JUNE 24 at:

We will select the three panelists that best support the panel by Friday July 1. We ask that the winners provide their PowerPoint presentation—with detailed talking points on the notes page of each slide—to David and Stephen by Friday July 22.

(NOTE: if you are interested in speaking on the other panels, please contact Timothy Wilkie at timothy.wilkie@ndu.edu for further information about those panels)

If the Cold War went hot in Asia

 

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Wargaming at the US NWC (1987).

Last month in the National Interest—and reprinted today in War is Boring—Robert Farley reviews the late Cold war series of Global wargames at the Naval War College, and what they had to say about a potential US-Soviet clash in Asia:

Nearly every analyst during the Cold War agreed that, if Moscow and Washington could keep the nukes from flying, the Central Front in Europe would prove decisive in war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The NATO alliance protected the Western European allies of the United States from Soviet aggression, while the Warsaw Pact provided the USSR with its own buffer against Germany.

But when the Cold War really went hot, the fighting took place in Asia. In Korea and Vietnam, the Soviet Union waged proxy struggles against the United States, and both sides used every tool available to control the destiny of China. However, while few believed that the Pacific theater would determine the victor of World War III, both the United States and Soviet Union needed to prepare for the eventuality of war there.

Scholars have devoted far less attention to the planning of World War III in East Asia than to the European theater. The two classic novels of the Third World War (Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising and John Hackett’s The Third World War) rarely touched on developments in Asia. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, the Naval War College traced the potential course of war in East Asia as part of a series of global war games. These games lend a great deal of insight into the key actors in the conflict, and how the decisive battles of a Second Pacific War might have played out.

Both the Soviets and the Americans had options in Asia. The strategic environment was far more fluid than in Europe, allowing a variety of different choices to disrupt and destabilize the opponent. This made the course of war far less predictable. At its (nonnuclear) worst, war could have raged across Asia on multiple fronts, from Korea to Japan to the Sino-Soviet border. At its best, the combatants might have observed an uneasy quiet, at least until it became necessary to outflank a stalemate in the West. But as was the case in Europe, everyone concerned is fortunate that tensions never led to open combat.

For more on wargaming (or, as they would have it, war gaming) at the US Naval War College, see their website. This includes unclassified reports from some of the more recent Global series games.

Simulation and gaming miscellany, May Day 2016

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In honour of May Day, PAXsims is pleased to present some recent items on conflict simulation and serious (and not-so-serious) gaming that may be of interest to our readers, proletarian and bourgeois alike.

PAXsims

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Have you ever wanted to mount a popular insurrection against the rotting edifice of twilight capitalism, seizing control of a large urban area from the repressive forces of the state? If so, perhaps Bloc by Bloc can teach you how:

In Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game, players join a movement that is struggling to liberate a randomly generated city that changes every game. Each player controls a faction of revolutionaries fighting back against the authorities. The factions must cooperate to defeat their common enemy while carefully balancing individual secret agendas. Build barricades, clash with riot cops, loot shopping centers, defend liberated zones, and occupy the city before time runs out and the military arrives

In Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game, players join a movement that is struggling to liberate a randomly generated city that changes every game. Each player controls a faction of revolutionaries fighting back against the authorities. The factions must cooperate to defeat their common enemy while carefully balancing individual secret agendas. Build barricades, clash with riot cops, loot shopping centers, defend liberated zones, and occupy the city before time runs out and the military arrives.

The project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter, while a print-and-play version can already be downloaded for free via BoardGameGeek.

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PAXsims

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Meanwhile in the anti-colonial struggles department, the GMT Games blog features a piece by Brian Train discussing the design for  his forthcoming counterinsurgency gameColonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62.

Also on the topic of the GMT COIN series, see this interview at GrogHeads with Volke Ruhnke, originator of the series and the designer behind its card-based system.

PAXsims

Propaganda can, of course, serve the hegemony of the ruling class—or be an element of revolutionary agitation. At  War is Boring, Matthew Gault interviews George Weidman how videogames can act as powerful instruments of propaganda.

It is an issue we’ve discussed before at PAXsims:

PAXsims

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Speaking of the military-industrial complex in the advanced capitalist states, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver will be host to Global Model NATO summit this summer:

The Global Model NATO Summit Team would like to invite YOU to Simon Fraser University’s conference in Vancouver between July 25th and July 30th where real-world global issues involving and concerning actors such as Russia, the Asia-Pacific Stateand Islamic State will be examined from NATO’s perspective.

The event is catered for undergraduate students interested in Political Science, International Relations, Diplomacy and Military Studies, and History but everyone interested is invited to apply.

Participants will be briefed by NATO practitioners including high ranking Canadian and Belgian military officials, diplomats, and academics. Following the briefings, students will simulate NATO committees as Model Diplomats representative of their nation’s delegations. Each committee will have two graduate chairs, and one currently serving military officer chair at either the Commander or Major rank from the Canadian or Belgian Armed Forces.

The summit will have the following three special events included within the six days:

  • One dinner with Canadian Defence Minister the Hon. Harjit Sajjan.
  • One luncheon with Canadian Colonel Ian Hope.
  • One day visit to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt on Vancouver Island for a briefing by Rear Admiral Art McDonald.

The registration cost is $375 and includes 6 nights-stay at a four-star hotel, breakfasts, and transportation to and from Vancouver Island.

You’ll find more information at globalmodelnato.org.

PAXsims

icons-about.jpgSome recent news on simulation and radicalization from the ICONS Project at the University of Maryland:

In January and February 2016, the ICONS Project’s Training Division had the opportunity to partner with Search for Common Ground Morocco, an international non-profit organization working to combat radicalization and community-based violence among at-risk Moroccan teens and young adults. ICONS designed and delivered a multi-phase, customized online role play simulation to facilitate communication across geographically distributed communities in Morocco. During the exercise, over 50 youth participants were required to negotiate to reach agreement on the use of funds donated to improve two fictional schools. After the simulation, 85 percent of the youth reported that they felt better equipped to work collaboratively within their communities, even with people they had previously viewed as adversaries. The vast majority reported feeling more empowered to advocate to government officials for resources, and more than 88 percent said they would recommend this training to other youth in their communities. ICONS was honored to participate in this unique partnership with Search for Common Ground in their efforts to encourage global peace building. For more information on this project, or ICONS Training services, contact Program Manager Erica Zacharie at zacharie@umd.edu.

Join their mailing list for further news and updates.

PAXsims

 

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The SIMNOVATE 2016 conference on medical simulation and innovation will be held in Montreal on 5-6 May, organized by the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning at McGill University.

I’ll be presenting on serious games for policy analysis, and will post a session report to PAXsims after the conference.

PAXsims

 

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