Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

DPRK matrix game

North Korea Map

The mysterious “Tim Price” is at it again, quickly putting together a matrix game that explores the growing tensions in the Korean peninsula. At this link you will find the latest version (v2) of the rules, a map, and markers/assets/counters. The game involves six players:

  • USA
  • North Korea
  • Japan
  • China
  • South Korea
  • Russia

DPRKThe game components even include Twitter indicators, allowing you to deploy the formidable 140 character rhetorical broadsides of the US president.

While the rules describe how a matrix game operates, if you have never seen one in action the concept of a freeform narrative game in which the participants make up the rules as they go along through discussion and assignment of weighted probabilities might seem a bit strange. As in most matrix games, players are free to take any plausible action they wish simply by describing: (1) the action they wish to take; (2) the effect this would have if successful; and (3) arguments why the action might succeed. Other players then add other arguments for and against success. Each solid argument is used as die roll modifier, dice are rolled, the action and its effects are adjudicated—and it is then the next player’s turn.

Still confused? Fortunately you will find lots of material here at PAXsims describing various matrix games in action.

5 responses to “DPRK matrix game

  1. Patrick 14/01/2019 at 8:06 am

    A delayed and annoying comment, but the ship icons/diagrams on page 2 of the 2018 doc for the Ticonderoga and Arleigh Burke class ships are reversed. The diagram for the Lake Champlain is actually a Burke…

  2. Rex Brynen 18/05/2017 at 1:03 pm

    Good question–it touches upon one of the more unusual characteristics of a matrix game.

    Unlike a regular (war)game, tokens in matrix games are often intended to function as a graphic illustration of the game narrative, rather than “units”. If the US player wants to argue that they are deploying a carrier battle group to the area, and that argument is successful, simply place a few tokens representing this on the map to remind everyone it is there. If the North Koreans want to hack US command and control systems, and are successful, simply place a suitable-looking token somewhere appropriate to remind everyone of this. In other words, the map and counters are a bit like an artist’s canvass, rather than the board+counters of a regular game.

  3. Roy Anderson 18/05/2017 at 12:52 pm

    Everything in in the documents is very well-explained and understandable except for the tokens/tiles/counters. I can’t find a rule which describes what they represent or how players would interact with them during a session. Can anyone provide any insight? Thanks for providing this fascinating game!

  4. brtrain 01/05/2017 at 6:51 pm

    Yes… hurrah for the mysterious and effective “Tim Price”, OBE!

  5. Robert (Bob) Cordery 30/04/2017 at 5:55 am

    The fact that a game that deals with a current situation can be designed so quickly is a testament to both the inherent potential uses of Matrix Games and the ability of experienced designers such as Tim Price.

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