PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

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.

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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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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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