PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 22/06/2019

AFTERSHOCK updates and expansions

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Over the next year or so, Tom Fisher and I will be rolling out a few updates and two new expansion modules for AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game. As we develop these we are looking for your help!

AFTERSHOCK update

We are very happy with how AFTERSHOCK plays (and users seem to be too), so we don’t anticipate any significant rule changes. However, we will be redesigning or changing some of the components, as well as clarifying a few things in the rules.

If you are an AFTERSHOCK user and you have encountered anything you feel is awkward, unclear, or could otherwise be tweaked, please drop us a line. Your input would be very helpful!

Humanitarian Assistance in Divided and Conflict-Affected Societies Expansion

Following the success of our first expansion (Gender Dimensions of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief), we will be launching a second that examines the humanitarian operations in divided and conflict-affected societies. This will divide the Carana team into three subactors: a technocratic presidency, and two rival political groupings: the People’s Front of Carana (supporters of which concentrated in Districts 2 and 3) versus the Patriotic Union of Carana (whose constituency is found found in Districts 4 and 5). While the President will be focused on overall national goals, each of the parties will be focussed on their own constituencies and will be rivals for resources and political prestige. Otherwise, we will be using the same system of Challenge Cards we introduced in Expansion #1, allowing you to use some of both expansions in the same game, as well as new Event Cards. Local Politics cards playable by the Carana actors will add a few twists too.

Megashock Expansion

This expansion will allow you to put on 2-4 simultaneous, linked games of AFTERSHOCK, each representing a different earthquake-affected city in Carana. An additional, one additional “national” game will represent high-level decision-makers who must allocate teams and supplies across the local games. Using this expansion is should be possible to comfortably run AFTERSHOCK games with up to forty players (four games with four teams of two, plus one national game with four teams of two).

Again, we invite ideas for the expansion sets too. Our gender expansion was cosponsored by National Defense University, which contributed some funds for its development. If your organization would like to help out with one of these, let us know!

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Connections UK 2019 registration open

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The Connections UK 2019 conference for wargaming professionals will be held at King’s College London on 3 – 5 September.

Registration is open. Go to the KCL estore web site at and register now!

Purpose and approach. The purpose of Connections UK is to advance and sustain the art, science and application of wargaming. We do this by bringing together the wargaming community to share best practices formally and network informally.

This year’s conference is based entirely on your feedback and suggestions from the 2018 event. Key changes are: there will be more hands-on gaming opportunities, showing more diverse gaming approaches; we will run parallel ‘deep dives’, examining subjects you have suggested in greater depth; ‘automation’ will feature as a main-stream element of the conference; and, to keep costs down, we will not provide food other than drinks and snacks on arrival each day and during breaks. This last change has reduced the conference fees to £90, which covers the entire conference.

The Conference will last three days. Tuesday 3 September will be a concurrent series of large-scale games (which will still include a megagame) and an Introduction to Wargaming Course. As well as plenaries and deep dives, Wednesday 4 September will feature the usual Games Fair, which remains very popular.

Activities sign-up. Due to the number of concurrent activities this year, we will ask you to sign up for the Introduction to Wargaming Course, all games and deep dives in advance of the conference. We will ask you to do this later in the summer. Failing to book does not preclude you from taking part in something, but those who have signed up will get preference as some activities are limited in number. The KCL Wargaming Network are organising two evening events during the conference. Details of these, and how to sign up for them, will be promulgated separately.

Outline programme. Updates to the programme will be made available on the Connections UK web site at http://professionalwargaming.co.uk/ Key events and topics include:

  • Two keynote addresses, from Dr Lynette Nusbacher and a senior British Army officer.
  • Large-scale games on Day 1, featuring (but not limited to!) a megagame, matrix games, a workshop on ‘full-spectrum adjudication’, cyber games, various computerised simulations, an anti-corruption game, a Ukraine crisis game, a hybrid campaign game and much more.
  • Introduction to Wargaming Course.
  • Plenaries on:
    • The psychology of wargaming.
    • Wargaming hybrid operations (including cyber).
    • The selection and use of Commercial off the Shelf and Modified off the Shelf games.
    • Gaming Peace and Stabilisation Operations.
  • Deep Dives on:
    • Quantitative vs qualitative gaming.
    • Answering ‘So what?’ questions.
    • Technology to support wargaming.
    • Successful playtesting.
    • On Wargaming: Matt Caffrey’s recent tour de force on how wargames have shaped history and how they may shape the future.
    • Wargaming the future (in conjunction with a US Connections working group).
    • Data capture & analysis.
    • Space games.
  • Games Fair: two sessions on Wednesday 4 September, as usual. Games will cover anti-submarine warfare, cyber games, hybrid warfare, computerised games (including the same games in parallel manual and computerised formats), role-play, an analytical matrix game, a Commercial off the Shelf space game and many others.
  • KCL Wargaming Network events: two sessions are planned, in the evenings of Day 1 and Day 2. Details to follow.

Cost. The cost is £90 for a single ticket that covers all three days. This includes refreshments and snacks on arrival each day, but no main meals.

Location. The Connections UK 2019 location will be Kings College London Strand Campus.

Accommodation. Finding accommodation is an individual’s responsibility. One cheap approach is to use a Travelodge in the suburbs and commute on the excellent bus and tube system.

Points of Contact and further information. Consult the Connections UK website at the address block for updates, further instructions and the contents of former conferences. Please send general questions to graham@lbsconsultancy.co.uk and detailed queries concerning administration to James Halstead at james.halstead@kcl.ac.uk

Privacy. As a non-profit, the General Data Protection Regulation does not affect us that much. There is a privacy statement on the home page of the Connections UK web site.

Diversity and inclusion. Advice to all presenters can be found on the Connections UK web site.

We hope to see you in September!

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