PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

CBC on ISIS Crisis and AFTERSHOCK

CBCheadline

The CBC has published a report today examining the use of games by the Canadian government, including our work with Defence Research & Development Canada using both ISIS Crisis and AFTERSHOCK:

Canada’s military has been experimenting with a tabletop game inspired by the war against ISIS to help plan what tanks, planes, ships and people it needs to fight effectively in the coming decades.

The ISIS Crisis uses dice, markers and a large map of Iraq and Syria, and is the latest twist in a government-wide effort to use more games in the workplace for training and education.

“This certainly does have potential to add additional rigour to our process,” said Col. Ross Ermel, in charge of a directorate that plans how the Canadian Forces must evolve.

“It does show some promise.… It’s one of the things that we are certainly considering.”

The ISIS Crisis is known as a matrix-type game, a concept dating from the 1980s, with minimal rules and using debates and arguments, unlike traditional war games with complex rules and drawing on probabilities.

Matrix games allow complex, multi-sided issues to be explored, often by up to six players who don’t need particular expertise in the subject matter.

The ISIS Crisis was created by Rex Brynen, a political science professor at McGill University, who developed the roles and scenario rules, and by a British major, Tom Mouat, who created the map and counters. Brynen also acted as a kind of referee for the Canadian military sessions.

Last month, Brynen ran another board-game session for the military to explore responses to a humanitarian crisis caused by an earthquake in the fictional country of Carana.

The game, called Aftershock, is designed for up to eight players and takes about two hours to play.

As always, Chris Engle should be credited for first developing the matrix game approach.

Those interested in looking at the game materials should check out Tom Moaut’s matrix gaming page. In addition, the latest version of the ISIS Crisis team (and role) briefings can be found here at PAXsims.

 

4 responses to “CBC on ISIS Crisis and AFTERSHOCK

  1. brtrain 12/06/2016 at 3:06 pm

    Well done Rex! Much better written piece than the VICE article. Avoid the comments at all costs, though.

  2. Rex Brynen 12/06/2016 at 3:11 pm

    I’ve taken the opposite approach: I’ve showed up in the comments and offered to take questions ;) You should join me (you’ll have to scroll down quite a bit.)

  3. Michael Peck 12/06/2016 at 9:49 pm

    Don’t answer comments, Rex. If you’ll do, you’ll be sorry. Commenters don’t want to engage with the writer, or the subject of the story. They just want to yell at each other. Inserting reason into the fireworks will just ruin their fun.

  4. Rex Brynen 12/06/2016 at 9:53 pm

    It’s not been bad–I’ve been ignoring most of the less serious one.

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